Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Letters to the Editor: Let's work together

| January 21, 2021 12:45 AM

Let’s work together

I like the Four Agreements: take nothing personally; don't assume anything; do your best; and keep your promises. I also like Peace Pilgrim’s words: “Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.”

I do not like people destroying things and causing fear and harm. I guess I do take it personally when they trash the halls of Congress. Although I do assume domestic terrorism is going to be hard to overcome, I still believe in civilized ways of working things out. I do not like bullying or lying, or rage. At risk of being the target of it for saying this, however, I believe we had a fair election and Biden won. It's over. The Drain the Swamp sign should come down so we can stop feeding divisiveness, at the grocery store no less — just sayin’. The future is a blank canvas awaiting our marks. Let's think good and hard before we decide on the color. One thing is for sure. It's up to all of us to create something original that will show the best of what we can be. That's my prayer for this winter. We all want happiness and a world we can feel safe living in. We have a lot more in common than not, so let's be kind while we can. Wear a mask out of respect — especially if you are an elected official. And if you think a revolution and bloodshed is the only answer, I have this to say: don't just stand down, sit down. Be nice. Let’s not paint with blood. Let’s all take turns and cooperate. We were wired to work together, so let’s do it.

— Debbie Jakovac, Polson

‘Campus carry’ bill goes too far

House Bill 102, the “campus carry” law, would expand the number of locations where concealed handguns may be carried, including on college campuses.

It expressly prohibits the Montana Board of Regents from passing prohibitions to concealed carry. Additionally, voters approved a legislative referendum in November that restricts local governments from regulating the carrying of a concealed weapon with a permit. Attorney General Austin Knutson stated: “There is a very clear mandate from the voters of Montana that they support exactly this type of legislation.”

The bill passed the second reading along party lines. Rep. Jim Keane stirred things up when he asked all present if they had ever been shot. A ruckus ensued, resulting in a Rules Committee ruling stifling Mr. Keane.

Opponents to HB 102 include the Commissioner of Higher Education, major public employee unions and bankers. Compelling opposition comes from students who feel that increased gun numbers, on their campuses, would be an obvious risk to their safety from, among other things, accidental discharge and easy access to a firearm when suicide is contemplated. Perhaps the “mandate from the voters of Montana” is not quite so clear.

— Pat Cross, Polson

Great job, Mission Valley Power

We are writing to show our deepest appreciation for the outstanding work done by the Mission Valley Power line crews and support staff during Wednesday’s powerful windstorm. In this and in other power emergencies through the years, line crews respond professionally and as quickly as is humanly possible — and our calls are usually followed up with a return call by dispatch or the lineman to make sure the problem has been resolved.

Thank you, MVP.

— Marie and Marty Mumma, Polson

More info on resort tax

Opponents of an issue deserve to be given a voice as much as the proponents, who in this case is the city of Polson wielding disproportionately powerful means of influencing public opinion, such as giving presentations at public and private meetings, paying for quarter page color ads in multiple newspapers, etc.

I have prepared a website (polsonresorttax.info) for the benefit of the public. It has two sections. The main section is a slideshow, based on my agenda presentation at the last City Commission meeting with added documents and expanded comments. A second section scrutinizes the city's slideshows.

— Murat Kalinyaprak, Polson

Actions speak louder than words

Why did Gov. Gianforte decide not to honor the service of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed during the insurrection on Jan. 6? He gave his life to protect members of Congress, of which Gov. Gianforte recently was a member. Of any of our governors across the country, he should have honored Officer Sicknick, who, just weeks prior to his death, had been protecting Congressman Gianforte while he worked at the Capitol. A spokeswoman for Gov. Gianforte claimed “the fallen officers had no ties to the state” as his reason for not honoring Officer Sicknick. This is not how the governors of Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota and many other states across our country saw it. They lowered the flag. As a park ranger with 18 years of law enforcement experience, I am well aware of the duties and hazards associated with protecting the public’s safety and I am appalled with Gov. Gianforte’s decision. I wonder what the 3,000-plus Montana law enforcement officers think about his refusal to lower the flag. What do our state’s chief law enforcement officer, Austin Knudsen, and Steve Lavin, head of the Montana Highway Patrol, think about his action?

