It sits there staring at us, wondering why we haven’t funded it since 2011.
Oh, we say we want to fund infrastructure…it’s just that it never gets done.
In 2013 the infrastructure bill made it to Bullock but he vetoed it, saying he wanted a larger surplus.
In 2015 it went like this:
- On January 29 HB 5, a bill that asked for $391 million in infrastructure, (with $212 million of that coming from bonds), was shot down by the GOP, mainly Tea Party types.
- On March 17 we first saw SB 416 introduced by the GOP, asking for $150 million in infrastructure.
- It was then shot down on April 27 by the GOP.
So now for 2017 Bullock wants $200 million for infrastructure…but he won’t tell us the details.
I’m pretty sure one detail is the Montana Historical Society’s pet project, the Montana Heritage Center.
You’ll remember that I discussed that $37.5 million center extensively back in August 2015 in a report called The Montana Historical Society: Then, Now and Tomorrow.
Today Bob Brown, the President of the Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees, is making the newspaper opinion column rounds with a piece touting this project.
You can read it for free on Last Best News, which is also where I left a long and disparaging comment of both Bob Brown and the Historical Society’s current director, Bruce Whittenberg.
I encourage you to check it out.
For the most part…why can’t we get this center funded, and to take it a step further, should we get this center funded?
Well, do we want jobs?
I really tried to drive the point home last year that Montana’s history is creating jobs via the film industry, which pulls the tourists in.
I’d love it if our Film Office here in Montana would do more research on this.
The numbers I have in that old post from last year tell us that $50 million was expected to come into the Bozeman economy from the 76-day HBO Lewis and Clark miniseries shoot.
I mentioned that on a comment on the Flathead Beacon last year when an article about the film The Revenant came up.
Someone then emailed me back saying that those numbers were not accurate.
I wish they were accurate, and I wish we had some good numbers to go off of.
I was hoping to discuss that with the Historical Society’s Director last week when I called him.
I hoped to get a meeting so we could talk about our utter failure in capitalizing on our history.
We could do this by using our film, tourism and historical center to craft marketing plans, long-term outlooks, and just plain ol’ ideas on how to get more money into the state via our history, Hollywood’s interest in it, and people’s desire to come and actually see the lands that they saw on the big screen.
Why aren’t we doing this?
Well, maybe it’s because state government in Helena is incompetent.
I pointed out to one of the main research staff in the Historical Society’s Research Center that their files were not in good shape.
For instance, why is there just one article on the Yellowstone Pipeline…and that going to when it was built in 1955 or so?
When it comes to many of our politicians, the information we have is scant.
It’s in the archives and in the microfiche of old newspapers, but Historical Society staff are too busy sitting around and chatting to get that information closer to our fingertips.
We see the same incompetence statewide with the agency-by-agency failure to put information on web pages instead of buried in PDF files that people are forced to download and skim through.
Who does that?
No one, and for state government types that don't want any sunshine on what they're doing, that's great.
Getting back to history...personally, I like going through a single file for a subject or a person to find my information.
I wish the Historical Society would work harder but they do not. Instead of trying to help us improve the lives of common Montanans now, they’re putting out books about old school marms.
Perhaps there is a hungry audience for that, but I don’t think so.
I think most of the Historical Society’s efforts have fallen flat lately. I don’t think many people care about them at all.
So when I see letters from the head of the Historical Society’s board, and when I see virtually nothing of value come from the Historical Society in the nearly 5 years the current director has in place, I take issue.
I wouldn’t expect any funding for the new Historical Society building now or well into the future.
Until you folks at the Historical Society start making us think that you’re actually helping us, why should we help you?
Currently I don’t know how you’re helping us common citizens.
I don’t think you do either.
That’s a good place to start.
I know the 53% of Indians that are out of work up there on the Fort Peck Indian reservation would like some work.
Perhaps they’ll dress up and ride around on horses and whoop it up a bit, like they were eager to do for the HBO series.
Yes, history can create jobs in this state, and in many, many ways.
Film crews staying in hotels and renting cars and eating at restaurants is just one part of it, and a part that we oh so dearly need to unionize and give some political muscle to.
Again, something we don’t talk about…why is that?
Perhaps it’s because we never really talked about the monumental loss of union jobs we suffered when Butte and Anaconda went under more than 30 years ago now.
It’s been a generation – it’s time.
It’s time to talk about that, and the folks at the Historical Society would seem a wonderful bunch to do so.
Alas, all we hear from them is their need for money.
Thanks, guys…but we’re not interested in hearing that tired spiel again.
So back to the drawing board, good fellows, for right now we just...don’t...care.