A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

19 November 2017 — 2125 mdt

Sunday roundup

Note to readers. Flathead Memo is not standing down for Thanksgiving week, but it is stepping back a bit to let the editor and janitor tend to mundane, but time consuming, duties, and to take a needed break from the stress resulting from a blogger's self-imposed deadlines.

Another candidate for Flathead County Sheriff

Brian Heino, a patrol commander in the Flathead Sheriff’s office, will run for Flathead County Sheriff next year, reports the Flathead Beacon. Keith Stahlberg and Calvin Beringer also seek the position. Stahlberg and Beringer have filed C-1 forms, which allow a candidate to start raising money, with Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices, but MTCOPP does not report a C-1 for Henio.

According to the Beacon, Sheriff Chuck Curry has not yet decided whether to run for re-election. My sources report he’s not running.

Brodehl for commissioner, Ahner for county attorney

Termed out Rep. Randy Brodehl (R-Evergreen) filed on 9 November 2017 a C-1 as a Republican for the Flathead County Commission District 3 seat currently occupied by Republican Gary Krueger. Brodehl is a former fire chief for Kalispell. Krueger, elected in 2012, is finishing his first term.

Travis Ahner, a deputy county attorney, filed on 24 October 2017 a C-1 as a Republican for Flathead County Attorney. My sources report that incumbent Ed Corrigan may not seek another term. If Corrigan is retiring, there’ll be a contested GOP primary and competing claims of “I’ll hang ‘em higher than you.”

Flathead legislative C-1 filings

Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell) for a third term in House District 7. Garner, a former Kalispell police chief, thinks for himself, a trait not universally admired in today’s Republican Party, and may be opposed in the primary. A smart, hungry, Democrat could win this district in a wave election — if that Democrat gets cracking now.

Sen. Mark Blasdel (R-Kalispell) for a second term in Senate District 8. Blasdel, a former majority leader in the MT House, missed the special legislative session because of a long planned vacation. His vote wasn’t needed by his party.

Jennifer Allen, a Democrat, for Senate District 5, currently represented by Sen. Bob Keenan (R-Bigfork). This is a deep red district, and Keenan is popular, and has many years of legislative service.

Daniel Roat, a Democrats, for House District 10, currently represented by Mark Noland (R-Bigfork). This is another deep red district. MTCOPP, incidentally, has mistakenly filed Roat’s C-1 under Senate District 10.

House Districts 8 and 9 are open seats that lean heavily Republican, but might be within reach of smart, hungry, Democrats in a wave election — if they get cracking now.

The sunflower state needs a strong sunshine law

Kansas shrugged, elected Laffernomics zealot Sam Brownback governor, and turned itself into an Ayn Randian dystopia. Worse, as the Kansas City Star reports, Brownback regime may be the most secretive state government in American history. I second Charles Pierce’s recommendation:

The series in the Star is worth reading in full, because what happened in Kansas is precisely what the Republican Party has in mind for the country. This will necessarily including burying the evidence the way Brownback and his government have in Kansas. What happened there was a pure experiment in the supply-side, laissez-faire economics that are the primary foundation of respectable conservative crazy. They don’t work. They never will work. Their impact on the lives of ordinary people is inevitably and profoundly destructive.

Montana has a strong open meeting law and a strong sunshine clause in its constitution, but neither means anything without strong public support for openness in government. If Montanans elect a governor who signs instead of vetoes the crackpot bills their Republican dominated legislature keep passing, they’ll find it harder and harder to discover what their elected and appointed officials are doing. What happened to Kansas could happen here.