Friday, June 14, 2024

Letters to the editor April 12

| April 12, 2022 12:00 AM

Walkable communities

In 2011 when I first started driving, I paid $4 per gallon to fill a 25-gallon tank on a truck that got 15 miles to the gallon. I lived in a rural Midwest town and had a job in the next town over. I made enough money every week at that job to fill my tank and pay car insurance to do it all over again the next week. I was in high school and living with my parents, so I had no other expenses.

I didn’t have to drive when I didn’t want to. I had to drive to the next town over to go to work and the movies, but I could walk to the park to meet friends, walk to the local deli, and ride my bike to church. I’d walk everywhere all year round: I’d just bundle up and walk or ride along the city-plowed streets and sidewalks.

Eventually, I grew up and moved to the nearest city for college. I started paying additional expenses like tuition, rent, electricity, and groceries. I got a better job and cut costs where I could, including selling that truck that got 15 miles to the gallon.

Living in the city was great; I could take public transit to work and the movies, walk to the park to meet up with friends, walk to the local deli, and ride my bike to church. I’d walk everywhere all year round: I’d just bundle up and walk or ride along the city-plowed streets and sidewalks.

I graduated college, got a more fuel-efficient car, and drove west. Now I’m Kalispell, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived. It’s the Goldilocks of places: the small town too small, the city too big, Kalispell just right. But I now drive everywhere — to work, to church, and to the grocery store. With gas prices over $4 per gallon and inflation raising rent and groceries, I’m pinching pennies and finding ways to make my money stretch.

From previous letters to the editor, I can tell that a lot of us are concerned about prices and the way the world looks right now. We all have to make decisions about what we pay for and what we don’t. I choose to ride my bike to work, church, and stay in more to avoid going to the gas pump. I admit this doesn’t work for everyone and it’s not super safe. The bike paths are few and far between, road shoulders are not safe for walkers or bikers, and it is getting harder to commute without a car as communities spread into the valley.

This is where the government and community can work together to help ease all our pocketbooks. The Move 2040 plan is a start, but it was very car heavy and we could do a lot more to benefit other transportation. Let’s invest in more walkable communities with more sidewalks, bike paths and bike lanes, and plow them in the winter. Let’s make this city safe for everyone to walk and bike to work, church, and the grocery store, and save on gas money year-round. The rails to trails is a great example of what we can do, and I hope it’s just the start. Because the less money I spend at the pump means more money I can spend on food, housing, and supporting local businesses. And almost anything else sounds better than paying $4 a gallon for gas.

— Al Ive, Kalispell

Informed votes

In response to the letter to the editor entitled “Republican Primary” on April 7, I would suggest that the author of this piece should reconsider the point that she is attempting to make, that somehow the candidates who have thrown their hats in the race are “plants” by the Republican Party in Flathead County to throw the race to the incumbent.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and her commentary is an insult to the great men and women who exercise their rights to “throw their hats” in the race because they have decided, and not the county GOP, that they have a stake in the political process. As president of Flathead County Republican Women, I can attest to the fact that we show respect to all candidates by giving them a forum to share their ideas, strategies, and positions to all who want to listen on the critical issues facing our county and our state, and allow the informed voters to make their own choices.

Perhaps rather than jumping to an incorrect conclusion, she should actually be more of an “informed voter” herself by speaking to these candidates to learn their true motivation for running, rather than making an assumption that has no basis.

— Evelyn Cahalen, Marion

Elk plan

Greg Gianforte has just put out an “advisory” committee to lay out what should be in the next statewide elk management plan. It’s stacked with outfitters and landowners who are going to want licenses for themselves and friends, while the regular Montana hunter might get some crumbs.

Did Montana hunters expect any different? Gianforte is the guy who leases up a ranch entirely for his own use, told outfitters he’d give them whatever they wanted, and said in the past that Montana FWP was “at war” with landowners who also wanted elk tags to sell.

He also sued to get rid of a fishing access site next to his mansion. Gianforte’s vision of hunting, fishing and public lands is what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine too. His FWP is implementing his plan to make hunting and fishing exclusively for the rich. We need to replace an incompetent director and deputy.

The next elk plan will be a disaster for our sporting traditions. We need a new governor in 2025 who will tear it up on day one.

— Joe L. Perry, Brady