Just last Wednesday was Valentines Day’s, but the ghouls over at E City Beat ✅ seem stuck in the first act of The Grinch. Great Falls faces a lot of problems right now, from a housing crisis to a police force without mental health services support. Yet, “ECB Staff” which is typically code for “Commissioner Rick Tryon” decided they needed to release a hard-hitting report on two local philanthropists.
Keeping people angry and ignorant is a key Republican tactic. So, although dystopian, it should be no surprise that Republicans have turned their ire towards libraries. Free information, community space, help with things like taxes and legal paperwork, all of these services infuriate the right. Frankly, the less you read, the more likely you are to vote down ticket Republican. So while libraries are, undoubtedly, a-political entities simply serving the public good, they are now the #1 target for idiots like the staff at E City Beat.
Enter the “Vote Yes” campaign. This privately-funded initiative worked to promote the library levy which passed last summer. Not a single taxpayer dollar was used for this initiative. The library levy passed, and Commissioner Tryon has been going after the library ever since.
Most recently, ECB decided to drudge up the records of who donated to the “Vote Yes” initiative. This information is indeed public record, but what confounds this author is that ECB would attempt to shame local citizens for their philanthropy. Charitable giving to institutions like libraries and schools (and the groups that support them) should be the subject of praise and appreciation. In another journalistic faceplant, ECB even revealed that the two families donated to the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation and the United Way of Cascade County respectively. The horror! The shame! The selfless sharing of wealth!
ECB’s ire towards these donors is particularly funny considering their vocal support of the failed safety levy. The media campaign for that levy was NOT based on private donors. Instead, Tryon spent tens-of-thousands of OUR tax dollars to try to sway the voters. He failed. You still paid the price.
However, if ECB really wants us to start getting into who is donating to causes, it seems fitting we look at the ANTI-library campaign. You know the one. They had several billboards all around town. They falsely claimed that the library promoted pornography and drag queens. They also used the “No” symbol twice, grammatically negating their claims and reminding us of the importance of literacy.
The main funders of the anti-library campaign, the group “Liberty and Values MT,” were the Duncans. They donated a total of $3987.00. The Duncans are also the owners of Happy Tails Lodge. If you either support libraries or simply don’t believe in misinformation and homophobia, then consider NOT boarding your pets at Happy Tails. If you’re pulling your pet from their services, be sure to let them know that E City Beat’s article is the reason you’re taking your business elsewhere.
Also of note, Lola Sheldon Galloway donated $200 to the group. Considering the Galloways are millionaires, it appears they weren’t wholly committed to this project. Perhaps they considered it a bad investment? Importantly, Beth Cummings ALSO donated to the campaign. Cummings is the latest hire at the elections office. More on this clear conflict of interest in a forthcoming article.
I anticipate ECB will now claim this information is all “publicly available” and perhaps try to claim their article had no ill-intent. That’s bullshit. ECB wanted to make these donors uncomfortable, and likely wanted to turn public opinion against them. We trust that Great Falls citizens are smart enough to realize that philanthropy towards groups like United Way, the Great Falls Public School Foundation, and the library is a GOOD thing. The only time such donations are shameful is when they’re supporting groups that trying to cause harm and spread hate- groups like Liberty and Values MT.
Since we can’t count on our actual Commissioners to say this, we will instead.
THANK YOU to the generous donors that supported our library. We appreciate your use of private funds to support this great cause. You saved the city money. In stark contrast to the safety levy, you didn’t rely on taxpayer dollars for your initiative. Our city is better when the library is fully funded. Our city is better when those with the means support fantastic organizations like the United Way. We appreciate that you care enough about others to help support these wonderful institutions. There is NO shame in philanthropy, and we sincerely hope that you won’t be dissuaded from future donations because of ECB’s pathetic attempts to shame you. Great Falls is better when we take care of each other. We appreciate you being part of that.
