Regardless of how you feel about our Commissioners, I ask that you put those feelings aside for now and unite with them to strengthen the fight for a safe and secure Kalispell. It took courage, especially from an entity that has a degree of power, the type you seldom see NOWADAYS, to speak up about a rather delicate subject. They (including ourselves) are under attack from Missoula (the Missoulian published an article slapping our commissioners for daring to speak out about what we all have been witnessing. They have called for their resignation as have liberals on the City Council.The homeless situation is regrettable and I thoroughly believe that those in a vulnerable situation that is not of their doing, are and will continue to receive the support of our community…as has been the tradition of Montanans.
However, we are forced to address the effects of vagrants. Our DOWNTOWN residents, employees, small businesses, public spaces, apartment buildings, AND post offices, are under attack.
At the City Council meeting where this issue was being discussed, I was heartbroken to hear from those that have had dangerous interactions with vagrants, close encounters with needles, businesses that had to clean bodily fluids and needles in and outside of their businesses, and, invasion by vagrants inside of businesses in an attempt to steal merchandise.
The Chief of Police clearly stated that the department CANNOT protect us from the vagrants. From what I have found, Montana state law denies a municipality the power to enact an ordinance that prohibits or penalizes vagrancy. Our City Council acknowledged that they cannot keep our public spaces clean. However, with not a single original thought amongst them, they did offer a possible ‘solution’ that comes from Whitefish. Apparently, Whitefish had a vagrant problem that has since been alleviated by establishing ordinances. Yes, folks, the Council offered three ordinances from Whitefish for our consideration.
These ordinances will limit our use of our public spaces… LAW-ABIDING, hardworking, TAX-PAYING folks will be forced to comply with the terms of these ordinances. Children, the elderly, parents, grandparents, AND employees that enjoy lunch in the park, will now have to check the calendar and check the time before accessing what is rightfully theirs and then, make sure they don’t overstay the time limits of the ordinance. For gatherings we might now have to get a permit! The threat of being fined will be the penalty for us if we break the ordinance. The vagrants that use our public spaces as their personal bathroom, junk station (referring to their use of drugs, needles, etc.) and THE bedroom will be told to move on…just to return when no one is looking or brave enough to tell them to move on again.
There were the usual calls for mental hospitals, housing, clinics, social workers, AND drug programs, all of which prolongs the problem, BRING financing issues, and DON’T solve the problem. Has anyone asked, from where/whom the vagrants are getting their needles and drugs? Remove the source and that might cause some of them to move out.
Having experienced life in liberal states I have learned that there are those that want the right and freedom to infringe on the safety and freedom of others.
In my humble opinion, when that way of life takes away and/or endangers the lives of others…THEY lose their rights. THEY need to go. They need to leave town, our state, and our country (I know that THE latter is a stretch).
In closing, if you find this issue is one that you would like to support, please let our Commissioners know, send your views to the City Council and attend their next meeting.
(This Opinion Editorial was shared with Montana 1st News on behalf of Dorothy Williams of Flathead County).
Opinion Editorial-“The Kalispell Homeless Issue” (The Untold Story)
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