Library Lovers- Call To Action!

Library Lovers- Call To Action!

CALLING ALL LIBRARY LOVERS TO ACTION

The city commission will be selecting a library board member at their 7:00 pm commission meeting on Tuesday, June 18. Unfortunately, there is an effort to re-appoint anti-library levy activist, Noelle Johnson, to the library board for a full five-year term.  In a political maneuver last year, former city commissioner, Eric Heinbach, nominated Johnson to finish the remaining term of a departing library board member.  Johnson’s position is now up for a full five-year term appointment by the current city commission.

Not surprising, the anti-levy folks and book banners have bombarded city commissioners with emails in support of Johnson’s re-appointment. If you’ve attended a library board meeting in the last seven months, you must have noticed Johnson’s disruptive behavior and obvious disdain for the library operations. Library board meetings have become so contentious that they have been known to drag on for three hours.

YOU CAN HELP REPLACE THIS ANTI-LIBRARY BOARD MEMBER WITH SOMEONE WHO LOVES OUR LIBRARY AND WILL HELP CONTINUE THE GOOD WORK STARTED SINCE THE LEVY’S PASSING.

PLEASE send an email to all of the city commissioners supporting Bob Kelly, Sandor Hopkins, and Ashlynn Maczko. This approach gives the commission several qualified candidates to choose from.

Email the entire commission at:

[email protected]  OR individually to:

Mayor Cory Reeves                                              [email protected]

Commissioner Susan Wolff                                 [email protected]

Commissioner Shannon Wilson                         [email protected]

Commissioner Joe McKenney                      [email protected]

Commissioner Rick Tryon                                     [email protected]

 

BETTER YET, attend Tuesday’s (June 18) city commission meeting at 7:00 pm and speak directly to the commission.

Please voice your support for these candidates IN YOUR OWN WORDS both in your email and/or public comments.

PLEASE SEND YOUR EMAIL TODAY. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

Check out our TikTok call to action here: https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTNJuB4Yr/

 

 

 

BIGOTS, JACKASSES, HOMOPHOBES, & RACISTS

BIGOTS, JACKASSES, HOMOPHOBES, & RACISTS

 By Jackie (Mike) Brown blogger for the Western Word

Apparently, someone got under Great Falls City Commissioner Rick Tryon’s skin again. He penned a column that was posted on the E-City Beat blog:

Tryon says:

In light of some of the recent chatter around town I thought this would be a good time to offer my own opinion on the character of my hometown.
I grew up in Great Falls in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I raised my own two daughters here and helped to get a couple of my grandkids started right here in the Electric City, so I take strong exception to some of the disparaging, insulting, and divisive comments which have made it into the local news recently about the kind of community this is and people who live here.
Despite what some of the loudest most obnoxious local voices would have you believe, the overwhelming majority of folks in this community are not bigots, homophobes, racists or haters.

He does ask the question, “Are there jackasses in this town?” He answers his question with, “Sure, just like in any other town.”

I think I know one…

If you haven’t done so already, check out The Western Word blog https://thewesternword.com/

Great Falls Mayor Cory Reeves Refuses to Issue Pride Proclamation

Great Falls Mayor Cory Reeves Refuses to Issue Pride Proclamation

“As mayor, I have decided not to issue a proclamation for LGBTQ+ Month. While I firmly believe in equality for all individuals, I also believe that the government should not be involved in matters concerning personal and private relationships, whether they involve straight individuals or members of the LGBTQ+ community. My goal is to ensure that all citizens are treated with equal respect and dignity, without government interference in personal matters. The government should never condemn nor celebrate who should love who; those are personal life choices that the government should not interfere with.”

There’s a lot to unpack in Reeves’ refusal to issue a proclamation acknowledging Pride Month. Though he couched his statement in the language of equality, his statement reveals a deep prejudice against LGBTQ+ people and a denial of reality and history.

