When hate comes to town
October is national anti-bullying prevention month. White House First Lady Melania Trump supports anti-bullying through her Be Best initiative. Governments, churches, schools and businesses have all stepped up to oppose bullying. And yet, hate still comes to town.
On a recent Tuesday that hate was directed at Morning Star Baptist Church in north Spokane. A congregation I knew and a congregation of largely multi-racial membership. Hate filled flyers promoting white supremacy/nationalism and celebrating Adolph Hitler were attached to poles and signposts surrounding the church.
Responsibility was openly claimed by the Feuerkrieg Division through their social media site Telegram. The FKD is an offshoot of the Atomwaffen Division and affiliated with The Base. The Inland Northwest has a long and sad history of racial violence and tolerance toward white supremacist groups like Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations and The Order (criminal groups who advocate and practice domestic terrorism). Oklahoma, Charleston, Orlando, Charlottesville, Pittsburgh and too many other U.S. cities, houses of worship and businesses have all been terrorized by these and related groups.
As people of faith we are commanded to love one another. As community leaders we have a civic responsibility to counter hate with love. I continue to be inspired by the response of Billings residents in the early 1990s when hate came to their town. The simple use of a paper Menorah spoke volumes of the new found unity in that community. The need for such vigilance continues today. Perhaps the fading words of Pastor Martin Niemoller need rekindling if we assume as white Christians we are safe: “First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist; then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist; then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew, then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” It’s once again time to become the change we want to see in the world. Let’s stand in solidarity and on the side of love the next time hate comes to town.
—Pat Malone, Columbia Falls
Renters deserve better
My daughter attends MSU in Bozeman. She is in an overpriced apartment that has a leaking roof. After complaining about it for many weeks still nothing has been done. She has water coming through her overhead light. A wall has large bubbles in it and when she poked one, out came brown water. An overhead light in the kitchen is flickering as well as one in the outside hallway where there are more water stains. The manager told her (and me) that “there would not be a problem in the winter but when the snow melted there could be.”
I went to the Department of Justice website where I read this: “A landlord must make repairs and do whatever is necessary to make the premises fit and habitable.” When I wrote to the DOJ I got this response: “Thank you for contacting our office. The Attorney General has no jurisdiction over landlord/tenant issues.” They then told me to go the library and fill out a form.
I wrote back and said that their website did not even provide a contact phone number. I asked for one. They emailed me the number of a self-help center in Bozeman. I called them and they told me I would have to a get a lawyer in order to do anything.
But what student, or anyone for that matter, has the necessary funds to hire a lawyer to get a leaking roof fixed? She should not have to look for another place while going to school. The roof should get repaired.
Montana renters actually have no rights. And the Department of Justice with their pompous list of renter rights is a joke.
Attorney General Tim Fox will never get my vote. Montana renters deserve better than Tim Fox.
—Jeff Van Fleet, Kalispell
Hunter is informed, hardworking
I wish to convey my support for Ryan Hunter to represent Ward 3 on the Kalispell City Council.
Ryan is my neighbor. We are friends, and our kids attend Hedges elementary school. I know Ryan and his wife, Eve, to be significant contributing members of our community in both their personal and professional endeavors.
I am inspired by Ryan’s commitment to his convictions and his willingness to educate himself on matters of importance to all residents. Representing our ward, he would prioritize human health, efficient operations, intentional planning, education and environmental and financial sustainability. I trust that Ryan is willing and, in fact, happy to engage on these topics with a vision for progress and improving things for all residents.
As regards to the other candidate vying to represent Ward 3, I don’t believe he would effectively represent the broad spectrum of residents in our ward. During recent City Council meetings, he proposed cutting funds from the health department, which I believe serves a critical function in our community, and it was evident by his commentary that he had not researched nor did he have a grasp on the complexities of homelessness in Kalispell. By contrast, Ryan went throughout the ward to interview residents about their concerns and experience with homeless in our town, and took the time to interview local agencies working to reduce homelessness to learn from their perspectives.
If, like me, you want an informed, hardworking, compassionate representative, then support Ryan Hunter for Ward 3!
—Clifford Kipp, Kalispell
Olszewski for governor
We will soon be electing men and women to represent us. I am encouraging you to get out and vote for Dr. Al Olszewski for governor and his lieutenant governor Ken Bogner.
I admire Dr. Al’s position on how he feels that leaders should understand that their role is to serve, not rule. Dr. Al and Ken are fellow veterans — they both took the same oath, to protect and defend the Constitution with their lives.
Their goals are to pass meaningful reforms to state government, writing a sustainable budget, building up our rural and natural resource communities, stand up for the sanctity of human life, and our Constitutional rights.
They both are Montanans that understand duty, honor and service. Let’s get them elected.
Our wonderful President Trump and other Republican candidates need our vote also. So please get out and VOTE. They have my vote.
—Marianne Dyon, Whitefish