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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Opinion & Editorial

Guest Comment

Flat Iron – there’s strangers in town!

by Dan Leonardi, Hamilton

Enter – Shiloh Development

“If only we could own about five miles worth of them hills and that big green open flat out east a town, we’d show these local immigrants what’s good fer ‘em.”

Enter – Mayor and City Council

“But what should we do? They are big developers and they have money!”

Enter – Local Cadillac dealer

“Don’t worry boys, I can handle this deal!”

If this sounds western, you get the picture. The story that follows is a disgrace. There are several things you need to know.

Annexing the FlatIron development is about self-serving interest, two miles from town, designed to make a lot of money for Harold and Brad Mildenberger, Ken Madden (Shiloh Development), Jim Schueler and Associates. 495 acres, most of which will not pass perk test for a septic permit, due to ground water two or three feet from the surface. Thus the need for a sewer main from the City to make this deal fly, hereafter referred to as the “Pipe Dream.” This deal will cause liability and higher taxes for the City and the County.

The Pipe Dream will enable Brad and Harold to develop other land that they own, or acquire, on both sides of Tammany Road and across south and east to the country golf course on Golf Course Road. Urban sprawl and the exploitation of the countryside! 625 houses and 36 hotels, restaurants and commercial buildings!

You should know that $30,000 was given to the City by the Pipe Dreamers to study this idea. A city planner was hired, Dennis Stranger, and he is working hard to produce the desired results. Thousands more have been spent by the Shiloh Development team, hiring WGM Group to convince the City that they are going to get a deal. They have also spent considerable time telling the council that they have an obligation to provide this kind of deal for the citizens.

These Pipe Dreamers have laid intricate plans, none of which you have been included in, except they plan to spend your money to make this deal work! Sound familiar?

You should know that Shiloh Development had to declare Chapter 11 Bankruptcy at its “Glacier Ranch” development near Kalispell. Vice president Scott Farnam of Shiloh Development, is quoted saying, “It’s a reorganization, a recapitalization opportunity.” This sounds like a deal the City should get in on. Look up New West News on the web: First Interstate Bank of Kalispell is owed $6.2 million by Ken Madden’s Shiloh, not including $1.7 million plus to contractors.

All of this and certain council men and the new mayor are still playing footsy with the Pipe Dreamers and Ken Madden, hoping to get a date. They believe this deal will make some real money for the City! Instead of money they will likely get an investigation. Someone asked why are the citizens having to defend themselves against public servants?

Come to the next annexatiosn meeting at City Hall and get the whole story. The last meeting was cancelled because of a typo error. Do you smell a country kitty?

Let’s see now , was that an “S” or an “N” in the word annex?

Letters to the Editor

Repeal Federal Reserve Act

Dear Editor,

Like it or not – believe it or not – the financial ‘house of cards’ that is now collapsing was built by our very own public servants, locally and nationally, by their love of money.

Take our court /legislative system for an example: Tons of money is created by Local, City, County and State Legislators with the manufacturing of more Laws. Once a Law is broken, a penalty/fine is paid, usually to some Department of Revenue via some court. When local governments realize that they can profit off of violations of laws, they produce more laws. It may also be why it’s called the ‘criminal’ justice system when a violation of law is disputed by a defendant. Guilty people pay. Innocent people don’t, except for the cost of a real attorney as opposed to being provided a public pretender. This is not being said to create a joke. And - it would be funny, if it weren’t so true. Moving on…

Please remember that each year Assessors go out and appraise property value. They determine that your property increased in value and, voila! The city, county or state makes money/revenue due to the increase in property tax. You pay the bill while being told that you can take out a home equity loan on the increased value of your property and viola!! You take the money and begin paying off debt or you begin a new home project. No matter what, you are now deeper in debt and your house is still owned by the bank and their buddies.  

