This past week the local newspapers have printed the first negative letters regarding John Ormiston’s run for County Commissioner. This last-minute criticism from the Republicans hopefully means that John’s campaign is going too well and the other side is feeling a bit nervous. John is a good man who believes in the Constitution and doing what is right for our county. He has been a life member of the NRA since 1964. He has a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. and Masters in Wildlife Management. He and his wife of 43 years have lived here since 1974.
Both the letter from William Menager on October 22 and the Valley Viewpoint by Suzy Foss on October 25 try to paint a picture of John as a “reckless spender.” Mr. Menager goes as far as to say that the Ravalli County Park Board is bankrupt! He thinks that, since the Board has bought property on Kurtz Lane with a mortgage of $270,000 and only has $200,000 in the bank, that it is bankrupt. If that line of thinking is correct, then all homeowners with a mortgage higher than their bank account balance are bankrupt. Suzy Foss says that the Kurtz Lane purchase created “irresponsible debt.” Those of us who are homeowners certainly don’t consider our homes “irresponsible debt.” They are an investment as is the Kurtz Lane/Stevens Memorial Park property. This purchase came about after years of searching for the best place to build soccer fields and ball diamonds after a detailed study was conducted indicating the need for a sports facility for all residents of the county to use and enjoy. The County Park Board, comprised of volunteers, proposed that the County purchase the property and it was approved by the Commissioners. The park is an investment for the future for families of this Valley to play competitive sports and to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles.
The many retired men and women of this county who volunteer countless hours to worthy projects should find it insulting to be told that we need, according to Ms. Foss, a younger person as Commissioner “versus a bunch of retirees.” Jeff Burrows may be a young man with an engineering degree, but he is also a young man who is the website administrator for a radical survivalist web blog. He was questioned by the County Sheriff regarding the website’s anti-government and anti-law enforcement content. When Ms. Foss says that Jeff Burrows “is on the same page with the rest of our board,” she gives us one more reason to vote for John Ormiston.
The current Commissioners have spent over $300,000 of our taxpayer money on unnecessary lawsuits. The deputy county attorney Mahar’s lawsuit was settled for over $75,000 plus payment of two-years’ worth of benefits. The public meeting notices errors cost us $3,500. The questionable repair work on Woodchuck Road totaled over $40,000, but has now blossomed into yet another lawsuit filed by fired road supervisor Ohnstad and is estimated to cost the county thousands more before it is resolved. The “irresponsible debt” is exactly what the current County Commissioners have caused by making extremely poor judgments on behalf of their constituents. What we don’t need is more of this same leadership. We need to stop wasting taxpayer money on pointless lawsuits and stop paying for unwanted guidance from groups such as the American Stewards of Liberty.
Ms. Foss also uses the phrase that John “is knee deep in every environmental movement in the county.” Is she referring to his 20-years as a member of the County Park Board? Or is she talking about his 38 years as a member of the County Fish and Wildlife Association? He is the founding Chairman and Past President of the Bitterroot Audubon and President and past board member of the Bitter Root Land Trust. I guess I’m not really sure who she is referring to as “the special interest groups who have destroyed our environment and quality of life with their no logging, no grazing, no recreation wilderness driven agendas.” John’s commendable lifetime of community service and education only enhances his qualifications for the job of Commissioner.
I had the distinct honor and pleasure to serve on the Park Board for several years with John Ormiston. I know him to be extremely thorough and well-informed when it comes to making decisions. His main concern in every choice he makes is always, unequivocally for the good of the people of Ravalli County. John Ormiston is the right choice for County Commissioner.