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Political mudslinging

 

Many, many months ago I made a promise to some of you, that I would go to Town Council meetings. I have done that, faithfully (as best I could – due to time changes, cancellations, and the like, one or two were missed here and there), and here is what I have seen, heard, or understood.

Robin Holcomb is the only member of the council to vote nay on the proposed and adopted, and then vetoed, weapons ordinance, stating that state law was sufficient. She has repeatedly questioned “conflicts of interest” only to be gently persuaded by the mayor that “it’s OK Robin, it’s not a conflict of interest, you can vote.” Her indecisiveness in these incidents have been more than obvious.

And just to be clear… Robin sold raffle tickets for the Pot of Gold and received approximately $75. As Jim Crews pointed out, the time/dollar amount did not add up. I applaud the members of this community pulling double, triple duty, like Robin. To be involved in the many community organized events and then to be smeared in the paper and on council over a measly $75 is atrocious. The monies raised were used to support both Main Street and the Civic Club. The Civic Club used their funds to send children to the Boys and Girls State clubs through the American Legion, to purchase a play structure at the park, to support Founders Day, to pay for Christmas lights, and for general community support, to name a few. Joan (head of Main Street) paid $1 to every person who sold tickets. Robin was not the only person who sold tickets.

It is my understanding that the Pot of Gold tickets are to raise funds for Civic Club as well as Main Street Association. However, it is also my understanding that it has been completely taken over by Main Street and Civic Club received no monies from the Pot of Gold this year. Robin did not accept all the monies offered and the monies she did take she donated to a person in need (not that that is anyone’s business, but it sure speaks for character, just throwing that out there). Thank you to all who purchased tickets, I truly hope that this disgusting display of mudslinging doesn’t impede on the future of our wonderful community and the support they offer from the depths of their hearts as well as their pocket books from

continuing to support our (your) community. Hopefully this experience will not dissuade Robin to sell tickets again next year.

On the other hand we have the mayor, who during the budget meetings, was quick to propose an honorarium, which is a new fancy word for stipend. An honorarium, as it turns out, is a monetary gift for voluntary service. (i.e. you get paid for volunteering – I asked, so we could be clear). These budget meetings were not recorded, nor did The Bitterroot Star report on them. (I recorded them, though). The mayor’s budget included honorariums for almost all of the office staff, Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and himself. (Let it be known, that the Fire Chief and the Assistant Fire Chief deserve the honorariums that they have been given or will be given in the future.) While everyone else’s honorariums fell between $125 and $150 per month, the mayor thought he should top out at $1200/month honorarium for ‘consulting’. Many questions later, the budget still includes honorariums for all the above persons, and ‘a consultant’, names have been changed to protect those that do not want to be busted (or omitted entirely).

I would also add that the mayor pointed out during these budget meetings that while attending mayor school he learned that to “be a mayor” meant to run and operate a utility (water) company. Last I checked, the mayor was not operating a water company, he was to be the glue that held the town together, making it a fair and equal place for all to thrive equally. Unbiased and without prejudice.

And Mr. Klaphake (councilman) who has big dreams to be a politician. He proposes to remove earmarks, saying that the general funds should be available to council to spend as council so chooses, never mind what towns persons want or have saved for. Government will decide, he and his councilpersons will decide. Interesting, especially since, as Paul something (running for a council seat) pointed out at the debates Wednesday night (Sept 18), the town of Stevensville has the most unique volunteer opportunities he has ever seen. There is a volunteer organization to raise money for almost anything you can think of in this town without the need for town government to step in or chip in. That should save our community a ton of money each year, not relying on our local government, being independent of, government. Good job, Stevi! But that is not what our present council has in mind. Present council would like the council to make all of Stevensville’s decisions from here on out regardless of community input.

During the town debate at the Senior Center, the Mayor chose to focus on an issue that happened while Mr. Floyd was on council many years ago. Lew was Mayor at the time. Medium to small story short, Clayton and two others made an error in judgment, learned from their mistakes, and apologized for said error, at least Mr. Floyd did. It takes a very special person to admit when they have made a mistake, it takes another special person to forgive that mistake. Those of you who wish to run the rumor mill can take it up with those involved. It would be preferred if ya’ll left the water under the bridge and let bygones be bygones.

Frankly, I am sick of hearing the Mayor bash our previous mayors and councilpersons, taking zero credit for his own decisions or lack of clout. This town has thrived for over 150 years, there have been many a mayor and council person as well as community members to attribute that to. Despite any mistakes those before us made, we still are proud of this town and those persons who chose to do the hard job, sit on council. So you are either proud of your achievements and you will take credit for them, or you are going to blame everyone else.

I would like to thank the mayor for flinging mud and pointing fingers and remind him that those who live in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones.

Kim French

Stevensville

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