 Now bring in a ‘down turn’ in the economy (created by the very banks and other clubs used to beat you out of their, excuse me, your house.) and, voila! again! You’re homeless or about to be - but the bank got a nice house, due to foreclosing, with new tile, carpet and a underground sprinkler system, deck, patio, lawn, flowers and, lest we forget, a new doggie door!

I can hear them now: “Cha Ching! Thank you for playing!” You rolled the dice and lost.

But when they roll the dice- we pay for it!!! Can you say ‘Bail-out’? 

Don’t blame a political party for this. The Federal Reserve is a private- for profit corporation and the Federal government cannot tell any corporation what to do. Least of all the ‘Fed’. So, quit blaming one party or another for the problem when the problem is with the most corrupt organization on the face of the earth - the Federal Reserve Bank/System.

The love of money is the root of all evil and international bankers love money the most. The banking cartel has been a bastion of liars and deceivers from the beginning. We have been led to believe that the ‘Fed’ (the Federal Reserve Bank) is part of the Federal Government, when it’s not. This is Lie #1.

The lie is extended by the Fed’s use of Presidential pictures on its paper or base metal (worthless) coins. This is Lie/deception #2. (There are many, many more.) 

Truth #1: If the ‘Fed’ were part of the Federal Government and not a private-for profit corporation as mentioned above, all bank phone numbers would be found in the Blue /Government section of most phonebooks. 

Truth #2: If the Federal Reserve (Fed) was part of the Federal Government you can bet your sweet life it would not be allowed to have “In God We Trust” anywhere on the paper or ‘coin.’ No, if our currency was part of the Federal Government some ACL screw U attorney would have a litter of kittens looking no different than a puppy trying to poop a peach seed as he filed a mess of lawsuits. 

All in all, our problems come from the love of money, even if that money has become ‘funny money.’ The problem is that it’s no longer funny.

It’s got to the point where we, the people, are afraid to turn around for fear of getting reamed no matter what direction we turn.

I’ve personally grown tired of moving, so… I think they should move. We, the people, need to foreclose on them – the banks – and remove all public servants that stand in our way. Everyone needs to suffer the consequences of their own actions. But not those who were deceived and continually lied to. We are victims of a continual ‘confidence scam.’ And how can we have confidence in a currency that is backed by nothing, no gold or silver, nothing… nothing but the ‘confidence’ we have in it. I’m not a fool and I’m tired of them trying to make me their ‘punk.’

Repeal the Federal Reserve Act and charge everyone that stands in our way with sedition or treason. Why?  I close with this:

Sir Josiah Stamp, President of the Bank of England: “Banking was conceived in iniquity, and born in sin. Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear. And, they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be the slaves of the bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money, and control credit.”

You tired of being 'punked'? Repeal the Federal Reserve Act.

Justin Plumlee

What about this bailout?

Dear Editor,

I know I'm not smart enough to understand all the intricacies or the far-reaching effects of the current financial crisis. But I do know that I'm smart enough not to endanger the financial security of myself, my family, my children and my grandchildren by giving a blank check, with no recourse or oversight, to a political appointee who says "Hey, just trust me on this, OK?" Especially when these are the same folks we've "trusted" for the past several years and they got us into this mess - getting filthy rich while getting us into this and, under their plan, they'd get rich again getting us out of it!  And we'd have absolutely NO say in the process.

It's time to inject some sanity into the process. The reservations expressed and the amendments proposed by Chris Dodd  of Conn., Barney Frank of Mass., and Richard Shelby of Alabama and others are nonpartisan, reasonable and sane. They refocus our attention of what's fair and right for the people of America and the country as a whole. Treasury Sec. Paulson and his collaborators who want a "quick, clean" fix are playing on our fears, brought about by our lack of understanding of these complex issues. They're trying to pressure us into agreeing to a deal that ultimately cuts our financial throats and leaves us at their mercy every step along the way.

This is not a time to run scared and rush into OK-ing a plan without thinking it through. Especially a plan with no benefit to, or recourse and oversight by, the people putting their wallets on the line.

