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

1 September 2017 — 1401 mdt

Tornow missed 14 August withdrawal deadline

Yesterday, Tom Tornow announced he’s withdrawing as a candidate for municipal judge in Whitefish. He’s shut down his campaign’s website and suspended campaigning — but his name will be on the 7 November ballot because he missed the 14 August deadline for having his name struck from the ballot. He’ll receive some votes, and in a close election between Kristi Curtis and William Hileman, Jr., those votes could determine the election’s outcome.

There’s undoubtedly a backstory to his belated decision to stop campaigning that was not addressed in his withdrawal announcement. Perhaps that will be revealed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he deserves the thanks of his community for standing for election and for his efforts to make Whitefish a better place to live.

Sperry Chalet probably won’t be rebuilt

The old chalet burned down yesterday, it’s tinder dry wood ignited by the Sprague Fire. No one was injured. Many were saddened by the demise of the chalet, which has a large and relatively well-heeled constituency, and which is a relic of the European “all this luxury in wilderness” style of backcountry visitation that dominated the early days of Glacier and many large national parks. Quite likely, there will be a campaign to rebuild the chalet.

In the anti-wilderness Trump administration, anything is possible, but the likelihood the chalet will be rebuilt is low. Rebuilding would be extremely expensive. More important, the location isn’t suitable for a chalet. Were the site now unoccupied, even a backcountry campground there might not pass environmental muster, and a new chalet never would be approved. The National Park Service should knock down the stones that didn’t burn, remove the trash, restore the site to its pre-chalet condition, and ban horses from the trail. That will require money, and probably entail some unpleasant skirmishes with the historic preservation zealots, but it’s the best solution for the park and future generations.