Randy, Randy, Randy.  What Now??

Randy, Randy, Randy. What Now??

Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci has had a lien filed on his property by the Braden Tract Sewer Association and Braden Tract Water Fund for non-payment of bills in the amount of $1,720.  In addition, the districts are claiming Pinocci is responsible for moving a fence which is encroaching on its property at an estimated cost of $5,500.  

Perhaps the greatest irony in this chapter of the long, sad saga of Pinocci’s behavior in public office is that, as a Public Service Commissioner, Pinocci is responsible for regulating public utilities similar to these two small local utilities. One of the biggest problems these businesses face is deadbeats not paying their bills.  When that happens, other ratepayers pick up the tab. Pinocci either doesn’t understand that or he doesn’t care.  Probably a bit of both.

As the Public Service Commissioner representing PSC District #1, which includes Cascade County, Pinocci earns an annual salary of $111,179.  That does not include benefits like state retirement and health insurance.  His wife, Svetlana, works in the elections office.  She gets a good salary and county benefits.  In addition, Pinocci has real estate appraised at a total value of  $1,006,303.  You would think he can afford to pay his water and sewer bills. . . like the rest of us.  But Randy isn’t like the rest of us.

Pinocci seems to want to play politics more than do his job with the PSC.  In the last election, he ran for Lieutenant Governor drawing his big paycheck from you and me the whole time.  Then there is the fact that he was prosecuted for intimidating witnesses in a dispute over one of his rental properties last October.  https://wtf406.com/2023/10/more-republican-police-blotter-pinocci-arrested-again/

A few weeks before that, he was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear.  When he is not being arrested or prosecuted, he is galavanting around the state promoting bizarre conspiracy theories.

Thanks, in part, to an organized effort to get Democrats to “cross over” and vote in the Republican Primary here in Cascade County, voters got rid of some of the far right leaders in their party.  Legislators Steven Galloway and Lola Sheldon-Galloway lost.  County Commissioner Rae Grulkowski also was turned away by the voters (though the rumor mill is predicting she will be hired by Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant).  Both Pinocci and Merchant also lost their bids to be elected as Republican Party precinct people. Maybe there’s some hope for sanity in the local Republican Party.  

Pinocci’s term on the Public Service Commission ends in 2026.  Who knows what he will run for  next.  Whatever it is, we can only hope he is defeated.



Zinke and Rosendale Join The Lost Cause, Voting to Place Confederate Statue at Arlington

Zinke and Rosendale Join The Lost Cause, Voting to Place Confederate Statue at Arlington

This image depicts an African American man joining Confederate troops marching off to war.

Almost immediately after the Civil War, the losers began a propaganda campaign to reframe and rehabilitate white supremacy.  This movement, which is now referred to as the “Lost Cause,” carries on today.  They claim the Civil War was not about slavery. It was a matter of “States Rights” and industrialization in northern states versus a romanticized agrarian South.   Understanding the power of symbols in the public square, advocates of the Lost Cause moved to place monuments to the Confederacy in cities and towns across the country and to name public facilities like schools, parks, streets and highways after leaders of the Confederacy.  All of this to support and promote the institutional racism of Jim Crow and marginalization of African Americans in society.

Most people assume these monuments were placed shortly after the Civil War, but that is not the case.  The monument pictured above was placed in The National Cemetery at Arlington in 1914, almost 50 years after the war ended.  According to the American Historical Association, monuments put in place during this time “were intended, in part, to obscure the terrorism required to overthrow Reconstruction, and to intimidate African Americans politically and isolate them from the mainstream of public life.”  The Confederate monument which was in Women’s Park in Helena was commissioned in 1914 by the Daughters of the Confederacy.  It was replaced in 2017.  

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was another surge in the placement of Confederate monuments across the country in response to the civil rights movement.  For example, after passage of the Civil Rights Act and The Voting Rights Act in the 1960s, 27 monuments dedicated to Confederate soldiers who had fought against “the federal enemy” were installed in Texas.  Of course the Confederate battle flags we see all over Montana (most often next to Trump flags) are part and parcel of the same Lost Cause strategy to defend and protect white supremacy.

In recent years there has been a strong national movement to remove these commemorations to the Confederacy and white supremacy.  The efforts to remove  these symbols and change place names has become a flashpoint for controversy and, in some cases, violence, in many communities.  Since 2017 and the murder of George Floyd, along with the Charleston church shooting and the Unite the Right Rally, 160 monuments across the country have been removed or torn down.

