Letters to the Editor


Renters rights

Protecting Montana renters should be a priority for all lawmakers this legislative session. However, for Roger and Peggy Webb, a couple that has split their influence across Senate and the House, respectively, the 2017 session has provided a means for pushing an unfair and sometimes unlawful pro-landlord agenda. At first glance, the changes brought forward by the legislature seem to be simply cosmetic clarifications. Senate Bill 175, for instance, has a large section devoted to specifying a landlord's right to enter and make repairs. In addition to "clarifying" this section, it also cuts in half the time a renter has to respond to a maintenance issue, gives the landlord "immediate" access to the residence, and allows the landlord to perform an impromptu inspection without notice. Furthermore, if this impromptu inspection finds a new issue in need of maintenance, the landlord can fix the problem and bill the renter with no notice and no opportunity to rectify the issue.

House Bill 348 requires that renters notify their landlord every time they plan to be gone from their residence for longer than 24 hours, while landlords may currently require only that tenants inform them of absences longer than seven days. Changes like this, requiring that tenants notify their landlord before leaving town for something as simple as an overnight shopping trip or a basketball game, are not just unduly burdensome, but indicative of the tenant-averse laws that are being proposed this legislative session. Senate Bill 176, another example, removes all ability of a renter to refuse entry to their landlord, and goes further by forbidding tenants from adding locks to any portion of a residence, irreparably hindering renters' right to privacy and safety.

The most egregious of these bills is Senate Bill 174, from Sen. Roger Webb, which seeks to shift the legal and financial burden from landlord to renter by holding tenants liable for legal fees if they lose a case against their landlord. Its banality does nothing to change the fact that it presents a gross overreach of a landlord and a legislature by attempting to dictate how judges should rule. This renter-averse legislation from landlord-legislators like the Webbs presents a great danger to the balanced relationship of Montana renters and landlords. The bills currently introduced undermine tenant protections and call into question the fair and equal treatment that's been at the heart of Montana law for 40 years.

Our elected officials in Helena must make sure to also represent the voices of the one in three Montanans who rent their homes, and prove that our landlord-tenant laws are here to serve and protect everyone.

Mary O'Malley

Director, ASUM Off-Campus Renter Center


Blood in the water

Lemme get this straight—we took the water company on the notion that "corporations are bad," but now we're going to get a toxic loan from an overseas multinational investment bank ("Slow drip," Feb. 2)? How does us hemorrhaging interest overseas benefit Missoula?

Benjamin A. Hart

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent

Kitties cornered

This is the cost of living in the wildland interface ("FWP removals draw ire," Feb. 2). Everybody seems to want to live in the Montana woods—it's the trendy thing to do these days.

Lions are different from bears, they don't relocate or change their habits well.

The human population is growing and consuming the habitat of wild creatures.

As lions populations grow, they need to find new territory. They move with their prey, and young lions often get in trouble with humans as they try to find a place to set up a home range. Seven billion people on this planet and counting—human growth has many consequences.

People with pets and children should always have a close eye on them, whether in the big city or in or near the woods. A bump in the road is just a bump in the road to a car, and meat is meat to a lion.

We, as the animals with the bigger brains, should consider what our impacts are, and how we can limit them, what kind of place we want to live in, and what kind of life we want for the generations to come—human and animal.

Joe Bear

posted at missoulanews.com

Run, dog, run!

Do not give that lunatic a dog ("Top dog?" Jan. 26). He doesn't deserve one and would have no interest in it unless he could pose with it to boost his ego. As he has narcissistic personality disorder, it would be terrible for the dog because he would never get his needs for love, play, exercise, food and vet visits met. Do not give that sicko a dog!

Patricia Bowers

posted at missoulanews.com

Re-routing progress

Move over, working-class Missoulians ("Mary Avenue freeze-out," Feb. 2). Our "progressive" overlords are here to hit you with a big dose of gentrification, or "progress," as they like to call it.

Adam Hertz

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent

We see what you did there...

"Critics call on Sen. Daines and others to recuse themselves over campaign donations." And I call on all feral dogs to refrain from snapping at raw pieces of meat.

Lee Conway

posted at facebook.com/missoulaindependent

Dinging Daines

I'm a veteran. Sen. Daines does not represent me on health care. His support for repealing the Affordable Care Act will be disastrous for Montana veterans. Since passage of the ACA, the number of uninsured veterans has declined to less than 10 percent. Repealing the ACA will force veterans who currently have coverage to attempt to meet their health-care needs through an already overburdened Veterans Administration. Trump's freeze on federal hiring (which Sen. Daines also supports) means that new doctors, nurses and technicians cannot be hired by the VA to meet our increased numbers and needs. Sen. Daines needs to think more clearly about his positions and how they will affect the veterans of our state.

Pat Tucker


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