By Dr. Patrice Promack, Hamilton
The definition of misappropriation is “to appropriate for a wrong or dishonest use.” This is exactly what happened recently at the meeting that had been advertised as a “Natural Resource Policy Meeting.” Nowhere in the local newspapers’ description (Community Events sections) was it mentioned that there would be a clear “Vote Republican” message delivered to the attending citizens. This was a highly partisan meeting, including a table placed at the entrance to the meeting room that was advertising an upcoming Republican gathering (were any Democrats invited to host a similar table?). Fred Thomas’ “Vote Republican” speech was completely inappropriate for a setting that had been (mis)represented as a meeting wherein the “Natural Resource committee will take any additional information the public would like to give.”
I waited patiently for the opportunity to give such information. However, the raised hand that indicated my intention to give such additional information was met with the statement that questions and answers would be later – AFTER any opportunity to speak to the entire group had passed. So, in the hope that this additional information may be more publicly known, this letter is to inform the public that there is another opinion which has been, seemingly intentionally, ignored by those who claim to represent the citizens of Ravalli County. If you will read the “Bitterroot Valley Resource Policy,” you will understand that there is another way to frame this discussion – one which is, in fact, far more accurate and appropriate than that which is being waved with such pomp by the County Commissioners. This document can be read at the following internet address: https://sites.google.com/site/bitterrootvalleyresourcepolicy/.
In the interest of fairness, and making an informed decision, it is important that this document be thoughtfully read. In the interest of true democracy, the County Commissioners’ next meeting should honor their statement that the “Natural Resource committee will take any additional information the public would like to give” by including a public discussion of this alternative policy statement, rather than acting as if theirs is the only version of the voice of Ravalli County citizens. Furthermore, a link to this document should be included on the Planning Department page of the county website.