Harvey Investments L.P. in Dillon is a small, family owned business. They have a positive relationship with the State of Montana, providing full service leasing of office space for over 23 years. During that time, they have responded accordingly to the changing needs of state agencies, especially DNRC. Through years of working with the State, a high level of trust has been established. They are now also the victims of one of the worst Senate administrations in the history of Montana.
Business relationships are all about trust. Due to that trust, Harvey Investments has worked closely with the Department of Natural Resource Conservation to find an economically prudent way to solve the office space problems that DNRC has in Dillon. The company was able to negotiate on an existing property and remodel it suit the operational needs of the Dillon DNRC unit. That was a significant investment of capitol and resources; based on trust.
The project has been completed and the DNRC has already moved in and is preparing for the upcoming fire season. Harvey Investments secured the loan from a local bank using their own collateral, creating economic opportunity within the community, which is how local business should work. That’s how partnerships between the State and private enterprise should happen – clean, honest and transparent.
Maybe Senator Matt Rosendale (R-Drone Killin’) didn’t realize that an amendment he offered would have screwed this small company in Dillon. Maybe he was just pissed that Dick Anderson didn’t back a horse whose support was a mile wide and an inch deep and ultimately picked Zinke as the winner of the Republic Primary. Maybe he didn’t understand that by screwing people over because they saw the light and knew that a Marylander with an accent as thick as a D.C. Crab-cake wasn’t going to win, he put the state in a position that would have led to litigation and big settlement, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s tough to see that far in advance after you shot down your drone, after-all.
The committee amended the Rosendale amendment to exclude the Dillon property after finally acknowledging their unintended consequence of screwing over more people than just Dick Anderson. But the issue of political pay-back against Dick Anderson for exercising his constitutional rights to engage in the political process can continues to move forward, putting at risk good paying jobs and contractual obligations made by the State. Now, the amendment is specific to Lewis & Clark County and Anderson Construction because, well, f*** you.
But as you can see from this letter Senate President Debby Barrett had drafted relative to Dick Anderson Construction and the DNRC office building being built, that same kind of trust that occurred with Harvey Investments in Barrett’s own district isn’t good enough for the political machine that’s almost running the session. In their rush to screw one contractor, they inadvertently screwed with a bunch of them, putting the trust that has been developed between the state and private enterprise at risk.
Why would Senator Barrett think that attacking private enterprise is a good idea? Consider the sources – Rosendale, Barrett and former Senator turned leadership lackey Dave Lewis don’t like that Dick Anderson supported Bullock’s HB 5, which would have created thousands of jobs and helped shore up Montana’s failing infrastructure. Maybe Barrett’s been grooming her personal assistant, Diane Rice, to primary Jeff Welborn (R-Common Sense) if he runs for the soon to be vacated Senate Seat. As the Missoulian reported, it was Barrett who recruited Welborn to run for election to the House in 2008.
He thought they worked well together on local issues, only to have Barrett and others attack him in his primary in 2014. She wrote a letter to the Dillon Tribune calling Welborn a hypocrite for attacking his opponent’s receipt of political action committee money when Welborn donated to another PAC.
Maybe Dave Lewis is just kind of a dick who would rather play games with people’s lives than allow for sensible policy to move forward. Maybe Senator Rosendale finally got that drone, but it wasn’t the drone he was looking for. Who knows.
Rosendale, Lewis and Barrett should be ashamed of themselves. That takes a bit of self-awareness so it’s doubtful it will happen. They put a lot of jobs on the line for political retribution, and rather than act like responsible adults, they slink around the capitol trying to act like they know what they’re doing. Fortunately, Representative Carl Glimm admitted there were unintended consequences of this retribution and Rosendale’s amendment was amended to only screw Anderson Construction and the DNRC. But here’s the thing: In their rush to punish political adversaries in their own party, Lewis, Rosendale and Barrett not only just about cost small businesses their companies, put countless jobs at risk and tripped on their own dicks in the process, they could have severely limited the ability of our state land managers of their ability to fight fires, oversee grazing and generally ensure that State Management of lands would be done in a sensible manner.
Rosendale and Barrett are big proponents for transferring public lands to the state government, but given how poorly they’ve managed this tiny issue, are we sure these are the people we want to managing 29 million acres of public land?