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Letters to the Editor: Troy Downing, closing the co-op, Helena's historic mayor, and CoreCivi's power play

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Down on Downing

He’s endearing himself so much going after an organization that has respect in Montana for keeping our forests in the best condition that they can (“Only Troy Downing knows how far the rabbit hole goes,” Nov. 16). They’re not a political organization, despite how much this guy wants to make them one. So yeah, keep peddling your BS, mister. Voters are watching.

Jake Sorich

Co-op autopsy

There were people involved that wanted to better the place (“After a decade at the Burns St. Center, the Missoula Community Food Co-op is closing shop,” Nov. 16). I was a member and tried too hard to flip around the thinking with the Double SNAP dollars. You can’t force someone to buy an avocado if they don’t know what one is (true story, also have one about yellow zucchini) or a watermelon with seeds even if it is grown locally. Accept that a person who eats Hamburger Helper is going to continue eating it, but maybe let’s add in some veggies! Or eat a better frozen pizza. But alas, you can’t change a board that’s so set in their ways they won’t listen to new ideas.

Aimee Miklovic

Co-op recipe

It was a heavy case of founders’ syndrome. The SNAP access is awesome, but a little too late. Three grocery chains here now hand out a free produce item to every child when they walk through the door, because our food co-op started doing it. They also pay regular employees with benefits. Our local community gardens (who pay directors) donate a bag of produce to each preschool child every Thursday with a featured recipe. That’s how you get everyone to eat produce and start thinking about what they put in their bodies without liberal snobbery and idealism.

Angelita Martinez

More on the mayor

The recent mayoral election in Helena has made history. I’ve seen and read about it on national news, yet our local sources seem to have not covered it at all. I feel sad, angry and ashamed that the Indy has not done its part in covering such important and historic Montana news.

Jessica Catron


Election Day. As I woke this morning I ruminated on the last 10 months and my campaign. I’ve faced many challenges in my life, some by choice, some not. The decision to run for Missoula City Council was easy for me. The actual process was not as easy. It has been a steep learning curve not unlike pursuing a degree, being self-employed or raising a child on my own. But as I have learned over the years, most things that are worthwhile are not easy. Although I did not receive the most votes, I value every one of the 1,129 votes I did receive.

One of my main motivations for this Herculean effort was to demonstrate to my 9-year-old daughter how we as individuals can make a positive impact in our world. Three weeks ago, out of the blue, she looked up at me and said that she was proud of me for running for Council. It was that moment that I realized that I had achieved my main goal. I had won.

One of the many daunting challenges was getting out and knocking on my neighbors’ doors. I met many, many lovely people. People with diverse points of view who shared them with me. Smart people with good ideas on how we can improve our neighborhood, our city, our world. People who are already doing the good work that makes Missoula unique. The result of doing this has helped me increase my sense of community. I feel stronger and less isolated. I have won.

By exposing myself and my life to public scrutiny I have been able to shed many fears and apprehensions. I have grown as a person. I have been able to examine myself and my relationships not only with people but with the world around me. I have won.

I have discovered new friends, rediscovered old friends and developed new relationships beyond partisan boundaries. My campaign could not have come this far without the guidance, support and wisdom of many folks. I am humbled and truly grateful for those who believe in me. When we work together, amazing things can be realized. I have won.

Chris Badgley

candidate, Ward 4

No thanks, CoreCivic

A corporation that runs a private prison in the state of Montana recently offered the state $30 million to “help out” with the state’s budget shortfall. However, when we look at this “deal,” the proverb, “If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is,” applies here.

A budget crisis is not the time to be pushing an unrelated, sweetheart deal with CoreCivic, which operates private prisons across the country. That’s bad enough. Simply put, private prisons are a bad investment. In their quest for profits, they pay guards poorly, offer subpar healthcare to prisoners and provide little in the way of retraining and education to prevent inmates from offending again. Private prisons have a profit incentive to keep prisoners as long as possible, which is probably why they have higher rates of violence than public facilities. Private prisons aren’t just morally wrong, they also provide worse results at a higher cost.

In recognition of this, the state of Montana wants to buy out CoreCivic’s 600-bed private prison in Shelby and has been paying money into an escrow account in order to do just that. The $30 million balance of that account is sufficient to complete the sale when the current contract with CoreCivic expires in 2019.

That is the $30 million that CoreCivic is “willing to contribute” to the state. That $30 million is our money. Their price for giving us our money back? We would have to renew their contract on terms favorable to them.

This is more than a no, it’s a heck no.

Rep. Tom Woods

candidate for U.S. Congress


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