Heads up, Great Falls. There’s a new guy in town named Mr. Narrative.
Here is an actual comment on the BaseCamp Great Falls Facebook page from city Commissioner Mary Moe: “A group of young professionals in Great Falls is tired of the negative narrative about this community and is determined to turn it around.”
So, the city poobahs are going to try to give us a different shiny object to distract us from that mean old Mr. Negative.
Of course BaseCamp isn’t really a “group of young professionals” that spontaneously coalesced in response to the “negative narrative” about Great Falls. BaseCamp is another incarnation of the former Future of the Falls group that met a couple of times last fall. BaseCamp exists because, “Commissioner Mary Moe and Mayor Bob Kelly rallied us young professionals together…” as the BaseCamp spokesperson explains in a recent promo video.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that BaseCamp Great Falls is a great idea and can do wonderful things for our community. I admire and applaud the folks who are volunteering their time in this effort.
But let’s not kid ourselves – this is the brainchild of Mary Moe and Bob Kelly and is an obvious attempt to introduce Great Falls to the shiny new Mr. Narrative in the hopes that we’ll all be smitten by his positivism and bright sunny outlook rather than looking at the dishonesty, incompetence and cronyism still residing in our city commission.
The new positive Mr. Narrative is polished and slick. He’s such an important figure that the City has hired a Communications Specialist at a cozy salary figure (paid by us taxpayers) to make sure his voice is heard. As if the Assistant City Manager couldn’t possibly handle communications, as previous assistant city managers have.
Instead of a focus on public safety (and how about more police officers?), government transparency, careful avoidance of conflicts of interest and outstanding ethics on the part of city commissioners, we are paying for an opaque polishing finish with smiley faces tattooed on top.
The latest shenanigans by Commissioners Mary Moe and Owen Robinson, who’ve been secretly meeting (can we say ‘Transparency’?) to negotiate some deal with our tax dollars with the Animal Foundation, is another example of “they just don’t learn” (remember the Community Development Block Grant conflicts of interest?) and “they forget who their constituents are” – which is us, the taxpayers. Commissioner Robinson has a long and monied history with the Foundation. Can we say more conflict of interest? See The Electric’s excellent piece here.
Now after the red flag is raised on these secret meetings and conflicts of interest and the public has been made aware, Moe suggests the City get rid of the recently established Ethics Committee – “During the April 2 meeting, Moe said she would argue that the ethics committee is not needed since there are provisions in state law regarding ethics and public officials.” (from The Electric)
Well, maybe that will solve her problem of being held accountable to the public for obvious ethical violations but it doesn’t sit right at all with me and many others.
These are just a couple of the most recent examples of the reasons Great Falls continues to struggle to remain stagnant. I will continue to highlight examples like these in the coming weeks, in detail.
I really wish our so-called leadership would stop treating us like we’re stupid by trying to con us into thinking that a “negative narrative” is the problem rather than the actual, real-world reasons that folks are angry and speaking up about around here.
But we’ve seen this picture many times before. The mayor happily led the charge to slap the happy face of Charlie Russell, flying saucer included, on a parking structure that is bleeding for real fixes, not just fresh paint. And Commissioner Moe is helping to clear the path for Mr. Narrative.
In truth our City Commissioners do not seem to care what we think and seem determined to run their agendas behind closed doors.
So keep your eyes open for Mr. Narrative, I have a strong feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of him around town saying, “Welcome to Great Falls where everything is fine and we’re getting better all the time. And if you don’t agree then shut up or leave.”
Folks, we’re being fed more propaganda from the Machine and I for one won’t be silent about this farce.