On Friday evening irrigators in the Mission Valley experienced first hand what it’s like to watch their elected officials out of control and acting against the will of the people they represent.

After calling special meetings with merely 24 hours notice, both the Jocko and Mission districts of the FJBC for the Flathead Irrigation Project voted 2-1 to give 90 days notice to withdraw from the joint board of control.  As you know, the May election shifted the majority of commissioners toward opposition of the water use agreement and the compact.  Unfortunately 2 of the 3 districts consist of 3 commissioners each, 2 members of which are proponents of the compact.

In the Mission district, Paul Wadsworth also tried to pass a verbal statement to affirm and endorse the Water Use Agreement and the Compact.  They were served with an injunction (thank you LLC) to stop them from passing it, so that action was tabled.  The Jocko district did not attempt to affirm the WUA or Compact, and only voted to withdraw from the FJBC.

The Mission district commissioners were reminded that the vote in May was a referendum against the compact where irrigators voted 2 to 1 for Jerry Laskody, and unseated Walt Schock, board chairman who’d served 23 years.  This comment as well as many others opposing their proposed actions were ignored.

Rather than provide commentary on these events, we’d like to ask a few questions:

  • Alan Mikkelsen participated in the Jocko meeting and gave a presentation to explain why the Jocko district should pull out of the Joint Board.  Why? Isn’t he a Mission irrigator?  Shouldn’t he have been concerned about what his own district was doing?
  • In the meeting someone stated the firm of the attorney hired by the Mission district is known to work for the tribes.  Is that true, and if it is, was that decision in the best interest of the Mission district irrigators or someone else?
  • Do any of these commissioners have conflicts of interest, such as tribal leases or other business arrangements with the tribe, that should require them to recuse themselves from these votes?
  • The reasoning behind the decision was poorly thought out and those given by Jerry Johnson were laughable.  So what was the real reason behind the pull out?
  • When you see people acting in a manner that you know will be destructive of their friends and neighbors, and even their own property rights, you have to wonder if they are being coerced into these actions.  Is that possible, and if it is, who is behind the coercion?
  • Why are the parties still trying to push the irrigator agreement, that we believe to be a red herring, and should have been killed when the compact died in the legislature earlier this year?
  • Why did Paul Wadsworth want to endorse the water use agreement and the compact, so much so, he almost seemed willing to be in contempt of court?

Do your homework, talk to your neighbors.  Awaken them to the sheer arrogance and tyranny of a few who are unhappy with the due process that took place this year in Helena and with the recent Joint Board Elections.  Instead of accepting the fact that the majority of people are against the existing compact, this small group of men continue their attempts to relinquish your water and property rights to the tribe.  Remember these documents are FOREVER.  Once approved, there is no turning back.

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