Letters to the Editor, June 2

Disappearing bells and whistles face new heritage commission director

Dear Editor,

The bell used to ring in the fire tower, the train whistle used to alert you to an incoming train at either end of the line. The music machines used to pound out rinky-tink tunes to the delighted visitors at the music hall.

All of these sounds of the past have disappeared at Nevada City, which along with Virginia City, it’s nearby neighbor is seeing a disturbing trend in the presentation of these historic sites. There are a lot of resident shop owners as well as tourists, excited about the potential and the future of Virginia City. Unfortunately, that doesn’t see to include the Montana Heritage Commission.

The Heritage Commission itself, is the in the process of hiring a new executive director, so while we can dream about what kind of person we would like to see at the helm, don’t hold your breathe.

Stripping Nevada City of its collection of Chinese artifacts is a terrible mistake. Remember this is a living history museum, not an archive for scholarly study.

Bring in a director who is excited about developing and promoting the living history of Virginia City and Nevada City. Someone who will establish an open dialogue with the residents and workers of these wonderful historic sites. People who have a special love for the history and heritage so dear to their hearts.

Jack Murphy


Wagner responds to criticism, explains TSEP bill

Dear Editor,

May 19, in an article written by the Editor, Greg Lemon, county commissioners Jim Hart and Dave Schulz were quoted as disappointed with a representative that does not serve the people of Madison County. Dave Schulz called it “rabble rousing” and Jim Hart stated “matters such as presidential qualifications and sound money are not important to the people of Madison County.”

While I respect individual freedom to choose priorities, I find the road of disappointment is wide and runs both ways. Schulz and Harts’ comments are a clear indication of their own tunnel vision. Most of the folks I visit with in Madison County look for strong leadership to return our state and our country to its constitutional limitations. This will take discipline, education and perseverance. It will require sacrifice, honest and open dialogue, and commitment to hold each one of us accountable. The path of responsibility is very narrow on the issue of House Bill 351. The governor chose to line item veto two important projects to Madison County with apparently no sensible reasoning. This could be expected from a governor who believes he is a king. Both projects in Madison County rated in the top five priorities in accordance with the department of commerce’s stated criteria. The governor simply did what he did because he could. I was told by legislative staff that it is perfectly within his power to do so.

Let me be perfectly clear. Although I have personally never met the governor, his actions affirm that I have little or nothing in common with him. Article II, Sec. 1 of the Montana Constitution clearly states, “All government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole”.  The department of commerce is the reliable source of judgment in regard to TSEP projects. That is one of the things they get paid to do. I lobbied other legislators to restore TSEP funding – it was restored, and then vetoed in parts to serve the king’s agenda.

Article II, Sect. 4., states, “neither State nor any person, firm, corporation, or institution shall discriminate against any person in the exercise of his civil or political rights on account of race, color, sex, social origin or condition, or political, or religious ideas. If commissioner Schulz is correct – and it would appear to me that he is – the governor is using his power and authority to deny certain representatives the right to speak freely. When someone speaks against him he line item vetoes their county projects funded by TSEP funds, so it is clear to me that the blame rests squarely on the governor’s desk only.

This week I voted to override the governor’s line item veto of HB 351 for the same reasons I voted against the bill before. I, for one, am sick of the shell game played to make numbers sound better than they are. The governor touts a $350 million projected surplus. We, by his own statements, have money to buy more state recreation ground, a fishing pond in Butte Silver Bow, etc. Gosh, even enough for health and human services to continue funding programs such as free birth control, but not enough to fund necessary projects for the health, safety and well being of Madison County and the environment. Yes, the governor and I have very different priorities and principles.

Bob Wagner

Rep. House District 71


What was Wagner thinking?

Dear Editor,

With summer just around the corner, Memorial Day, state track meets and graduations behind us (congratulations to all), I now would like to reflect on the past legislative session.

As a voter of House District 71 and knowing the general mindset of my neighbors, we were let down by our representative Bob Wagner. We each have our own political beliefs, but as the representative of all the people of this district, most were completely forgotten about because of some far-right ideologies, which did not represent the needs and expectations of this district.

There may be some valid ideas in the smart money debate. There was certainly no reason to spend all the precious time on it and certainly not one minute should have been spent on whether our president had a valid birth certificate. At this point who cares. All it accomplished was to make the state of Montana and House District 71 look very foolish.

There were many issues that need attention but none more than the money appropriated for the town of Sheridan’s wastewater treatment facility or the Blaine Springs Bridge replacement project. Both of these projects were vetoed by Governor Schweitzer because Mr. Wagner and the governor don’t get along and neither project was seriously defended by Mr. Wagner. Both representatives of our projects are at fault.  Without these monies it means both projects will have to wait. The town of Sheridan’s sewer rates will go up again and the unsafe Blaine Springs Bridge will be on hold once again. Our house district deserves better representation than what we are currently receiving.

Ray Shaw



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