Mark Van Loon

Modern day blackguards

Dear Editor,

Bailout, rescue, loan, let’s call it what it is: piracy. Granted, there are some notable differences between what we would call piracy today and what we would call it yesteryear. One could actually have respect for Blackbeard and his band of brigands. After all, taking down an armed cargo ship, or doing battle with a ship of the line on the high seas, does entail a risk not willingly assumed by most people. Legend has it that Blackbeard was a robust, flamboyant, profane sort of fellow who didn't hesitate to curse God, the Devil, or the Crown, whatever was most appropriate at the moment. And, of course, the telling differences, he wasn't working in collusion with the Crown, and when finally caught, he went to his hanging from the yardarm cursing them all to hell; living on in the movies and nightmares of the genteel crowd.

Today's pirates are of a different sort, certainly not worthy of any hidden admiration in the minds of men and boys. This group of thieves graduated from top business schools, likes to gush on about free market efficiency while paying off regulators to look the other way while they grab the modem day equivalent of booty – tax breaks, and corporate welfare for moving plants overseas; throw in a little accounting that any first year student knows won't balance, coupled with securities fraud, and well, hell, the bonuses just add up. The trouble is, its banal evil, nothing lusty or vigorous about it, thank God for Viagra. There's still the counting room, of course. It's nothing so crass as in the old days down on the mess deck, swilling rum, and sharing out the gold and silver. Today, its more like the recent CEO of WaMu who came on the job three weeks before declaring bankruptcy and then left with $18 million in severance pay. It's a lot more refined, but hide it how you will, its still divvying up the booty. No, there's nothing romantic about it, but when you plunder the wealth of a nation, the penalty ought to be the same: Hanging.

Scott Butler

Think before you bleat

Dear Editor,

The mad rush to destroy planning in the valley reminds me of sheep running blindly to market. Someone bleated, "Wolf!" and the panic began. Clever people know not to get in front of a stampede. Instead they pump up people like Dallas Erickson to lead the flock to slaughter.  

Do you think the people planning to make millions developing this valley have our best interests at heart? Do you think they're not heavily involved in manipulating our fears about planning? Do you think that politicians who hate government have any interest in making government work for us?

Commissioner Chilcott carries water for attorneys of out of state land speculators who are suing the county for their "right" to make fortunes at our expense. Fred Thomas gives him advice. Some of you may remember Fred as our state senator – he led the charge to deregulate energy in Montana – really looked out for us on that one, didn't he? Do you think Fred and those mega-developers are helping Chilcott devise a plan that will help you when you need to sell a portion of your land for medical bills? If so, you're dangerously close to the cliff.

J.R. Iman, another candidate for county commissioner, pretends to be a rancher but is really a real estate developer. He's sold off his father's legacy. Now he wants to sell yours. If he's elected, will he have incentive to pass regulations enabling you to develop your own land without his and his colleagues' paid "assistance"? If you think so you're having the wool pulled over your eyes. Be a Montanan, not a sheep. Think before you bleat (and vote).

Dina Throwell

Support for repeal of growth policy

Dear Editor,

1. A few commissioners are hell bent on zoning and streamside setbacks.

2. A few commissioners are not listening to the people.

3. They say we voted on zoning. I do not remember voting on this policy. I remember something about looking at zoning.

4. A few commissioners will give us the right to vote after zoning is in place.

5. Draft C Zoning Regulations is still too many pages and they can change it the way they want without our consent.

6. We need less control over our properties and us, not more.

7. A few commissioners think they know better what to do with our property and then charge fees for doing it.

8. The planning department has signs supporting zoning. Shouldn't they be bi-partisan?

9. Greg Chilcott is the only one who wanted to give us the right to vote on zoning before it is in place.

10. I say in order to get their attention and stop this mess – repeal the Growth Policy and let’s start from scratch.

Glenda Edgeworth

Somebody moved my party

Dear Editor,

Like many Republicans, I took great comfort under the “small government, fiscally conservative” tent erected by Ronald Reagan. To be sure, the tent flaps were disturbed from time to time, but in large measure it was a cozy environment that gave us shelter as we confronted many challenges—the Cold War, economic prosperity and respect for individual liberty being but a few of the more notable among them.  Equally as important, the tent was filled with a diverse group of citizens committed to free-market based economic progress, maintenance of a strong and surgically capable military judiciously used to foster U.S. national security interests around the world, and morally committed to making our increasingly connected world a better, safer place to live.

