The Missoulian asked each candidate for Missoula City Council five questions. Here are the responses from Mary Seibert, running in Ward 1.
What is your message as a Missoula councilor (or councilor-to-be) to the Montana Public Service Commission about the proposed sale of Mountain Water?
I would ask them to please encourage Carlyle Group to give Missoula the first right of refusal. I would expect them to protect the consumers.
Do you support the non-binding ballot measure that urges federal and state leaders to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban corporate personhood? Why or why not?
Yes, I am in favor of the people always having a voice. We can make a difference.
Do you support the city budget? If yes, why? If no, what would you change? (If you want to lower taxes, what would you remove from the budget?)
I do not have the data to answer this question specifically. However, if I was on council I would budget the money focusing on needs not wants. If I am elected I would want to take a good long hard look and what the city is doing and evaluate the progress of our programs. The next step would be to prioritize. The questions I ask myself to answer this question concerning the budget are: Safety: Do the citizens feel safe and do our police officers and fireman feel they have what they need to do their job? Do we have adequate resources to deal with domestic violence? Do we have shelter for our homeless families? Roads: Has the city adequately removed snow and fixed potholes? The city is encouraging bikers to bike the Madison Street bridge by painting bike lanes. Would it be safer to encourage bikers to use the existing bike trail to get to the university? Was it a true need to spend money on bike lanes that make drivers nervous? ( I lead bike tours and commute to work on my bike. I am in favor of using our monies to create bike routes instead of sharing busy roads with bikers such as Brooks and Higgins.) Animals: Does Missoula have enough animal control officers to keep the peace in Missoula? Parks and Recs: Do the parks and rec. employees feel they have the resources they need to keep our pine trees healthy and weeds under control? Does Greenough Park have the resources it needs to protect the Bull Trout and still allow residents to play in the Rattlesnake River?
The city is taking ownership of the baseball stadium. Did you support the buy? Why or why not?
It would have been my preference to have had the people vote on the purchasing of the stadium. People still have a lot of confusion and emotions regarding the process of buying the stadium. I am still waiting to hear back from the city council on four questions I gave them in writing at a meeting a month ago. One of the questions asked, "Does the city have a contingency plan in place if Mountain Baseball defaults on their loan?" Also I wanted to know, "What pressure is the city putting on Mountain Baseball to fill the stadium and bring people to Missoula?" This question is important. For the next 25 years the city will not receive a cent for the games, concerts, etc. Mountain Baseball will receive all the revenues including parking, concession and advertisement. So filling the stadium and bringing tourist in to Missoula will help the city only if the stadium attracts people. There are concerns about zoning and the use of Urban Renewal Infrastructure monies. The two questions I asked were, "Is the city using Urban Renewal District monies to buy and pay off a pre-existing debt and a pre-existing project?"
The council has been updating the Animal Ordinance. What's the most important piece you want to see changed or preserved?
I want to find a solution to the animal conflicts in Missoula. Updating the Animal Ordinance by infringing on people's rights and being more regulatory and restrictive only makes people angry and promotes disharmony amongst people. The solution is in the budget. Hire more animal control officers so the Animal Ordinance can be enforced and responsible animal owners do not get punished.