Thursday, May 26, 2022

Letters to the editor May 8

| May 8, 2022 12:00 AM

Listen to us

A March 28 letter from Mike Lauman, a longtime library volunteer, was an informed, thoughtful review of the current problems and their causes besetting our county ImagineIF Library. I completely agree with his statement: “It is the library board and the Flathead County Commissioners that are not listening to the public.”

The county library belongs to we the taxpayers who fund it and support it with our use. It does not belong to the commissioners or three certain board members. Why would the commissioners appoint people who did not believe in the mission and policies of our library? The commissioners either did not properly vet the beliefs of their choices or they agreed with their intentions to change our library.

At a Dec. 2, 2021 meeting, board member Adams said, “It would be my goal to disassociate from the American Library Association completely and rewrite policy accordingly.” This would change our award winning library that serves the needs all people into an inferior one one that satisfies the narrow-minded political beliefs of a few people.

ImagineIF Library was developed and staffed by skilled, educated, farsighted folks to serve the varied needs of everyone from toddlers to seniors who use the library for life long learning.

Enough is enough! Please, fellow citizens, contact the commissioners. Encourage family (kids, too), friends, neighbors, co-workers,and casual acquaintances to support the current policies and mission of our ImagineIF Library.

It is time for the commissioners to replace board members Adams, Ingram and Roedel and appoint folks who will affirm the vibrant mission and policies of our library. It is time for speak up and time for the taxpayers who fund our public entities to expect elected and appointed officials to listen to us.

— Jolene Smith, Bigfork

Diversity on the bench

We expect a great deal from our Supreme Court - that justices apply the law rigorously, but with a broad understanding of what their decisions mean to individuals and society. It is the need for this broad, wise understanding that makes diversity on the bench so important. None of us, however intelligent and well-educated, can see all sides of an issue.

As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, said about her colleague, Thurgood Marshall (the first African American on the Court) “Occa­sion­ally, at Confer­ence meet­ings, I still catch myself look­ing expect­antly for his raised brow and his twink­ling eye, hoping to hear, just once more, another story that would, by and by, perhaps change the way I see the world.”

We also tend to think of the law as a set of rules that can be applied impartially. This is the goal, but there are many situations in which understanding of the world views and immediate problems of defendants can lead to the sort of decisions that benefit individuals and society. We need diversity in judicial experience — backgrounds other than prosecution, and educations that are other than Ivy League.

We also need to consider that, as Justice Brown Jackson states, “The judicial branch… the protection of the rule of law, which can only be done by the consent of the governed. It can only be done if people in our society believe, decide and agree that they’re going to follow what it is that courts decide. And so one of the reasons why having a diverse judicial branch is important is because it lends and bolsters public confidence in our system.”

We, of course, need this diversity in national and state supreme courts. Let your representatives know.

— Gail Trenfield, St. Ignatius