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Barack Obama
"Lincoln Sells Out Slaves"
by: Rob Kailey - Sep 13
1 Comments
If You Haven't Seen This
by: Rob Kailey - Apr 28
5 Comments
Impeach the President?
by: Rob Kailey - Mar 16
15 Comments
It's the system, stupid!
by: Jay Stevens - Oct 24
7 Comments

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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.
Missoula

Things Change

by: Rob Kailey

Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 15:01:55 PM MST

Having grown up in the Missoula area, it took me two tries to get through this article.

Life After Smurfit-Stone

I have no commentary worth adding.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Missoula election volunteering opportunities

by: Jay Stevens

Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 10:41:19 AM MST

So...wondering what you can do to keep our government in reasonable hands? Here's what's going on in Missoula: got an email from a friend letting me know the schedule for volunteering in on behalf of the Missoula County Democrats, MDLCC, OFA, MoveOn, and COPE (and probably a few other organizations). Here it is:

October 20 - 21 (Wednesday and Thursday): Phone banking, 4:30 - 8:30pm, Union Hall

October 23 (Saturday): Canvassing, meet at the Union Hall at 10:30am.

October 24 (Sunday): Canvassing, meet at the Union Hall at 1:30pm.

October 25 - 29 (Monday - Friday): Phone banking, 4:30 - 8:30pm. Union Hall.

October 26 & 29 (Tuesday and Friday): GOTV training for phone calls, lit drop, and poll watching, 5:30 at the Union Hall. (Lasts about 30 minutes.)

October 30 (Saturday): Canvassing, meet at 10:30am and 1:30pm, Union Hall.

November 1 (Monday): Phonebanking, 1pm - 9pm, Union Hall

November 2 (Tuesday): Election Day! Lit Drop, Poll Watching, Phone Calls, etc & co. 5am, on...

Update (by Matt Singer) -- Since I'm affiliated both with this website and with Forward Montana, I just wanted to clarify that Trick or Vote is an entirely non-partisan canvass, not in partnership with the Democrats, MoveOn, or OFA. Additionally, readers should feel free to go to TrickOrVote.org to find local events in Great Falls and Billings as well. The Missoula event should be huge, with an after-party featuring local funk band Kung Fu Kongress -- it should be great.

Update 2 (by Matt Singer) -- And additional volunteer opportunities from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana:

October 24th: National phonebank to defeat Initiative 62, the anti-choice ballot initiative in Colorado. Locations include Billings, Helena, Great Falls. Contact stacey.anderson@ppmontana.org

October 24th: Canvassing for Joe Cohenour from 1pm-3pm. He voted for the Helena Health Curriculum!! Contact stacey.anderson@ppmontana.org

October 28: Planned Parenthood is phonebanking pro-choice voters across the state from 5:30-7:30pm.
Missoula: tannis.hargrove@ppmontana.org
Billings: josh.hemsath@ppmontana.org
Helena: stacey.anderson@ppmontana.org
Great Falls: stacey.anderson@ppmontana.org

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

NotMyBathroom tossed from court

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 19:24:18 PM MST

Can't say I'm surprised about this:

NotMyBathroom.com has lost a lawsuit alleging Missoula city and county officials tried to thwart its petition to strike down the city's anti-discrimination ordinance

"Because the Petitioners reference neither the statute alleged to have been violated nor the facts which support their application ... the Petitioners' application for alternative writ of mandate is DENIED," reads the order from Missoula District Judge Douglas Harkin.

I'm no lawyer, but didn't Judge Harkin just call Tei Nash a dumb*ss?

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Fighting discrimination is a boon for economic development

by: Jay Stevens

Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 15:52:12 PM MST

I'm late getting to the Perfesser's snide commentary about Missoula's new equality ordinance:

Most business people aren't stupid. If a city dedicates itself to tormenting them, they don't care much about how smooth and glitzy the local "economic development" agency is.

Job-creators want to see things like low taxes, a friendly regulatory environment, and community respect.

Few seem to have noticed the irony here: Just a few weeks before the hand-wringing about poor economic development began, the Missoula city council (by a 10-2 vote) studiously eschewed wiser counsels and crammed through an intrusive new ordinance regulating how businesses relate to cross-dressers and similar odd balls. So if you set up a business in Missoula, now you can look forward to a whole new world of lawsuits and bureaucratic bossiness.

