Letters published Aug. 11, 2017

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Whitefish mayor rejects notion that city violated public’s rights

In a letter published in the Daily Inter Lake, Duncan Scott accused the Whitefish City Council of violating the public’s constitutional rights. While I seldom weigh in on letters to the editor, the seriousness and significance of Mr. Scott’s accusation merits a response.

At a meeting held May 10, 2017, two members of the Flathead County Planning Board made unprofessional and unflattering comments about the city of Whitefish. In response, on June 6, 2017, the City Council sent a letter to the Flathead County commissioners requesting that they censure the comments and either remove the Planning Board members or require them to recuse themselves in the future from decisions that impact the city.

Montana’s open-meeting laws require that the public be given notice when the City Council holds a meeting in which it considers an issue of significant public interest. The law defines “meeting” as “the convening of a quorum of the constituent membership of the public agency or association … to hear, discuss, or act upon a matter over which the agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.”

While all members of the City Council signed the June 6 letter to the Flathead County commissioners, no quorum was ever convened for the purposes of discussing the letter. Further, the city certainly doesn’t have jurisdiction of or any control over the Flathead County commissioners or their decision to grant or deny the city’s requests. The city and county have corresponded numerous times in the past without voting on the correspondence in public meetings.

The city of Whitefish takes its obligation to uphold the constitutional right to know about and participate in government decisions very seriously. After Mr. Scott complained, ratification of the June 6 letter was placed on the agenda for the July 17 City Council meeting and the public was given an opportunity to provide input.

The citizens of Whitefish have a long history of being significantly involved with and very passionate about local issues. The city has, and will continue to be, deferential to and protective of its citizens’ rights to participate in local government in a meaningful manner. —John Muhlfeld, mayor of Whitefish

Is White House really getting rid of ‘bugs’?

Finally, President Trump has caught on. He’s gone on a 17-day vacation while the White House is being treated to an internal renovation. The air conditioning, ventilation, and heating system to name a few are being pulled out and improved. Possibly, any vermin left in the air ducts from previous administrations, like insects and bugs will be found and removed.

Much of the success of Obama was because of his “cheery” personality, which contradicted his angry, revolutionary effort. He made decisions which even if exposed would leave incrimination and prosecution impossible. After all he was president. What will be found out in the next two weeks will be proof of the undermining of the presidency, no matter who would have been in office, whether Trump or Clinton.

Again, much of this underhandedness is impossible for any Democrat to believe unless one realizes Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist radical, a revolutionary who was surrounded by puppets. I expect this White House “renovation” will unleash a full-scale attack on the Trump administration again within days.

Spying on the president for the purpose of undermining the rule of law is an attack on the sovereignty of America. It is an act of treason. The endless “leaking” appears to have been caused by bugs planted and not people leaking. If a quick and speedy response to the obvious suspect involved is taken, then there could be harmony. If loss of initiative and doubt clouds the mind of Trump at this critical moment in history and he hesitates to detain the perpetrator, then America will continue collapsing as a republic. —Mike Donohue, Kalispell

GOP targets ‘the Creation’

The Daily Inter Lake of July 20 contained the story “GOP targets Endangered Species Act.” A more appropriate title might have been, “GOP targets wildlife and public lands for destruction.”

The article makes clear that the underlying goal is more mining, logging, grazing, and “Drill Baby Drill” oil and gas exploitation of your public lands for private profit. The route to doing that of course involves gutting the Endangered Species Act, the most important conservation law ever passed, and if a few hundred species have to go extinct, so what.

My mom and dad were lifelong Republicans and proud of it, but they wouldn’t recognize today’s party leadership in Washington or Northwest Montana, and would no doubt consider these right-wing anti-conservationists to be the Real RINOS (Republicans in Name Only). They’d wonder, when did those who stood up for clean water, air, wildlife and intact public lands become “environmental extremists,” while those who side with corporate raiders to pillage those public treasures claim to be saints — even as they vote to destroy God’s/Nature’s Creation.

If the goal is truly to “limit lengthy and costly litigation…” that blocks “…a host of economic activities important for jobs…”, that’s a piece of cake. All Congress needs to do is force the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies to “follow the science and obey the law.” Were that to happen, 90 percent of all environmental litigation would quickly cease, or be decided in the agency’s favor, since that’s all that environmentalists have been asking for. It’s repeated federal law breaking “that drains taxpayer resources away from actual conservation efforts” — not the conservation community.

Referring to anti-ESA bills in Congress, the article reports that “One of the bills would allow economic factors to be considered in some species-listing decisions, while another would cap attorneys’ fees in endangered species cases.”

First, would you go to the doctor when you’re really sick and ask him/her to figure out what was wrong — but only if it was cheap to fix? Of course not. You list species based on whether they’re truly endangered, and then figure out the best, most cost-effective way to save them.

Second, since when did “free-market, no price-controls” Republicans think it was a good idea for government to artificially cap any economic activity, including attorneys’ fees? And what if they cap the fees of your attorney when you sue the government for overreaching its authority? Perhaps, instead of attacking the nation’s environmental protections, these congressional RINOs could cap prescription drug prices, or the cost of life-saving operations, or your health insurance premiums and deductibles. But don’t hold your breath; their corporate handlers would probably not approve. —Brian Peck, Columbia Falls

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