After that I’ll just mention a few miscellaneous things before the weekend.
There’s not much else to do – it’s pretty slow right now.
- I see that Richard Opper of DPHHS and Mike Batista of Corrections are both leaving Bullock’s cabinet. I expect more will leave in the coming weeks.
- The Congolese family that Soft Landing Missoula brought in is doing well, though concerns over “having enough money for the family, having enough hours of work, getting enough help,” is the "big challenge."
- More than 2,000 people are unemployed in Missoula County right now, and nearly 2,200 are out of work in Flathead County.
- Helena High will remain in the Intensive Assistance Program for another 2 years, despite having teachers take on extra classes to lower the 18 classes that’d had more than the 30 students allowable.
- One of the women in Kalispell that locked her kids in the basement will get 5 years in prison and the other will get 3 years.
Where’s Mayor Engen?
Mayor Engen has been out of office “dealing with personal medical issues” for 16 days now.
I’m not sure that’s quite accurate, however.
We heard the news that he was out of office on November 2, but he might have been gone a few days or even a week before that.
I’m not sure anyone knows.
And all of this is happening when the mayor makes $83,174 a year and gets a $6,600 a year vehicle allowance on top of it.
The previous mayor made $57,956, although that was way back in 2005.
Mayor Engen has been around since then, in office for more than a decade now.
Well, he’s not currently in office, at the moment at least.
Where is he…and why is he there?
Those are good questions. I hope we hear more soon.
What’s Going on with Medical Marijuana?
We do know that in July 2017 the initiative that was just passed will go into effect. With a couple months for grow time, new patients can get pot again around November 2017.
I say new patients because the vast majority will have to get a new doctor’s appointment and a new card.
Meanwhile, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) is trying like heck to find some way to let the initiative take effect now…or next week…or next month.
Any time, really.
I applaud them for that, but it must be remembered that their own clerical error in the initiative language gave us that 2017 date and not the November 2016 date that many were expecting.
It’s that ‘many were expecting’ part that I think will give MTCIA their best shot in court in front of a judge.
Who that judge is or what that court may be, I have no idea.
I’m not sure they could even get a hearing, however, let alone a judge to say the initiative goes into effect now.
The legislature is another option, but a slim one at best. There are a few bills out there to make medical marijuana go into effect as it was upon signature from the governor…but I don’t think the bill will get that far.
How those bills will even make it out of the GOP-controlled committees – the members of which we’re not sure of quite yet – is beyond me.
So I really do think that marijuana patients will have to wait a year.
Personally, I blame MTCIA for this, as it was their error in the first place that created the current problem.
I feel the organization needs to get new leaders because of this, though many do not agree with me on that.
We’ll see what happens going forward, though I’m personally not confident MTCIA will prevail in court or the legislature.
What’s Tester’s Plan?
I’m not sure he’ll win, but then I’m one of the “Democrats who are disgusted with, and embittered by, the mess the Democratic Party’s establishment made of the 2016 election,” that James Conner mentioned today.
Conner thinks this will be “the toughest election” of Tester’s life, and I think he might be right on that.
Mike Fellows is gone from the Libertarian Party and I’m not sure they’ll pull in 6.6% they got in 2012.
Plus, what about those counties that were close last time? And when I say close, I mean that Tester won them by a few points.
- Chouteau: Tester by 1.86%
- Lake: Tester by 6.33%
- Park: Tester by 4.28%
- Rosebud: Tester by 3.55%
- Yellowstone: Tester by 0.71%
I’m sure Tester’s staff has already looked at those numbers, compared them with the U.S. House county numbers from 2014, and maybe even some 2016 county elections results.
They know that this map from 2012 showing what counties Tester won in will probably look different come 2018:
So Tester’s got his work cut out for him.
I sure hope he doesn’t think a ton of fundraising and the TV ads and mailers it buys him are going to be enough.
I’m not sure those kinds of tactics are as effective after this 2016 cycle.
Let’s not forget, either, that he has to pull in Democrats like me…which I don’t see happening.
We’re sick of the Washington rot, the corruption, the good ol’ boys clubs, and fact that people like Tester can run again and again and again.
We need congressional term limits and we need them bad. That fossil Nancy Pelosi trying to secure her leadership position again – at the ripe old age of 76 – should make that perfectly clear.
It’s easy to understand why young people don’t give a damn.
They make up 31% of the electorate today, or 69.2 million people.
Still, just about 50% of them voted, or 34.6 million of them.
Regular voter turnout is 58%.
You can see more on millennial voting here.
I feel 37% of millennials voted for Trump because they’re pissed at the establishment.
Tester’s the #2 in the Senate for that establishment, and that’ll be something he both runs on and hides from in 2018.
But 2018 is a long time from now.
Despite the fundraising efforts that Tester is engaged in right now – mostly email solicitations (I’m not sure of the high-priced dinners he’s doing) – a lot could change.
By mid-2017, that ‘old swamp’ leadership that Tester represents could be back in vogue.
Trump could be so bad that even dark money raisers like Tester could be turned to for answers.
Anything could happen, in other words.
It’ll be interesting to watch it all unfold.
Letters to Companies
How about the movies?
I go to the theatre now and again and this week I went and saw The Arrival and Doctor Strange.
The movies were fine, but one thing bothered me – that damn Coca Cola ad right before the feature.
I know you know what I’m talking about.
It’s the one with the parents reminiscing on their first date to the theatre, the girl gets her skirt caught in the door…
Yeah, you’ve seen it.
You’ve probably seen it all year.
I have, and gosh, am I sick of it.
I’m so sick of it I’ve resorted to closing my eyes when that ad comes on.
But what can you do?
Rise up and shout out in the theatre how pissed you are, how this ad should not be playing on every movie all year long?
Many will agree with you, but what’ll that do?
Nothing, that’s what, a big ol’ plate of nothing.
So this week I took it upon myself to write a letter to both Coca-Cola and Carmike Cinemas asking them to get rid of that ad.
I’ve also requested that they have a better ad rotation in 2017.
Both companies are based in Georgia and both should be getting my letter today.
Will it do anything?
Maybe I’ll get a chuckle at the office Christmas party if they save letters like that.
But all it cost me was a little time, two stamps, and not much more.
If thousands of people – maybe just hundreds – did the same thing as me, though, maybe those companies would change something.
I think companies can change faster than our government and our politicians.
Most politicians won't read your letters, according to this congressional staffer.
So I think from now on I’ll send out more letters to companies that are bothering me.
I think I’ll do one this afternoon, actually, to the Gap, a company with terrible pay for its third-world workers...$0.24 an hour.
Will it matter?
Well, it’ll make me feel good.
Gotta stick it to the man somehow.
I’m sure several legislators have read through it by now.
If you don’t want to wade into that, please remember that I did a bunch of tax and spending posts in 2015.
You can see a link to most of those here.
We’re also heading into the holiday gift-buying season so check out my post on 8 Great Montana Small Businesses to Buy Holiday Gifts From.
If you want to buy something from Amazon, please use the link below.
I get about 6% of the list price on anything you buy.
Last December you helped me earn $120 doing that.