Fanning the flames
Irresponsible and uninformed reporting (“What Roaring Lion revealed about climate change and wildfire,” July 27). The statement, “but legal challenges prevented logging,” is false. The reporter either wanted to add some conflict to the story to add drama or swallowed some disinformation that is easily disprovable with some due diligence. The Forest supervisor has denied that the litigation caused delay of logging on several occasions. Even a correction [see below] at this point will not have the legs that this fake news will have. There is plenty drama built into this story without needing to feed the fire of controversy over timber sale litigation.
Late to the party
It would’ve been nice to see a little more balanced perspective in the cover story about the Roaring Lion fire. Plenty of scientists who are actually studying/researching wildfires would have taken exception to lots of what [Mark] Finney said. But the article requires a correction for stating: “The day the Roaring Lion fire started, the weather was exceptionally hot, with strong winds blowing down the canyon. The forest was dry. The Forest Service had proposed thinning the area, but legal challenges prevented logging, so the forest was dense with fuel.”
This false statement [see below] was reported a bunch last summer as well, and all the media outlets, like Montana Public Radio, were forced to run a correction.
The USFS said logging wasn’t set to begin until winter 2016 (after the July 2016 fire) and that it would take 5 to 10 years to complete.
The thought of Bullock aspiring to the White House is comical at best and at the least, absurd (“What stands between Steve Bullock and the presidency?”). He hasn’t expressed an original thought since he’s been in public life.
Centrist will not hold
No one running as a self-proclaimed centrist has a snowball’s chance in hell.
John Kevin Hunt
When it’s all said and done and 2020 is over (and if a Dem is elected), all Bullock can really hope for is a cabinet-level position. To think otherwise is silly.
It’s the Little things
Good article, but a few errors (“Remembering Frank Little 100 years after his murder,” July 27): “While the organization lived on, it never again reached its pre-war prominence.” The highest membership numbers of the IWW were in 1923, after the war and Palmer Raids. “Montana’s chapter limped along until last year, when a new generation of labor activists reorganized in the wake of the presidential election and resurgent white nationalism in the Flathead.” The current Missoula GMB was chartered in February 2016, before the election and the fizzled Nazi march on Whitefish. We were not organized in response to either. “Botkin says that, based on her research, Little’s ideology lined up best with libertarian socialism, an anti-authoritarian strain of Marxism.” Much of libertarian socialism developed separately from Marxism, and not as a tendency within it.
GMB branch delegate
On July 12, the Missoulian reported that four captains in the Missoula County Sheriff’s office were paid almost $180K in overtime during 2015-2017, twice as much as the office had budgeted. The office’s excuse for the overspending is: It was necessary to pay non-union captains extra, because they didn’t receive a pay raise at the same time as their unionized lieutenants and officers. So, the sheriff took this as an excuse to provide de-facto raises to just four employees to maintain a vague notion of wage “fairness” for already highly paid employees, bypassing any public process to do so. This action shows disregard for the public process, other employees in the law enforcement community and the taxpayer.
The Montana Public Employee Retirement System provides retirement benefits for most public employees in Montana, including law enforcement. Retirement benefits are calculated based on the number of years of service (law enforcement officials can retire with 50 percent benefits after 20 years, vs. 30 years for most public employees) and how much they were paid during their highest-earning three years as an employee. None of the reporting on this issue has touched on how much money the public (and other members of the retirement system) will have to pay over the next 20-30 years to cover increased retirement costs for these four captains.
Although I recognize the important role that sherriff’s captains play in attending to deaths, training officers and overseeing evidence, I believe this spending is irresponsible. If the office is understaffed, hire more officers! Train a lieutenant in coroner’s duties! I’m not sure what the labor issues are here, but it is unfair to other law enforcement officers, and the public, to spend this sum of money outside of the publicly adopted budget.