I’ve done a pretty horrible job lately of putting information up here. Sorry.
Can you believe the Missoula City Council isn’t meeting for TWO weeks in a ROW? Fifth Monday, then Labor Day. There’ll probably be a lot on the agenda when they finally meet again.
First, here’s one thing from this Monday. Councilwoman Renee Mitchell expressed concerns about elections systems being hacked into. She recommended people watch a video called “Hacking Democracy.”
As you know, Patty Lovaas, a Missoula accountant, has alleged fraud in the most recent schools election. The Missoula County Elections Office points to an oddball programming error to explain a weird spreadsheet. (And a Secretary of State spokeswoman has promised a fix.)
The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and will either bring in a computer forensics expert or determine the explanations for the discrepancies Lovaas mentioned are reasonable.
On another note, Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken sure hit a nerve with that ballot measure urging a Constitutional amendment to ban corporate personhood. Quite a few people sat through the entire Monday night meeting to comment, and at least when I was there, most folks were quite in favor of it. It’s not binding, but even the idea of a symbolic referendum jazzed people. One woman said she was “energized.”
Councilwoman Lyn Hellegaard took an approach that I think is uncommon. She voted to put the matter on the ballot because she wants voters to have their say. But she also urged people to proceed with caution because of unintended consequences.
I’m kind of glad for the excuse to re-read the U.S. Supreme Court opinions on Citizens United. Justice Stevens really gave the majority a lashing in his dissent, a partial dissent, but it usually takes me a couple reads to wrap my head around court decisions.
Anyway, I’m off to Texas for a couple days, out of the smoking pan, into the roasting pan. But one last thing: If you didn’t read reporter Jenna Cederberg’s story about a new and politically conservative blog called Treasure State Politics, here’s a link to the story. These folks are definitely giving liberal Missoula a voice of a different bent.
— Keila Szpaller