— Craig McClure, Polson

Resort tax bad for Polson

The residents of Polson will soon be voting on a resort sales tax of 3% on many goods that we purchase every day. Most of this tax will be paid by residents of Polson and not tourists.

As a legislator I believe that Polson does not meet the requirement to be designated as a resort community. The city does meet the population limit of 5,500 people, but I don’t believe that Polson meets the requirement that its primary economic activity (jobs) is from employment related to tourism. In May of 2008 the Montana Department of Commerce first told Polson that they did not qualify as a resort community. Then at the request of the city to re-evaluate, the department did a complete turnaround saying, Polson did qualify. I have not been able to obtain information from 2008 as to why the original decision was reversed. The law also states that the department should use “current” information in their determination. However, they used information from 2008.

Due to Polson being located on the Flathead Reservation, tribal members will not be subject to paying the tax.This will create a burden for our business owners along with inconveniencing tribal members as they shop in Polson. Tribal businesses will also not be required to collect taxes on any sales thus creating an unfair advantage and animosity in our community.

Some of the items that will be taxed include restaurant food and beverages, fast food, food intended for immediate consumption, soda, candy, jerky, donuts, food at fraternal organizations (Elks and VFW), movies, rodeos, golf activities, tobacco, alcohol served and unserved, and many other items. A complete list can be found on the city of Polson website.

This tax was not meant for non-resort areas like Polson.

— Greg Hertz, Polson

Thanks to MVP

A special thank you to Mission Valley Power folks for your heroic efforts during recent wind-caused power outages in our valley. Many of you worked around the clock to restore power to our homes here. Thank you so much.

— Tillie and Tony Marshall, Polson

Pump the brakes on HB102

We are extremely concerned by the speed with which the House has rushed through HB102 (campus conceal carry), and encourage the Senate legislators to slow down and heed the concerns of the Montana university system.

Sponsor Rep. Berglee believes the Second Amendment supersedes all other considerations, but a 2008 Supreme Court ruling establishing the rights of Washington, D.C. residents to possess firearms in their homes contained qualifications. Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, said that "the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." He went on to say that nothing in the court's decision "should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions … or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings …” Moreover, a legal review accompanying the bill notes that decisions specific to college campuses are constitutionally reserved to the Board of Regents.

Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McCrae cites three reasons for their opposition to the bill: general safety, facility and crowd management, and student health and wellness. He provides statistics showing increased accidental shootings and misfirings on campuses allowing firearms, and emphasizes that campuses nationwide (without guns) are safe places.

This bill should be opposed.

— Caryl and Tom Cox, Polson

Resort tax questions remain

I think it matters if government agencies follow the law. The Polson City Commission is recycling a 12-year-old Department of Commerce report that authorized Polson residents to vote on a 3% resort tax in 2009. Eighty percent of voters rejected the tax. In DOC's first attempt in 2008 to calculate the city's qualifications to initiate a resort tax they found the city did not qualify. The DOC at that time specified data in its report had to be current. Five months later the DOC reorganized the numbers in a report that authorized the 2009 vote. I question how it is a document produced in 2008 is deemed current data for a citizens vote in 2021. Others have questioned the method used to recalculate the numbers in the second report. At a resort tax public hearing, state legislator Greg Hertz referred to the report as not being in the spirit of the law. Murat Kalinyaprak has created a website, polsonresorttax.info, that documents how the calculations in the second report were flawed. The DOC designates towns resort communities if a major portion of the economy is based on tourism. The idea is to allow places with high numbers of visitors but relatively few residents to manage the wear and tear on local infrastructure. The numbers that qualify a town as a resort community must follow specific guidelines.

— Margie Hendricks, Polson