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District expansion is not spot zoning, lawyer says

For over 50 years, Montana law has protected the property rights of landowners by allowing them to create their own zoning districts. The process, known as Part 1 Zoning, has been used throughout the state. Property owners don’t have to wait for unresponsive local governments to protect their properties; by following proper procedures they can create their own small-scale zoning districts to protect property values, farmland and rural landscapes.

Oddly, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce has recently attacked the long-standing right of freeholders to protect their property. The Chamber has attacked a group of Creston-area Flathead County freeholders who are trying to protect the rural character of their property, and accused them of using illegal “spot zoning” simply by using a Part 1 zone. Spot zoning is a serious charge, because that tactic involves an illegal zoning scheme that is not in the public interest.

The Chamber is obviously unfamiliar with Montana law on this topic. In 1980 the Montana Supreme Court issued a ruling that states that Part 1 zoning of areas greater than 40 acres is not spot zoning. The petition to expand the current Egan Slough Zoning District is many times larger than the statutory minimum of 40 acres. Far from a “spot zone,” the petition is a legitimate use of a long-standing Montana legal procedure.

Before lashing out at local citizens, the Chamber needs to do its homework on Montana property law. As an organization that has always appreciated and supported property rights, the Chamber should reconsider its opposition to property-owner created zoning districts. Zoning is an important property rights tool; it’s how we keep porn shops away from schools, and polluting industry out of residential neighborhoods.

The Montana Constitution allows citizens the right of referendum; Initiative 17-01 is now on the ballot and all voters in Flathead County have the legal right to vote to expand the Egan Slough District to protect the area’s property values and water from the bottling. —Jack R. Tuholske, Missoula, attorney for Egan Slough community

White for county sheriff

After going over the four candidates running for sheriff, one stands 100 percent head and shoulders above the rest, Jordan White.

Answering a questionnaire prepared for the candidates by Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, it’s obvious who will do his constitutional duty to stand between an overreaching tyrannical government and the citizenry that elected him. That’s right, a 100 percent A+ score! Brian Heino scored a 79 percent (C+), Calvin Beringer 44 percent (F), and Keith Stahlberg 31 percent (F). This test is designed to bring a strong candidate forth who understands his or her role when it comes to protecting the rights of the citizenry. (See the questions at http://progunleaders.org/SheriffsCQ/index.html.) He also has a strong list of qualifications including EMT, dive rescue, firefighter, SWAT, search and rescue specialist, deputy sheriff, undersheriff, school resource officer and deputy coroner.

I will not compromise and always vote the liberty candidate, and in this case it will be Jordan White. —Dan Manson, Kalispell

Brodehl for commissioner

I recommend Randy Brodehl for county commissioner.

Randy is a passionate fiscal conservative. He has a strong business sense and is a forceful advocate for private property rights. I like that!

Randy and his wife Joyce own a custom cabinet manufacturing shop in Kalispell. They have children and grandchildren living in the Flathead Valley. Prior to starting the family cabinet company, Randy served as Kalispell’s fire chief. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire service management and serves as an executive fire officer on the National Fire Academy.

After following Randy’s legislative career, I am convinced he will be a fine commissioner we can be proud of. He has a good mix of private and public sector work experience. Randy is dedicated to making our valley a better and safer place to live and raise our kids.

To learn more about Randy and donate to his campaign, go to: http://randybrodehl.com/.

As for the other candidates:

Gary Krueger: Gary voted against our interests when he was the lone commissioner who supported the water compact. If passed by Congress, the water compact will have catastrophic effects on the Flathead Valley for generations. I have heard that Gary supported the compact because the tribes grandfathered Gary’s own water rights. Whether that’s true or not, his bad vote is unforgivable!

More recently, Gary insisted on using money set aside for the jail to finance the Kalispell rail park. There were better options that did not require use of jail money (I sit on the FCEDA board and am happy to explain this further.) On the plus side, Gary has consistently supported the rights of doughnut property owners to be freed from Whitefish’s iron fist.

Jay Scott: When Jay was manager of the fair, a county audit found the “management of the Flathead County Fairgrounds Department could be improved significantly.” The audit revealed shortages of cash compared to register tapes. As a result, the Fair Board correctly fired Jay. With this background, I remain baffled that Jay is a viable candidate.

Ronalee Skees: I like both Ronalee and her husband Derek and have supported their past campaigns. However, for commissioner, Randy Brodehl is better qualified.

On a different subject, I recommend you vote against the Egan Slough proposal. It is alarming when neighborhood activists target a business, which has followed all the rules, with an after-the-fact zoning change. If this passes, your property may be next. —Rick Blake, Whitefish

Cal Beringer for sheriff

After 25 years I retired as a command officer of a large city police department then served an additional 29 years as a police management and training consultant throughout the country. I have worked with both the Kalispell Police Department and The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office over my 32 years here in the valley. I have only publicly endorsed one other candidate for office in that time (Kitty Curtis for judge years ago).

I am recommending Cal Beringer for sheriff based on my association with him over the past four years. His knowledge of the department, this county, and the needs of both is accurate and impressive. He not only has more experience than the other candidates, but a greater variety of experience in critical areas such as leadership, training, and new program development.

