Meet the boy for Ward One

Missoula Building Industry Association (MBIA) candidate for City Council (Ward 1), Ryan Morton, invited us all down to the Missoula County Democrats Central Committee last night. He’s been prolific with his commenting in the blogosphere and let’s say my interest was peeked!

So I went along to meet the wunderkind. And, lo and behold, doesn’t he have such a cute smile!

Ah, but I’m not going to write about his hairdo, even if it is called a ‘faux hawk.’ Now, I really should stop calling him ‘boy.’ However, rest assured, I will not be calling him the “Queer-Marxist-Aquarius-MBIA Hired Geek.”

Instead, let’s consider some of the issues. Ryan tweets, “If the zoning rewrite becomes an election issue, will that be good or bad for me? Probably good. I know more about it than any candidate.”

That would be because of his day job, Community Affairs Director for MBIA (or is it Government Affairs Director, I’m not sure). JC comments over here, however, that it all adds up to being a lobbyist. He is paid to present the interests of MBIA to the community and that certainly includes the City Council. Yep, one look at MBIA’s May newsletter, and their priority list on page 2, and it certainly looks like he’s already well versed in the controversies of Council. I find it hard to believe him when he says, “most of what I want to accomplish has little or nothing to do with MBIA issues.

Last night, while Mr. Morton was not seeking the endorsement of the Missoula County Democrats (I wonder why he came to the endorsement meeting?), he did describe himself as a Democrat. I was then surprised to see him just now say he “thinks it’s weird that county Democrats would endorse candidates that have opposing views on future development in Missoula.” Does he understand what the Democratic Party stands for? OK, maybe that’s a little unfair, but I’m beginning to think that Ryan makes lots of political statements for their sound-bite effect.

Like the ‘affidavit’ Morton has signed saying he “won’t be collecting or spending any cash (no yard signs, brochures, fundraisers, etc.)” Indeed, he has already torn up a check that some benefactor sent him for his campaign. You have to wonder how long it will be before he tears up his affidavit. Perhaps when his opponent, Dave Strohmaier, outspends him?

But the main issue I am interested in is how Ryan is going to represent the interests of the people of Missoula. In a comment about the Clark Fork Terrace 2 case, Morton probably wants to “go back and change the City regulations on parks, trails, etc.” As he testified to the Plat, Annexation and Zoning Committee of City Council, he is concerned that there is no documented community need. Wow. That’s riverfront trails we’re talking about.

Is this all indicative of the sort of campaign he’s going to run? Because, I reckon he’ll have to be some kind of Superboyman to win over the Northsiders and Rattlesnakers with these sorts of comments. Really, I do.

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