Let’s begin with the reason cities issue “proclamations” in the first place. Generally the goal of a proclamation is to honor, celebrate or create awareness of an event, special occasion, cause or significant issues. They do not require funding, and they do not have “force of law.”  They are a feel-good thing which brings people together around something they care about. Reeves’ action does just the opposite. His action has set off controversy while marginalizing a significant segment of the community. And his covering up by saying, “It’s none of our business” is simply lame. The same thing could be said of most proclamations cities make.

Discrimination and violence have been directed at the LGBTQ+ community for decades as part of an effort to keep this group out of the mainstream of society.  Unfortunately, this is a tradition with lots of precedent in American society.  Many groups which have been pushed out have organized to push back. One tool for doing that is celebrating their existence and refusing to remain silent in the margins. Another is forming civic groups and “fraternal” organizations.

As a result we have St. Patrick’s Day (Irish), Martin Luther King Day (African Americans), and so on. Civic and fraternal organizations were formed to organize and promote communities which have faced bigotry, rejection and discrimination in society.  The Sons of Norway, The Hibernians, and Knights of Columbus are just a few of the better known of these organizations.  

The LGBTQ+ community organizing Pride Parades and Pride Month and asking local governments to issue proclamations of support and celebration is a time honored tradition in America. Unfortunately, Cory Reeves’ refusal to issue a proclamation also finds its roots in tradition as well. The efforts of all of “out” groups to confront discriminatory treatment has always been resisted by those in power.  And just like Cory Reeves, those who seek to keep others “in their place”  cloak themselves with phony excuses which deny the fundamental bigotry of their actions.  

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the City of Great Falls has flubbed this issue. In the summer of 2020, the LGBTQ+ community asked the city to adopt an ordinance which prohibited discrimination against them as has been done in other major cities in Montana (Missoula, Helena, Butte, Bozeman). After taking public comment, the commission decided not to adopt an ordinance which specifically condemned discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.

The LGBTQ+ community has come a long way in the last 50 years.  But, as Reeves’ action demonstrates, there is still a long way to go. Change in issues like this is a long slow struggle which requires commitment and tenacity.  The LGBTQ+ community understands that and will continue to press for equal treatment.  This motto says it all:  “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

 

Far Right Falls Hard

Far Right Falls Hard

Great Falls voted in the primary election, determining which candidates will go on to the general election in November, and it was a bad day for MAGA Republicans. As official results rolled in, far-right ringleaders  started falling like dominoes. For the past two legislative sessions, Republicans have held a strong majority. They’ve used this muscle to attack reproductive rights and raise our property taxes through the roof. Montana is worse for all they have done.

The tides have turned! Despite protests from folks who prefer business as usual, many Democrats crossed over and voted in the Republican primary. The strategy? Eliminate the far-right  leaders, and keep them off the ballot in November. Looking at the primary results, it pays to think outside of the box. 

Enjoy this list of far-right losers who will not be appearing on the ballot in November.

Rae Grulkowski
Grulkowski was the puppeteer behind the chaos and dysfunction that plagued the elections office last year. She’s been finishing out a partial term as County Commissioner. Lucky for us, Grulkowski WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT THIS NOVEMBER.

Lola Sheldon-Galloway
Sheldon-Galloway is a long-time legislator whose bad hats and even worse beliefs have plagued Montana for years. Nobody’s spent more time trying to control your uterus than Lola. Best known for claiming that you can’t get pregnant from rape, Lola hoped to jump from the House to the Senate. However, she had a big loss last night and WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT THIS NOVEMBER.

 

Steven Galloway
Steven served his first term in the House last session, and he used every minute of it to try and make himself richer. He focused on laws targeting renters and benefiting landlords. Slack-jawed Steven rode his wife’s coattails into one win, but this year he pissed off fellow Republican George Nikolakakos. According to local gossip, George then recruited his wife to run, and run she has. While we’ll be working hard to defeat her in November, right now we’re going to celebrate that Steven Galloway WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER.

Randy Pinocci
When he’s not trying to fist-fight voters or engaging in (alleged) felony witness tampering, Pinocci is making over $100,000 per year as our Public Service Commissioner. This cycle, Pinocci was on the ticket with Tanner Smith running for Governor, and Pinocci as Lieutenant Governor. Not only did the Smith/Tanner ticket lose big, Pinocci couldn’t even win the election for local precinct person. Love that for him. After two big losses, Pinocci WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT IN NOVEMBER.