That brings us to Ryan Zinke and Matt Rosendale and their vote to reinstall this monument.  The proposal failed in Congress, but the vote was a slap in the face to the African American community and advocates for equality as they were preparing to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday less than a week away.  Unfortunately dog whistles and race baiting have become the  order of the day among Republican politicians.  And the rhetoric provided by advocates of Lost Cause propagandists that assume the mantle of historical accuracy and patriotic sentiment leaves people confused about the inherent bigotry of their phony facts and rewriting of American history.  Zinke and Rosendale are finely tuned to the negative power of race baiting in the political process.  Even though Rosendale is leaving public office, it should come as no surprise that he would join Ryan Zinke in jumping on this issue in an election year.

In Germany people don’t put up monuments to Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime.  Is it only in America that we celebrate white supremacist losers?

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.

Vote In The Republican Primary?

Vote In The Republican Primary?

It seems like all of the old rules went out the window with the election of Donald Trump in 2016.  With the resources and energy of far-right groups like the Freedom Caucus, Moms for Liberty, American for Prosperity and others, the right flank of the Republican Party has taken over most of state and local government.  

Here in Cascade County there is a long standing feud between far-right Republicans, known as the Freedom Caucus, led by legislators like Steven Galloway and Lola Sheldon-Galloway, and more traditional pro-corporate Republicans like Ed Buttrey and Steve Fitzpatrick. This election almost all legislative seats have contested Republican primaries pitting these two factions against each other.  In addition, there is a hotly contested County Commission primary race between far-right incumbent Rae Grulkowski and local businessman Eric Hinebauch.

At the same time there is only one contested Democratic primary, the race for the Eastern Congressional District. The unfortunate fact is, no matter which Democratic candidate wins the primary, he will have virtually no chance of winning the seat in the general election. In short, there is not much reason to vote in the Democratic Primary here in Cascade County.

That brings us to the talk around town urging Democrats in Cascade County to vote in the Republican primary for the more reasonable of those candidates. Some folks are arguing that    a few votes could make the difference between more nuts and more reasonable people in public office. They may be right, and the fact is that there is really nothing to lose given the lack of contested Democratic primaries here.  Advocates of Democrats voting in the Republican primary, which is perfectly legal, say, “desperate times call for desperate measures|.”  

The following is a list of the contested primaries and who are the more far-right candidates.   

Cascade County Commission
Rea Grulkowski- Far Right
Eric Hinebauch

Senate District 13
Lola Sheldon-Galloway- Far Right
Josh Kassmier

House District 19
Hannah Trebas- Far Right
Darren Auger

House District 20
Steven Galloway- Far Right
Melisssa Nikolakkas

House District 21
Josh Osterman- Far Right
Ed Buttrey

House District 22
James Whitaker- Far Right
George Nikolakkas

House District 23
John Proud- Far Right
Pete Anderson- Far Right
Josh Denully
Eric Tillerman

Pinocci Dodges Two Felonies, Still A Corrupt Asshole

Pinocci Dodges Two Felonies, Still A Corrupt Asshole

We’ve talked about Randy Pinocci a lot on this blog. If you aren’t familiar, suffice it to say he’s Northwestern Energy’s bestest pal, and he really loves raising your utility bills. His greatest hits include napping during public meetings, acting like a slumlord, and most recently committing crimes via text message.

Montana Republicans get arrested a lot. So don’t be embarrassed if you need a refresher on Pinocci’s wrap sheet. Pinnoci initially had a dispute with a tenant, and he received disorderly conduct charges. Pinocci failed to appear in court, ultimately resulting in Pinocci being arrested at Home Depot due to an active warrant.  

In another keen display of believing he’s above the law, Pinocci then tried to compel a witness (who also appears to have been his tenant) to change their statements to police. Pinocci allegedly refused to refund the witnesses deposit, and even stated in writing that “you’re going to have to recant your testimony with the sheriff’s department.” He got two felony counts of witness tampering for that one, but maybe Pinocci’s onto something here. He can seemingly intimidate witnesses in writing, and the county will drop all but the smallest charges. Despite what appears to be literal written evidence of witness tampering, somehow the county was compelled to “take another look” at the case. Pinocci has to pay a mere $200, and he gets a six-month deferred prosecution agreement. As long as he behaves for six months, then the two felony charges will go away. Maybe being a Public Service Commissioner does come with perks? 

Read the full story and see the court documents here: https://dailymontanan.com/2024/04/12/randy-pinocci-pleads-no-contest-to-misdemeanor-felonies-dropped/