Printed with permission of the author, Mark Agather of Kalispell
The support of Commissioners Cal Scott and Gary Krueger for the Water Compact which gives away forever our state’s water rights is as ridiculous as the manner in which the vote was carried out.
The timing of the vote was impeccably planned by these two commissioners apparently at the bidding of Sen. Bruce Tutvedt. Bruce needed this approval in his back pocket for the Monday meeting of the Water Compact in Helena, where he can gleefully announce that FlatheadCounty supports this abomination.
But they couldn’t afford to carry out the vote under the scrutiny of the public, deciding instead to “slide” it in when the public was distracted by our holiday celebrations. Even though this is one of the most profound decisions of the last 100 years, they could not bring themselves to make a large announcement to the public regarding their vote for two reasons.
First of all they feared the public input would be so vehemently opposed they could not possibly vote for it after all information was heard. Secondly, Sen. Tutvedt wouldn’t have his Christmas present for his liberal cohorts in Helena. Such obvious political manipulations are abhorrent, leading to the conclusion we can’t trust either of these two commissioners with such important decisions.
In essence these commissioners are saying, “Me and my friends have our irrigation water rights covered so no need to worry about anything else.” In my conversation with Gary Krueger it is very apparent he doesn’t comprehend and/or want to discuss the major issues brought up by Sen. Verdell Jackson in his excellent letter published in the DailyInterLake. And Commissioner Scott tries to excuse his vote by saying it creates an environment of “public discussion.”
If you want public discussion, how about just advertising an open meeting announcing the fact you are voting on such an important issue instead of one line in your weekly published agenda? You would have heard all the public discussion you could’ve hoped for.
Our county commissioners have done irreparable harm to this political process and to themselves at the same time.
To even vote for this in such a shadowy manner makes one question the motives and/or intelligence of these two commissioners. But to allow the rest of the state to believe FlatheadCounty supports this compact is a lie. The commissioners should rescind this vote and call for a public meeting where they can get a pulse of the true feelings of our county and a more in depth discussion of the major issues involved. In this situation “better late than never” is the salient observation.