Sandra Merchant
It’s a really bad time to be Sandra Merchant. Late last year, the County Commision voted to remove all election duties from Merchant (the current Clerk and Recorder) due to her gross incompetence. Now, Merchant will be without her bodyguard, Grulkowski. In an embarrassing turn of events, Merchant was also unable to win her election for local precinct person. Admittedly, precinct races don’t have much weight, but it’s mighty fun to watch this particular fall. Let’s hope that with Grulkowski on her way out, Merchant will finally find the sense to resign. 

Now what?
Looking ahead to November, it’s clear that Democrats have a lot of work to do.  The worst Republicans have been ousted, but we don’t want to elect the ones remaining either. Despite the tantrums of Republicans bemoaning the crossover votes, what we’ve seen is that Democrats are finally ready to fight back. Now let’s go kick some ass.

Gianforte Raised Your Property Taxes

Gianforte Raised Your Property Taxes

By Ryan Busse

Greg Gianforte raised your property taxes. And he did it deliberately, in order to give the wealthy and corporations huge tax cuts. That’s a simple truth that our governor doesn’t want you to hear, but it’s important for all Montanans to understand as we decide whether Gianforte deserves a second term.

Just last year, Gianforte and his supermajority in the Montana Legislature faced an important choice: Should they follow the recommendation from Gianforte’s own Department of Revenue, which suggested lowering the residential property tax rate from 1.35% to .94%in order to keep property taxes neutral — as previous Republican and Democratic governors have done? Or should they ignore that suggestion and bow to the lobbyists of wealthy corporations who pleaded for millions in tax cuts to bolster their profits?

Gianforte, of course, chose Option Two, walloping Montana homeowners and renters with the highest tax hike in state history so corporations could get their tax cuts. It hit the rest of us hard. The Gianforte Tax Hike is pinching Montana families at a time when our state is already facing a housing crisis.

Under Gianforte’s watch, Montana is the most expensive it’s ever been. And then he made it worse.

Only one Montanan — our governor — is ultimately responsible for raising property taxes. But that’s not what Gianforte wants you to believe. “It’s the counties’ fault,” he falsely claims. Or “city governments spend too much money,” he says. Those are lies. Just ask the countless elected Republican county commissioners and municipal leaders across our state who are furious that Gianforte is blaming them, willfully bearing false witness against his own neighbors.
Speaking of his neighbors, Gianforte is faring pretty well through his own tax hike, and that raises even more serious questions about whether he deserves a second term.

Public records show Gianforte’s next-door neighbors in Bozeman got slapped with a tax increase of nearly 71% in 2023, bringing their annual property taxes to over $11,680. But Gianforte’s mansion only got a tax increase of 19%, totaling $7,088. And it gets much, much worse.

Gianforte owns another mansion in Helena. According to a blistering investigation by MTN News, property taxes on every one of the 75 homes surrounding his privately owned mansion in Helena shot up dramatically. One of his neighbors got hit with a 62% tax hike. But what happened to Gianforte’s own property taxes? You guessed it. Somehow the tax bill on his Helena mansion went down nearly 7%. He gave himself a tax cut.

All of this is incredible but none of it is conjecture. It’s all easily verifiable with a few clicks on publicly available tax databases. And the governor hasn’t denied any of this. He refuses to answer questions about it.

Perhaps he believes it’s just his right to make things easier for wealthy people and harder for ordinary families. Perhaps he is proud of giving himself and his wealthy friends millions that could fund our public schools or provide tax relief to working people across this state.

Perhaps we should just take him at his word. After all, he warned us what his approach would be when he proclaimed, “the fairest tax is the one you pay and the one I don’t.”

One thing is for sure. As Montana faces another historic budget surplus, Greg Gianforte cannot be given another opportunity to make things even worse for the rest of us. He’s promised to stack the deck for people like him. We should believe him.

Ryan Busse, a former firearms executive, is a Democratic candidate for Montana governor.