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Political Blackmail

Emperor Schweitzer has announced that he will allow Montana communities to repair their roads and sewers, but only if they kowtow to his agenda and kiss his ring. 135 cities and counties were scheduled to receive more than $3 million in stimulus monies, but the Governor was forced to stop those payments due to budget concerns and he began talking about a 5% across-the-board spending cut. Enter the Otter Creek coal tracts; Following a sweetheart deal with giant Arch Coal, the state is due to receive a one-time $86 million paycheck for its 570 million tons of state-owned coal. In order to drum up support for mining the coal, Schweitzer first threatened to halt $600,000 in funding for the disabled.  Now that the coal money looks more like a sure thing, the Governor is talking about releasing frozen stimulus money one community at a time, but only if community leaders first sign loyalty oaths supporting his plans for Otter Creek. In Missoula,

Schweitzer told a room of three dozen that he wanted to see letters of support from community leaders, including the county commissioners, Missoula Mayor John Engen and state legislators, not only for the Big Flat Road project but for the use of coal money to pay for it. “The potential revenue from the sale of Otter Creek coal might allow for your project/projects to be funded,” Schweitzer said in a letter he signed at the end of his visit. “Please return a letter confirming that you ‘support the use of coal money for the completion of your project/projects.’ “

First off, revenue from State Trust Lands is earmarked to fund education. Secondly, the legislature, not Governor Schweitzer, decides how the trust money is allocated. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt by the states top lawmaker to force cities and towns across the state to knuckle under to his “Clean Coal” agenda. Recent polling by the Helena Independent Record found that 75% of those polled disagree with the Land Board’s decision to lease Otter Creek coal for 15-cents per ton. Numbers like those however, don’t phase our Regal Governor, he has said that he will personally deem which stimulus projects are worthy. We don’t want no more damn tennis court debacles.

Some didn’t have a problem with brownnosing the Governor to get their funding. “Stevensville Mayor Lew Barnett said his community would not hesitate to sign the letter.” Earlier, Senator Dave Lewis, a Helena Republican had said,

“Remind the governor that I voted for House Bill 645 – and if I have to come up there and kiss his ring to get the firehouse in Ryegate, I will do that,” Lewis said. “Let’s get things down the road here.”

Others are not so happy. Jim Jensen, executive director of MEIC said,

“This money is supposed to be used for schools and he’s trying to issue it as a slush fund to spread around the state to curry favor for his administration and essentially buy or blackmail communities’ support for coal.”

This is what it has come to in Montana politics. If you agree with the administration 100% down the line, your community can grow and prosper. Disagree, or even take the side of your constituents, and the Governor will cut you off at the knees.

Yesterday, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that PPL Montana must pay the state more than $40 million in rent for use of the streambeds on which their dams sit. Word on the street is that any Montana cities who wish to continue to receive electricity from Montana dams will be required to forward letters, signed by all their leaders, to the Governors office, stating that only cattle dogs should be allowed in residence at the Governor’s mansion. Otherwise, it’s lights out!

4 Responses

  1. […] was McCulloch when megalomaniac Schweitzer was out politically blackmailing county and city local governments, requesting a pledge to coal in order to secure release of legislatively appropriated stimulus […]

  2. […] was getting an overload of it, as was I, as Governor Brian Schweitizer headed out around the state pushing on communities to sign a oath to coal in order to get their legislatively appropriated stimulus […]

  3. […] Valley was first on it, calling it Political blackmail. The Editor also goes on to ponder whether ultimately, if what’s next is a pledge to cow […]

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