Rob Quist Signs Popping Up On GFPS Owned Properties

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Two weeks from today, Montana voters will choose a new Congressional representative.

From the looks of things here in River City, our local school district — that’s right, Great Falls Public Schools — is putting its fingers on the scale for Democrat Rob Quist.

In clear violations of the law, someone has placed Quist’s campaign signs on properties owned by GFPS. There is a flock of them at Paris Gibson Square, the partially taxpayer-funded non-profit which leases its space from the District. Quist is holding a campaign event there this evening:

There is also Quist paraphernalia on a property GFPS purchased last year to get into the rental business:

On this point, Montana law is unambiguous:

18.6.246 POLITICAL SIGNS

(1) Signs promoting political candidates or issues shall be placed on private property only [emphasis added] and cannot be placed without the permission of the property owner. Political signs must comply with sign standards found in 75-15-113, MCA, and ARM 18.6.231, unless otherwise specified in this rule.

(2) Political signs must not:

(a) be placed on or allow any portion to intrude in the public right-of-way or on public property [emphasis added]; and…”

Our tax dollars at work!

19 COMMENTS

  1. Who is reporting this to Office of Political Practices? Anyone yet?? This is yet another example of Houck improprieties!! Where will it stop?

  2. You know, I was going to say that the lessee should be able to exercise control over the property until I remembered that there was a $28,000 grant that went to Paris Gibson Square….Publicly funded enterprises should stay out of politics…period.

  3. The Quist campaign rented a room yesterday and these signs were advertising that event for about a total of two hours. No tax dollars went to paying for this, they PAID for the space. Did you even call the square to get information before writing this? Of course this biased blog would exist in Great Falls.

  4. On further investigation, I think this is much ado about nothing. First, the Quist campaign leased the Square for an event:

    Standard after-hour rental fees were charged with additional costs for using linens. The Operations Director, not the Executive Director handles rentals. If the signs were a violation, then it would be on the renter, not the organization. The renter posted (and removed) the signs.

    Further, the Fairgrounds often rents booths to political parties and campaigns without question. I’ve never seen an uproar about that.

    Originally, it appeared that someone at the Square put the signs up. Given the lease situation, I am pretty doubtful that anything actionable occurred.

    • Gregg, when a person or an organization, like the Quist campaign, rents a space for a couple of hours from an organization like Paris Gibson Square, is that really a “lease” or a “sub-lease”? Were they given a key? Does any of this constitute “possession” of the property in question?

    • Moreover, this post wasn’t really about the lessees mentioned. What’s your analysis of the property on 9th St.? I couldn’t help but notice the sign was gone this morning.

  5. Just saw a story about the signs and the school district’s rental house on KFBB. I didn’t hear them mention Paris Gibson Square at all!

    I remain skeptical about an actual “rental” of the PGSMOA facility. I have my reasons and I’ll leave it at that for now.

    A bigger question for me–Why is the school district involved in residential rentals? The KFBB piece offered some excuse about it, and I’m paraphrasing here, that the district wanted to monitor who was living close to Whittier School. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Can someone explain that to me? It’s not the only house close to Whittier School by a long shot.

  6. PGSMOA also claims on their FB page that they released the rental agreement to KRTV, https://www.facebook.com/PGSMOA:

    “We actually did release the rental agreement to the media. Please check with KRTV to see a copy…”

    I haven’t found it after a search of KRTV website.

    • PGSMOA charged $55 an hour for the two hour event plus linen fees for a total of $135. Rental time span listed as 4:30-7:30 pm, which is three hours. So the museum apparently doesn’t charge for the setup and teardown time. I wonder if that’s standard operating procedure.

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