Quote for the Day…
Anyone who gets to know me either falls in love with me or wants to murder me. Sometimes both. -Unknown
Today’s independent commentary deals with these people/issues:
- Friends in High Places
- Reefer Madness
- The Western Word Poll
- Reading Assignments
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES:
According to the Associated Press (AP), just days after a South Dakota agency moved to deny her daughter’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser, Gov. Kristi Noem summoned to her office the state employee who ran the agency, the woman’s direct supervisor and the state labor secretary. Noem’s daughter attended too.
The AP has reported that Kassidy Peters, then 26, ultimately obtained the certification in November 2020, four months after the meeting at her mother’s office. A week after that, the labor secretary called the agency head, Sherry Bren, to demand her retirement, according to an age discrimination complaint Bren filed against the department. Bren, 70, ultimately left her job this past March after the state paid her $200,000 to withdraw the complaint.
Now the AP says that Noem has denied an interview request.
No matter how you slice it, this was an abuse of power. It mirrors something we would see with the Republicans in Montana and something that Donald Trump would do.
Read the complete AP report HERE.
The South Dakota Attorney General is reviewing the concerns. Read that story HERE.
ABC News reported that recreational pot has become legal for more Americans, but despite that ease of access, marijuana use hasn’t ignited, a study released Monday found. An article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found there was no increase in cannabis use among the general population or among previous users after their states legalized marijuana.
Maybe this will calm the fears for some of the “Reefer Madness” folks in Montana who still believe that Marijuana is “the burning weed with its roots in hell.”
Relax! Have a brownie…
THE WESTERN WORD POLL:
This week’s poll question asks, “Do you think the Federal Government will shut down in October?”
Background information can be found HERE and HERE.
Results will be posted Thursday.
Here are some articles that you need to read…
New report shows not fully vaccinated Montanans 3 times as likely to die from COVID-19
The math is easy; you have a better chance of dying if you are not vaccinated.
Capitol rioter’s weekly ‘Trump Train’ parades are embarrassing residents in his Montana town
Embarrassing Montanans one “Trump Train” at a time…
Trump’s Press Sec: He Called Me to Insist His Penis Wasn’t Toadstool-Shaped
Trump and his administration brought the USA to a new low in politics…
Probably the reason for the study’s observation that marijuana legalization brought about very little increase in usage is that it has been readiliy available on the streets (or in schools) for years for anyone who really wants it. And yes that includes right here in Great Falls. Kids in jr. high had it when I was at East back in the late 60’s.
If one closely reads that JAMA paper underlying the ABC story, what it seems to say is that since legalization there was little increase in use among the Black population or young people, but there was a small pct increase in casual use by the white and Hispanic population.
Unfortunately reports such as this one, or the excellent Cato Institute “The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations” where they found that wild claims by both proponents and opponents of legalization were overblown, were seemingly not considered by our GF Crime Task Force before they recommended the City work to thwart the will of the voters. (IMO because that recommedation was predetermined.) From what I saw in the recorded Task Force sessions they considered just one source, a Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report titled “THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN COLORADO: THE IMPACT” which detailed an increase in traffic related incidents and deaths in which marijuana was some factor (in Colorado), as well as such heinous crimes as increased usage. I did not see any presentation at all about specific existing marijuana crimes in Great Falls that the Task Force wants to curtail.
But apparently with just this one RMHIDTA report presented during public Task Force proceedings as foundation, Commissioner Tryon crafted his initial written recommendation that the City work to prevent legal pot shops in Great Falls city limits. Which is not remarkable – Billings doesn’t allow them either. But then between meetings and before the recommendations were made public someone else inserted their own personal opinion and magically morphed Tryon’s initial work to include sub-recommendations that the City government “adopt a position of no legal recreational marijuana” and “work with local organizations to repeal allowance of recreational marijuana within its jurisdiction” – whatever repeal allowance means under State law – with both recommendations flying in the face of the Cascade County/Great Falls voting public’s 55-45% “yes” vote.
The people of Great Falls deserve more thorough research and justification from their Task Force if it is going to recommend that their government overturn the will of Great Falls voters. Normally some of the right-leaning members of this Task Force are all about “the will of the people”. At least until they aren’t. Like many of his other tough-on-crime contributions to the Task Force, Tryon recommends that this particular thwarting of public will by City Government should begin in January 2022, when maybe there’s that new extreme right authoritatrian father-knows-best Commission in place.
Cato study: https://tinyurl.com/yve3hxaz
RMHIDTA report: https://tinyurl.com/24nbb7am
Sorry for the length.
Terry – great information and commentary. Thanks, JmB
It might also be noted that the Task Force totally ignored a suggestion by the voice of reason on the marijuana subject, Sherriff Slaughter. He suggested they might want to work with Sen Daines to change U.S. law to allow real banking for the dispensaries so the coming recreational industry does not become a crime magnet due to all-cash operations. But nope. That didn’t fit the predetermined script.
His name is Jon Sesso. He is not City Manager. He is Director of the Planning Department for Butte-Silver Bow. He has served in both House and Senate. Being a municipal employee and running for legislative office is not improper.
Thanks. I was relying on my memory & spell check didn’t help. I just can’t imagine a Great Falls Department Head running for the legislature.
Not really on point but I was always surprised that the City Manager of Butte was elected to the legislature. John Session, now retired.
Mary – I did not know that. Interesting. Thanks, JmB
“would see with the Republicans in MT”
Would? Have seen? Refresh my memory please with an example. I’m guessing you can.
Mary – when writing the column, I was thinking of the appointment of legislator Ryan Osmundson as Gianforte’s budget director.
Thanks. Know nothing about that.
Seems Kristi has been a busy little guv. Multitasking. Why not? If Trump can do it, why not Kristi?
The party of family values strikes again. Seems awfully legit.
Larry – Thanks. Seems he is taking after his boss. -JmB