His personal character is commendable since he has a pension and doesn’t need the job but has a sincere desire to serve the community as evidenced by his leadership roles in volunteer community service organizations and desire to take on the demanding job of sheriff. Best choice by far. —Tom Osborne, Kalispell

Stop the insanity

When the Creston water-bottling plant is running at full capacity, it is projected that it will require 160 semi-trucks per day to handle the production of the plant. BUT, for every truck that leaves the plant, one has to arrive.

Who will pay for the roads, bridges and traffic congestion created by this assault on our state’s resources? Not the water company. They will not pay one dime for the exploitation of our most precious natural resource. This insanity must be stopped. —Jerry Clemens, Bigfork

Brodehl is best choice

Our Flathead County commissioners have a lot of power to influence and make decisions that impact each one of our neighborhoods and communities. They act as the governing body of our county. So their voice is powerful.

During a critical time for our county to speak up as a unified voice against the Salish and Kootenai water compact to the Montana Legislature, one of our current commissioners declined. He is on the ballot again this year asking for our vote in the June 5 primary election.

Luckily, we have a better option. Randy Brodehl has made protecting personal property rights a pillar of his campaign. He will join with the other two commissioners to be a strong and united voice to Washington that the Flathead is a NO on the water compact. This is just one reason why the primary election is so important this year.

This Salish and Kootenai water compact is such an important issue that needs to be addressed. I personally know Randy and can assure you there is no one more knowledgeable and more qualified to address this issue.

Don’t forget to vote on June 5! —Josiah Baer, Kalispell

Olszewski for Senate

Flathead County and the state of Montana’s June primary is approaching. Candidates are vying for important positions within our government and it is imperative that as voters we are introspective of the needs of this state.

There are quite a few similarities in many of the candidates’ campaigns and in consideration of this, finding a candidate who has outstanding character and most importantly the respect of the people is paramount to this difficult decision. A glaring difference in these campaigns are the candidates who have accepted and are influenced by Washington, D.C., and out-of-state money. These candidates have been grossly misled by their parties if they have chosen to accept the money. No doubt money helps win elections but that money also comes with a heavy price tag.

Dr. Albert Olszewski has chosen a very high bar as a candidate for U.S. Senate. His is a campaign that has chosen not to accept out-of -state money, a campaign that has not participated in the character assassination of other candidates, and a campaign that has consistently and effectively debated the issues that affect our great state. These positions have been clearly and intelligently discussed throughout our great state. Dr. Olszewski, has had boots on the ground and has traveled around the state more than any other candidate, trying to convey his message, which is an indication of his commitment to his vision.

His profession as an outstanding orthopedic physician, gives him an insight to our failing health-care system that no other candidate, past or present, has been blessed with His past service as a veteran and military physician has also provided him an innate ability to understand what is good and bad about our current VA system.

What most people don’t know about Dr. Olszewski and his wife Nancy is their unyielding love and commitment to their family, including their participation in the foster parent program and adoption process. They understand the social services system better than most. His two terms in the Montana Legislature have provided him with the political savvy and experience necessary to move this state forward with thoughtful and meaningful dialogue without the outside pressure of D.C. politics.

I have often been asked why a successful orthopedic physician would want to become a U.S. senator and I now understand his selfless concern for the well-being of others. Dr. Olszewski is a man of his word and will represent everyone in our great state.

June 5 is approaching and I ask you to please listen to his message and don’t forget to VOTE! —Keith Ori, Kalispell

Heino for county sheriff

The current patrol commander for the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Brian Heino, has demonstrated outstanding leadership in his service to our community.

During his 15-plus-year tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Brian has served in a wide variety of roles, including: SWAT team leader, search and rescue coordinator, field training officer, Northwest Drug Task Force officer, crime scene investigator, patrol deputy, corporal and sergeant, to name a few.

Commander Heino was born and raised in the Flathead Valley. He has been endorsed by 80 percent of the Flathead County Deputy Sheriffs Association members — the men and women who serve on our county’s law enforcement front line with Brian every day. His wide-ranging experience, strong values and longstanding tenure with the department place him far above any of the other candidates for this position.

Since there are no Democratic candidates running for this office, the winner of the primary election on June 5 will be our new sheriff. Please join me in casting your ballot for leadership with integrity. Vote for Brian Heino for sheriff. —Connie Small, Kalispell

Rosendale for Senate

The America we have all known and loved has been gutted to its core by politicians who go to Washington and fill their pockets with bribes and make deals at our expense. Now we have a president who wants to clean up the corruption and restore law and order.

Matt Rosendale is a conservative who can back the Trump agenda. Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee among others endorse Matt Rosandale for the job. They need Matt standing strong beside them. Montana needs Matt to fight for our safety and constitutional rights and freedoms in Washington.

Matt has nothing to hide. He knows how to tell the truth and he is the only proven conservative in the race. Let’s stand together, be strong, get organized, be heard and fight to get our country back. —Bonnie Jones, Whitefish

In support of Egan Slough District expansion

Thoughts to consider about the proposed water bottling plant.

