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Letters to the editor April 30

| April 30, 2024 12:00 AM

Court rulings

In his recent letter to the editor, Flathead area car dealer, Don ‘K’ Kaltschmidt implores voters to rein in “Montana’s overreaching courts,” and he decries “Montana’s courts giv[ing] special treatment to liberal Democrats and violat[ing] the constitution against conservative Republicans.” 

But Kaltschmidt was singing a different tune in 2020. That is the year the Montana Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict in Kaltschmidt’s favor. After he had been defrauded out of $250,000, Kaltschmidt did what all Montanans have a right to do: He sought justice in a courtroom. He won. The losing party appealed, and the court let the jury’s decision stand. 

Justice prevailed that time, didn’t it, Don? We didn’t hear any complaints from you in 2020 that the court was overreaching or violating the rights of conservative Republicans. 

You only call for judicial restraint when you don’t like the court’s rulings. As William F. Buckley once said, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” 

Our court system seemed to be working just fine when Kaltschmidt needed it. It’s a reported decision so you can read it online if you wish, thanks to the efficiency and transparency of our Montana Supreme Court: Kaltschmidt v. Shannon, 2020 MT 105N.

— Randall S. Ogle, Kalispell

Acquisition-based property tax

Institutional investors drive the market up through aggressive purchasing. Those that live here are displaced, enticed by profit or forced out through unaffordable tax bills. Some neighborhoods have greater than 70% ownership by institutional investors. Home ownership is a pivotal part of the American dream and that right is being stolen from us.

Implement acquisition-based property tax to relieve the burden of ballooning tax bills and prevent forcing people from their homes. Existing homes built and purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2020 assessed at their 2019 valuation. Homes purchased on Jan 1, 2020 and beyond are assessed at their acquisition value. All increase at a fixed rate of 3% each year.

Implement additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) fee.   All foreign, institutional investor and vacation residential property buyers must pay a one time ABSD on the purchase of the home. Residents buying a primary home pay no fee. 

The country of Singapore recently doubled their ABSD to 65% to curb corporate purchase, 35% for foreign/second homes and is likely the most aggressive example of this policy.

— Grant Hughes, Whitefish

Unsung heroes

I just wanted to celebrate a couple of our community’s unsung heroes. The two amazing people that are the school crossing guards for Evergreen students that cross back and forth on the corner of Evergreen Drive and U.S. 93 should be honored for their amazing service to our kids. 

They are there every day of the week, regardless of how terrible the weather is or how cold it is. They get the kids back and forth across a treacherously busy highway safely. They always have a smile and some encouragement for the kids.  

Give them a wave or a thumbs up when you pass them. They are truly the kind of people that make our community great.

— Ashley Mason, Kalispell