Garcia should listen to fellow House Republicans and resign immediately
Missoulian editorial

Garcia should listen to fellow House Republicans and resign immediately

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A big pile of chokecherries obvious to everyone but Billings state legislator Rodney Garcia for his insistence, despite all evidence to the contrary, that it’s lawful to shoot or jail socialists. He even went so far as to claim that the Constitution allows such despotic violence, but was unable to actually cite any such passage. Adamantly ignorant, intolerant and unapologetic, Garcia is now hiding behind religion, saying he will resign his office only “if God asked” him to.

Supportive huckleberries to Montana House majority leaders who formally asked Garcia to resign in a letter distributed to the public this week. Although Garcia has a lengthy and deeply concerning history of wildly inappropriate decisions, his fellow Republican representatives were right to note that his latest comments and his refusal to disavow them crossed a new line. Rather than wait for a divine order, Garcia should immediately heed the thoughtful counsel of these mortal Montanans.

A pre-approved serving of chokecherries to the University of Montana Foundation for requesting that a professor provide information about a speech ahead of a planned event. Whether due to miscommunication or a lack of understanding, the request was a clear violation of the university’s academic freedom policies and the professor was right to bring it to the attention of university leadership.

An unequivocal helping of huckleberries to the UM President’s Office for its strong defense of academic freedom in response to the foundation’s unreasonable request. The head of the faculty union noted that the President’s Office, once it was made aware of the complaint, “swiftly confirmed its dedication to academic freedom and indicated it would take steps to correct the situation.” And indeed, a statement from the President’ Office reiterated the institution’s support for academic freedom, explaining that it does not “review, edit, approve or otherwise vet faculty speeches or other academic products for any reason.”

A piggy bank stuffed with huckleberries to Missoula County’s continued wage growth. The latest data from the Montana Department of Revenue, reported by the Missoula Economic Partnership, shows that the average hourly wage has finally exceeded $20 in Missoula County. Increased wages are critical as housing prices continue to soar, reaching a record high of $315,000 for a median home in Missoula in 2019, according to the latest numbers from the Missoula Organization of Realtors.

Uncounted chokecherries to employers in the construction industry who commit payroll fraud by paying under the table or misclassifying workers as “independent contractors." Not only does this short laborers their rightful wages, it deprives them of access to unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. It also may lead to trouble for shoddy work done by unlicensed or unqualified workers. Fortunately, the state Task Force on Wage Integrity and Misclassification in the Construction Industry has put together a number of recommendations aimed at better education and enforcement.

A balanced scale of huckleberries to the nine Missoula City Council members who voted this week in favor of raising impact fees by 10%. The fees paid by developers help defray the taxpayer cost of providing public services for new residential or commercial projects, and haven’t been increased since they were first implemented in Missoula 15 years ago. The modest raise approved by City Council will go through another round of public comment at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 24 before a final vote.

This editorial represents the views of the Missoulian Editorial Board: Publisher Jim Strauss, Editor Gwen Florio and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen. 

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