Kalispell City Council Meeting: “Feces and Needles and Garbage” Oh My! (Plus 2 Inept Council Members)


Yes, that’s quite the title isn’t it?

In reality we could write entire volumes concerning last night’s Kalispell City Council meeting where the topic was the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ in regard to the Kalispell Warming Center. As you read below in the article you will see what is required via this special permit.

What were the two main overall concerns that stuck out like literal sore thumbs at this event? Well, most certainly it was the topic of “feces, needles, and garbage” (along with public sex) and the overt bias where two council members who were very vocal and aggressive concerning the idea that “the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ discussion wasn’t even needed” and which stood out in obvious opposition to the topic being discussed in any negative light or fashion (meaning any verbiage coming against the Flathead Warming Center).

The subject of ‘poop’ and needles, garbage (as well as public outdoor open-air sexual activity) were hot topics during the public comment time and especially by residents and businesses who live and operate near the Flathead Warming Center. Several residents were practically in tears (some did cry) as their properties, privacy, and lives along with their businesses (that they’ve been working on for years to establish and grow) are now at high risk and this has come about after the Warming Center was opened in their vicinity.

Folks who spoke stated their “steps and yards and fences were smeared with fecal matter” and that their children should not be having to pick up used needles EVER so they (their parents) were doing so. ‘Poop’ was a large part of last night’s vocabulary spoken by many highly concerned residents and business owners in Kalispell. The verbiage even covered the topic of ‘open sex’ taking place in the open public and on people’s property.

How disgusting.

How terrifying and disgusting that law-abiding, tax-paying citizens are forced to live under such lawless activity. And yes the activity in that area of town has most definitely increased (if you build it they will come) in reference to the Flathead Warming Center.

What was equaling very concerning, disturbing, and very telling was how two particular council members (and both are in Ward 3) portrayed the situation.

I am paraphrasing here but the gist is that Councilman Ryan Hunter (Ward 3) was very pro-FWC and wanted it kept open at all costs. He did express sorrow for the neighbors who’ve experienced crime in the area but was incredibly flippant and requested that the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ not even be discussed! Councilman Chad Graham (Ward 2) assured him that “that was not a possibility” and how the City Council could be held ‘liable’ as the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ was on the Agenda and the entire reason for meeting in the first place!

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Councilman Hunter was insistent that the inhabitants of the FWC had nothing to do with crime and homelessness in other parts of the city but that is simply not true as other residents shared how they ‘word for word’ have watched the WC ‘guests’ walk a certain path daily to the other side of town where the library is located and the Hockaday Art Center. Other concerned citizens have actually spoken with the homeless leaving the library area where they shared that they could “get back in line by 3:00″ to spend another night at the shelter”. In simple terms YES those staying at the FWC are committing crimes in other parts of Kalispell and engaged in illegal activity and not merely in the realm near the center itself.

Do you see what’s happening here?

It’s called CONTROL. Councilman Hunter wanted to wash his hands of the entire matter as though it wasn’t even a concern to need to address the CUP. And the reason being is because the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ covers topics which ‘incriminate’ the Warming Center by their own neglect. Under the CUP requirements (which the head Administrator of the Flathead Warming Center, Tonya Horn, initially agreed upon and signed),are specifications such as “being a good neighbor and keeping neighbors safe and the area clean” and so forth which are required for the Center to stay in operation. Another contingency upon which the FWC had to agree upon and abide by was the fact that the FWC was to primarily serve local Kalispell residents.

This is simply not what is happening. Whitefish transits are ‘shipped’ down to Kalispell who are being taken in by the Center and inhabit the place as well. And it’s obvious the other requirements of the CUP aren’t being upheld as crime is rampant in that vicinity of town.

Councilwoman Jessica Dahlman also (Ward 3 the same as Hunter) and who is a registered Nurse at Logan Health ) didn’t even seem to comprehend the basic charts and graphs and how the rise of crime affected the area surrounding the Warming Center (which is obviously the city’s crime and homeless epicenter). It was scary to listen to her comments and think she’s the person who was voted in to represent the residents in her Ward when she couldn’t even comprehend the simplest information. Dahlman (like Councilman Hunter) didn’t appear to be concerned in the least about the ‘Conditional Use Permit’ either.

One must remember that regardless of the changing circumstances since the Center opened as in limited and less housing for the poor, more mentally ill people on the streets etc… the issue is that the CUP still must be carefully followed, implemented and carried out as promised.

The audience in attendance was laughing when these two council people spoke and shaking their heads in disbelief. On another note, Councilmen Graham, Nunnally, Fisher, Daoud (who is also running for US Senator) and Mayor Johnson all seemed to exude common sense and much needed facts concerning the grave and grievous matters surrounding the Flathead Warming Center and we commend them for having done their homework.

In short our council people work for US “We the People” and it is to us that they are accountable.

Will the Flathead Warming Center’s permit be pulled? Only time will tell and there will be more work sessions before the Council offers up their decision to the public.

In conclusion, the public MUST remember that even though emotions were high and even though many in attendance have thoughts as to whether or not the Kalispell Warming Center should remain open or be closed down everything is dependent upon abiding by the ‘Conditional Use Permit’. That is the criteria which the council must follow.

Be sure to check back with Montana 1st News as the story continues and develops.

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