Letters: Seeley Lake resident reviews his ballot and votes

By next week, your ballots will have arrived in the mail. For whatever it’s worth, here is how I am voting. You can view a sample of my ballot by following this link.

I will start out with the parts that baffle many people.

Propositions and Initiatives:

Initiative # 118: would allow adults to possess marijuana (more below), I am voting YES

Initiative # 190: Legalizes possession of marijuana for people over 21 and establishes a 20% tax, all beginning in 2022. Estimated tax revenue per year around $50 million.

My opinion: people will smoke or eat marijuana anyway; it’s already legal in a number of states. Instead of wasting resources to fight it, let’s convert it into a revenue source. I am voting YES.

To legalize marijuana a voter has to vote YES on both 118  and 190.

Referendum # 130: would prohibit local governments from establishing firearm restrictions. “It repeals local governments’ authority to prevent the possession of firearms by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors.” No-brainer. I am voting NO

The two Constitutional Amendments are are uncontroversial Amendments designed to change the language of the Constitution to reflect legal changes to the ballot initiative process which were decided in 2002.

Judges:

MT Supreme Court: Mike Black, a fourth-generation Montanan is by far the superior candidate. He enjoys the support of all seven of the retired Supreme Court Judges.
The incumbent was backed in her election by a dark-money group, a puppet for the Koch organization. Consequently, she votes consistently in favor of corporations and against consumers. I am voting for MIKE BLACK.

District Court Judge: Judge Jason Marks is backed by all the other four District Judges. He is also widely supported by the legal community. He is measured, even-minded and fair. He exercises diligence in his rulings from the bench, balanced with understanding, empathy and compassion. His opponent seems like a nice woman, but she has nowhere near the depth of experience of Judge Marks. I am voting for JUDGE MARKS.

Public Service Commissioner (PSC): The PSC is supposed to regulate the rates that utilities charge (electricity, etc.) In fact, the current Commissioners simply rubber-stamp whatever the corporations want.

Monica Tranel has over two decades of experience fighting for consumers as an attorney and arguing in front of the Public Service Commission. As an attorney, she has kept $10 million in Montanans’ pockets from monopolies. Her opponent has no experience in regulating monopolies. She is best known as a fierce opponent of public lands which she wants to privatize. I am voting for MONICA TRANEL.

I will discuss the other races shortly.

About voting:

This will be an all-mail ballot; no polling stations will be open. I am not going to mail my ballot. I will fill it out and drop it at the Election Center the same day (140 N. Russell). I am wary of the Post Office.

For information on early voting, satellite offices, etc. follow this link to the Missoula County Elections Office.  You can still register to vote and vote including Nov. 3 but expect long lines on election day.

Klaus von Stutterheim, Seeley Lake