Hope and Peace

The city hall bashing is a faux controversy

By Mike Jopek

Pope Francis visited the United States offering an optimistic message of hope to millions of people around the world. His message instilled faith that we could do better to care for our common home and its people.

Too often we get mired in the familiar old dogma of bashing others who simply hold a differing opinion than ourselves.

Sen. Jon Tester escorted the Pope into a joint session of Congress. Tester said, “I hope his comments inspire Congress to work together to make America and the world a better place.”

Republicans who are in control of Congress were mulling whether to shut down government again because they do not favor funding health care programs like Planned Parenthood.

These health care clinics provide treatments for nearly millions of mostly younger people annually including hundreds of thousands of cancer screenings and millions of lifesaving tests. Federal law already prohibits funding for abortions.

The GOP likely smartened up recalling the last shutdown over health care, which weirdly attempted to repeal tax breaks and subsidies for people to purchase health insurance.

Locally in Whitefish, some still bash the decision to build a new downtown city hall. As anyone like me who has toured the old decrepit building can attest, the time has come to rebuild a proper town hall.

The old city hall is some 100 years old, and served the community well. But the asbestos-laden building was now simply a piece of junk. Oddly in a community laden with multimillion-dollar residences, a new and efficient city hall will seem small in comparison.

The city hall bashing is a faux controversy ginned up to politically make it look like incumbent city councilors Richard Hildner and Frank Sweeney are not up to the task of leadership. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s familiar political nonsense similar to past years when similar voices advocated against rebuilding the streets and sidewalks of downtown Whitefish. After reconstruction downtown Whitefish became a greater place, increased its sense of community, and business is up.

Hildner and Sweeney let Whitefish vote to permanently conserve 3,000 acres of Haskill Basin. Whitefish voters agreed, supporting the ballot measure by an unheard of 84 percent margin. This Hildner and Sweeney solution significantly lowered property taxes and permanently conserved the land producing drinking water for a growing city.

Hildner and Sweeney do a good job at holding the line on property taxes. In fact, Whitefish has been squirreling away urban renewal funds for many-many years in order to replace the dilapidated town hall. A new and energy efficient city hall will be built with no new taxes.

Katie Williams is a new and bright candidate offering fresh hope for Whitefish. Williams is a current manager at the Great Northern Brewing Company and an articulate spokeswoman.

At 28 years old, Williams offers younger voters a reason to return ballots in two weeks for upcoming city elections. Too often the issues facing young families are all but forgotten in a resort community.

Many local workers find the cost of rent in places like Whitefish way too high, and finding an affordable home to purchase is an opportunity for the lucky.

Younger voters are the next generation and it’s time for people like Williams to seek the reins of leadership. Williams offers a kind approach to politics.

The Pope was at the White House offering a message of love, hope and peace as I typed these words. We may not always politically agree with everything the Pope or candidates like Williams say or do, but it’s time to acknowledge that plenty of good happens when we act on the words of people like Tester who advocate working together to make the U.S. and world a better place to live.

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