Does This Ass Make My City Look Stupid?

The Billings mayoral race is generating some attention lately with ballots out in the mail to narrow the field down to the final two candidates on a November 7 ballot.  ‘Mayor of Billings’ may sound like a big deal with the title, an office and an annual salary of less than $10,000 year.  OK, so maybe it’s more presence than influence considering the City has a City Manager and a City Council.  It’s not like it’s Missoula and taking down Mountain Water or even Helena with Jim Smith who has…wait, what does Jim Smith do?  Back to Billings, it is Montana’s largest city after all.

One candidate in particular has big plans for the office and believes he’s got the assmanleadership experience to make that happen.  Termed out Representative Jeff Essmann is spending a lot of time and a lot of money in his efforts to land a new job in government, albeit elected, but still on the dole.  Essman has gone so far as to announce that he will ‘…get to work on infrastructure projects while avoiding new taxes.’  Think about that, which old taxes will be used and which services of the City of Billings will no longer be offered. Add to that Essmann’s failure to exert his ‘leadership’ to increase revenues or pass an infrastructure bill in not one session, but two.  Hell, let’s go all the way back to his entrance into the legislature in 2005.

So on that 2017 session that Essmann used his experience in, Essmann would proudly say the feather in his cap was blocking legislation that would have allowed counties to save tens of thousands of dollars by using a mail ballot in a special election.  A special election that ultimately sent his good friend, and now convicted body slammer, Greg Gianforte to Congress.  Aside from that, Essmann snuck away from his duties at the Capitol for a few days to watch his hero, Donald Trump, take the oath as President.  Oh and he spends a lot of time on twitter simply retweeting with the occasional snarky comment.  He’s very good at it.  The best.  Really.

FullSizeRender (1)If you were to believe Essmann’s own account of his leadership skills you would believe he not only kept his own party intact, but that he also reached across the isle constantly to move important legislation that positively impacts Montana.  If you were to believe that you would be wrong.  State Senator Jen Gross called Essmann out for his failures in the 2017 session with her recent letter in the Billings Gazette.  Then came an odd tweet exchange with former Representative Mike Miller who clearly shows no support or confidence in Essmann.  Then again, it’s a little dicey to take Miller’s word for it, given his conviction for campaign practices, to include being banned from running for office.

Gross didn’t come right out and say it, but come on Billings, you can do better than this.Essmann   appears to be one of those termed out legislators who desperately needs a place to land.  Given his career of being in the way, he doesn’t know the meaning of ‘get out of the way’ or how to make a graceful exit.  Then again, it could be that Essmann is in search of another government health plan now that he’ll get kicked off the state health insurance plan. At least he’ll get to keep his government pension with a defined benefit.  Wait!  Does that make Essmann a socialist?

mayberryTGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

 

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While you were sleeping…

Or debating the civil war…or waiting for rain…or posting eclipse selfies…the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has been quietly sidling through rural Montana closing Job Service offices.  Tuesday of this week employees got the ax in Lewistown. closed-out-of-business[1] From there it was off to Anaconda, Dillon and Hamilton for the final blow.  Earlier this year DLI closed offices in Livingston, Shelby and Glasgow.  And while the Montana Historical Society and State Library have managed to keep the attention of the press with their ‘whining’, according to Representative Nancy Balance, there has yet to be a drop of ink for these closings, layoffs and loss of services to rural Montana.  Let alone a tear from the Governor or Commissioner of Labor.

So what of it?  Are the closures and loss of some 40 jobs the result of the session ending bipartisan Senate Bill 261 or girding for the cuts to come from the Throne of Trump?  It’s hard to say at this point given that there have been no press releases or official statements made by anyone, anywhere.  Not a peep.  For an administration that so enjoys touting Main Street Montana and Montana Values, there doesn’t seem to be much concern or much support for rural main street now or that Montana value of being open and honest about what’s happening.  You might just wonder if  something is hiding in all of this smoke.

‘Government should operate like private business.’ In this case, government is doing just that.  Swooping into small Montana towns with a crack team of well paid administrators BFPAN0[1]handing out pink slips then off to the next small town to do more of the same.  Of course driving the company car and dining on the company dime along the way.  Those folks appeared sad faced and empathetic then hit the road, tires spinning and gravel flying. And speaking of those managers, it would appear that these closures don’t involve a single top dollar administrator or any jobs in the beehives of Helena.  Life and paydays go on for the protected and imbedded in the Capitol City.

Speaking of life going on, it would seem that the closings come at a coincidental time withsave-yourself[1] Commissioner of Labor Pam Bucy leaving for a new opportunity with well know lobbyist and quiet voice of the Republican Party, Mark Taylor.  Could it be she checked the horizon, saw the iceberg and abandoned ship quickly?  Or is it just the universe in motion.  Either way she’s landed in a nice soft spot while her former employees head home to break the news to the family and plant a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard.

TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

 

“Squirrel!”

Confederate_fountainOr in this case “Fountain!”  While the state burns through the last of the fire fund progressive Democrats, young and old in Helena, find themselves twitter-pated  over the recent city commission decision to remove the Confederate Fountain from Hill Park.  “Look at us we’re just like the big city folk back east!”  Alt-right, alt-left, neo-liberal, neo-nazi, fascist, Christ0fascist all spell the same thing a moribund center that has still not reached the point of telling them ALL to sit down and shut the hell up!  But it’s a win because the city just shut the water off to it yesterday.  Who’s your daddy now…well it ain’t Jeff Davis cuz us paragons of social justice and political correctness are on the job.

Bullock

 

 

 

And floating amongst the particulates of the ash filled skies, we have a governor who appears to be embracing the notion that he is a viable 2020 presidential candidate who is tweeting about the removal of the obnoxious monument in Helena and the glaring lack of leadership on the national level as once again our nation wrestles with the sins of our past.  Meanwhile, this week marks the end of the careers of a number of state employees who have fallen victim to the cuts in SB 261.  Lack of leadership perhaps…or…squirrel

But alas the fountain of “hate and racism” that most had no idea existed at all will be erased from the Helena landscape.  The skies will open up, the rain will come down, the fires will be extinguished, and there will be no more hungry children in the world because the fountain will be gone.

T-Bone Slim – “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”