Scary Types in the Flathead: Realtors Have Some ‘Splaining to Do

A national AP article ran across the country last week, highlighting the right-wing nut-jobs that are gravitating toward the Flathead Valley and particularly Kalispell.

These include Chuck Baldwin, Randy Weaver and a long list of others who are on various watch-lists of human rights groups like Southern Poverty Law Center and Montana Human Rights Network.

But there is a great irony to it all.

The business that suffers most from this trend is real estate. To have a community become known as a haven for lunatics is a sure way to cause real estate prices to suffer.  And the Flathead valley does not need a drag on real estate right now, because the national real estate crash has hurt the Flathead, and hurt ancillary businesses there like wood products and construction and electricians and so on.

The irony? Realtors are partly responsible for the right-wing colonization effort in the Flathead.

For starters, the National Realtors Association had an enormous influence in creating the Montana Tea Party legislature, having spent over $2 million on Montana this past election cycle to get ultra-right-wing Republicans elected in the legislature by blanketing the airwaves with a series of campaign ads about impending taxes.

It brought new faces in the legislature like Derek Skees, who in turn started actively seeking the spotlight for himself and his crazy buddies and causes in the Flathead.  Skees, in fact, was just featured in TIME Magazine, which did a profile about him being the national leader of the nullification movement, headquartered out of the Flathead.   And there have been other disturbing articles in the national press, like the recent Associated Press piece, about how right-wing crazies are getting elected in, and moving to, the Flathead valley.  Not a good way to keep real estate values high.

John Sinrud, Realtors AssociationBut it gets worse.  Right-wing Republican John Sinrud (pictured), the current head of the Northwest Montana Realtors (the major real estate group in the Flathead), is the man who assembled the Western Tradition Partnership, a group that spent roughly $700,000 of secret, unreported funds on the 2010 legislative races (this was in addition to the $2 million that the National Realtors brought in). Sinrud has also been active in county and local races up there as well, something that the NWMR group doesn’t seem to mind at all.

So be careful what you wish for. The Realtors came to the 2010 legislative elections loaded for bear. But they are now being chased by a giant, runaway elephant, and might be regretting having gone hunting at all.


6 Comments on "Scary Types in the Flathead: Realtors Have Some ‘Splaining to Do"

  1. Sinrud was also a former legislator. It’s as if he thinks the legislature is still his job, as opposed to selling real estate. The man should resign.

  2. The only things they’ve nullified are
    their thinking and reasoning skills, and let’s add compassion, as I doubt they’ve read their own Gospels in the New Testament – and in Proverbs in the old – about NOT oppressing the poor, which is EXACTLY what the Tea/Kochers worked to accomplish, and partly successful – and stupidly proud – of raising tuitions and worse on struggling
    families trying to fulfill the American Dream.

  3. He was involved with the Real Estate Tax Amendment last fall

    4 & 20 did a good piece on him, in 2006

  4. Sorry, but this is just building upon a p-poor AP (American Pravda) story that took SPLC and MHRN at rote value, plus the typical liberal New York TIME slant — oh, how far that rag has sunk from the Luce days.
    And by the way, you riff on WTP for its anonymous money slaggery, but no mention whatsoever of the “Main Street Republicans” and their undisclosed donors. Never mind this Montana Cowgirl thematic exercise which is not attributable to any supporters or traceable to any real person. Right or left, undisclosed sourcery (and that’s not a typo) is wrong. Period.
    Have a rotten day.

  5. Skinner – I’m sorry to inform you that a personal blog read by six hundred people a day, which is an open forum for discussion, is not the same as spending $3 million on TV and radio advertising on a state election, expenditures which I describe accurately (and in fact I even omitted some additional expenditures).

    As for the AP story, it cites the presence in the Flathead of several extremists. If you believe any of these people are being unfairly painted by the AP, would you care to offer specific rebuttal on any of them?

  6. It never ceases to amaze me when so many politicians are successfully voted in even though they do not represent the best interests of the voters who elected them. How many Tea Party people will be surprised when cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits and more actually affect them.

    And if the U.S. loses its highest financial security rating in early August due to the stubbornness of the House of Representatives, and the entire world economy goes into a tailspin, who will take the blame? Probably not those who caused it. And when austerity measures need to be implemented, who do you think will be affected most? Millionaires and billionaires? Or will it be the poor and the middle class? I’m guessing the latter.

    I’ll never understand the thinking that allows people to vote again and again to benefit only the rich.

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