January 23, 2017
Governor Gianforte again shocked citizens of the state today when he filed two lawsuits, one against his own Department of Administration and the other against the City of Helena. Both suits center around his attempts to further privatize and isolate the state capitol complex and specifically the state owned Governor’s Residence. Filing documents against the City claim that sidewalks are offset onto the residence property and the Helena Police Department is refusing to enforce his no trespassing postings along Broadway Street. In the second suit, Governor Gianforte alleges that representatives from the Department of Administration have refused his gubernatorial order to erect a fence around the residence.
Gianforte’s directive to the DOA has been met with questions of legality and costs. The Governor believes he has the authority to erect a ten foot privacy fence along the outside of the sidewalk that borders the public building. ‘Susan has had to put up with citizens walking freely along those walkways. They often look at the house and she feels uncomfortable. Just because I was elected Governor doesn’t mean I’m some sort of public servant or figurehead and either is my wife,’ Gianforte said in a brief press release. Gianforte has been at odds with the department that he directs since taking office.
Chief Legal Counsel Art Wittich believes there are numerous access points to the Capitol complex and that anyone without permission wanting to access the area can simply find another way. The privacy fence demanded by the Governor and his wife is to be built on the outside of the sidewalk and would block public access from the walkway. ‘It’s a simple project and won’t have any sustainable jobs attached to it, so we are contracting with a New Jersey company to install the fence once we are granted our motion.’
Fish Wildlife and Parks Director John Brenden and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Director Jennifer Fielder have offered to mediate the situation in hopes of saving tax payer dollars for more fencing projects on public land. According to Fielder ‘There has been great progress in closing off public property since the Governor has taken office. John and I believe we can get a fence up to close this property as well.’ Brenden added ‘We are well aware that agencies have separate funding for these projects. We’ve streamlined government finally and are just mixing all this stuff together.’
The suit filed against the City of Helena contains two claims. The first asserts that the City illegally constructed the sidewalks two inches into the grounds of the residence. ‘We brought in our own surveyor and found, rightfully so I believe, that the sidewalks are not set properly and should be moved two inches towards the street.’ An initial demand letter failed to either convince or compel the City to tear out the sidewalks and align them properly to the new survey. ‘Look, they are holding up this fence project and we believe colluding with the DOA,’ commented Aaron Flint, the Governor’s communications director. The second claim against the Helena Police Department asserts that the HPD is not enforcing the no trespassing signs that have been posted along the residence and at all intersections along Broadway Street.
When asked how a public street and sidewalk could be posted for no trespassing, Flint answered ‘Now listen, just like there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every street. This side belongs to the Governor and that side can be used by citizens as posted at each intersection and on the appropriate days and times.’
Department of Administration representatives are meeting with the Attorney General’s office to determine who will defend the State against the State. City of Helena officials intend to file a counter claim.
In other news, real estate mogul and President of the United States Donald Trump has advertised that he is selling the state of Montana for $1.8 billion to offset the rising cost of the construction of a wall between the US and Canada.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’