Though the complexities of our world defy my limited ability to precisely pinpoint the time, it is nonetheless true that though my vantage point is generally where it was back in those heady days, somebody has both moved and shrunk Ronald Reagan’s tent.  They moved it to a point that has fostered a free-spending federal government fully sixty percent larger than it was eight years ago, a free market economy that morphed into endorsement of unfettered greed by the few and an exploding fiscal disaster greater than any in my lifetime for most everyone else. Moreover, we also pursued a national security policy that was either prompted by misinterpreted intelligence at best, or a contrived manipulation of the American people and our defense policy apparatus at its worst—resulting in a robbery of our national treasury, the sacrifice of far too many lives and limbs of our bravest citizens and a significant diminution of our nation’s hard earned position as a beacon for goodness and righteousness throughout the world.

Add to all of this the steady erosion of our rights as American citizens and the sad notion that we can somehow remain a global beacon of fairness and individual liberty while officially sanctioning and committing torture of others—vile enemies or not.   

Sad and inexcusable as all of that is, nothing more jeopardizes our nation’s future than the fact that our political discourse has sunk to a new, uncompromising low. Name calling, blatant racism, and an internet facilitated phenomenon where truth and integrity are not regarded as essential components of the decision to click the “send” button are but a few examples. You see exemples of this nonsense in local papers on an almost daily basis; letters written by obviously articulate persons frequently focus on hate and personal attacks rather than any meaningful treatment of the issues that confront us.  

This atmosphere of ugliness translates elsewhere as well. While attending this year’s Grizzly homecoming, a Flathead Valley area businessman grabbed and pulled at the campaign button I was wearing saying he was going to “tear it off” and acting as if he were going to do so. He did not, but as evidenced by the anger he expressed to my wife and me, it was only just barely. Surely, he had seen the tent move and shrink, too—only he elected to move with it and demand that others follow suit. For him, unflinching party loyalty trumps the very ideals on which this nation was founded.  

And outside the bounds of any legitimate political tent, a few months ago another successful area businessman shouted at me that he would never “vote for a f-----g n----r”.  For different reasons, I feel sorry for both of these people, but I am sustained by the belief that we are blessed in both parties by many citizens of greater intellect, clarity and honor.  Let us hope that they prevail, for if not, our republic is in great peril.  

Irrespective of the results of our upcoming election, we must not lose sight of the fact that voting, and doing so absent attempts by others to intimidate or coerce, is a sacred trust that many in this nation’s history have sacrificed to attain. I will not give it up, and neither should you!

Our next President will face daunting challenges—among them are Social Security and Medicare funding, illegal immigration, energy policy, education, economic vitality, global warming, and restoration of our position of enlightened global leadership—all areas that share in common the fact that we have allowed them to unrecognizably deteriorate over the past eight years. Happily, with the exception of certain aspects of energy policy and global warming, their resolution will not require new science, or even unexplored policy principles. Rather, to succeed, we will need a President with the leadership ability and vitality to bring the American people, the Congress included, together toward a common purpose based on those principles that have served us so well in the past. Our President will need to put his arms around all of us, irrespective of race, creed, color, income group, and lead us to a “fair and balanced” compromise.

I would close with a “by name” endorsement of my candidate for President as representing the best hope in my lifetime for returning us to some shared sense of pursuit of the common good. However, based on the above, you already know my choice. Why is that?

