Letter to the Editor - Reno

Dear Editor
A local option sales tax is a bad idea. Why:
1. Count the number of shoppers at Costco, Sam’s Club, the Mall, Scheels, etc. with license plates from Wyoming, and those not from Yellowstone County. Why would you want to discourage out of town shoppers by imposing a local sales tax on them?

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Reno

Letter to the Editor - Stranahan

Dear Editor,
The CSKT Water Compact is much more than just a piece of legislation—it is a negotiated agreement that ensures the future of agriculture in our state. Without the Compact the Tribes would have to define their water rights through litigation in the Montana Water Court—a costly, time consuming and uncertain process that would have dire impacts for Montana taxpayers, landowners, and water users, across our state. The Tribes would have the earliest priority date of any water users. Failure to ratify the Compact would not bode well for those with non-Tribal water rights.

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Stranahan

Letter to the Editor - Clancy

Dear Editor,

In 2009 Ryan Zinke chaired the Senate Education Committee. I had the privilege of being his legislative assistant and watched him work diligently to uphold and continue the best education for our children in Montana. He always was professional and honest in his work at the legislature, and is a person of high integrity.

Ryan holds to strong family values, stands for economic freedom and has a plan for energy independence. He strongly supports our 2nd amendment rights.

(Former) Senator Zinke has a distinguished military career as an officer and a Navy Seal. He is the person we need to represent the people of Montana. Vote for Ryan Zinke for U.S. Congress.

Gilda Clancy

945 Cap Road

Helena, MT 59602


Letter to the Editor - Zabawa

Dear Editor
Marijuana is NOT Harmless
Montanans were sold a bill of good in 2004 that the process of getting medical marijuana was by going to their doctor and receiving a prescription. Montanans were deceived back then and the proponents of I-182 are trying to deceive Montanans this time as well.

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Zabawa

Letter to the Editor - Shockley

Dear Editor:

Gaming the system is the focus of the party insiders, not popular policy. My Party is suing in federal court to overturn a statue passed by the legislature providing for an "open" primary.

I am opposed to a closed primary and the Montana Republican Party joining this federal lawsuit asking the court to order Montana to close the Republican primary; i.e, only Republicans can vote in the party primary.

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Shockley

Letter to the Editor - Byxbe

I am not all that educated on the Montana Land Board, but as a neighbor of some school trust land I do know about land. In the middle 70's farm land took a jump in value, (the value of the dollar dropped). At the time banks were encouraging farmers to take out loans against the value of the land. Thus the "get big or get out" mentality.

The land will only produce so many bushels of grain or run so many cattle. If the land board raised the rent on school lands to meet the estimated value, the land would go begging for renters. If the farmer or rancher is not going to get a break-even point on his investment over several years he will not be in business. One can barrow on the appreciated value of land or stocks and bonds but if the market takes a tumble or the production is not there to pay off the loan, who is there to bail anyone out?

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Byxbe

Letter to the Editor - Mae Woo

Dear Editor,
There are currently two bills before Congress which will compromise the property rights of Montanans.
S. 3013, the CSKT Water Settlement Compact Act, sponsored by Senator Tester will greatly expand the already flawed CSKT Water Compact, which unjustly transfers control of 20% of state waters to the Tribes and Feds, destroying private water and property rights for those living in the affected areas. This egregious bill will also set the broad precedent for the Feds, via the Tribes, to confiscate state waters across all the Western States.

Read more: Letter to the Editor - Mae Woo

Letter to the Editor - Johnson

Dear Editor:

Since late 2006 Lewis Avenue residents have been fighting to keep their parking over bike lanes. We participated in the due process. On September 17, 2014 the City, wishing to cater to their pet special interest group without any opposition, conveniently striped bike lanes on Lewis without notice to residents or council members. When asked, Ms. Volek stated it "was a sensitive issue," apologized that the Council was not "warned," and said city staff does not normally clear routine projects because it would slow down work. Public Works purposely circumvented the process of notifying city residents (aka taxpayers) in order to fulfill their agenda against residents' approval. BikeNet bragged on their website how they successfully striped bike lanes on Lewis using $28,000, some of which came from a grant award. In other words, taxpayer dollars being spent in a way the taxpayers didn't want. Why is the city catering to a small special interest group over neighborhood residents who are affected by these changes? The majority of Lewis residents strongly voiced their concerns and thought they were heard to only find out they were cavalierly ignored by Public Works. If this is not the type of government process you envision for your city, I encourage you to contact your council representative. The choice is yours: tolerating a condescending Public Works and City Administrator who are too disdainful to follow the proper process, or demanding that city staff remember who they represent and the legal process that is in place.

Connie Johnson

1113 Lewis Avenue

Billings, MT 59102

Letter to the Editor - Reno - 10-1-13

Dear Editor,

This year at the Montana Fair, we showcased important components of our state by hosting Veteran Day, Senior Citizens Day, Agriculture Day, Kids Day, and Energy Day.

Energy Day at Montana Fair provided an opportunity to share with our 200,000 plus visitors the important role coal, oil and gas has to this state, region and nation. Our nation must not miss the opportunity to capitalize on the energy revolution that's taking place largely made possible by new technologies. Unfortunately the political gridlock in Washington D.C. and the growing influence of federal agencies threatens this nation's ability to response to the global market for energy. The reality in Washington D.C. is when Congress creates a power void by their inaction; bureaucrats rush in with their own agenda to make their own self serving administrative rules.

As a former teacher, allow me to provide a brief review of how our federal government is structured as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

We all know there are 3 branches of government, but I will cut to the heart of the problem and focus on the Legislative Branch. Today the Senate is dysfunctional to the point of being an embarrassment due in large part to the filibuster rule they created for themselves. This antiquated rule can be removed by a 60% vote of its members. Yet getting 60 senators to show up for work is hard enough, let alone agreeing to cut off debate of a colleague who you owe a political favor to. At this time the U.S. Senate seems to focus more on doing press conferences, pointing fingers, and failing to pass a budget. The Executive Branch (President) is busy appointing friends to self-important agencies like the EPA; an agency which seeks measures from regulating farmers' dust to putting energy companies like the Corette Power Plant out of business with onerous regulations.

So what to do? Friends the real power lies with the House of Representatives-the peoples' house. This is the one body established in the Constitution to represent the current wishes of the people. That is one reason they are elected every 2 years and represent a limited number of citizens per House seat. Our founding fathers created the House of Representative and gave them one special power not afforded the U.S. Senate or the President. Only the House of Representative is given the authority to create a revenue bill. Without funding self important governmental agencies like the EPA don't operate. Legislative cuts should be surgical and selective. If the President won't rein in a rule making agency like the EPA, won't permit the Keystone XL Pipeline then the House of Representatives must cut off funding. A word to the House of Representatives members: you could stand to toughen up a little.

What is at risk today is the future of this country and energy producing states like Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and others. We are people so blessed with natural resources that this great nation could be energy self sufficient for economical and national security reasons. North Dakota for example has the lowest unemployment in the country, with some of the highest wages all thanks to the energy output. Wyoming has prospered for years by allowing responsible coal production and Montana has both of these attributes. Yellowstone County with 3 oil refineries, an army of oil and gas professionals, engineers, attorneys depends on energy. This state and nation will prosper ...just get the EPA and Washington DC out of our way and we will.

Jim Reno

Yellowstone County Commissioner

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