Rick Blake Appointed to Whitefish Planning Board

By Beacon Staff

Rick Blake, one of Whitefish’s most recognizable political figures even though he has never held a seat, gets a crack at serving in an official government capacity after his recent appointment to the Whitefish City-County Planning Board.

The Flathead County Commission voted unanimously on Dec. 12 to appoint Blake and Dennis Konopatzke to the planning board after a motion by Commissioner Jim Dupont. The planning board does not have ultimate lawmaking authority like a city council but makes recommendations that are considered in the lawmaking process.

Blake and Konopatzke’s terms expire Dec. 31, 2013. Blake has also been appointed to the county road advisory committee.

Mary Vail was also appointed to the Whitefish City-County Planning Board, which features both city and county residents. Vail ran for city council in November and received the fourth most votes. The top three vote-getters made the six-member city council.

Blake is a wealthy philanthropist who has made headlines during recent Whitefish city elections for using his own funds to send out mailers and purchase advertisements in an effort to either promote or oppose candidates. He sparred publicly with Frank Sweeney, who was voted on to the Whitefish City Council during November’s elections and officially took his seat on Jan. 3.

In past interviews, Blake indicated he had no intentions of running for office but was committed to staying politically active in other ways. His stated priorities have included representation for planning doughnut residents and opposition to “divisive regulations,” as he stated in the run-up to last fall’s election.

Blake could not be reached before the Beacon went to print.

Rounding out the nine-member planning board are Diane Smith, Greg Gunderson, Ken Meckel, Ken Stein, Ole Netteberg and Zak Anderson.