Letters to the Editor, July 12 edition

Redistricting could dramatically change current district structure

Dear Editor,

Every 10 years, following the federal population census, Article V of the Montana Constitution requires the formation of a Districting Commission. The data from the census is used to re-appropriate the state into legislative districts based on population. This re-districting has the power to dramatically affect your area of House District 71 and Senate District 36.

Currently five plans are proposed by the Districting Committee: urban rural, existing, deviation, subdivision, and communities.

As residents of these areas, here are the key points you need to know: Only one of these plans will keep Madison County unchanged; Four of the plans remove Whitehall, parts of Cardwell, and Pipestone from HD71/SD36 and place them within the Butte district; Four plans call for Madison County to be split at least once by removing parts of Twin Bridges and Sheridan and placing them into Beaverhead County; Two plans redistrict Madison County/Big Sky into Gallatin County; After loosing those population bases, HD71/SD36 will regain numbers by adding Willow Creek and West Yellowstone.

I firmly believe that none of the proposed plans will benefit HD71/SD36. I oppose splitting Madison County in any way, and I am not in support of redistricting Whitehall into the Butte legislative district. Madison County should be left whole and the Whitehall area should remain in an area where shared values already exist (farming, ranching, mining, recreational tourism, etc).

Join me in raising your voice; public comments will play a vital role in the development of your future representation. Now is the time to comment, the commission is open to hearing all options. We need individuals and county commissioners to comment. The Jefferson County Commissioners, have submitted a proposal that best addresses their area, ideally Madison and Beaverhead County Commissioners will also present an option.

The Districting Commission will meet for one week beginning Aug. 13. If we do not voice our concerns about the re-districting, our area will change completely. Please send your letters to the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission, Legislative Services Division
PO Box 201706
, Helena, MT 59620-1706; by email to districting@mt.gov, or by fax to 406-444-3036.

For more information visit: leg.mt.gov/districting.

Kim Miller

Independent Candidate

House District 71

Virginia City

American Dream lost

Dear Editor,

Reply to Bill Hanley letter to the editor, “No more American Dream,” lawmakers concerned about health effects on humans from mountaintop removal coal mining set forth legislation in the U.S. House, which would place a moratorium on permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining until health studies are conducted. Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia’s American Dream have died with higher birth defects, circulatory/respiratory, central nervous system, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital, and cancer. Evidence of greater levels of water and air pollution resulting from mountaintop removal.

Whole communities having to pipe water from nearby communities because their aquifers and rivers have been polluted by mountaintop removal. A mother unknowingly bathed her three-year-old daughter in arsenic laced water from mountaintop removal! Property value dropped!

Of course the coal industry hates the EPA. The EPA is holding the coal industry accountable, after all, how is the average property owner going to take the coal companies to court after they have lost everything.

Mountaintop removal is a cheap way to extract coal, making a bigger profit for coal companies. You can bet if a corporation bad mouths the EPA, they are polluters, and they are just like a thief that wish banks would not lock their doors or have a safe.

There is a reason why other news outlets are not talking about the Fox News report Mr. Hanley, because it’s a planted story from the coal companies – on Fox only. Now ask Rep. Denny Rehberg how he will vote.

Fox News – the more you watch, the less you know!

Judith Wiancko

Ennis

Pancake breakfast serves more than 1,100, many thanks

Dear Editor,

Madison Valley Rural Fire Department held their annual Pancake Breakfast the morning of July Fourth and fed more than 1,100 supporters. This is our only fund raising event and the money raised allows the fire department to provide additional support to our volunteer fire fighters. Specifically we recently obtained Rope Rescue Gear and Ice Rescue Gear from Pancake Breakfast funds. The funds are also used to supplement the regular budget from the county, most recently to provide some equipment on a used engine we purchased.

Obviously this year with two large fires in our county already the need for a well-supported fire department is on the mind of many. Our pancake breakfast is a big undertaking and this year we had an extremely generous turnout of support from many of our local friends and neighbors. We want you to know how much we appreciate the time many of you spent helping with initial clean up, set up, serving and then the big clean up after the event.

A big thank you to all of you that came to the breakfast, donated time for the event and also those of you that made additional donations to our department.

And finally, thank you to everyone for complying with the county orders for no fireworks over the Fourth.  Fire danger remains very high and your continued diligence will be appreciated.

Bob Briggs and Dave Horton, Pancake Breakfast Co-Chairs.

Madison Valley Rural Fire Department

Ennis

Two examples of why electing pragmatic leaders is vital

Dear Editor,

Two lamenting letters last week bring to mind cause and effect. One author decries, aptly, the shortfall of the state’s retirement funds, some $2 billion. How’d this happen?

Well, about 12 years ago then Rep. Dave Lewis introduced House Bill 294, which provided a 3 percent annual increase in retirement benefits. It passed the GOP controlled legislature and Gov. Judy Martz signed it.

Those promoting the bill felt that Wall Street would pay for everything through infinite growth. Our retirement funds were heavily invested in Wall Street stocks. In the following four years, Montana pension funds lost almost 20 percent in value even as pension obligations increased almost 21 percent. For every dollar public employees contributed, they lost $1.56. Quickly reality set in, the markets crashed in 2008 and in these ensuing years HB294 has cost taxpayers dearly. Now what?

The second author is correct in that cellulosic biofuels are at this time nonexistent but plenty of information about this quagmire does exist in many news sources, which are probably more accurate than Fox News. Biofuel legislation got its kickoff in President George W. Bush’s call for this technology in his 2006 State of the Union address, followed by congress passing a 2007 law mandating the use of biofuels and resulting Environmental Protection Agency action. Now what?

The moral of the stories may be that many of the effects of our politicians’ causes may be not well thought out and alarmingly short-sighted. Therefore, we should scrutinize all candidates’ words and elect non-ideological and pragmatic people. Be an informed voter.

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges

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