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Response to Dewey

 

Mr. Dewey, I am not sure where you grew up, or what words you use to describe a community, but I can assure you, I know what a community is. You see, I was raised here. I went to school here. I would have graduated here, but due to an unforeseen unsupervised road trip across southern Montana and Idaho, Judge Langton saw fit to move me to Colorado to live with my Aunt and Uncle.

You see, a community is a family. They raise each other, they help each other, they hurt with each other. They share their bounties and give until there is nothing left to give. In the city (where I ended up at 15) they hurt each other, they profit off each other, and they corrupt each other. What a wake up call for a 15 year old.

This community raised me and I was a holy terror. Jane made me wear shoes in winter (even though I was hot because our wood stove was awesome), we left our doors unlocked, Ms. Fisher taught me to read, I got yelled at by countless neighbors, I walked countless miles back and forth to the river, I learned to swim in the kiddie pool, I learned hunter safety. Moms stayed home, and dads went to work, to the farm, or the ranch. Neighbors shared with neighbors, watched each other’s kids, and expected nothing in return. My mother was part of the very first ambulance crew this town had, and my father was on the fire department. When I was five I watched him crawl under a burning trailer to turn off the gas. Community, sir, just does that, with no recognition or award intended. Community, sir, does what is best for the community. Community holds true the age old phrase, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

If that was your well, and your water, for your home… would you pay those fees without question, blindly, because you were told to? Would you find them fair and to your liking? Or would you seek a second opinion? Because what is fair, sir, is that the water meters be removed and returned, and the rates readjusted to an actual flat rate, the way it was for my entire life, because people don’t WASTE water, sir. People use it to water their lawns, put out fires, and grow their gardens. They do laundry, wash dishes, and cook meals. When all of those things are done, they give extras to the neighbors and still can more for later. They trade, and they barter and they scrimp and they save, they are a community, and communities know all too well how to take care of each other when times are hard. They already make sacrifices.

That is why they are small. They don’t need to be told how or when to give.

There is no need for regulation, because the community regulates. They don’t want the rushed, stressed, over-expensive city life, or they would be in Seattle, Billings, or Butte.

If you folks love community so damn much, become a part of it. We did it long before government programs stepped in to use federal funds and tax the already poor with programs already offered down the street at Mrs. Longbottom’s house for free. Not starting another committee to work on the committee to work on the ways to get this stuff paid. That’s retarded government bureaucratic BS talk.

If you find that vicious, sorry for your luck. I find it a little vicious that a 91 year old woman pays 1/4 of her income on water… are you kidding me? That’s fair for all? Really? I mean seriously, who comes up with this BS justification? Damn straight I inquired about an audit. Damn straight I ran my mouth. Are you saying you would stand idly by while your neighbor’s hurt? You sure jumped for the mayor.

How about projected growth? Do you understand what projected growth means? I do, I don’t think the mayor or the town council does. If they did, they wouldn’t be applauding these water rates or how they came to be. Frankly, I don’t think the mayor even understands his own power point slides. In order to understand projection in the first place, you have to have a grasp on sociology, and imaginary numbers. They teach that in College Algebra 121. They also teach it in statistics. It’s based on probables and hypotheticals, and rarely the opposite. No one wants to think in reverse, that’s why we think in probables. In other words, we will charge you now for something that might happen in the future. It’s the same exact game insurance companies play, for your car. You are legally required to carry it, you are paying for a maybe, a might, a what-if. Educate myself, sir?  I have quite the education.

What projected growth means is that, IF the community maintains a healthy level of consumption and production, in ten years we MIGHT have 2% more people. However, we were not given any numbers on projected decline, you know, those things that happen when a community hurts, and members leave? So what the mayor said at Wednesday night’s meeting was that we, as a community, have high water rates because we have adjusted them based on an increase in population that HASN’T happened. In simpler terms, BS. I am also aware that these “plans” if you will, were already in effect, what I don’t understand is why no one has stood up and said “NO” to something so obviously wrong in the first place. Just say NO. A common phrase repeated to me religiously growing up…”If Johnny told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” Take accountability where due, and actually fix it.

Now I have a high respect for people who do the right thing. I have that respect because, as I said, I was a holy terror. I defended the firefighters to the many townspeople I heard bitching about the Creamery usage. You’ll have to excuse them, they pay for it. On the other hand, those firefighters have been a central and essential part of this community for a very long time (more necessary than the reserves I bitched about), and those games are not only practice and fun for the firefighters, but for the kids in this community as well. Was it wasteful? Damn straight it was, even a few firefighters had something to say about that, and I noticed restraint in the games this year. You’ll notice, not a single person in that packed Wednesday night meeting mentioned it.

While I appreciate your valiant jump to the mayor’s rescue, what would be more valiant would be adjusting the water rates back to a flat rate, period. Flat, meaning set, permanent, doesn’t move up or down. It is: a) fair to everyone, and b) falls into the equality category.

Common sense solutions team? Really? Have any of you read a book about common sense? Because the babble at the town meeting contained anything but.

Kim French

Stevensville

 

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