I don't agree with private travel being used ("Expense-ive error: Would Ryan Zinke make the same mistake twice?," Oct. 5), but that being said, why didn't the liberals cry foul when the Democrats were doing it in excess under Obama time and time again? Examples: Nancy Pelosi spending hundreds of thousands on private air travel instead of commercial, or Michelle Obama and her girls costing the taxpayers tens of millions for their private vacations. I realize Michelle couldn't travel commercial, but her excess in expensive vacations paid for by taxpayers was mind blowing. [This is] more one-sided reporting and outrage.
It's up in the air
The first paragraph gives a major clue as to the motives at work here: Taxpayers footed the bill for Zinke to fly on a private jet co-owned, through a holding company, by Jay Nielson, who is an executive vice-president of the oil and gas exploration firm Nielson & Associates. Follow the money.
Why shouldn't he do that? He is allowed to get away with it and only rise higher in politics. Seems to fit in the current presidential administration well. All of them seem shady.
One of the problems in Montana is that it has more institutions of higher learning than the state's population can support ("UM releases fall enrollment numbers showing another overall drop," Sept. 27). Drawing students from out of state is a solution, but the question is, how does a degree from UM offer an edge in the job market after graduation? What special expertise can one come away with that sets this institution apart from other, more progressive [institutions]? Could be specialization in studies that support natural resources: forestry, wildlife protections, clean water, maintenance of the national parks like Yellowstone and Glacier.
Such a waste
Our U.S. Congress is out to give the oil and gas industry a pass, all on the taxpayer's dime. Earlier this year, the U.S. House attached a pro-waste amendment onto a must-pass bill. Our congressmen are currently attempting to skirt the rules that would require the oil and gas industry to take responsibility for what they owe the American people. The rule they are trying to cheat is called the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention rule.
The Methane and Waste Prevention rule finalized last November required energy companies to capture methane from flaring, venting and gas leaks when they drill on public lands. Right now, the industry wastes an estimated $300 million worth of taxpayer-owned natural gas per year. By limiting waste, the BLM rule boosts revenue for the American people. That revenue is money much needed by our local economies.
The waste prevention rule also protects our health. Methane pollution is a direct health threat. Many of the co-pollutants that leak alongside methane have been shown to cause cancer. We need common sense clean-air rules and common sense resource use.
Tell our Montana representatives that cheating this rule is not in the interest of their constituents. It is only in the interest of the oil and gas industry.
Mayor John Engen is a rare kind of public servant. He has a vision for the future of our city, but he's not opposed to working with others that have different opinions. He strives for consensus when possible, but he's also not afraid to move forward and address the real problems facing our community.
John showed real courage and skill in negotiating the successful purchase of our local water supply, putting our most precious resource back in the hands of our citizens, instead of a private company. Prior to his actions, Missoula was the only city in the entire state that did not own its water.
John showed real leadership in making the investments in our infrastructure. Sure, it's a pain driving downtown right now, but that inconvenience is temporary, and the growth and benefit to the city will be long-term.
John always listens carefully and respectfully to members of the public, and I have never seen him cut a person off who is giving public comment. Even when the comment in question is offensive in nature or just factually wrong, he always lets people speak their mind.
Engen's style of leadership is rare in our current political climate, when liberals and conservatives increasingly see each other as combatants, and the middle ground is constantly shrinking. I don't always agree with him on every policy issue, but Engen is exactly the kind of leader that we need and deserve, and he deserves our vote in November.
These are the reasons Brendan McQuillan needs to be our new Municipal Court Judge:
The incumbent, Kathleen Jenks is keeping people in jail for being poor, addicts, or because of mental health issues. She has created a court that sets up poor people to fail.
Clients have to show up too many times before a case is resolved. This makes it nearly impossible for someone with a job to have a jury trial.
Jenks issues warrants when clients miss a court appearance because they are incarcerated or in treatment. This results in their license being suspended.
She sets a bond on nonviolent and traffic misdemeanor offenses to prevent defendants from being transferred on their felony warrants. This results in us paying for people to be held in Missoula rather than letting them go to prison, an out-of-county jail, or treatment.
Brendan McQuillan is principled, compassionate and ready to serve.