Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly deserves kudos for stepping up and apologizing to the public for signing an online letter, as Mayor of Great Falls, to President Trump asking for refugees to be relocated to “our communities”. I appreciate his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.
More importantly, the citizens of Great Falls deserve major congratulations and kudos here.
According to E-City Beat, which was the first to break the story, they got a tip from an alert local reader about the letter posted on welcomingrefugees2020.org, did the research, asked the questions, and then wrote and posted the story, which went viral.
But it was, and is, the citizens of Great Falls that made their voices heard and pressed the issue so that the Mayor was compelled to reconsider his actions in signing the letter and to apologize, admitting that it was not appropriate.
I’ve been involved in and have observed several controversial local issues over the years but I have never seen such rapid, voluminous and passionate public response to a single local issue. Ever. My own phone, email and social media page were buzzing.
This kind of public response is good, very good. Our local public officials, and that includes yours truly, need more public scrutiny, not less. More demands for accountability and transparency, not fewer.
Continue paying attention and being engaged in our city/county governments, Great Falls. We need citizen magnifying glasses, not blindfolds or endless rah-rah-rah media stories.
Our Great Falls public officials should be focused like a laser beam on local bread and butter issues, not caviar and chardonnay politically correct or ideological national issues.
For instance, at a recent Great Falls City Commission visioning session to lay out potential priorities for the coming year, a few of my colleagues on the commission identified “responding to climate change” as one of our top-three priorities.
I’ll be asking many questions and challenging notions like the one that claims that “climate change/resiliency” should be our focus here.
We have urgent issues that MUST be addressed first – like local crime, lack of economic opportunity, and the need for more transparent and responsive city government.
Stay tuned, stay engaged, and stay salty, Great Falls.