Good reading on commissioner candidates, water

1. Here are Q&A’s with candidates for the Missoula Board of County Commissioner. Vicky Gordon, Republican. Nicole Rowley, Democrat. 

2.Here’s a report called “Navigating to New Shores: Seizing the Future for Sustainable and Resilient U.S. Freshwater Resources.” It landed in my email box yesterday, and I’ve only skimmed it. I keep wondering how the city of Missoula will make its case that municipal ownership of Mountain Water Co. is “more necessary” than private ownership. Maybe this report offers a hint.

All for now.

– Keila Szpaller

Water stories from Detroit to Montecito, California, to Missoula

I have water stories for you.

1. This one from National Geographic, a great read about the abysmal, and some say “hopeful,” situation in Detroit, Michigan.

2. This one from The Telegraph about rich people paying boatloads of money for water in California. I wish I could h/t this one but I don’t remember where I saw it. Twitter, probably. Here’s a quote from one rich man in the story:

“It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you run out of water you’re screwed. It’s a great leveller.

3. Finally, a story from the meeting here yesterday on eminent domain. The city’s lawyers from Boone Karlberg gave the Missoula City Council an update on the case and their findings. I should have said in the story that Mountain’s president was there, but didn’t comment, and didn’t return a VM after the meeting, and also that I wasn’t able to connect with the Montana PSC’s lawyer via email yesterday. We’ll see if they want to weigh in on things today.

– Keila Szpaller

Vote absentee in Missoula; I can’t believe it’s election season

Can people still get excited about an election with no president and no mayor on the ballot? At least there aren’t as many nasty TV ads this year.

The Missoula County Elections Office and MCAT put the video together. Show your friends. “Like” Missoula Votes on Facebook and follow @missoulavotes on Twitter.

Also, the Missoulian is sending questions out to candidates for Missoula County Commissioner. Please send question suggestions to

As a refresher, here’s what we asked in the primary:

What do you think the role of a Missoula County commissioner is and should be?


What are your top priorities for Missoula County? How would you work with other elected officials and county staff to implement that vision?


If you could change three things about Missoula County government, what would they be?


What should the county budget emphasize? Please name a specific item you would cut or add.


What is the most important thing a commissioner should do for rural Missoula?


What is the top thing a commissioner should do for urban Missoula?


Does Missoula County need a charter? Why or why not?


Missoula County has come under scrutiny of late for “picking on” constituents in the areas of planning and zoning. How would you balance the county’s regulatory responsibility with the need to work with citizens to find solutions to problems?


Would you make any changes or improvements to provide the public with more specific advance notice of public meetings or issues that will be addressed in commissioner meetings? If so, how, and on what platforms? Twitter, Facebook, print paper, legal ads, news releases, your county website? Other?


How would you balance the county’s needs to float general obligation bonds on the ballot against the needs of the city and schools to ensure fairness for all projects?

33,277, Swan Lake, downtown, a judgment levy in Missoula

Swan Lake

That’s the number of bicycles Mountain Line carried in 2013.

I saw the figure in a new magazine Mountain Line puts out called “Bolt Missoula.” Topher Williams gave me a copy at the event to celebrate the new “Green Stop” at Russell and 39th Streets.

If you didn’t know, the buses are going to be free starting in 2015, and the bus people estimate ridership is going to grow even faster than it already has.

Other news items of interest?

The city of Missoula is using a new judgment levy this year to pay for a lost lawsuit. It’ll probably use one again to pay for a similar lost suit in a South Avenue property takings case.

Also, the Forest Service Region 1 headquarters is moving out of downtown. This is a hit of some 230 people to the city center.

All for now.

– Keila Szpaller