That action alone sent a nasty message to potential new employers that it may take years to counter.
And it comes on top of Missoula's relative high property taxes and its long record of making life miserable for new enterprises who want to locate in the area.

Wulfgar's been here already and rightfully notes that ol' Natelson linking two unrelated events and is following crazy Rand Paul's undefensible defense of discrimination.

What's truly sad is that Rob uses his absolutely specious argument that "oddballs" are being protected to carry over his conclusion to an argument he never supports; he holds that businesses do best in unregulated environments. His only foundation is a fallacy about "cross-dressers" and Butte's difficult business environment. That might actually be possible ... if, as Rob assumes, the health of a business' bottom line is all that really matters to the employed these employers hire.

Forgetting here for a moment that Natelson uses Butte as an example of the effects of Missoula's civic institutions - Missoula, somewhat awkwardly to the Perfesser's argument, actually has a pretty strong economy and is experiencing growth - his argument, as Wulfgar rests on the assumption that the employed and employers care only about the bottom line.

Maybe there's something about a community besides taxes that employers need? Like...say...quality employees? Educated in quality schools? Perhaps business owners like to take a walk on the river, or bike to work, or buy fresh croissants from a locally-owned bakery? Or maybe business owners like communities that stand up to anti-gay discrimination. Believe it or not, there are gay business owners, or business owners with gay friends, relatives, or children.

Or maybe business owners like to operate where a lot of people live. You know, the customer thing.

Because most business owners are people - like the two business owners on the Missoula city council that voted for the anti-discrimination ordinance - and simply want to live a good life.

But then I don't think Natelson is really talking about actual business owners. My guess is that he's thinking about big business. Corporations. GE and Boeing. Wal-Mart won't be moving its corporate headquarters to Missoula for the tax break. But...why would you want to tether your city's future to a gigantic corporation? Didn't work out so great for Flint or Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where I grew up.

Here's what you need to know about Missoula's "dysfunctional" economic development: all consultants agree that Missoula was poised for success because of its "skilled/educated workforce," its "adequate wastewater treatment capacity and sewer lines," its "outdoor amenities" and "cultural opportunities," "all of which define Missoula as a high-quality place to live and recreate." Which makes it poised for economic growth.

And part of what makes Missoula a "high-quality place to live and recreate" is its anti-discrimination ordinance.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Nash suing Missoula

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 10:48:53 AM MST

You knew this was coming:

According to a lawsuit filed today with the Fourth Judicial Court, Not My Bathroom (NMB) chairman Tei Nash, a new group dubbed "Right to Vote Missoula" and Missoula resident John Porter are accusing Missoula City Attorney Jim Nugent and Missoula County Clerk and Recorder Vickie Zeier of employing "intentional and discriminatory tactics" to prevent NMB from initiating the legal process required to overturn Missoula's new anti-discrimination ordinance.

Uh, right. Remember, we're talking about a guy - Tei Nash - who submitted the second draft of his petition under his own name after explicitly being told, as a non-elector in Missoula, he has no standing to do so. Nash and his group have yet add the word "repeal" to their petition to, uh, you know, repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance.

But you sort of got the feeling that the method had some madness to it. Hand in a series execrable drafts, ignoring the comments made by the city attorney, then sue the city for not accepting your petition! Sure beats, you know, gathering signatures and stuff. Especially if you don't actually know anyone in Missoula, where the law would be in effect.

Bob Wire:

The anti-discrimination law...was put in place to help prevent discrimination. Period. The efforts of this goofball bunch who live in constant fear and paranoia that the homos are coming to get them are wasting energy and resources on this frivolous lawsuit. Hey, Mr. Family Values, Mr. Super Patriot, Mr. Constitutionalist? Why don't you buy some big garbage bags and spend your time and energy cleaning up the garbage along the Bitterroot River? Or along Highway 93? Why don't you put your efforts into helping make drunk driving laws tougher, so we don't keep seeing stories about some moron with 11 DUIs? Why don't you read your ever-lovin' Bible and learn how to live and let live? You have a chance here to allow some tolerance and compassion into our culture, and you're blowing it.

