Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Democrat Hill County Commissioner Candidates Speak Out
The forum was moderated by Havre Daily News Publisher Martin Cody who asked each candidate 4 disappointing and poorly poised questions following the candidates opening statements. While neither candidate told us how they would fulfill the needs of Hill County residents or accomplish any of their alleged campaign goals, both gave the audience the same tired old campaign sound bites such as “We have to work towards creating more jobs, we have to do a better job of improving our roads, we have to look at new alternative sources of funding, yada-yada-yada” It was just regurgitation of the same old same old we hear every election cycle from candidates of both political parties that never offer any well thought out solutions.
When asked what they have accomplished thus far, incumbent Mike Anderson said the number one project he accomplished during his last 6-year term was bringing the free bus service to Havre. His second major accomplishment was the creation of the newly formed Hill County Industrial Park to spur business development. Last but not least Anderson said that he has worked to develop a future Bio-diesel industry for Hill County. He went on to say that the free bus is already running a 20% bio-diesel mix that is produced at the MSU-Northern Research facility.
Did Mike really get the free bus for the Havre and Hill County area? What a surprise that comment was for those of us that thought Opportunity Link was the driving force behind this project. We had apparently mistakenly assumed that some of the bloated stimulus outpouring of cash and grants were used to fund this service instead of the diligence and hard work of Commissioner Anderson. (Sorry Mike) Wasn’t the big Bio-diesel proposal brought to the forefront by private business people that approached the City and County AFTER a private individual donated a piece of land to the City and County with the stipulation that it only be used for a future Industrial Park? Doesn’t anyone else recall that this industrial park was to be a joint venture by the city and county up until the City of Havre filed suit against the county over the swimming pool funding? Then because of this lawsuit, Commissioner Mike and his two anti-city partners on the Hill County Commission vowed to not move forward with the park in any form rather than be subjected to another “partnership” with their arch rivals at city hall. When confronted with this synopsis and rather than see the much needed project fail, the city graciously bowed out. The City of Havre and Hill County both have sources of funds for these types of projects and could have pooled their money to make this a reality, but instead we have been hobbling along at half-speed in spite of the very commissioner that now claims to have started this park single-handedly. Truthfully, Commissioner Mike Anderson has been the impeding force in this project, not the driving force so let’s state the facts correctly Mike.
We might be mistaken here but we seem to also recall that MSU-Northern department head Greg Kegal was the real force behind attracting Bio-diesel investors and has done a remarkable job of making Northern’s bio-diesel research and testing facility one of the premier research centers in the United States.
We charge that what incumbent Mike Anderson has really done was to attend a few meetings with private business people and developers to listen to reports about what THEY were doing and now is all of a sudden attempting to take credit for accomplishments that have fallen upon Hill County in spite of the behind the scenes roadblocks he has thrown up and his lack of effort towards any significant achievements. Mike Anderson ---- Much ado about nothing!
Next, challenger Jim Catt babbled on about how as a Hill County Commissioner he would work to expand our economy. He said he could accomplish this by relying on his campaign slogan “Connecting resources to the needs” What resources? What needs? Catt did say that he felt we needed to look to Rocky Boy to not only improve our relationship, but maybe even team up for some joint projects that could be accomplished because of the reservation’s ability to obtain grants that are not always available to the county. Mr. Catt also went on to say that he wholeheartedly agreed with the mission statement found on Hill County’s website citing something to the effect of “working together towards progress”. http://co.hill.mt.us/ We had to quickly look up the website last night as we seemed to remember the site was very out of date. The website still lists Doug Kaeracher as a commissioner, Cyndee Peterson as Hill County Attorney and still includes a copy of the 2006 Hill County Budget. Citing this ancient website makes me wonder about Mr. Catt’s credibility as a candidate and his abilities to decipher facts. Mr. Catt did say that he had gone over the current county budget line by line and found everything, with the exception of a couple minor points, to be in order and that after his detailed inspection of the budget he saw that the county was in good shape and operating in the black. Must we remind Mr. Catt that by law the county must operate in the black? Wow, what an accomplishment and quite frankly a rather embarrassing endorsement by Mr. Catt of his opponent, incumbent Mike Anderson.
So why should we vote for Catt? Mr. Catt mentioned several times that he stood out because he had vast business experience (at what we have never determined) He said he has already served Hill County tirelessly for over 25 years. (He has been on the county zoning board that meets once per month) When Catt was asked what he would do for county employees he said that he thought they were underpaid, deserved a raise, and maybe we should consider raising taxes to give them an increase in pay. This statement left us puzzled; do the commissioners work for their constituents or for the county employees?
It was clear at the conclusion of the commissioner portion of this forum that the candidate that shone the brightest was the candidate that wasn’t able to attend and that didn’t even utter one word, candidate Bert Corcoran.
Truthfully, the most interesting and sane comment we heard about the commissioner’s race last night was a comment made afterwards by one of the audience members. “Let’s promote an animal free election this year. Vote no to Catts and no to Incumbent Monkeys”