Indivisible – Upper Yellowstone
Monday April 17, 2017
Livingston Food Resource Center, 202 South Second
Chaired by Nelson King and Dixie Hart, 14 attendees
Report on Actions/Events
HB 83 – The continuation of SB 305 in the house, complete with governor Bullock’s ‘adjustments’ failed to make it to the house floor; house Republicans refused to pass it out of committee. Effectively the “vote by mail” issue is dead. Group sentiment was strongly in favor of using this ugly politicking as an element in election talking points.
We discussed at some length the upcoming special election and the role IUY can/should play in working with or for candidates. For the most part it was agreed that IUY itself should not endorse or promote individual candidates. This was seen as the role of political parties. IUY members, of course, often do participate directly in campaigns and candidate promotion. IUY can endorse election conditions – get out the vote, voting by mail, etc. – and officially promote election issues.
Caitlin Chiller brought up a probable action issue for IUY:
State Education Superintendent, the recently elected and persistently controversial Elsie Arntzen, has made an amazing staff hiring choice. The essence of the problem is (to quote Montana Cowgirl):
“She has hired an advisor onto her personal staff by the name of Patrick Beddow Sr., and is paying him $187,200 according to the state salary website. That comes out to $90.00 an hour. As a point of comparison, starting teachers in the Montana school system, which Arntzen presides over, make around $20,000 a year if not less.
Heck, the governor only makes $111,000 and that’s the upper limit of pretty much any politician, cabinet member or personal staff salary. In fact Arntzen’s ace staffer Beddow (whose advice we can be sure is worth every dollar) probably makes more than almost any state worker except maybe a few doctors at state medical facilities. He is listed in news reports as having been hired to advise Arntzen on issues pertaining to the Land Board, on which she sits.”
The meeting approved this as an action issue, pending research by Caitlin on contact information and other points in the issue.
While the meeting of IUY volunteers last week agreed to use the Forums at the website as a “hub” for issues, planning and group discussion – very few members have entered the forum or used its features. Nelson suggested that people go through the process of registering at the website (http://indivisible-upper-yellowstone.org) and then proceeding to the Forums (in the main menu). If there’s some difficulty, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call Nelson 222-5881 for “IUY Tech Support”. It’s important we jumpstart this method of communicating among ourselves so we can see whether it’s going to work out for the long run.
When asked to set the date for the May IUY general meeting, it was suggested that members go to the website/forums and use the new forum “polling” feature to select a date. [The poll is in place.]