You want to keep transsexuals out of your bathrooms? Then I want you to keep your guns out of my stores. The next time you feel the need to go into a Starbucks wearing your beloved handgun proudly on your belt for all the world to feel, keep in mind that I just might be in the ladies room, brandishing my own single shooter. If I'm wearing a dress that day.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Nash to waste more Missoula taxpayer money

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Apr 30, 2010 at 11:08:56 AM MST

Tei Nash is at it again:

In an effort to overturn Missoula's recently approved anti-discrimination ordinance, Not My Bathroom (NMB) chairman Tei Nash submitted a second petition yesterday, constituting one of several steps NMB must take before putting the law up for a citywide vote.

"I just accepted the petition," says Debbe Merseal from the Missoula County election's office. "It has already been resubmitted to (Missoula City Attorney) Jim Nugent."

Apparently Nash listed his home address again as Miller Creek, which is outside city limits.

Remember what city attorney Jim Nugent said about that?

It is absolutely illogical that someone who is not a city elector have any standing to initiate a city ordinance referendum process with respect to a city government where they are neither a resident or a legal elector.

But then we're talking about a guy who's fighting civil rights with fears of pederasts in public bathrooms. I'm not sure logic is in play.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

"Absolutely Illogical"

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 09:01:29 AM MST

Keila Szpaller has Missoula city attorney Jim Nugent's letter to the city clerk and recorder "outlining the reasons Tei Nash's sample petition" calling for the overturning of the city's recently passed anti-discrimination ordinance "should be 'rejected and denied.'" It's eight pages long (pdf).

There's about a gazillion reasons why Nugent thinks Nash's petition should be "rejected and denied," but the main one seems to be that Tei Nash doesn't live in Missoula (emphasis Nugent's):

...only the local government's electors, who by statutory definition of a municipal elector must be city residents, may initiate efforts to place municipal ordinances on the city ballot. It is absolutely illogical that someone who is not a city elector have any standing to initiate a city ordinance referendum process with respect to a city government where they are neither a resident or a legal elector. As you know, a municipal election for the City of Missoula would cost tens of thousands of dollars to conduct. It is basic elementary common sense that the electors of the jurisdiction that adopts the ordinance should be the only ones actively placing it on the ballot by petition as well as the only ones voting.

That's a good point about the cost of the special election that Nash and his Bitterroot buddies want Missoulians to bear, isn't it? Still, expect the Bathroom-obsessed to find a Missoula stooge to submit this thing.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

"Please ignore the input you get from people who don't live here."

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:52:12 PM MST

So Matt noted that the Western Tradition Partnership is suddenly averse to keeping resource extraction issues local. Have to say, but they're not the only ones who have recently eschewed a habit of calling for exclusive local control of local issues. Here's a name you might recognize (pdf courtesy of Keila Szpaller) on some closures of tails to wheeled access on a local travel management plan:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to comment on the proposed closures in the Travel Plan. I a opposed to
the proposed wheeled motorized use changes, the proposed snowmobile use changes
and the proposed changes in motorized use.

It is just fine the way it is. Leave it alone and please ignore the input you get from
people who don't live here
.

Sincerely,
Dallas D. Erickson

Also from that same Szpaller post:

Reporter Jamie Kelly said Notmybathroom.com chairman Tei Nash noted during a meeting yesterday that one reason the Notmybathroom.com folks want a September election is it's before University of Montana students get to town. (Hm. We do want their money, though, don't we?) That was at a meeting of Missoula's Conservative Patriots.

Most University of Montana students have something in common with each other that they don't share with Tei Nash: they live in Missoula.

One thing's for sure, kudos go to the people of Missoula for being so patient and open with those from outside the city who oppose the equality ordinance. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Western Tradition Partnership Plays with Fire

by: Matt Singer

Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:02:35 AM MST

One of the grand traditions of the resource extraction industry has been to demonize "outsiders" who want to have a say in natural resource decisions. People who aren't from around here, they argue, shouldn't have a say in how we manage our land or our forests.

So imagine my surprise to see a Western Tradition Partnership spokesman from Billings insist that Missoula county commissioners defer to the Montana legislature on a land use question. What's next, kick it to Congress?

"You've got a situation here where this is more of a Legislature issue than it is a county commissioner issue," Dan Fuchs of Western Tradition Partnership said from his office in Billings. "For those guys to try to shut down development up there in that part of the state is ridiculous."

The county is in the final stages of developing a land use update in the Seeley Lake region, where Plum Creek owns 35 percent of the land.

At their sixth hearing on the overall plan on Wednesday, commissioners will consider an amendment that would prohibit residential development on some resource protection lands that currently allow some houses.

