My colleague Martin Kidston is now covering City Hall AND the Missoula County Courthouse, as well as development, ’cause he likes to see buildings go up around town.
How about that? Last night*, the council appointed Patrick Weasel Head to replace outgoing Ward 4 Councilwoman Caitlin Copple.
*Follow @martinkidston for #mslacc:
I’m covering the University of Montana now, but I’ll continue to cover the city’s eminent domain case against Mountain Water Co. and the Carlyle Group. The latest is Carlyle again loses in court.
Two true things about condemnation so far? The city is paying a lot, much more than it projected. Carlyle is losing a lot, at least on motions before trial.
The beat change is old news, but we were locked out of the blogs for a while. (The technical people know the reason, and I do not.)
A few people have wondered how the switch came about. Our editor asks us periodically if anyone wants to change things up, and I’ve pretty much loved covering City Hall.
This year is a city election year, and I’m usually curious about who is running again, and who the new candidates are, and which councilors are supporting which newbies. This year, not so much.
I found myself dreading the elections and, even before filing opened, tired of the political narrative in Missoula, maybe still fending off the aftertaste of 2014. From the bird’s eye view, the entitled progressives meet incompetent conservatives, and they’re off to the races.
Obviously, both sides have delivered candidates who work hard and do cool things for Missoula. Council president Marilyn Marler muscled through the sidewalk subsidy, one of the more monstrous pieces of business I’ve seen go through council. She and some other councilors spent a lot of time and sweat in direct response to constituents. Councilman Adam Hertz studied the city’s health insurance, and he presented a valuable analysis of how it compares to the norm. I doubt the council majority will make adjustments based on his work, but the numbers are good to know nonetheless.
Either way, it’s time to read someone else’s take on the narrative, and I’ve nearly tap-danced in the break room to see Martin’s stories. He’s been covering the Mayor’s Downtown Advisory Committee, which I never did, and it’s interesting stuff. Here’s the latest from Sunday on trying to clean up downtown.
I’m likewise tap dancing about my own new world. Scientists! F-bombs! Aquaponics! Blue hair! Sea turtles!
My first foray into campus life was Love Fest at the University Center, where students wore condoms taped to their jackets, and they handed out flowers and “make out kits.” Toto, we are not in Council Chambers anymore.
They’ve got free speech boards posted around campus. (I’ve seen two, so far, and both had F-bombs written in very large letters.) They’ve got professors who are doing cool research in the national parks. (On Martians; I’m not kidding.) A Dining Services staffer who creates a sushi bar every Friday. (Actually, I don’t know if it’s Dining Services. It’s the cafeteria in the UC. I imagine I’ll figure out the name sooner or later.)
Martin’s been more and more interested in development, and covering city and county fits well with that interest. He isn’t into the Love Fest kind of story, and there’s less of it in local government.
So here we are. Sorry, Geoff and whoever else, for the gap in posts.
Enjoy the breath of fresh air in local government reporting, and, I hope, some interesting news from campus. I’ll keep posting here, both local government stories and pieces about UM, and Martin may join me as well.
– Keila Szpaller
*I reposted this entry from Feb. 24 because it was lost in a server move. I don’t remember which of Martin’s tweets I had pasted here, so it might not be the original one. Just letting you know.