The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Letter to the Editor

Hold the Recall Election


September 14, 2016

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

These famous words are written in our nation’s Declaration of Independence. Our Fore Fathers recognized that the power of government exits only because the people agree to be governed. They also knew that in a government for the people, by the people, the people needed a process to change a government that they believed was ignoring their voice. Which is why in the First Amendment of our Constitution, they provided the people with the ability to petition their government for redress of grievances.

Recent issues in Whitehall, led a citizen to begin the petition process. She put together the issues that concerned her, she went around town and presented those facts to the voters in the community. Three hundred and fifty five registered voters in the town, agreed that those issues were of concern enough for them to sign the petition asking for a recall vote of their elected representatives. Our elected officials then decided to fight this process in court. They argued that the petition was improper in form and that the content was insufficient to call for a recall election. They may have felt that the content was insufficient, but three hundred and fifty five voters agreed that the content concerned them enough to call for an election. Notice how they didn’t argue or say that the content was false or embellished. They only said it was insufficient. Our Mayor and Aldermen are our elected representatives. They represent the people, they work for the people, and whether they like it or agree with it, they answer to the people. By fighting the petition process, our elected officials are doing everything they can to effectively silence the voice of the people.

Elected officials should welcome the opportunity to answer to the people. If the Mayor and Alderman disagree with what was in the petition, then they should do what you do in an election. Campaign. They should have gathered their facts, went door to door and presented their side to the voters to convince the people why they are right. Instead, they chose to take the easy way out and chose to ignore the voice of the people, delay the process all they could, and do everything they can to prevent themselves from having to answer to the people they represent.

When a Politician will go to any length to not answer to the people, you have to ask yourself, why? What’s in it for them?

During my time in the military and in my career, I have seen all types of leaders. I have seen firsthand that great leaders display two characteristics among many others. They lead from the front and they lead by example. Most of the Aldermen in our local government are members of other local organizations that champion democracy, promote Americanism and are sworn by oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I challenge these Aldermen and all members of our local government to step back and look at this situation anew. Possibly unintentionally, you have all conspired together to ignore the voice of the people. I call on any one of you and all of you to lead by example and come out for the recall election. Stand tall and don’t be afraid to answer to the people you represent. If one of you can summon the courage to stand for what is right, the others will follow and you can show the people you represent, that you do care about their voice. Remember, this is what 355 out of 529 voters have asked for. Give the people their voice back, hold the recall election, let us see where the majority lies and then get on with working to make Whitehall better for all involved.

The real power in our local government, lies with the council. The Mayor is weak and cannot do anything, really, without the approval of the council. The council has given up their power and have turned themselves into a group of yes men that do not question the motives of the Mayor. Among other things, he stated in an open meeting that he is only trying to prove that he is right.

If you’re only trying to prove you are right, then you shouldn’t be the Mayor. You’re not trying to make the community better, you’re trying to win an argument, at the expense of the community. Part of the problem is that the Mayor and the Aldermen have been taking everything personal. They see things as an attack on them personally. It’s not personal, it politics.

This is the second time that our local government has interfered with a petition process. I ask all of you to remember the following: The right to petition the government is a corner stone in the foundation of our nation.

Don’t weaken the foundation just because you may not like the outcome. Hold the recall election. If you win, then you can stand tall before the naysayers and say proudly that the majority of the people are with you. If you lose, you lose. Either way, the people will have their voice, like they should, like they are guaranteed in our Constitution.

Whitehall will overcome these issues and come together again. It’s just a matter of how we are going to get there. We need a leader to come forward and lead from the front and by example. Hopefully, that leader is in our government already and they will stand out for what is right for the people, even if it removes them from office.


Chad Cross


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