Read about our prior interactions with this confederacy of dunces here: https://wtf406.com/2023/04/wtf406-forces-anti-library-group-to-change-its-name/
Read about Tryon and friend’s history of attacking the library here:
Here’s verification of the donors to the anti-library campaign. This, too, is public record.
These screenshots show the donations discussed above. You can also see the records for yourself by searching Liberty and Values MT here: Campaign Electronic Reporting System (dashboard) (mt.gov)
Last Friday, the Election Protection Committee delivered the following letter to the Cascade County Commission.
We were surprised and disappointed to see that you offered the election administrator position to Terry Thompson. We have already notified you via a letter from Mike Meloy, this selection process is flawed and violates County Ordinance 23-62. Specifically, the ordinance states,
“WHEREAS, appointing an Election Administrator to serve at the direction of the Board of Cascade County Commissioners will eliminate the appearance of impropriety as any single Commissioner whose seat appears on the ballot in a given calendar years shall be required to abstain from all decisions concerning the operation and management of the election office during that calendar year until such time as the election for said office is finalized; and”
Clearly, this language applies to Commissioner Grulkowski. Despite the fact that we notified you and the County Attorney that Grulkowski’s continued involvement in the election decision violates Resolution 23-62, no action has been taken to enforce the above provisions of the resolution.
Though it is disturbing enough that Commissioner Grulkowski seems to believe that the rules and law simply do not apply to her, the fact that the County has allowed her to operate with impunity is highly inappropriate. Frankly, it is hard to understand why the County Attorney’s office has allowed this situation to persist.
Now it seems our greatest fears have been realized. Commissioner Grulkowski has not only participated in numerous discussions, debate, and decisions regarding operation of county elections, she also participated in the interview process and the hiring decision for the administration of elections in Cascade County. Moreover, Commissioner Briggs admitted during yesterday’s recorded Zoom session where the candidates were evaluated, that he and Commissioner Larson both rated Rina Moore as their top candidate. We can only infer from his comment that Commissioner Grulkowski is the only Commissioner who ranked any candidate above Rina Moore.
Those of us who watched the interviews were shocked at the final decision to offer the position to Ms. Thompson. Rina Moore clearly had more experience and answered the interview questions more thoroughly and accurately than any other candidate. We also saw that Commissioner Grulkowski was allowed to leave the interview room carrying all of her notes immediately following Ms. Moore’s interview and before the other applicants were interviewed. This action clearly calls the integrity of the selection process into question. We have encouraged Ms. Moore to seek appropriate remedy through the legal system. We are confident she will prevail in that arena.
Our primary concern is that Cascade County’s elections are run efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, any legal remedy Ms. Moore, or any other applicant may be entitled to, is likely to occur after Ms.Thompson is instated as election administrator and would preclude an opportunity to offer the position to Ms. Moore.
We are writing to insist you retract your offer of employment to Terry Thompson, subtract Commissioner Grulkowski’s scores from the cumulative totals, and make the offer of employment to the applicant who scores the most points based on the ratings of Commissioners Larson and Briggs. Once Ms. Thompson is offered the position, the county will have crossed a line which is likely to result in significant time and expense. We encourage you to act responsibly and avoid this unnecessary liability.”
Stay tuned for updates on this issue.
Great Falls, Montana
Electioneering noun the activity of trying to persuade people to vote for a particular political party.
The blatantly partisan slant of our Cascade County Elections Office has been a disturbing constant since the 2022 election and take over by the new Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant and her election conspiracy theory crowd. For example, last spring, the office had anti-library levy materials ahead of the library levy vote. Furthermore, it was reported to us that several cars parked in the parking lot had these stickers:
Despite the ironic double negative, this sticker was distributed by opponents of the library levy.
The logo on these bumper stickers were associated with the “Liberty and Values MT” group that we wrote about previously when their hateful billboards went up around town.
These hateful billboards were up around Great Falls ahead of the Spring 2023 library levy.
