How shitty is Mayor John Engen?
If you haven’t read his letter to constituents regarding the protests on the lawn of the courthouse, click here.
Can you believe this guy was a newspaper columnist and journalist before being the mayor? He won’t even capitalize “Black” but he’ll capitalize Jewish and Semitic. Also Indigenous, etc. I thought it was proper to capitalize all racial and ethnic groups as proper nouns but *shrug* what do I know?
He even goes so far as to shit on Trump. On official City of Missoula letterhead.
I think the biggest problem for me is his (and Bullock’s) ability to take responsibility and non-responsibility at the same time. This guy has been mayor for 14 years. Let’s look at a few things he had the willpower to actually change and those he still hasn’t.
In 2006, the same year Engen took office Missoula County voters expressed their displeasure with police time and resources going to marijuana arrests and wanted to make them a low level priority. As is the reality, most people see these low level crime enforcement efforts as harassment that helps put people into the system who otherwise would never become a part of it. What happened under new Mayor Engen? Marijuana arrests went UP. Missoula police actively told the public, who pays their salaries and benefits, fuck off we’ll arrest MORE people if you care so much about it.
Fred VanValkenburg, former Democratic legislator and then County Attorney specifically took steps to override the citizen Initiative. It might be noted at the same time Van Valkenburg was so obsessed with fighting the will of the people he took an oath to serve, he wasn’t so concerned about women. The 18-month period that the Justice Department report found 350 women whose rapes, assaults and discrimination were ignored by Missoula Police was in 2010-2011 while VanValkenburg was appealing to Republicans and the legislature to keep arresting low-level drug crimes. This matters since it's the primary way many low-income and minority people interact with police, through this fishing expedition type of "enforcement."
Where was Engen? What was he fighting then? I worked closely on these early marijuana legalization campaigns and John Masterson was a friend who became so completely exhausted by single-handedly fighting city hall that he eventually gave up and just moved out of state. Was Mayor Engen mad enough back then or still just taking the police union dues to keep funding his next campaign? On his watch the ACLU now puts Blacks as 9.6 more times likely than whites to be arrested for low-level offenses. Good job, John!
Surely if Engen wanted something changed he could get it done. What happened when he saw himself face to face with his own mortality and realized he would never want to foot the $40,000 bill for his own fat surgery? Well just lobby the insurance company to make a change so that the taxpayers can pay for it! Engen the newspaper journalist with always something to say suddenly says “No Comment.” And then when he comes back at the end of the year he’s writing pretty letters again letting everyone know the fat surgery operation in lieu of any self-control went well and he was fine! He was practically bragging about the fact that he only had to pay $3,000 for it.
What has happened on Mayor Engen’s watch? The city became the “Rape Capital” of America. We’re now to about 50 or so homeless dead on our streets every year. An additional 50 or so Indigenous or Native women just seem to disappear from our streets in the same year. We’ve seen the demolition of historical buildings and charities like Boys and Girls Club go bankrupt while donors to Engen’s campaigns get sweetheart loans to build more high rises. Taxes continue to rise and price regular people out of the housing market, while we get to pay for more mid-level administrators to continue their “study” of the issue for 20 or so years now.
I’ll leave you with one of Engen’s more egregious out-of-touch examples, when he was interviewed by the BBC about the epidemic of male suicide in the West. I won’t rant yet about how everything to do with men’s problems seem to involve women’s stories, but John lets us know what he thinks would be one of the causes, white men who get Muslim women bosses! Just listen… (fast forward to 12:22 since YT won't let me link)
My name is Tim. I'm no longer invited to any parties. This blog is for Greg Strandberg and no one else.