Between this and Tei Nash getting scolded by the city attorney for interfering in local affairs where he doesn't live, consider me one Missoulian currently a big fan of our local rule.
Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Tei Nash can't submit petition to overturn equality ordinance

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:34:31 AM MST

The news:

The ordinance passed last week by a 10-2 margin after a seven-hour Missoula City Council meeting featuring impassioned testimony from both sides of the issue. Not satisfied with the law's passage, NMB chairman Tei Nash submitted a petition last week to the Missoula County Elections Office that aimed to freeze the law and, ultimately, put it up for a citywide vote.

But City Attorney Jim Nugent says Nash, who lives in Miller Creek, is not a Missoula resident and, therefore, under state law, not eligible to initiate the ballot referendum process.

"He's not an elector, so he doesn't get to initiate this," Nugent says. "I'm not going to approve the petition."

Earlier, I said that the fact the ordinance opponents are mostly non-Missoula residents was one of the bigger facets of the controversy that wasn't getting much attention. In fact, opponents to the ordinance apparently will have to scramble to find someone just to submit the petition, let alone find 7500 signatures to put on it.

In short, a bunch of out-of-town radicals have made it their mission to overturn a civil rights ordinance that the people of Missoula want. If the situation was reversed, and a bunch of Missoulians  protested popular city ordinances in the Bitterroot, how do you think it would turn out? (Hint, guns would probably play a part.)

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Natelson says stuff

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:32:46 AM MST

Some interesting tidbits from the Missoulian report of Rob Natelson's talk to Missoula's "Conservative Patriots" group on Monday.

First off, a shot over the bows of Constitutional "originalists":

The problem with the U.S. Constitution in general is that it is not a "rigid" set of guidelines on government power, nor is it a "living, breathing organism" that liberals pretend it is.

"The answer, as often in life, is somewhere in the middle," said Natelson.

An opponent of abortion, Natelson said one day, people will see the termination of a pregnancy with the same repugnancy that they see slavery now.

"It took 100 years to end slavery," he said. "And we're not going to end abortion constitutionally. We're going to end it when people change their hearts."

The "living, breathing organism" that liberals worship is, of course, hyperbole, the kind of misrepresented and exaggerated view of liberal legal thought promulgated by conservatives, and a typical rhetorical salvo we've come to expect from the Perfesser. But...then he says the Constitution is a changing document, and that the judiciary - rightly - reacts to the values and demands of the populace. Which, you know, is pretty much...rational, not something you'd expect the Perfesser to say in front of Tea Baggers.

And it's also nice to see Natelson acknowledge that anti-abortion views are not widely reflected by most Americans, and that, to change our laws on abortion, anti-abortion activists need to change Americans' views. Which, you know, is probably something his audience didn't want to hear.

Another:

One question was steered toward the local anti-discrimation ordinance passed last week by the Missoula City Council.

Can't that law be challenged as violation of the due process provision of the 14th Amendment?

Again, said Natelson, not since the U.S. Constitution has been so radically reinterpreted.

"If the state government can point to any conceivable governmental interest in supporting its law, in this case promoting the acceptance of a certain group of people, generally the law will be upheld," he said.

(Here's the Fourteenth Amendment, by the way. I assume the questioner was assuming those who want to discriminate against gays have the right to do so under the idea that no state "shall...deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

But, funny enough, proponents of discrimination forget that gays are also protected under the same amendment.)

Essentially, Natelson is openly acknowledging that opposition to Missoula's anti-discrimination isn't based on safety issues in public bathrooms, but in not wanting to "accept" gays into civil society. And they mean by "acceptance," is gays' rights to live, work, and enjoy "...mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family." In short, as Montana Justice James Nelson wrote, "...homosexuals are entitled to enjoy precisely the same civil and natural rights as heterosexuals, as a matter of constitutional law."

Too bad the constitution doesn't protect people from singling out law-abiding citizens and denying their basic "civil and natural rights."

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Anti-discrimination ordinance opponents to plague us all summer

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 10:46:18 AM MST

Here we go again:

In a bid to shoot down the city of Missoula's newly adopted equality ordinance, NotMyBathroom.com chairman Tei Nash filed a petition Thursday to suspend the law and place it on the ballot.

"It's going to be sent out for referendum so that the public can vote on it," Nash said shortly after submitting the paperwork to the Missoula County Elections Office.

