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 Co.?
I already wrote them asking that they review the experience of purchaser, and disallow if inexperienced or with poor history of water management. The ability to manage water systems is complicated, and requires the correct expertise and dedication to the quality of the water supply. I studied and wrote a number of the water quality, aquifer protection and non-point source pollution laws when an environmental lobbyist in D.C. We sit on the aquifer we drink from - it being only 50 feet below. We need far more purification as well as updated technologies for tiering pricing structure and eliminating leaks. Any purchaser should exhibit an ability to handle this responsibility wisely.
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. Allowing corporations to be treated as "persons" opened up the door to far increased spending on political campaigns, abusive spending, bordering on major antitrust violations, as well as additional tax loopholes. Corporations need to be reined in again. Their control of the tax system, and ability to create regulatory loopholes to suit their needs borders on being impregnable. Treating them as legal persons created a nightmare that will be difficult to end.
Do you support the city budget?
Generally, yes. Overall, think they are working hard to keep things running smoothly, encourage growth in a centralized manner, trying to keep the flavor of the city intact. But there are different ways I would do things: 1. Put on one more team to connect houses to sewer and work with Mountain Water to stop water leaks; 2. Insist on some type of water purification system for water supply; 3. Have tiered prices for water - if someone grows ag crops (food, fruit trees, herbs) for their own consumption and others amounting to more than half of tillable land they have, then they get a reduced price for water. Use CDBG or CDC grants or working with corporations interested in helping set up a food cannery that the city spins off into business. Use CDBG funds for more green block programs. Work with NorthWestern Energy and others to start a renewable energy system for the city. This would create jobs, help the tax base and help lower taxes overall. Global warming exists, as does oil depletion, both of which are contributing to increased costs of shipping and eventually more expensive food and other basic goods. Cities like Missoula can take steps to protect ourselves. Food canneries, along with more rail lines, alternatively fueled vehicles, and help for bicyclists and gardeners are ways to bring more jobs here and do something about effects of global warming and oil depletion. Finally, I think that neighbors should be encouraged to talk to neighbors first when upset about something. It often appears that neighbors don't speak directly to their neighbor when bothered about something. Often, those calling to complain about something, if they are included on different task forces looking into the overall issue, learn more about the entire problem and feel they have somehow been heard by being included.
The city is taking ownership of the baseball stadium. Did you support the buy? Why or why not?
Yes. It contributes to the overall warmth and vitality of the city. We should just figure out ways to rent it far more often, bringing in more talent (musicians and other productions.)
The council has been updating the Animal Ordinance. What's the most important piece you want to see changed or preserved?
I wish there were more dog off-leash areas, including trails and parks. On the nuisance cat issue, I think the city should be the mediator, encouraging the concerned resident to talk to the owner of the cat they are upset about. I know I would want to know if my cat was causing problems with others!