I’m also looking at some new things.
First of all, I’d like to discuss campaign finances.
I noticed the other night that in Montana Supreme Court race #3, Juras has raised $52,000 for the primary. Her main opponent, Sandefur, has raised $93,000 for the primary and another $46,000 for the general.
I’d like to assume that Sandefur will be the winner. Despite that, I remember VanDyke last year.
Didn’t he have a lot of money, and outside mailers, but he still lost?
Perhaps what I’m really trying to say is…give us some information on these races and who the hell these people are, you sleepy Montana newspapers you!
My Campaign Finances
That’s when the latest C-5 income and spending reports for Bullock and Gianforte will be out. You’ll remember that I looked that those in detail in both March and April.
I should really do a bit more on Juneau and Zinke, but I’m not as familiar with the federal reporting system, or the filing deadlines. If you are, please share the links.
Now, I got the email from the Commissioner of Political Practices office yesterday telling me to get my first C-5 in by 5 PM on Tuesday.
I’d suggest doing this, as you’ll get in trouble if you don’t (I’m not sure what the penalties are).
The next C-5 after that is due on May 26.
For the most part, this is the job of the campaign treasurer. I serve as my own treasurer, and I can tell you right now that my C-5 is done and looks like this:
My second C-5 will be really easy to fill out as it’ll be the same as the first.
Yep, I’ve spent all my campaign cash.
Please, do not send me anymore.
That’s right – I don’t need your money. What I could use is a letter to the Missoulian on my behalf.
Besides that…there’s not much you can do to help me. I guess you could go around and knock on doors, but hell, who wants to do that? Most of the candidates for the legislature don’t want to do that.
I don’t much want to either and I’ve been putting it off. The rainy weather this week has helped.
Don’t worry, I’ll get out there and you’ll hear about it soon.
Montana Democrats Sell Out
It’s a damn shame.
Mainly, we shouldn’t be surprised…considering Nancy Keenan’s at the helm of the Party. After all, she did spend all that time back in D.C. where this is just business as usual.
D.C. – that’s where the money comes from. Those D.C. types, boy…you gotta watch out for ‘em.
At the beginning of the month we had a birthday fundraiser for Juneau with Steny Hoyer. It cost $50 to $5,400.
Then on April 13 there was a birthday fundraiser for Bullock. It cost $50 to $1,320.
Someone commented to me via email that they:
“thought Missoula and Helena were demo strongholds. I looked at the Montana demo party website and thought this was interesting. It said county central committees are the backbone of the Montana democratic party.
Well there only 27 committees out of 56 counties. On the republican side they have 54 of 56. Talk about ignoring rural Montana. These eastern Montana rural counties have no demo committees. Sheridan, Valley, Roosevelt, Mccone, Phillips, Richland, Blaine, Daniels but all have GOP committees. These are almost all oil and gas production counties that Bullock vetoed infrastructure for.”
How long can you keep raising money with D.C. insiders while staying in the cities?
I know there’s a lot of talk of the rural areas deteriorating, losing people and all, but gee whiz – is clinging to the cities a viable long-term strategy, or a smart one?
Maybe it is viable with the trend in population and job patterns. But is it smart to just say to the people living in those rural areas that they don’t matter? That’s 90% of the state’s area that doesn’t feel like they matter, even if it is only 45% of the state’s population.
Well, Democratic leadership seems to be taking that stance. I can only shake my head.
Anger at the University
What problems, you ask? Yeah, it’s been awhile since I really went after Engstrom, but the problems remain.
Mainly, Administration is loony, students are suffering, and staff are getting laid off.
There is virtually no reporting on this in the Missoulian and if it wasn’t for the student newspaper the Kaimin, there’d be no pressure.
The pressure really begins with UM’s Administration.
You might remember in January when all that news came out about the hiring practices of UM vis-a-vis Mormons.
The Missoulian didn’t really do a good job on the article, and the Missoula Independent called them out on this in an article called The untold story of the Missoulian’s Mormon story.
“The Indy contacted Szpaller, but she declined to comment because she was ‘not cleared’ to discuss her story,” the Independent told us.
So…why wasn’t Szpaller cleared? Perhaps it was the overbearing editor she had, Matthew Bunk.
I’ve heard from someone else that after Layton Bradley – who was the professor who first spoke of the Mormon-hiring rumors – gave his information to Szpaller, he was threatened by the Administration and told Szpaller to withdraw everything.
That’s why the “real story,” as I’ve been told, never ran. The Mormon nepotism is actually far worse than anyone knows.
Responsible individuals at UM are “currently investigating nepotism within the University system’s upper tiers,” how those upper tiers are “selecting their own oversight boards, etc.”
