At least that seems to be the pathology of City Commissioner Tracy Houck, who lambasted citizens critical of her involvement in the City’s dealings with the Children’s Museum of Montana.
Specifically, Houck took aim at a post published on this blog:
After a wonderful weekend of down time and very little social media exposure, I realized there is quite a bit of scuttle going on in regards to the Children’s Museum, my involvement and a few other things. Quite honestly, I don’t have much to report other than that the truth that is out there is quite distorted, but then again, consider your sources.
The accusations is [sic] a recent online article are ridiculous, speculative and supported by our community’s biggest conspiracy theorists.
Here is the full and complete extent to which Houck was mentioned in the article:
So, what triggered the alarm bells? If both Kelly and Bronson oppose utilizing the Children’s Museum, then which elected official thinks it’s actually a good idea to gut the museum for office space for City staff? This doesn’t sound like the machinations of Bob Jones or Fred Burow. According to Edwards, that official is City Commissioner Tracy Houck, who is also the Executive Director of the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. Now why would a fellow museum director want to drive out the CMOM?
Edwards met with Houck and City Manager Greg Doyon on Jan. 12. ‘[Doyon] told me this was Tracy’s idea. He has been wonderful to work with and is super positive about the future of the museum,’ Edwards said.
Houck did not respond to emails sent to both her City and personal email accounts seeking comment.
Commissioner Houck, when you invited your supporters to “consider your sources” (presumably to discredit them), who were you referring to? Me, more than likely? Or was it Sandie Edwards, the only “source” who was actually quoted in the article? You would have been quoted, too, of course, but you did not respond to my emails. I even sent emails to two separate accounts.
In my interactions with Sandie Edwards, I found her to be forthright, competent, and someone who cares deeply about children and the work she does. Most of all, though, I found her to be credible. She told me that Houck wanted the City to use the CMOM facility for staff offices, and I reported it. Period.
Houck did not respond to a request for comment, and I reported that, too. Period.
How is it “speculative” to quote Edwards as saying that Doyon told her it was Houck’s idea to take over the CMOM? What else does Houck want her supporters to “consider” about the “sources?” I ask, because she doesn’t say. She just throws out a cheap, blanket smear… “consider your sources,” as though anyone who has the temerity to question her should, by default, not be taken seriously.
It’s disappointing that a City Commissioner would stoop to taking potshots at the public she was elected to represent, and particularly at those of us who sincerely want to elevate discussion about an important community issue. This was not a “Tracy Houck” article; it was an article about the City and the Children’s Museum.
In an attempt to soften her position, Houck painted herself as a solutions-oriented “collaborator” who is looking out for the Children’s Museum:
The good that has come out of these conversations is the discussions and brainstorming. What if the Children’s Museum could be relocated to their own location? What if it was a donated space that could be used as an asset to leverage matching grants? What if a new space came with outdoor space that was not right next to railroad tracks? What if the Children’s Museum was closer to a bus route or other amenities? That option would benefit families and the museum. It would also diminish the city’s financial impact to the general fund over expensive renovations or long term leases.
According to Edwards, though, “A better building was never discussed.” And remember, the Children’s Museum staff doesn’t want to leave their current space. They like where they are. Houck’s alternative “solutions” also do not align with Mayor Kelly’s unambiguous statement in the Tribune, one that wholeheartedly supports the Children’s Museum:
‘We have no intention whatsoever to remove them from the space,’ Kelly said.
I stand by my words 100%.