There’s Something Fishy Going on in Ravalli County

Never did I think the Ravalli County Commission would be the place to call out extreme Republican views, but hey it’s 2017–things just keep getting weirder.

This week, Ravalli County Commissioners rejected a plan from land transfer advocate Rep. Theresa Manzella (R-Hamilton) to have Wyoming attorney and public lands enemy Karen Budd-Falen speak about “public land use plans” (read: transfer and sale).

After public comment on the matter, 100% of which was opposed to Budd-Falen being allowed to speak, commissioners voted not to proceed. You read that right: even in ruby-red Ravalli County, the land transfer agenda is seen as an extremist nonstarter.

Manzella’s proposal was strange enough, but it gets weirder. It turns out Budd-Falen has been travelling the state giving “workshops” on land use, and Manzella had funds to cover the travel. When pressed on the source of the money, however, she claimed it was from “citizens”, and declined to elaborate. Extremist pro-transfer speaker, undisclosed funding source… something here sure stinks, big time.

But not one to be swayed by unanimous feedback from the community she represents, Manzella is pressing on. She now plans to host a private event for Budd-Falen, in a private residence, to which she will invite only two county commissioners, in order to avoid a quorum and openly skirt public meeting laws.

Montanans have seen plenty of these land transfer extremists pushing their agenda in recent years, but this one seems even fishier than most. That’s because Budd-Falen is rumored to be in line for a position as the next BLM director in the Zinke Interior Department, which makes her little “educational” speaking tour seem a lot more like a (poorly-executed) attempt to drum up support for her extreme agenda.

But like we already know, Montanans won’t fall for this garbage heap of a policy idea. Transfer and sale of public lands is the electoral kiss of death for a politician in Montana, and clearly even conservative corners of the state are having none of the snake oil that Karen Budd-Falen is peddling.

If anyone can get into this closed door “workshop” with just enough public officials not to require an open public meeting, feel free to let us know how it goes!


8 Comments on "There’s Something Fishy Going on in Ravalli County"

  1. Do you know for certain who the 2 invited Commissioners are?

    This clown has every right to spout off at a Private or Public forum. Just like voters should have the right to know which of their elected officers sits and listens.

  2. Most Montana counties have 3 commissioners, Silver Bow and Deer Lodge counties having consolidated governments. Ravalli County have more than 3? If not, then 2 commissioners is a quorum, and this private meeting doth violate open meeting laws, unless suitable public notice is given.

  3. They need to post her picture. A face to remember.

  4. Ravalli County has 5 County commissioners, All Republicans, imagine that. They are:

    Doug Schallenberger County Commissioner District 5 Phone: (406)-375-6510

    Jeff Burrows County Commissioner District 4 Phone: (406)-375-6503

    Chris Hoffman County Commissioner District 3 Phone: (406)-375-6501

    Greg Chilcott County Commissioner District 2 Phone: (406)-375-6502

    Ray Hawk County Commissioner District 1 Phone: (406)-375-6509

    I bet they would love to hear from everyone.

    I imagine that ex commissioner Suzy Foss, will be in attendance, As she has brought Ken Ivory to speak to the Commission. They might even be welcoming, land give away specialist, Senator Fielder to attend.

  5. The lovely and talented Theresa, inspired very little support anomg the Commisioners, the Ravalli County board has been reminded of it’s responsibility as a public representative body to observe open meeting rules by Judges in the past. Chris Hoffman reminded Ms Manzella of that fact, Jeff Burrows was the only member who expressed any interest in attending the “Private” invitation only gathering. The efforts of a small and determined group who somehow have been elected to serve the citizens of Montana, seem to serve the wishes of some obscure group of people interested in appropriating land that currently is the domain of all American citizens. Many GOP plans offer great ideas, like cutting down the forests to save them from wildfires, but never seem capable of funding their grand plans. They then proceed to assult the efforts of sensible folks who actually work to protect the interests of citizens. Theresa is an impatient girl who wants a pony, but has no idea of how to take care of it…..

  6. Carlotta Grandstaff | November 9, 2017 8:48 AM at 8:48 AM |

    I attended the meeting in question and spoke against Manzella’s request. I was one of 20 people in attendance, all opposing a commission meeting with Budd-Falen. Manzella did not seem to understand that a “private” meeting of the full five-member commission would be illegal. Only Commissioner Burrows indicated interest in attending a private meeting of what Commissioner Chilcott called a “sub-quorum” of two or fewer commissioners. And Commissioner Burrows only appeared interested as a means of meeting and listening to his constituents, otherwise he appeared skeptical of Budd-Falen and of Manzella. Not to be dissuaded, Manzella met with commissioners two days later, though not in a recorded public forum, to ask them to reconsider their initial decision not to meet with Budd-Falen. I have been assured by one commissioner that the second meeting won’t change anything. Budd-Falen has one day set aside for Ravalli County – Nov. 17. It does not appear to me that the commission has any interest in meeting with her. If she does come to Ravalli County, it will likely be to meet with the usual suspects and no one else.

  7. I was at the meeting between the commissioners and Manzella also, and what struck me was that her poor, semi-comprehensible presentation was nothing out of the ordinary from what we’ve been seeing in the commissioners’ meeting room these last 8 years or so. What was missing that would have made it a “successful” meeting for Manzella was the red-meat crowd, and it did seem like at least one commissioner (Chilcott) was exploring the possibilities (or at least thinking out loud) about setting up another meeting with Manzella in order to get one there. This is the thing for me: Manzella and (fill in the blanks) are demagogue wannabes. They’re playing on peoples’ base emotions, not facts or even the truth in this case. She flat out denied that her desired meeting would would be anything about transfer of federal lands to states and individuals, and yet the purpose of her proposed meeting would have been meaningless with out such a subtext. You don’t need facts or truth when you have a mob to back you up, and this is how “leaders” like Manzella have been “governing” us up till now. Is their nakedness finally so obvious that even the mob backs off? That’s the big question for me. To be continued.

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