Whitefish has disregard for public’s right to know

Print Article

In June, Whitefish complained to Flathead County commissioners that county planning board members made “strident comments” about the city’s treatment of doughnut property owners. The comments followed a hearing on the South 93 corridor, which used to be in the doughnut.

The Whitefish mayor and all city councilors signed the letter on official letterhead.

Whitefish now admits that it failed to disclose consideration of this letter on any City Council agenda. Nor did councilors vote in public to send it. Instead, Whitefish drafted and approved the letter in secret.

As such, the letter violated our constitutional right to know about and participate in government decisions.

After our office objected, Whitefish agreed to put the letter on the July 17 City Council agenda where it was subject to public comment and an after-the-fact public vote by councilors.

While we appreciate Whitefish’s belated willingness to comply with the law, the city’s illegal letter follows Whitefish’s historical disregard for the public’s right to know when it comes to doughnut decisions. Consider:

In March 2008, Whitefish sued Flathead County, starting years of contentious doughnut litigation. Whitefish never put this lawsuit on any agenda, nor did the councilors vote in public to file this complaint.

In January 2012, Whitefish again sued the Flathead County, filing a third party complaint on doughnut issues. Whitefish again made this decision to sue in secret.

In July 2013, Whitefish sought an injunction against Flathead County to prohibit it from assuming doughnut jurisdiction. Once again, Whitefish never held a public vote or allowed public comment on this significant decision.

Around the valley, we never hear folks comparing, say, Kalispell, Bigfork or Columbia Falls, to dictatorships. That comparison is reserved solely for Whitefish.

In the public arena, we lament that ad hominem attacks and name calling now substitutes for serious, respectful discussions about policy and principals. But Whitefish must learn that if it was more respectful of people’s rights and complied with the law, it probably would face less “strident” criticism.

Duncan Scott, Kalispell

Print Article

Read More

Free figure skating

January 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Whitefish Pilot The Glacier Skate Academy will host “Try Figure Skating For Free” at the Stumptown Ice Den in Whitefish on Saturday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 24 from 5:15-6:15 p.m. for ages 4- 12. Event includes i...

Comments

Read More

Bill naming peak for late conservationist awaits President’s signature

January 17, 2018 at 11:17 am | Whitefish Pilot A move to name a 9,765-foot peak in honor of the late Montana conservationist Alex Diekmann is one step closer to becoming reality. The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday passed a bill naming th...

Comments

Read More

Fire season last year cost state up to $240 million in visitor spending

January 17, 2018 at 10:04 am | Whitefish Pilot Fires and smoke from wildfires this past summer cost the state up to 800,000 visitors and resulted in a decrease in visitor spending, according to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at...

Comments

Read More

Pick up after dogs

January 17, 2018 at 10:03 am | Whitefish Pilot The upcoming Winter Trails Day is a good time to remind area dog owners to be responsible members of society. That is, our treasured recreational trails are not your dog’s toilet. The poop problem be...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X