I don't know what this guy has got against gays - especially considering his daughter is gay - but whatever it is, it's serious, and it's going to plague us through the summer.

To succeed in putting the measure to a public vote, NotMyBathroom.com supporters must gather signatures from 15 percent of the voters registered in the city of Missoula. Chief Clerk and Recorder Vickie Zeier said that's 7,391 verified signatures.

Dallas Erickson of Montana HOME - Help Our Moral Environment - said in the past he has collected more than 7,000 signatures in the Bitterroot for another effort. Erickson, of Stevensville, also has been leadingNotMyBathroom.com and is a tireless crusader for his causes.

HOME has statewide membership, including "several" in the Missoula city limits, he said. Erickson said he believes it will be both challenging and possible to gather enough signatures.

"It's not going to be that easy - don't get me wrong," Erickson said. "But I believe it's very doable."

And isn't it interesting that one of the petitions' "spiritual" parents can't even sign this thing? To me, that's the most interesting part of this story - and the part that should p*ss Missoulians off - that opposition to this Missoula ordinance seems to stem from a handful of religious radicals in the Bitterroot. Of course, if they manage somehow to come up with 7,000 signatures (one presumes, by combing through retirement homes), we'll be paying for the referendum. And, yes, I'm a Missoula taxpayer.

Here's the kicker from the story, though: Erickson apparently plans on taking his case to the state legislature, and have them come up with a law to "prevent cities from enacting such ordinances." Ugh. I can't wait.

And then there's Dick Haines:

Ward 5 Councilman Dick Haines had some people scratching their heads when he voted "yes" early Tuesday morning for the city's new anti-discrimination law. The alderman's strategy became clearer when he spoke with KGVO radio host Peter Christian Tuesday morning for on-air broadcast. Haines explained to Christian that state and municipal law enables elected representatives who log a "yes" vote to bring legislation up again for formal discussion at a later date.

"I thought, well, this one might be an opportunity to bring back some of the concerns I have with this thing and get them out in front of the public," Haines said during the KGVO interview.

I was one of those head-scratchers. I thought, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, Haines was surprisingly enlightened on civil rights! Fat chance, right? His "yea" vote was simply a deceptive parliamentary trick that allows him to bring up the ordinance again.

Maybe he thought local businesses could benefit from the influx of crazed Bitterrooters' money...

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

In Missoula, the facts carried the day

by: Jay Stevens

Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:29:17 PM MST

Nice writeup of Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance by the Kaiman's Will Melton:

The main opponents of the measure were so incapable of coming up with a reason to do so that didn't sound wildly homophobic that their arguments came across more as parody. In reality, the proponents of the measure probably found their biggest ally in the ridiculous arguments put forth by those who were against it....

But that's just the point for the opponents; they either cynically lie and fearmonger, hoping that they can confuse people who don't have time to really delve into the issue, or they themselves are hopelessly confused.

The fact of the matter is that there is little legitimate reason to disagree with the ordinance, short of just not liking homosexuals. For the most part, the ordinance merely protects homosexuals from losing their livelihoods and places of living....

I have to say, the level of vitriol and animosity, homophobia and (self?) deception among the ordinance's opponents didn't surprise me, but it certainly shocked me. Absolutely toxic. And completely misleading, whether out of ignorance or malice is moot.

One person in particular who has been the focus of pro-discriminators' ire that I want to laud is the Missoulian's Keila Szpaller. (And bookmark her blog if you already haven't.) Tei Nash, in an editorial on kcei.com, claims Szpaller "discriminated against the side that opposed" the ordinance and "is really a lobbyist for this ordinance it is {sic} plain and clear." Why? Probably because she dared to debunk the inaccuracies passed around by Nash's group.

Too often, the traditional media presents issues in a "he said/she said" fashion - quoting from both sides and letting the reader decide who's argument is more persuasive - and refusing to correct or interpret the opinions based on facts or context. Nash and NotMyBathroom counted on that kind of reporting, hoping the image of child predators stalking Missoula's bathrooms would derail the ordinance, but Szpaller, much to her and the Missoulian's credit, refused to pass on Nash's lies without correction.

