If I were a stranger to Missoula and I read some of the recent letters, I’d think the city government was Tammany Hall West, with John Engen as a Boss Tweed dictator, backed up by the puppet city council he installed.
Expenditures are decided by vote of the entire city council. Those members are not chosen by the mayor, but in fair, free elections. I’ve seen plenty of opinions about unjustified spending, but so far, no substantive evidence that the mayor and council are guilty.
I don’t like high taxes any more than anybody else. But I don’t believe in simplistic solutions to complex problems. If Lisa Triepke can lower taxes without negative impacts, my hat’s off to her. But I haven’t seen any specifics as to how she plans to do this. I’d be a lot more persuaded by nuts-and-bolts analysis about which programs and salaries would be cut, whether that would adversely affect public services, spinoffs like lost jobs and so on.
Missoula is thriving with positive growth and has become one of the most desirable places to live. John Engen has performed the very demanding job of mayor for the past 12 years. Maybe those two things aren’t just coincidence.