Um…uh…who the hell are they?
Anita Green is a rising star in the Missoula Democratic Party. She’s a transgender woman that graduated from UM in 2014 and then ran unsuccessfully for Missoula City Council in 2015, Ward 2. She was recently a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Harlan Wells is a reserve sheriff’s deputy for Missoula County and the current official elected to Ward 2 of the Missoula City Council. He’s known for his conservative bent, his refusal to vote on any issue, and his terrible attendance record.
It’s that attendance record more than anything that has Anita Green up in arms and posting on Facebook.
The event is called the “Resignation of Harlan Wells,” a very interesting title…considering no one is resigning, that I know of.
No, we’re trying to kick the person out of office.
So far 3 people are going to this, with another 7 saying maybe.
Gosh, that’s a lot more people than typically goes to Council meetings now, so that’s something.
Other than that, I’m not confident about this recall at all, and honestly, I consider it a stunt.
We know full well that there are several reasons a Montana official can be recalled:
- Physical or mental lack of fitness
- Violation of oath of office
- Official misconduct
- Conviction of a felony offence
We know that “a public officer holding an elective office may be recalled by the qualified electors entitled to vote for the elective officer’s successor.”
So that seems like it’d be the City Council – they vote to recall as they’re the ones that vote on a successor.
It’s not quite that cut and dry, however.
We know from a 2010 legal opinion from the Missoula City Attorney (PDF) that “it appears that if the recall election pertained to a city council member, only the qualified electors of the city council member’s ward would be eligible to vote.”
There’s also the hurdle of getting 20% of registered voters from the last election to sign a recall petition.
Personally, I feel Anita Green is in for a bit more than she realizes…and I know this because I looked it all up 2 years ago.
You might remember my efforts to recall Mayor Engen, or at least to look into it. As you know, the hardest part is getting the City Attorney to sign off on the recall petition.
Perhaps Jim Nugent would do that for Anita Green. After all, he’s part of the Engen machine and getting rid of Harlan Wells might appeal to that machine and its nefarious ways.
To me, however, the whole thing just stinks.
- First of all, there’s no rule that says you have to show up at City Council meetings if you’re a City Council member. We know this full well from the abysmal attendance record of Caitlin Copple, which was written about in the Missoulian. Still, Copple was a liberal Democrat, not a conservative like Wells.
- Next, we know that Anita Green ran in the primary for Ward 2…the same seat that Wells has now. Sour grapes, anyone? She won’t want you to think that, and that’s why she’s adamant that Jack Rowan be chosen to replace Wells. Notice that it’s already a given that he’ll be gone.
- Finally, didn’t all the people in Ward 2 vote for Wells, as they voted for Hertz before? It’s not the voters’ problem that previous Ward 2 member – Pam Walzer, who lost the election a short time after getting a DUI – lost to conservative Hertz and the liberals haven’t been able to get back that seat. This is not the way to go about getting it back.
I’d like to add that Missoula Democrats love trying sleazy stuff with Ward 2.
You might remember Gabe Furshong, the current director of the Montana Wilderness Association and the husband of Denise Juneau’s campaign manager, trying to get appointed to that seat back in 2011.
Please remember as well that Furshong and his wife were involved in some very questionable deals involving subsidized housing.
The City Council could investigate the corruption in the Missoula Housing Authority that allowed that deal to take place, but that might hurt loyal liberals, not frowned-upon-conservatives.
I had a conversation on Facebook with Anita Green late last night about this.
Here are some things that she said:
The main reason she wants to do this is because Wells “isn’t showing up for his council meetings.”
To get over the idea of doing a recall and getting signatures, she’s “asking people to provide a public comment to get him to resign.”
She feels that Harlan has “acted egregiously” and after I asked about her run for Ward 2 she told me that she thinks “Jack Rowan should take the seat if he wants it.”
When I brought up Copple’s abysmal attendance record Green admitted that “maybe people SHOULD have recalled her for that,” but she feels “Copple didn’t make outrageous claims against her colleagues like Harlan did.”
I’m not real sure what those “outrageous claims” are, but Green does admit she feels “Harlan isn’t representing me or any of his other constituents.”
She also feels that “he clearly can’t work well with the other council members.”
I brought up Wells’ conservative agenda, and the fact that Hertz had that too, but Green tells me that “Hertz was very respectful” and “got along well with the other council members,” something she can’t say about Wells.
Oh, and “Hertz actually showed up.”
Now, I totally agree with Green that Well’s attendance record is terrible.
He’s getting paid about $600 every two weeks…why can’t you show up to a Monday meeting, and maybe some of the Wednesday ones?
And I’m not sure at all what Wells’ problems with other council members are.
Despite all that, I feel the recall election here is senseless.
It is a good way to put a bad taste in people’s mouths, however.
And Missoula puppet show appointments don’t work well – remember Stacy Rye?
God, she was appointed by Missoula County Democrats to the vacant county commissioner position that Bill Carey left and was such a horror to work with that the other two commissioners actually donated money to her primary opponent, Dave Strohmair.
So maybe the appointment process should be shied away from for a time.
Of course, that’s just my opinion.
We’ll see where this recall attempt goes, and I might just have to show up at the Missoula City Council on Monday to give you a full report.
Until then…keep looking over your shoulder.