Szpaller and the Missoulian were extremely fair in their coverage of the anti-discrimination ordinance. And armed with good information, Missoulians and their leaders overwhelmingly approved of their city council's votes for equality.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

A Few Thoughts on Last Night's Equality Vote

by: Matt Singer

Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 10:30:16 AM MST

Jay and others already posted the big news. The Missoula City Council last night overwhelmingly passed an inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance that extends a number of protections to people based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Here's just a few early thoughts on the vote:

  • Equality Has Bipartisan Support. The vote of 10-2 included the "progressive bloc," but also a couple more unusual suspects: moderate Jon Wilkins and conservative Dick Haines, a Republican former state legislator. With their support for the measure, it also received the support of at least one member of council from each of Missoula's six wards -- a refreshingly broad victory.
  • This Town Really Supports Equality. Between 6 and 6:30, the space outside the Council Chambers was running roughly 1:1 between supporters and opponents of the measure, but only because literally hundreds upon hundreds of supporters were rallying at Caras Park at the time. When the "reinforcements" arrived, the opponents of the ordinance were hugely outnumbered, probably on the scale of 5 or 6 to 1, if not more. This number becomes even more exaggerated when taking into account that a significant proportion of the opponents came in from out of town.
  • There are some truly heartbreaking stories out there. There were family fights over equality in other eras. Fathers (and some mothers) who didn't understand their feminist daughters. Black parents who worried that their children were pushing too hard, too fast. But I can't think of another equality struggle that has pitched family members against each other in such a painful way as we had to witness last night. This may be a trite observation for others, but it really hit me again last night.
Jason Wiener had some great comments at the end of the night about how this ordinance isn't going away. Young people overwhelmingly support equality. There's a very good chance that the children being used by their parents to mobilize on this will in just a few years look back on their own actions with disbelief (or misremember them completely, as our brains tend to do).

The history of civil rights in America reminds us that these victories are rarely comprehensive and complete (which "political" victories ever are?). Racism still exists. Sexism still exists. Discrimination against Americans with disabilities is still very much present.

But last night, we bent that arc of history a little closer to justice.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Missoula city council passes first anti-discrimination ordinance in Montana

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 07:42:14 AM MST

It's a done deal:

In the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Missoula City Council adopted the first equality ordinance in Montana that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Most of us can't remember civil rights in action," said Councilwoman Stacy Rye, an ordinance sponsor. "This is it for us. This is our lifetimes."

After a contentious city council meeting - live-blogged by jhwygirl here and here - the council voted 10 - 2 to approve the ordinance. (The Missoulian has a snippet of video online.)

Those in favor: Dave Strohmaier, Jason Wiener, Pam Walzer, Roy Houseman, Rye, Bob Jaffe, Jon Wilkins, Dick Haines, Ed Childers and Marilyn Marler.

Those against: Lyn Hellegaard, Renee Mitchell.

The highlight of the meeting came when Taryn Nash, daughter of Tei Nash - chair of Not My Bathroom, the group stirring up opposition to the ordinance by invoking cross-dressing child predators in Missoula bathrooms - stood up to out herself as a member of the LGBT to her father and spoke out in favor of the ordinance:

"You need to realize this crusade you are on is wrong, and it affects me personally," said Taryn Nash, who broke from her studies in Spokane to testify. "Right now I am ashamed to call you my father."

Love this from Mayor Engen, who spoke at the Caras Park diversity rally before the meeting:

"Some people think I recruited young people to promote my agenda, but these young people recruited me to support their agenda," Engen told the crowd. "These young folks don't need me to think for them, they think for themselves."

Engen then proclaimed Monday as Diversity Day in Missoula, in honor of a city "that is one of the most diverse in Montana, one that respects diversity as an important quality of a community, and understands that diversity of citizens cultivates a climate of understanding and acceptance."

A lot of people worked hard on this ordinance, including the good folks at Forward Montana, and council members Stacy Rye and Dave Strohmeier, who did the right thing by bringing this forward. But I think a special shout out goes to my good friend Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network who worked with the council on the ordinance and had to absorb a lot of personal attacks throughout the process.

I'm sure there are many I missed, living as far away as I am. Please be sure to add folks in the comments...

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Dazed and confused: Montana wrestles pot

by: Jay Stevens

Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 07:32:46 AM MST

The feds' recent promise to leave states alone that have medicinal marijuana laws has thrown Montana into confusion. Communities considering a ban of marijuana dispensaries include Whitefish, Billings, and Kalispell. (And I'm sure I've missed a few others.) Medicinal marijuana was banned on the University of Montana's campuses. Meanwhile, the marijuana business in Missoula is booming. And state law enforcement appears to be completely befuddled about pot, as they're plagued by issues of zoning and existing drug laws:

Tom Daubert, founder and director of Patients and Families United who was involved in the final phase of drafting the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act, said he expects the 2011 Legislature to consider changing the law.

