Monday, December 05, 2022

Letters to the editor Nov. 20

| November 20, 2022 12:00 AM

Missing cash

What is this world coming to? Is it generosity and thoughtfulness, or greed and selfishness?

An example: Recently a friend and I had errands to do. Mine, make a payment to pay off a loan. Another, take my friend, who became homeless last month, to the food pantry to check on benefits. We planned to make my payment first, a half mile from home. However, we realize the food pantry would be closing soon. So, we headed across town instead.

When we finish, we are off to make the payment. I’m so excited! But when I reach into my pocket, the money isn’t there! I find my keys and a check I was taking to the bank, but no cash. I desperately check everywhere, pants and coat pockets, around my car, in my car, but it simply wasn’t there, —$1,200 gone! (You’re thinking “cash?” Yes! That is what people save in a piggy bank. Also I don’t carry a purse.)

I run back to the food pantry, but it’s closed. I knock on the glass and I tell the lady, “it is an emergency.” I ask volunteers if they are aware of any money found. I’m asking, but my gut already knows the answer. I can’t explain why or how, but it is gone.

My friend, the one recently made homeless, tries to comfort me, “Maybe they need it more than you do.” Possibly, but I am not a rich person. That money was hard earned and saved.

To whom ever took it, or found it and kept it, I say, “You may be in a desperate situation, but that does not make it right.” You can not put a price tag on honesty or integrity. In spite of this, I believe there are good people out there.

— Flynn Stevens, Kalispell

Campaign spending

The amount of money now being spent on our elections is ridiculous. It would be one thing if this spending were producing positive results but, instead, it only seems to create excess trash for our landfills and garbage for our mail, TV’s and internet.

It also takes elections out of hands of the individual citizens of our state and gives the major influence to special interest groups, unions, associations, corporations and out of state super PACs. Our Legislature should pass legislation to clean up this mess.

Montana’s western congressional election is a perfect example. The excess money available to both sides promoted an endless stream of smear campaigns, false accusations, unclear innuendos, and many other objectionable materials that we, the public, were subjected to until most of us just wanted to throw up. Good cogent discussion of the true issues was ultimately buried under this emotional refuse heap of advertising.

The race for the Montana Supreme Court (Brown vs. Gustafson) is another clear case in point. Besides the usual hidden donations, the Montana Trial Lawyers Association spent millions of dollars to elect their hand-picked candidate to ensure their continued dominance over this important political body. The conflict of interest, herein, is so obvious since many members of that association may argue cases in front of the very judge(s) they have so amply supported.

Yet there is never an objection to what appears to the public as an egregious form of legalized corruption.

There is much disagreement with the “Citizen’s United” Supreme Court decision pronounced over a decade ago which, in the name of “free speech,” opened the flood gates of money from all these over-funded groups. I cannot understand how individuals can be limited to minimal donation amounts while these big groups are allowed unlimited contributions through the back door.

Our Legislature and our governor need to be leaders in expressing the dissatisfaction of the Montana Public by passing legislation which challenges the current status quo. While not banning any access to free speech, they should limit contributions of associations, unions, corporations, PACs, and nonprofit entities to reasonable limits commiserate with the current caps on individuals.

At the same time, they should specifically prohibit “conflict of interest” donations which so undermine the credibility of our governing system. Such a law would be a good start to cleaning up this sordid mess.

— Mark Agather, Kalispell

Library board

Jared Sibbitt, in his letter on Nov. 13 stated that I’m disingenuous or outright ignorant regarding ImagineIF management’s tension with the board.

I’m not disingenuous, and I don’t think I’m ignorant. Case in point, Sibbitt states that the board is “in the process of running away director Cummins”. I understand why he and others might think so, based on recent newspaper articles. But it’s not true, so some clarification is in order.

Comments made by Mrs. Cummins were taken out of context. Any dissatisfaction she feels has not been brought on by conflict with the board. In fact, there has been no conflict with the board. She is always encouraged to express her opinions, and her opinions are always considered in board decisions. I have previously acknowledged board tension with Mr. Anderson, so there’s no ignorance there.

Some of the staff have different viewpoints than the board does, but opposing viewpoints are allowed, and I wouldn’t call that tension. I’d call it normal.

Members of the public who have publicly demeaned Mrs. Cummins as unqualified and untrained, who have castigated the board for hiring her, and who now accuse the board of supposedly running her off, as if they really care about the possibility of her leaving, are the ones who are disingenuous.

Those people are simply grabbing at anything they can find to throw in our faces, and that’s a sad commentary on putting their politics before the library they purport to care about.

— Doug Adams, Whitefish

Legislature priorities

The 2022 election season is over and now the Legislature can contemplate session priorities.

In a pre-election op-ed, the chair of state’s Republican Central Committee asserted that its endorsed Supreme Court candidate would “prop up Montana’s small businesses.” Oh my!

This is only one example of the GOP’s sketchy or selective grasp on the Montana Constitution. The legislative majority would be wise to brief its caucus on what it can or cannot do without constitutional amendment.

If “life” issues are to be front and center, the Legislature could however consider the following:

Abolishing capital punishment. Redemption is never off the table.

Providing appropriate and readily available health support for those in Montana’s custodial institutions.

Optimizing regional mental health clinics.

Strengthening Child Protective Services.

Tackling addiction issues in urban and rural areas.

Addressing services for the growing population of infirm and helpless elderly and their caregivers.

— Margaret S. Davis, Lakeside

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