In the aftermath of the George Floyd shooting in Minneapolis and the summer of racial conflict and riotous looting and arson in America’s inner cities, the Missoula City Council has chosen to defund their police force more than 70 thousand dollars. Ironically, the funding was cut from the training budget, which would have better equipped law enforcement to deal appropriately with altercations during traffic stops and routine police work.
The city council, comprised of twelve elected officials in six wards throughout the city, is a super-majority Democrat. Although city council people do not have to declare their party affiliation, as do the County Commissioners, Sheriff, County Attorney, and County Clerk (they are all Democrats), the affiliation of most Missoula’s councilmen and councilwomen with the Democratic Party is well known.
Jesse Ramos, a Libertarian, was not present for the vote. Two voted against the proposal to defund the police, Sandra Vasecka and John Contos, and were endorsed by the local Republican Party during their run for city council.
The others, including Missoula City Council President, Bryan von Lossberg, are Democrats.
Split on party line, the Missoula City Council voted on August 27 to defund the police overtime training budget by 77 thousand dollars, which is used to provide more extensive training to the police to help them better do their job of serving and protecting the people of Missoula. In addition, the city council also 45 thousand dollars from other important projects and category-spending.
Missoula Mayor, Democrat John Engen, showed bold support for the leftwing advocacy group, Black Lives Matter, back in June even while the group was calling to defund the police. It appears he’s done his best to follow through on their demands to strip police budgets.
Missoulian leftist radicals were calling for the defunding of the Missoula PD since mid summer, as reported previously by the Montana Gazette.
Instead of funding their local police department to provide them with the best possible training, the Missoula Democrats added an additional 70 thousand dollars to build ‘port-a-potty’ shelters throughout the city. The shelters are basically a permanent roof structure under which are placed port-a-potties.
The expenditure to build rooves around port-a-potties (see above), which already have a roof, seems like a superfluous waste of money no matter the year. But in a year in which a similar amount of money was cut from the police budget adds insult to the taxpayer’s injury.
The city council claims that the roof structures will prevent vandalism to the port-a-potties and keep people from tipping them over.
In response, Missoula residents immediately tipped over the port-a-potties to demonstrate that it was not money well spent (see left).
Republican leaders, such as Matt Rosendale – who is running for U.S. Congress – and Austin Knudsen – who is running for Attorney General, have been outspoken for their support for both police and police budgets.
Democratic leaders, on the other hand, have not been so quick to support law enforcement or speak out about their defunding, providing a stark contrast for Montana voters in the November election.
It is unknown if the port-a-potty vandalism was reported to the police and if they were tasked to investigate, but if so, it would have been appropriate and understandable for the Missoula PD to have simply noted that their budget was not sufficient to investigate port-a-potty vandalism.
The decision of the Missoula City Council to defund the police while simultaneously funding pointless port-a-potty structures is perhaps the most insulting budgeting decision in the United States. Nowhere else has a city council been known to restrict access to training by law enforcmeent while finding money in the budget to pointlessly house portable toilets.