A Flathead Valley, Montana, based independent journal of observation, analysis, and opinion.

26 November 2007

The smart way to decide tied elections

Updated. When Whitefish City Council candidate Turner Askew asked for a manual recount in a close election, a prudent request given the trouble the county’s elections department is having conducting elections and counting ballots, he expected the numbers would change, but that either he or his opponent would be declared the winner. Instead, the recount ended in a tie — and, in a potential political mess.

Tied elections are uncommon, but they do occur. Usually, the tie is broken by the public toss of a fair coin, or its functional equivalent, and the winner takes his seat, sometimes with the new nickname of “Lucky” and joshing offers to join junkets to Las Vegas. In Montana, however, the law specifies the political body that must choose between the tied candidates, but does not mandate the method for breaking the tie. That leads to the worst of all methods: attempts to award the election by applying political criteria.

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24 October 2007

Kudus to the Beacon — and Nick, let’s stop the Bowman bashing

Updated. My kudus to Kellyn Brown and the crew at the Flathead Beacon for making the 24-page Kaleva report on the death of Jeffrey Bowman available on the Beacon’s website. The Beacon’s website also has the full text of the Bowman’s statement of 23 October. That’s modern journalism at its best.

There are several annexes, exhibits, appendices, etc., to the report, that I need to study before commenting on Kaleva’s findings.

Time to stop the bashing. What I do not need to study further before commenting, however, is the despicable campaign of vitriol and abuse…

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23 October 2007

Awaiting the Kaleva report

According to stories in today’s (23 October 2007) Missoulian and the Interlake, the Bigfork School District will, this evening, release the Kaleva report on the death of Jeffrey Bowman, who collapsed during the second football practice at Bigfork High School and died several days later.

Presumably, the school district will post a PDF of the report on its website. If it does not, I will obtain a copy, digitize it if necessary, and post it here.

I may offer further comments after reading the report.


11 October 2007

Questions concerning the death of Bigfork football player Jeffrey Bowman

There was a curious story in the printed edition of the 11 October 2007 Daily InterLake on the investigation of the death of Jeffrey Bowman, the high school football player in Bigfork who died in August after his heart stopped during football practice. According to the InterLake, Bowman’s attorney asked the Bigfork School District to delay releasing the report of the investigation of the incident.

The delay was granted, which is not surprising given the school district’s legal predicament…

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24 September 2007

Why mail ballots are bad

Yesterday, during an exchange of emails with a legislator on what I would call government reform, the recent trend of cities (Whitefish, Missoula, among others) holding municipal elections by mail ballot arose. I said that I thought holding these elections — indeed all elections — by mail was a terrible mistake. He asked, “Why are mail-in ballots bad?”

In my reply I made three points…

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19 September 2007

Campus police goons tackle free speech in Florida

No one in public life goes through a political career without encountering a heckler. It's part of the rough and tumble of politics, of robust debate. All politicians learn to deal with hecklers, and most learn to do it with wit and class.

Take, for example, Harold Wilson (1916–1995), the great labor leader who was twice prime minister of Great Britain. When a heckler interrupted one of Wilson’s speeches by bellowing “rubbish…

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12 September 2007

Flathead provides 55 percent of Ron Paul’s Montana money

That’s right — and just four donors account for $5,909 that the ultra-long-shot Texas physician, Congressman, and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination has raised locally in contributions of more than $200. Statewide, he’s raised at least $10,604, according to www.opensecrets.org.

Who are the Flathead Four?…

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