Posts Tagged ‘ local ’

Northern Rockies Rising Tide Blackmails the Governor

Members of Northern Rockies Rising Tide and several members of the Missoula community hit the streets during last night’s First Friday to give Brian Schweitzer a taste of his own medicine. That being, of course, blackmail–or rather, black mail. In response to Schweitzer’s request that community leaders write letters of approval regarding his decision to lease the Otter Creek coal tracts to Arch Coal Inc. before he will release frozen Stimulus funds, NRRT passed out over 400 envelopes addressed to the governor, each literally containing a piece of black mail, and urged community members to affix their own return address and mail them in.

Schweitzer’s decision to lease Otter Creek has been faced with widespread opposition from environmental advocates, high schoolers, ranchers, and other Montana citizens. His reasoning, that he doesn’t want “any community to use coal money that didn’t want to use coal money,” is obviously a thinly veiled attempt to bolster his approval ratings, and apparently, Schweitzer would rather twist the arms of Montana’s communities than face the reality that his decision is an unpopular one.

NRRT endorses proposed anti-discrimination ordinance

On April 12, the Missoula city council is scheduled to consider a proposed ordinance adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected classes in anti-discrimination law.  Joining such other protected classes as “race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, marital or familial status, and physical or mental disability”, the addition of gender and orientation to the legal code would make Missoula the first city in the state of Montana to do so.  This change claims to enforce non-discriminatory practices in employment, housing, and service in all places of business usually open to the public such as restaurants, stores, schools and public parks.

Bitterly opposed by many homophobes and transphobes around the region, invoking such strawman scenarios as pedophiles in public bathrooms preying on unsupervised children with legal impunity, and poor, innocent clergy performing marriages against their will; this ordinance may actually serve as another catalyst in the half-century long struggle for the civil-rights of yet another marginalized community in this country.

Northern Rockies Rising Tide recognizes the intersectionality among all forms of oppression, and considers environmental justice, economic justice and social justice to be one and the same.  NRRT commends the  City Council for its effort to show solidarity with Missoula’s queer community and endorses this ordinance.

*UPDATE* On Monday, April 12, the city council of Missoula approved the ordinance 10-2 after a seven hour meeting reported to be the most widely attended and viewed such meeting in at least thirty years.  Mayor Jon Engen signed the ordinance two days later.  For a full account of these historic events read this excellent article from the local alternative press.