Letters to the Editor from the June 9 edition

Must be a fully informed electorate

Dear Editor,

Two issues arise in the ongoing discussion of the HD71 representative. Because Madison County designates its offices as “nonpartisan,” the election administrator may determine that a primary election need not be held under certain conditions (Sec. 13-14-115 MCA). In the June 2010 primary election, three candidates were on the ballot for HD71. Without a run-off for the top two, only one candidate went on to the general election. The winning candidate took 1151 votes. The other two received 1025 and 504 votes. The voters preferred two other candidates over the winning candidate by 378 votes. The winner did not have an absolute majority, only a simple majority. Most people did not vote for Bob Wagner in the primary election but he was our only choice in the general.

Montana law in Sec. 13-14-115 goes on to specifically state that the governing body may require that a primary election (run-off) be held if it passes a resolution, not more than 10 days after the close of filing by candidates for election, stating that a primary election must be held. The people of Madison County should demand this, if necessary, at the next primary election so we have a real choice of a candidate who has the support of the absolute majority of our citizens.

Secondly, Bob Wagner’s agenda was known before the election. We should have been aware that his sights were aligned with the national right-wing agenda; it was all stated in the Republican State Party platform. The tea-party folks have stated “why fight city hall when you can become city hall.” Many of them, including the oath-keepers, did run, and their election promoted the profusion of unconstitutional and anti-social legislation we suffered in the 62nd session.    Fortunately, the separation of powers allowed the executive branch to veto many extreme enactments. For whatever reason, it is very unfortunate that budget line items important to Madison County were vetoed. We all know our County and State have been mortified by some legislators’ words or actions.

Bob Wagner’s constant posturing that he “understands the constitution” belies his support of some outright unconstitutional legislation and some that suit his religiosity.

He says he loves the U.S. and Montana constitutions, but then sponsors laws which negate or contradict portions of both. His statements lead one to believe he does not seem to understand the separation of church and state, nor the separation of the three branches of government. He rants against government laws but supports proposed laws that would harm many of our constitutional rights, the rule of local government and the judicial system.

The buck stops with a fully informed electorate.

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges

Heritage Commission taking care of things responsibly in Virginia and Nevada City

Dear Editor,

I too, would like to discuss bells, whistles, Chinese artifacts and the Montana Heritage Commission’s activities in Nevada City and Virginia City. I admit that I may not have 100 percent of the facts, but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

The bell that used to ring in Nevada City (hanging in the Yellowstone Park tower)…the log holding the bell broke. When the repairmen came to try to repair the log, it was discovered that the log holding the bell and the stacked log tower was rotting away. Shame on the commission for removing the tower before it fell on someone.

The train whistles in the two towns, I definitely miss those; it made my heart smile and an afternoon in the office wasn’t quite so long when that whistle echoed through town. But I was on one of the last runs the Baldwin Steam Engine #12 made. When it pulled into the station, the staff would not let passengers off for awhile. Once we were allowed to leave the train, I asked one of the staff what the problem had been and I was told that the pressure hadn’t come down enough. When I queried what that meant, I was told, “well, it’s a giant pressure cooker and if it gets too much pressure, it can blow its top.” I was not surprised when the following year, the agency that insures the engine wanted a safety inspection before re-issuing the insurance. Shame on the commission for refusing to operate an uninspected and thereby uninsured steam engine.

The little train’s fate was then sealed when the court ordered the commission to remove a section of track that was laid on land that didn’t belong to them (and they couldn’t afford to purchase the land). Shame on the commission for following a court ordered mandate. And shame on the commission for not spending money they didn’t possess to have the track re-engineered just weeks before opening day.

If you haven’t seen the new entrance to the Nevada City Museum, stop by, check it out. It’s been reworked to create a more formal entrance. Once stepping through the main doors, you find yourself in a tasteful gift shop and once you purchase your tickets, the music hall awaits. The machines have been moved about some and some of the plaques have been redone but my personal favorite (the automatic violin) sounds as great as ever. Shame on the commission for creating an air of professionalism.

The Chinese artifacts have indeed been moved from Nevada City and are back in Butte at the Mai Wah Society’s Museum. Mr. Bovey purchased the items from them back in ’46 and set them in display in Nevada City. Unfortunately, many of the cabins they were put into didn’t have wood floors and were not very well set to preserve many of those items. I’ve heard that when the artifacts were being removed from the cabins that some of them disintegrated beyond repair. And, the commission did not give the artifacts away, they are on loan to the Mai Wah Society for five years (a common practice among museums). And in exchange for the loan, the Mai Wah Society will help the commission construct a historically accurate exhibit of the Chinese culture in Alder Gulch. Shame on the commission for protecting artifacts and ensuring a better museum experience in the future.

When the state purchased the Bovey collection and created the Montana Heritage Preservation and Development Commission (MHC), MHC was given a certain amount of years to become financially self sufficient. That deadline has come and gone and the properties are still not financially stable. And this year’s legislation pulled significant funding from the program. The MCH has a well-rounded staff in general, but what they don’t have is a business manager; someone versed in fund raising, marketing, etc.  As a Living History Interpreter for the Montana Heritage Commission with a special love of history and a heritage dear to my heart, that is what I’m holding my breath for.

Leona Stredwick

Virginia City

We appreciate your appreciation

Ruby Valley Ambulance Service members would like to thank all who had a hand in the wonderful appreciation dinner served to us. Tom and Sheri Luksha spearheaded the event and many others stepped in to help. It was a great evening of fun, fantastic food, and fellowship and will long be remembered.

Thank you,

Ruby Valley Ambulance Service


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