"There is no question there are a number of vague, complicating things in the law," he said, which has made it difficult not only for law enforcement but for patients and caregivers. "My goal is to come up with a consensus proposal."

Missoula's Diane Sands plans to lead the effort in the 2011 legislative session to address the myriad issues surrounding medicinal marijuana.

Have to say, the Indy's editors make an interesting argument against local municipal hostility towards medicinal marijuana dispensaries. Essentially, they contrast the addiction and accompanying recent violence surrounding prescription medication with medicinal marijuana:

These spates bookend a year that saw Montana's medical marijuana industry grow exponentially. Last March the state recorded about 1,400 registered medical marijuana patients. This March, there are more than 10,000. Despite the rise, we haven't seen strung-out, desperate patients heist any medical marijuana clinics. On the contrary, we suspect that the trend has gotten quite a few people off of the prescription painkillers that have proven so addictive and turned fresh-faced college kids into felons. It all makes us wonder why so many Montana communities are considering limiting or outright banning medical marijuana shops.

John Adams:

Can somebody explain the argument against medical marijuana? It seems illogical to condone the use of prescription pharmaceuticals--many of which are psychoactive and can cause serious and often life-threatening side effects--and at the same time be opposed to medical marijuana.

It's reefer madness, folks. A paternalistic, patronizing tone from the state's authorities who are nervously eying their drug-busting budgets and who can't believe Montanans are heartily sick of the fear-mongering around pot they're dishing out.

Still, state regulatory guidelines are desperately needed. Let's hope that Sands get 'er done.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Fear of men in dresses

by: Jay Stevens

Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:08:56 AM MST

Sound familiar?

President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and their homosexual and transgender allies are secretly plotting to rush through the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the next few weeks.

ENDA - aptly described as the "cross-dressing teacher's bill" - will force every American public school to hire men who dress like women as teachers.

Currently, 38 states do not consider men dressed as women (cross-dressing heterosexual men, gay drag queens, or transsexuals) as protected minorities under anti-discrimination laws. All of this will change under ENDA when it becomes illegal to re-assign transgender teachers out of the classroom.

In the next few weeks, if President Obama signs ENDA into law, your children will be trapped in classrooms taught by men who dress as women.

That's from The Traditional Values Coalition, a right-wing California-based conservative "Christian" group that's active in pursuing an anti-gay and -lesbian rights agenda, and which has earned a "hate group" designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Classy. Well, it looks like a little bit of crazy California has touched down in Missoula.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Rallying for Discrimination

by: Matt Singer

Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:00:18 AM MST

Nice catch by Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller covering a mostly out-of-town protest outside of Missoula's city council.
Jill Brezenski of Missoula held a "Home sweet home, my renters, my choice," sign. Brezenski said she was not a landlady, but she wanted to protect the rights of landlords to rent to whomever they choose - and not rent to tenants they didn't choose. She wouldn't identify people who would be on the latter list.
Maybe she won't identify them, but given her opposition to this ordinance, I can guess. She is including Queer people.

Look -- if these folks want to start rallying to eliminate all anti-discrimination laws, let them try it. Let's legalize discrimination against black people and white people and Irish and Catholics and Jews. Let's go back to the good old days of fire hoses, police dogs, and Kristalnacht. If discrimination is the right of landlords and employers, at least have the stones to follow your argument to its natural conclusion.

Or maybe, just maybe, we should Flush the Fear.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The Discrimination Catch-22 of the Right

by: Matt Singer

Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 17:07:52 PM MST

Forward Montana is one of a number of organizations working to pass a local anti-discrimination ordinance in Missoula, an ordinance that would be the first of its kind in Montana. In response, some local rightwingers (I don't say conservatives because the term seems inaccurate here) are up in arms, obsessing over who should use which bathrooms.

The bathroom stuff has been one of two responses to the public demands for an anti-discrimination measure. The other has been to deny that discrimination happens.

It's astonishing in its audacity: people publicly doubting the existence of discrimination while voicing their own personal plans to discriminate against transsexual or intersex Montanans, sometimes quite violently.