Don Loranger

Support for DeHaan

Dear Editor,

Our County Commissioners make important decisions across a wide range of issues; the five of them make choices for all of us as our elected representatives. They must be able to hear the various viewpoints, to weigh the facts and then to choose intelligently from the possible alternatives.  They must make decisions in the best interest of all of us and of the future of our county.

For this reason, your vote for Roger DeHaan is crucial. Roger will bring to the Commissioners'  table his calm attention and his analytical mind. His background as a water resource/disposal engineer and his commitment to our County over nearly thirty years will both be useful. However, most importantly, we voters will be able to trust that Roger's decisions will be made intelligently after attentively listening, seeking out and examining the facts and then weighing the choices.  

No matter where we live in Ravalli County, we can vote for two Commissioners in November.  I urge you to cast one of your votes for Roger.

Mimi Sauer

Support for DeHaan

Dear Editor,

With only a few weeks to go until election, I want to share with the citizens of Ravalli County why I believe it is important to vote for Roger DeHaan for County Commissioner. Roger has been a vital asset to our valley through his volunteer involvement in county affairs. The County Board of Health has had the benefit of his volunteer time, for 10 years. His work experience as both a sanitary and civil engineer has enabled him to help us with his extensive knowledge in water supply and sewage treatment. Because of his second engineering degree in civil engineering, he has much knowledge in the public works sector of roads and bridges.

He is a strong believer in public service and has the skills, temperament and commitment to be an asset filling the shoes of County Commissioner. When you speak to Roger you will notice that he actually listens and ponders what you have said, before he speaks.  

He supports the current planning and zoning efforts and believes growth can be valuable for local jobs and the economy, and with his guiding management, taxpayers would not pay for unintended consequences from development.  

Roger has been volunteering for our county since his arrival almost 30 years ago. At that time, I headed up a project mapping land splits in Ravalli County that occurred by parcels going through the subdivision process and land splits that happened only through certificate of surveys. I and volunteers filled in the maps in the clerk and recorder’s office, ‘painting a picture’ of what was happening. Roger jumped right in to help because he cared about this beautiful valley and the hap hazard development that was happening and was interested enough to give of his time.

Voting for Roger DeHaan will only help the Bitterroot Community!

Suzanna McDougal

Garden Club accomplishments

Dear Editor,

I bet readers would love to read about something positive for a change!

Recently the Hamilton Garden Club celebrated their 70th birthday of continuous service to their community. The celebration was on the beautiful grounds surrounding the 22 pillars of the restored Victorian Arbor of the Daly Mansion. Like their sister clubs, Victor and Stevensville, they are dedicated to bring beauty and accomplishment to their communities. Main Streets are planted with flowers and holiday decorations, trees have been planted, children have been involved in their projects. The Victorian Arbor was replaced through the historical project of the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. with financial support from all over the state and many fund raisers by the Hamilton Club.

Victor Garden Club organized 62 years ago and purchased parcels of land used as the local dump with old cars, garbage, parts of buildings to be moved and started the Victor Park which is the beauty spot of Victor. Only through plant sales, annual quilt raffles, breakfasts, donations, and hard work can this park continue with the costs of maintenance and liability insurance. Victor Farmers Bank, donations, veterans groups, grants, and memorials made it possible for the Club to place a Blue Star Memorial and setting in the Park. Recently a National Recognition was received for the Blue Star Memorial's landscaping. The Club's next achievement will be the completion of a Memorial Concession building with handicapped restrooms, and storage. All of the clubs are non-profit 501-c-3 organizations.

Stevensville Garden Club is 69 years old and also brought to the Veterans Park the Blue Star Memorial with a mall-like setting, lots of planters, white blooming trees, and red burning bushes embracing the American Legion Honor Wall. The Community Christmas tree was a gift of the Club about 21 years ago.

If any of you are looking for gardening tips, floral design skills, and camaraderie with clubs who have "histories" of success, contact a garden club member.
Jean Thomas

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