When you look at the university’s budget it’s clear their situation is excruciating because they're trying to expand their way to success by building their way out of the current crisis. The most egregious example of this is the new $14 million Champion Center.
Meanwhile, the arts and humanities are being slashed. The reason for this, Administration tells us, is on account of enrollment numbers being down.
When those numbers have been analyzed, however, it’s been found that there’s a disproportionate amount of humanities being cut in comparison with the actual enrollment drops.
For example, the Business School, which has experienced a 20% enrollment drop, is only laying-off one person, while other departments are experiencing far more significant cuts despite slight enrollment drops.
An example is the library, which is being forced to terminate 13 positions, despite the fact that no new positions were created even while the rest of the campus grew and grew.
Meanwhile, all the upper administrators are dropping like flies around Homeland Security Advisory Council Trustee Engstrom, er…UM President Engstrom.
The man’s due to receive $500,000 in bonuses (semantics aside, Administration denies wholeheartedly that these are “bonuses” when that is in fact exactly what they are, despite the technical language they're trying to bury that terminology beneath).
The whole thing stinks and it stinks of money. It’s of course no secret that Administration has been prioritizing athletics over academia for a long time, but what is surprising is the contempt with which they're now destroying the humanities.
They're hiding this deliberation behind the technocratic language of statistics, but when those stats are analyzed the numbers add up to something that few are willing to discus.
The Kaimin has maintained pressure and that's been a source of collective frustration vis-a-vis the technocrats. A lot of the language comes from the horse's mouth, as concerned university members have conducted interviews and sit-downs with a wide array of faculty and staff.
And don't forget that KGVO's student journalist just won a Hearst Award for talking about UM's problems.
Getting back to the Mormon presence at UM, we know that the provost Perry Brown and the financial affairs coordinator Mike Reid are both high elders within the Church of Latter Day Saints, as is Scott Whittenburg,
Then there's the volleyball coach, the softball coach, the football coach, the athletic director - the list goes on and on. Nevertheless,the administration has been effective in intimidating that story away. Considering that religious politics have always been touchy, this hasn’t been hard to do.
It’s clear to concerned members of the UM community that the Montana Supreme Court will side with Krakauer in the 2012 rape records case.
The reason for this is that his claim that the university is using FERPA to shield itself from wrong doing is correct.
The university is doing a lot more than that, however, and those in the upper tiers will eventually pay the price.
Bullock’s Third Time at Bat
The Montana newspapers and TV stations are falling all over themselves trying to figure out the details.
Meanwhile, I went ahead and went back to the analysis I did on Halloween.
If you remember that post you’ll remember that I talked about bundling.
Well…is this Bullock infrastructure package one giant project bundled together, or is it various projects that different legislators will take interest in?
The former did not work in 2015. The latter worked for the past few decades.
In the press release the governor’s office put out, we’re told that Bullock wants $200 million for infrastructure.
Seems low to me.
Worse, he wants to do the exact same failed strategy as last time – cash and bonds.
The big argument over infrastructure last time was about going into debt when he actually had the cash not to. Bullock wanted to, the GOP did not.
Notice I don’t say Democrats wanted to. Many did not want to but were pressured by the Party to stay silent.
On top of the exact same failed push, Bullock is adding a new twist – screwing around with the Coal Tax Severance Fund “to create the Build Montana Trust to fund Montana’s infrastructure needs in the future.”
Bold ideas…will they get the green light?
Since it’s all but a given that the GOP will have the legislature again, I’m not holding my breath.
I’d like more details, and specifically, I’d like to see what’s being carried over from the failed 2015 infrastructure bill. Here’s the want list from that one:
Those totals come to $80.2 million and at the time that failed, we had $455 million in the bank as a surplus.
That money has since decreased, and although I don’t have a firm number, I think it’s around $300 million now.
When you factor in the original infrastructure bill that Bullock proposed back in 2014, and the additional $335.4 million that it contained, you’d have a want list that looks like this:
That graph totals out at $415.6 million. We don’t have the money for that, but when you take out the $165.8 million in Long Range Building Program appropriations you’ll have a total of $249.8 million.
You can see why Bullock wants to tap into the Coal Tax Trust Fund to secure the rest of the money he needs - he has no choice.
Will GOP legislators allow him to do that? Maybe, but maybe not. Bullock has no power over it other than what he can negotiate.
Once again, the Democrats’ inability to take even one chamber of the legislature has them on the defense.
I’m also convinced that Trump will beat Hillary in November. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll drive turnout big time. Democratic losses in Montana this year will be immense (though Tester should win in '18 due to the backlash).
At least Bullock has an infrastructure plan, and he put Gianforte on the defensive because of that.
Here’s the Gianforte infrastructure plan – bitchin’ and bellyachin’: