Feelings Over Facts — Great Falls Far Left Rhetoric From Jasmine Taylor & Jake Sorich

Editors note, the following is an opinion piece by Jeni Dodd.

Jasmine Taylor of the blog WTF 406 apparently has issues with the facts. Taylor opined that E-City Beat✓’s recent article, Library Director And Library Board Chair Spouses/Partners Donated $130,000 To Levy Campaign Committee, was an attack on philanthropy and that it showed ire against the donors to ‘Yes for Libraries’.

The E-City Beat✓ article correctly identified the two folks who together donated the bulk of ‘Yes for Libraries’ PAC funding and their relationships to the library director and library board chair. Hard to argue with the truth, so Taylor tries to reframe it with hyperbolic attacks on E-City Beat✓.

Philanthropy? Why didn’t those donors give $130,000 directly to the library instead? That would have more than covered the $120,000 projected budget shortfall for FY2024. The library had no problem accepting $300,000 last fall from an anonymous donor through the Great Falls Library Foundation to cover a budget shortfall when the library director failed to account for increases in electrical and personnel costs. Increases she claims took her by surprise but there is evidence that she would have known about those costs. But instead of taking that under consideration and planning for those increased costs, she continued spending money with her hiring spree for new library personnel.

Seems to me that if pointed out to them, many folks in Great Falls would note the distinction between pure philanthropy and money spent to support a political agenda. It happens far too often that the side with the most money wields the political influence and that’s what happened in this library levy election. The two donors mentioned funded a ballot issue POLITICAL Action Committee to a push the pro-levy narrative and win an election. So don’t be fooled by Taylor’s attacking E-City Beat✓ as being anti-philanthropic— it’s simply obfuscation.

‘Yes for Libraries’ TV ads used the cuteness factor of children. One ad featured a cute child exclaiming, “learn me to read”— definitely an appeal to emotion. False reporting by local legacy media that the library would close its doors if the levy wasn’t passed undoubtedly duped some voters. I noticed that the library director, the library board and ‘Yes for Libraries’ didn’t step up to correct that misnomer. Of course not, it was a huge gift in their favor.

In fact, what many Great Falls voters failed to grasp, due to the spin by ‘Yes for Libraries’ and local media, is that levy was meant to fund a huge EXPANSION of the library’s mission and services.

The director and board were determined to tread into social services waters when the Montana Code Annotated defines a public library’s purpose as the following — “to give the people of Montana the fullest opportunity to enrich and inform themselves through reading.” Seems a venture into providing social services would therefore be unlawful under the MCA. I would also opine, given the library’s usage and patron numbers, an expansion appeared unwarranted.

So no, dear readers, I’m not going to stop beating the drum on the fact that voters were misled by pro-levy proponents, including the media, about the library levy. It is something we should NEVER forget.

For some time now, I’ve also noticed that Taylor repeatedly attacks the ‘Liberty and Values MT’ organization for their billboards against the library levy, which included both the word “no” and the red strike-through symbol — messaging that no doubt could be perceived as a double negative. But keeping her proper English theme, it seems a bit hypocritical of Taylor to criticize that when she’s used “canvas” and “canvass” interchangeably throughout several of her blog entries about elections. I’ve included a screen shot of one of her headlines as an example. Perhaps she’ll just blame the autocorrect.

Taylor appears to do little to no research or fact checking. Her latest error — incorrectly identifying a new hire at the elections office as Beth Cummings and tying this person, who isn’t Cummings, to one of her Election Protection Committee conspiratorial narratives. In particular, the conspiracy where she equates library levy opposition to being anti-library. It seems Taylor doesn’t have the discernment to understand that those two concepts aren’t the same and can actually co-exist. But not being able to grasp something like that is true of much of the leftist rhetoric these days.

Then there’s Jake Sorich, who is one of the newer hires for the Great Falls Public Library. He’s their communications person and he also has a Substack account where he posts his musings.

His recent effort, ‘Powerful people will start to listen if you raise your voice enough’, is an uninformed piece about local politics. In it, he writes, “Locally, we have seen elected officials repeatedly try to overturn the will of the people for what THEY want. And yes, I’m talking about the local levies. Certain officials have expressed their desire to take the money granted for one organization in a levy the people voted to approve, and dump it into other public entities that had their levy fail. (Even if they disagree, that’s essentially what would have happened no matter what anyone wants you to believe otherwise.)”

Pretty obtuse to not name names. Wonder who and what he’s referring to in his piece.

Could it be Sorich is referring to Great Falls City Commissioner Tryon as the elected official, and his efforts to reexamine the 1993 agreement between the city and the library board which granted the library 7 mills? If so, he needs to do some research before spouting off.

Get a clue — “the people” never voted for that 7 mills; it was never on a ballot. It was voted on by the city commission and the library board. That’s why it is called “7 mills by agreement” in nearly every city and library reference. So much for Sorich’s “overturn of the will of the people.”

Yet regarding the actual overturn of the will of the people that occurred when two county commissioners took election duties away from the Clerk/Recorder AND ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR less than a year after the will of the people elected someone to that combined position — crickets from Sorich.

Posted by Jeni Dodd

Jeni Dodd is a creative, multi-faceted, multi-talented, knowledge junkie. She currently utilizes her skills in a variety of business and artistic endeavors. Liberty, integrity, truth and critical thinking are among her most important precepts.

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12 Replies to “Feelings Over Facts — Great Falls Far Left Rhetoric From Jasmine Taylor & Jake Sorich”

  1. Excellent article. It laid out FACTS, not opinions (Other than quotes) and showed the fraud that occurred in the advertising of the levy. I just wonder, is there any way to have a recall vote on that levy? Now that the people are opening their eyes to the cost, including the renters whose rent was increased, I believe that this fiasco never would have passed. (Thanks for letting me rant.)


  2. Jeni the point of supporting the Library Levy and donating funds to the PAC that supports it instead of a one time donation is the levy adds increased funding through taxes. So to cover a one time budget shortfall doesn’t help maintain or grow the library services for future generations. As for the “reexamination” of the 7 Mills Agreement it has the perception that it is a retaliation to the Levy being passed for the library. Our community needs to stop this nonsense of not supporting our public services or public institutions. To constantly push a narrative of these people make to much money or Mills don’t go away, instead talk about things cost more so to keep the services and institutions that server our community we need to talk about the Tax increase is really what? A carton of cigarettes, a night out to dinner, skipping a night at the movies? Most of these things aren’t really an inconvenience. What is inconvenient is the increased costs across the board but no one attacks businesses for raising prices because they blame someone else. We won’t grow as a community if we don’t have strong community services.


    1. There was absolutely no need for a levy that nearly doubled the library’s annual budget (and now appears will more than double it given the new taxable valuations/increase mill value). The patron numbers don’t justify the huge budget increase and library’s desire to become more of social service entity isn’t supported by Montana law.

      As for your comment that the tax increase is an inconvenience akin to “skipping a night at the movies” etc.— that’s quite a high-handed assumption. There are many individuals and families in this town barely getting by and to them, every dollar is important. For some folks, it’s not just a matter of giving up movie night because they couldn’t afford a movie or any nonessential expense, prior to this levy.


      1. Jeni most of those you speak of do afford a lot of things that are unnecessary. How many of them go to a casino to try and make easy money, how many buy beer and cigarettes or have more pets than they need. Now I am not saying that they shouldn’t have anything, what I am saying is stop acting as though you have some moral superiority in this. You say the library’s budget nearly doubled by the levy and then it increased more because the new taxable valuations which isn’t and wasn’t within their control. 95 percent (made up fact btw, your ilk likes them) can afford a 24 dollar a year increase, that’s like 2 dollars a month. Stop with this whole we are over taxed but the 1% keeps getting tax breaks.


        1. True, the library didn’t have control over the new taxable valuations. I never said they did. But in all of their propaganda, they stated they needed a specific dollar amount and are now poised to get much more than that dollar amount through the increased taxable valuations and the corresponding increase in mill value.

          So knowing that, did the library do right by the besieged taxpayers of Great Falls and lower their individual burdens from this levy by lowering the number of mills levied for the library this fall? No, they didn’t.

          If the library director, library board and many of the Yes for Libraries folks they truly cared about taxpayers and, if they kept their word about the budget they claimed they were seeking throughout their levy propaganda, they would have reduced the mill ask to 12 mills and still realized all of the funding originally requested.

          Your “95 percent (made up fact btw, your ilk likes them) can afford a 24 dollar a year increase” statement is ludicrous and just proves that it’s actually your ilk that makes up the facts and it’s transference on your part to suggest my ilk makes up the facts.

          You can’t consider the tax increase from the library levy in a vacuum, as if it’s the only negative financial impact folks are facing. Combined with increased costs from record inflation, it may be a small part of the picture, but it is part of the picture nonetheless and truly an optional expense compared to food, shelter and safety. The fact is that the pro-library levy folks spun this unnecessarily extravagant levy as a NEED, when it was and is merely a WANT.


          1. So when costs go up and they need more budgetary dollars to pay for increased utilities and the like they would have to spend more money to ask for more mills and we are in the same boat.

            People who can’t afford the tax increase are not the ones who pay much in taxes. How about increasing the taxes on the 1% put the burden on them instead of us in the middle class.

  3. https://www.tiktok.com/@montana_jasmine/video/7341880579736096042?_r=1&_t=8kNJev8Hz3e
    I find it hilarious that your first commenter stated you laid out FACTS when the opening of your article clearly states it is opinion. So much for some of your readership.


    1. I find it hilarious Ruth Johnson that you obviously fail to understand that an opinion article can contain facts. Those things aren’t always mutually exclusive. When the writer espouses on facts by expressing his or her opinions relative to those facts, it becomes an opinion article and I label it as such. The legacy mainstream media often present opinion pieces as “news” and fail to label the work as opinion, which is dishonest.

      Your comment is a perfect example of use of an either/or fallacy, something I touch on in my article. Leftists appear caught up in that fallacy as part of their regular thinking. An example is their failure to understand how someone can support a library in general but oppose a library levy for a variety of reasons, including that it imposes a significant tax increase merely to expand the library’s mission far beyond what is codified as a library’s mission under Montana law.


  4. If this City’s “leadership” would (could) read, this book from 1999 has some brilliant methods on how to save money and provide services to its citizens. It takes initiative, imagination and intestinal fortitude to make the needed changes.

    The Entrepreneurial City: A How-To Handbook for Urban Innovators. Editor, Manhattan Institute. 1999. By former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith


  5. Jeni, a BIG thank you, for your time & effort on getting the real data/facts out to the people. Let the people decide, rather than a few dimwitted oligarch’s !! You’re like a bright light, in a very dark room 😉

    God Bless you.


  6. Interestingly, when the library vote didn’t go your way, you say the “people were misled.”
    Nonsense!! As one of the people” I made it my business to get informed about the library issues and voted accordingly. I resent the implication that “the people” blindly followed misinformation presented by some legacy media and are incapable of drawing their own conclusions.


    1. I never said people can’t draw their own conclusions. However, if people only have access to misinformation or are presented misinformation instead of facts, their conclusions aren’t going to be informed. Most folks are too busy with life — working, caring for children, caring for elderly parents or whatever — to dig deep and do their own investigative work to determine whether what is being presented to them is misinformation or fact. That WAS the point of journalism — to present facts in an unbiased manner. Unfortunately, legacy media has adopted left-biased coverage on controversial issues and through misinformation and clever use of semantics, they use their platforms to support leftist positions.


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