By Dallas D. Erickson, Stevensville
I count Don and Alexandria Morton as my friends and am grateful for that. If I was to believe the media, and some letters to the editor, they are monsters who want to destroy our valley because of Legacy Ranch. I would suggest that anyone would learn much from a conversation with Alexandria and her experience in her native land of the government controlling everything from religious freedom to property rights. You might find her knowledge and experience a red flag about where this nation is heading. It is an interesting thing that those people who have been critical of the Mortons and critical of those that have the gall to take campaign donations from them, have failed to mention the so-called Friends of the Bitterroot and their support of the extreme liberals who financially supported candidates who wanted to make it so we would have to get a permit to dig a post hole on our land or a permit to have more than five neighbors come to visit us in our home. These are the same people and organizations that made the Bitterroot Valley a bedroom community to Missoula by destroying the production and use of our natural resources here.
My family moved here in the 1950s and this was a whole different community then. We hated to see it change but at the same time we knew the advantages of raising families here and welcomed others who wanted to take advantage of those same blessings of living here. It seems the present atmosphere reflects a greedy “I got mine, you can’t have yours” attitude that is demeaning. If I was to believe most of the letters to the editors about Legacy Ranch and the media reporting of it, I would think it will be doom and gloom if 625 more families move into the area proposed. There are many questions that have not been answered and information that is not being distributed. The letters seem to claim that 300 people at a meeting are a majority and that there are no people at all who support Legacy Ranch and that seems to be the theme of media reports as well. Of course, the tone is that if you are for it you have to be evil too and if you know the Mortons you are really evil.
I have some questions and comments I would like answered.
Is it really evil that 625 families will be living in Legacy Ranch area in the next 30 years (maybe more like 100 years if those who have been elected remain in national office)? Aren’t families good? Doesn’t that mean that more children will be raised in our good valley and more children will go to school here and attend churches here as well as parents who will pay more taxes to support our nation, state and schools? The attitude seems to be, “Eeewwwww. Families?”
How much more in property taxes will be paid when all 625 families arrive in the next three decades? How much federal and state income taxes will be paid from there? Could some of that new money go to fix the roads that many have complained will be ruined by the increase in traffic? Will it go to law enforcement and fire departments? Would they have their own fire hall and firemen from a community like that?
Isn’t it true that the schools receive money from the state on a per child basis? So, the more children, the more money? The more property taxes, the more a community is able to expand the schools?
How many new jobs will be created by building this development from those who make the roads and pave them to those who pump the septic tanks over the years? For 625 homes I would imagine there are a huge number of jobs created and maybe it would allow many people to work in the valley instead of driving the roads to work in Missoula.
Would not that increase in families increase the income to businesses in the valley? What projections are there in that area? It must be considerable.
Speaking of septic systems and the wild claim it is going to destroy the bugs and ducks in the refuge, doesn’t the state have full control over that issue and don’t they have strict guidelines written in law that developers have to follow? Isn’t it true that the real estate lawsuits of the last several years were caused because the commissioners or the Planning Board did not follow the law? If the state regulators say the system proposed will be safe for the Refuge and the people, would it not be a violation on the Planning Board’s part or the part of the commissioners to turn it down on that issue? If they did, wouldn’t the developers win in another lawsuit and our tax money used to pay the damages?
There are many more questions that should be asked and should be reported on. These are just a few. That would give more people an opportunity to make an informed decision rather than just march lock step with the doomsayers.