What are they up to now?
Despite all of the public pushback and oversight, the Elections Office continues to act inappropriately and unethically.
As of February 16, 2024, the Elections office has several Bible verses and elephant figurines visibly decorating the space. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. Prominently displayed was this completely unacceptable photo.
Do our “leaders” think this is an acceptable decoration in an Elections Office?
Yeah, let’s not pretend to misunderstand what a photo with the words “train them up young” and a child hugging an elephant means. This is beyond unacceptable electioneering. Utterly unethical bullshit. An elections officer holds one of the most important roles in our country’s free and fair elections. Citizens deserve a neutral space for their participation in the democratic process.
Join us in letting our county commissioners know that we won’t stand for these materials to be displayed in OUR elections office. They need to come down immediately.
You can email the Cascade County Commissioners directly at: [email protected]
An out-of-state NeoNazi named Christoper Pohlhaus finds himself without anywhere to get his pump on. After learning that Pohlhaus has been frequenting a local Bozeman gym, What The Funk reached out to the business. It appears we weren’t the only folks to voice concerns. By the time the business responded, poor Mr. Pohlhaus was no longer a member of the facility.
Some might question if it’s wrong to target Neo-Nazis to limit their access to society’s little pleasures. Short answer- Fuck no. Long answer- Neo-Nazis are violent and they preach violence. They venerate Hitler, and seek the extermination of groups they hate. It is not only okay to exclude them from public life, it is necessary. Actions have consequences. Threatening minority groups is never acceptable, and one way we push back is by creating social and economic consequences for such behavior. This resistance is intended to make it harder for Neo-Nazis to spread their hate and violence.
Further, businesses operate for-profit. It is to their benefit to have policies and procedures that prevent liability. Every business should have measures in place to protect their customers and employees from discrimination. That surely means not allowing in a Neo-Nazi who has a well documented history of threats and harassment, including screaming slurs at people, to use their facility.
In their response, the gym also noted that Pohlhaus has left the area. We can’t confirm this information, but heartily hope it to be true. Montana has no room for Nazis.
Read about Polhaus’s prior NeoNazi activity here: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/neo-nazis-florida-march-1234817532/
U.S. House Speaker Thinks God Talks to Him
Speaking to The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, Speaker Mike Johnson explained that he was chosen by God to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Donald Trump immediately issued a press release saying God was a loser ( Just kidding. Sometimes it’s hard to take this stuff seriously.)
Seriously. Below are quotes from his speech.
The Lord impressed upon my heart a few weeks before this happened that something was going to occur. And the Lord very specifically told me in my prayers to prepare but to wait. I had this sense that we were going to come to a Red Sea moment in our Republican conference and the country at large.
Look, I’m a Southern Baptist. I don’t want to get too spooky on you, OK? But the Lord speaks to your heart. And he had been speaking to me about this.
And the Lord told me very clearly to prepare. OK, prepare for what? I don’t know. “We’re coming to a Red Sea moment.” “What does that mean, Lord?”
I started praying more about that. And the Lord began to wake me up through this three-week process we were in, in the middle of the night, and to speak to me. And [I began] to write things down, plans and procedures and ideas on how we could pull the conference together. I assumed the Lord was going to choose a new Moses. And “Oh, thank you, Lord: You’re going to allow me to be Aaron to Moses.”
I worked to get Steve Scalise elected. And then Jim Jordan. And Tom Emmer. Thirteen people ran for the post. The Lord kept telling me to wait. And I waited and waited. And it came to the end, and the Lord said, “Now, step forward.” “Me? I’m supposed to be Aaron.”
Aaron, by the way, was Moses’ older brother according to the Hebrew Bible. He is identified as a prophet and the first High Priest of the Isrealites. He lived to be 123 years old. Hmmm, pretty big shoes for Mike Johnson to fill.
Welcome to the Republic of Gilead as described in The Handmaid’s Tale.