A Lewis and Clark County Commissioner is fighting to keep Helena residents from learning which businesses have submitted public comments in opposition to making Helena more walkable and bikeable, and which businesses support the transportation upgrade.
In a meeting in Helena this week on local transportation improvements, Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Good Geise demanded that comments from businesses who are fighting against the walking and biking options be withheld from the public. These businesses have filed public comments to protest a special assessment district to fund transportation improvements.
Helena City Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath says the public has a right to know how these businesses are seeking to influence public policies. Montana has very clear, strict public records rules enshrined in the Montana constitution. Nearly every government document is public in the state. It’s never a good sign when those seeking to carve out special protections for themselves seem to believe that their positions couldn’t possibly survive public scrutiny.
Ms. Good-Geise expresses support on her own webpage for finding out what businesses stand for and brag about using her shopping dollars to support businesses who agree with her. So it is hypocritical of her to attempt to refuse others the same option because their positions might differ from her own.
Susan Good-Geise was not elected by local voters, but rather was appointed to the Lewis and Clark County Commission by the local Republican Party after GOPer Derek Brown quit partway through his term. She must now face the popular Dennis Small who is the democratic candidate for Lewis and Clark County Commissioner in the November elections.
So what do you think readers? Do we have a right to know which businesses support safe walking and biking for children, the elderly, people with disabilities, the working poor without cars, and everyone else, and which do not?