Letters to the Editor October 25th

Barnhart for Mayor

I’ve already filled out and mailed my ballot for the Columbia Falls City Council elections. Although I was disappointed that there were no more candidates running for the council, I had no problem putting my “X” next to Don Barnhart’s name.

So when I read that there are some candidates for the post of mayor, and especially their desire to end the city manager government, I wanted to give Don more than my vote. I want to give him my voice of support.

Don did not ask for my consent. Maybe he doesn’t even want to, even though he knows how controversial my tenure as the city’s first city manager was. Still, after returning to Columbia Falls after a long absence and thinking back to the exciting, if turbulent, transition from mayor’s council to council manager government, I remember Don consistently as an indispensable and dependable colleague.

With him as the fire department chief, together with the rest of the administration and the municipal council, we have managed to make the urgently needed improvements to the fire department, to set the course for a new fire department hall and to enable the urgently needed improvements to the town hall.

Although I’ve been absent from much of the community for the past two decades, I’ve come back to find things stable and the city’s growth is manageable and responsible. Much of this, of course, is due to stable advice and a skilled manager. But the long-term leadership and guidance that Don has given the city cannot be underestimated.

With the changes and bigger changes on the horizon, now is not the time to look back in Columbia Falls. The council manager form of government work. It works in large part thanks to Don’s leadership then, now, and tomorrow.

—Roger Hopkins, Columbia Falls

Dahlmann for advice

The election of Jessica Dahlman to Kalispell City Council would be an achievement for the community. During my earlier years as an intern in Kalispell and RN, I had the pleasure of working with Jessica at KRMC and witnessing her commitment to excellence and empathy every day in her practice. Her vision of a just and healthy community is a longstanding trait of Jessica that sets her apart. She combines the qualities of enthusiasm and kindness into an incredible drive to improve the lives of others. These unique qualities should be present in the church leadership and ready to deliver them.

Nurses are natural leaders. Our skills of critical thinking, thoughtful decision-making, active listening, emotional intelligence, and effective communication enable us to serve as educators, advocates, caregivers, and mentors to our patients. And now, Kalispell has the option to choose Jessica Dahlman, who can provide these important services to the community. Jessica advocates for vulnerable and marginalized populations and understands the importance of involving all Kalispell residents in the civil process. Nurses understand the importance of being attuned to the populations they care for, and Jessica will support community collaboration to develop solutions that reflect their core values ​​of inclusion and integrity.

Help her bring her passion for this community to the forefront of leadership. Jessica Dahlman has the intuition, creativity and knowledge to bring Kalispell to a place of safety. With your support on November 2nd, this mission could be realized. Vote for Nurse Dahlman.

—Catherine Akin, Livingston

Candidate withdraws

Hello, my name is Mark E. Owens and I would like to inform Whitefish voters that, for personal reasons, I have decided to withdraw my name from running for Whitefish City Council.

Instead, I would ask that people who may have planned to vote for me instead consider casting Kristen Riter as the candidate who best reflects my views and visions for the future of Whitefish. I would also like to ask that the people of Whitefish support another candidate for a second seat on the city council, Giuseppe Caltabiano (G-Man), as another excellent choice to lead Whitefish into a better future.

Unfortunately, my name was not withdrawn in time to have it removed from the ballot. It is for this reason that I am sending this letter to the editorial staff to inform Whitefish voters of my decision to resign.

—Mark Owens, whitefish

Vote to increase the Whitefish resort tax again

Whitefish Resort Tax – a 3% sales tax on tourism industry goods and services – is the tax every local should love.

Initially, 25% of the income from the tourist tax is used to offset local property taxes, which, given the current real estate market, should delight property owners and tenants alike.

Second, the tax enables the municipality to capture the value of the tourism industry and keep it local. By targeting sales in the tourism industry such as hotels, the tax generates revenue from visitors – without it, infrastructure improvements currently financed by the tourist tax would likely be financed by local taxpayers or not at all. If we don’t reintroduce the tourist tax, the relationship will be effectively reversed: taxes for the Whitefish locals will be required to pay for the visitor’s impact on local infrastructure. Improving and investing in infrastructure, including roads, bike paths and paths with tourist tax income, is not only a question of maintaining the infrastructure itself, but also of maintaining the tourism economy of our city. Well-kept local facilities keep visitors coming back and leave a positive impression of our city.

While tourism comes with certain nuisances we all know well, we cannot deny that incoming funds from visitors are vital to the local Whitefish economy. So let’s tax the tourists! Vote on November 2nd to keep the tourist tax.

—Grete Gansauer, Felchen

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