The Daily Inter Lake reported the proposed water bottling plant would draw over 230 million gallons annually from the aquifer. To put that in perspective, each person’s average use in the U.S. is 29,000 gallons of water annually (see USGS website). The water bottling plant would draw more than 1.5 times the water used by the entire population of individuals in Columbia Falls (per year).

The water bottling plant would use over 1.7 billion one-time-use plastic water bottles annually (see Daily Inter Lake and other reports). There are no longer any plastics recycling outlets in the Flathead Valley (see WasteNot at flatheadcitizens.org), because there is a plastics recycling crisis in the entire U.S. (see phys.org — “China’s waste import ban upends global recycling industry”).

In the U.S., 35 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away every year (see Euromonitor International, Container Recycling Institute). According to the recent National Geographic study, almost a million plastic bottles are sold every minute and 18 billion pounds of plastic end up in the oceans annually — and it stays there. Plastics do not biodegrade. They instead break down to micro-plastics — ingested by marine life and eventually by you and me (see National Geographic “Plastics or Planet”).

With these facts in mind, the water bottling plant does not benefit the community or the planet. The only beneficiaries are the plant owner and the corporation to which it will eventually be sold.

Citizens of the Flathead are smart enough to see the flaws in this plan. Property rights are accompanied by property responsibilities to adjacent property owners, the community and the planet. A vote for the expansion of the Egan Slough Zoning District embraces those responsibilities. — Mary McClelland, West Glacier

Skees: A life of service

I have found that in order to predict future behavior, one must observe past decisions. When we do this with Ronalee Skees we see a lifelong advocate for women and families in crisis. She has always put these people first in helping their needs, training their deficiencies and encouraging their success.

We discover an activist working hard to combat the many facets of Alzheimer’s in Washington, D.C, gaining many successes for the elderly we all know. She has always championed the most vulnerable among us from the womb with her 20-year pro-life struggle against abortion to the end of days with her battle against physician assisted suicide.

She has been an NRA and Montana Shooting Sports Association supporter of your Second Amendment rights, a defender of your property rights on the City Planning Board, and an advocate for your rights to privacy, access and choice on the County Health Board. She has learned with you in Leadership Flathead that to lead you must know how to follow, and has volunteered to help the many non-profits that you all support and love here in the valley for a decade. She lives her Christian ethics every day.

She has been there for you and your family even if you didn’t know it, and now the time has come when many of us have asked her to serve as our county commissioner. We know her past and can use it to guarantee her continued service for us, making her the only qualified candidate on your ballot. —Derek Skees, Kalispell

Let’s re-elect Krueger

Gary Kruger is a hard working, full-time commissioner, who is a strong conservative leader. Commissioner Kruger has a proven track record supporting property rights, protecting our tax dollars, and working for a secure financial future for Flathead County. As commissioner Gary Krueger has delivered on all three. Flathead County has one of the lowest tax mill rates in Montana. Gary has a deep understanding of zoning and was a leading force in resolving the Whitefish doughnut overlay mess.

Commissioner Kruger has always been a supporter of high paying jobs. Gary is a leader in supporting my industry of agriculture. He, along with the Montana Farm Bureau, Montana Stockgrowers and the League of Cities and Towns, was an early supporter of the Salish and Kootenai water compact. If the compact fails, irrigated agriculture will suffer greatly, ceasing to exist in some Western Montana counties.

Krueger is a leader, visionary, and fiscal conservative who deserves to be re-elected. —Bruce Tutvedt, Kalispell

Egan Slough water vote is based on scare tactics

All the scare talk about “losing our water” is pure propaganda not based on any facts. A permit for pumping as much as 750 acre feet /year has been granted by professional experts after a detailed environmental review. Why would professionals grant a permit if there was any chance of adverse impacts on others?

The Flathead Deep Aquifer has been studied in detail by the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Current water rights exist for municipal pumping of 30,000 acre feet/year, irrigation of 40,000 acre feet/year, domestic wells 25,000 acre feat/ year, and industrial pumping of 10,000 acre feet/year. Current pumping by all users is about 23,500 acre feet/year. The aquifer is so huge, and inflow to the aquifer is so massive (213,000 acre feet/year) that the bottling plant permit rate would not affect water levels. The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology concluded, “Water levels are not declining due to pumping.”

Opponents of the bottling plant have succeeded in getting a countywide vote to alter boundaries of an old Neighborhood Zoning Plan with rules that would make the proposed plant a nonconforming use. Such a back door “ex-post-facto” action is a usurpation of property rights of the plant proponent, who has invested time and money to comply with existing planning rules and environmental impact review.

Vote NO on Egan Slough zoning initiative 17-01! —Fred Hodgeboom, Bigfork

Olszewski is battle-tested

I’m voting for Dr. Al because we need faith-filled family men like Dr. Al, who will stand up and fight for the values, morals and ethics that this state and country so badly need!

Let’s send to the U.S. Senate a military veteran, medical doctor, battle-tested legislator and true Montana family man to make a difference, because he can, wants to, and will. —Reed Darrow, Kalispell

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