A couple recent letters from two friends of mine really cut to the core of this issue. The first, a letter to the editor by Steve Knight:

I have heard of friends being refused job applications at businesses because they are perceived as gay or lesbian. Last week I watched a woman who didn't quite pass as female being watched, pointed at, laughed at and then yelled at by the occupants of another vehicle. This happens in our town. It happens to people I care about.

I'm proud of our City Council for taking a stand as a city that wants our citizens to be safe. Thank you Missoula for your support and for being wary of outsiders trying to come to Missoula to influence what we stand for - love, respect, decency, and compassion for one another.

The other, a letter to the city council from Ryan Morton, deserves an even longer excerpting:
Anyhow, if one is lucky enough to make it through school and enter the real world, they end up navigating relationships, careers, and, yes, decisions about bathrooms often in hiding not wanting to be recognized as different.  This phenomenon is often referred to as 'passing.'

Why do LGBTIQ people feel the need to 'pass?'  The answer is simple:  discrimination.  Don't ask, don't tell.  Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  God hates faggots.

One way to curb discrimination is through the ordinance you are considering.  People have the right to have discriminatory thoughts, but acting them out in a way that hurts people is unacceptable.  Please pass this ordinance and state definitively that it is NOT ok to discriminate on the grounds of sex, gender, sexuality, or any other unprotected class of citizens.

As far as the potty crusaders are concerned, if this ordinance fails because of some argument about heterosexual pedophiles who think cross-dressing will permit them bathroom entry, I'm going to be one nasty, screaming queen.  As someone who has shared a restroom and locker room with many a cross-dresser, drag queen, and FTM, I have NO concern about bathroom entry.  Trolling for young children in bathrooms and locker rooms is a nasty stereotype that is so intolerable, I can't think of anything else to do but laugh at people who think that way.  So many LGBTIQ people are loving, caring parents, teachers, public safety officers, and more who constantly look out for the GOOD of children - not to prey on them.  Some of my best years were spent teaching children English as a Second Language around the world - never a thought to sexually prey upon them.  There simply is no link between being LGBTIQ and being a pedophile.  It's completely nonsensical.  Oh, and as a former Boy Scout - I could have really used a queer mentor at that time in my life.  Really.

The discrimination is real.  The fear surrounding the ordinance is simply smoke and mirrors - a perspective held in deeply rooted beliefs that society should only be structured around a heterosexual reality.  Look through the smoke and mirrors and pass the ordinance to make a real difference in Missoula.

The power of getting people terrified about the safety of their children is simply immense. But it also needs to be called what it is: a bunch of lies. This measure, neither through design nor by accident, will never serve as a defense of sexual assault in a restroom.

What this measure will do is finally put an end to the current blind eye given by the law in Missoula to those occasions where discrimination happens. We already protect a dozen classes of individuals. Opposition to this is just a slap in the face saying we don't think Queer Montanans deserve the same protections we afford so many.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Not in My Bathroom!

by: Jay Stevens

Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 07:40:03 AM MST

You know, I've been reading NotMyBathroom.com - the site that's leading a charge against Missoula's proposed anti-discrimination ordinance - and...well, they've got a point. As a father with two children, I am concerned about "men who are confused about their sex or express the opposite sex dress" sharing the bathroom with my kindergarteners.

Of course, I'm not talking about transgendered or openly gay men. No, I'm talking about conservative Christian politicians, clergy, and activists.

The facts bear me out. Republican politicians too often engage in very questionable sexual and ethical behavior. They prey on teens. (Kids! Don't give out your phone numbers to Republicans!) They prey on young men. (Kids! Don't ever get caught in a room alone with a Republican without adult supervision!) And, most importantly, Republican politicians apparently have a thing for sex in public bathrooms, both on the federal and state levels. And conservative Christian clergy are much worse. There's no way I want my kids to share a bathroom with meth-snorting, hooker-crazy mega-church preachers or any Catholic priest.

But, as the very site, NotMyBathroom, exemplifies, conservative Christian activists may be the worst of the lot, what with their weird, lurid fantasies of public bathrooms and unhealthy obsession with pederasty. How can we trust people who spend their nights wallowing in this kind of perverse, unhealthy imagination?

It might be worthwhile investigating adding an addendum to the non-discrimination policy that requires a Missoula public bathroom reserved specifically for conservative Christian politicians, clergy, and activists.

We owe it to our children.

There's More... :: (19 Comments, 92 words in story)
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