Thursday, March 21, 2019

Do Daines, Gianforte stand for the Constitution, or partisan politics?


Before we graduate from high school, Americans learn that our Constitution purposefully balances governmental power among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. It’s called separation of powers and can be found in Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

The Constitution gives authority to each of the three branches to carry out their own specific, assigned functions. Separation of powers provides our system of government with checks and balances designed to do one primary thing: prevent any one branch from exerting too much power.

One of the primary “checks” the Legislative Branch has on the Executive Branch is the power to enact taxes and allocate public monies. A “check” the Executive Branch has on the Legislative is the power to veto a measure passed by Congress. President Trump has vetoed the House-Senate rebuke of his “border wall” emergency declaration to re-allocate budgets established by Congress. If it chooses, Congress then has constitutional authority to override Trump’s veto, which represents another “check” on the Executive.

Our Constitution does not permit any one branch or officeholder to arbitrarily violate our system of separation of powers for a national emergency, real or imagined.

Clearly, Trump’s intent as chief executive to seize monies after Congress refused him would result in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. There are other ways to resolve immigration issues. It would benefit us all for Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte to carefully consider the wisdom of separation of powers before they vote in the upcoming congressional effort to override Trump’s veto.

Allowing this presidential veto to stand would be a wound beyond belief to our Constitution. Mr. Daines and Mr. Gianforte — where will you stand? For the Constitution or for partisan politics?

Peter D. Fox

City, county separated by law and should stay that way


Looming above the activities of the meer mortal citizens of Livingston in the last couple of weeks is the increased efforts to either ignore the city/county boundaries or blur those boundaries, and the bottom line is a simple five-letter word that used to be found at the city or county level, but that could potentially move in and out of both separate governmental entities: money. Why? Because, in my humble opinion, with government that is, de facto, of by and for the employees, both the city and county are on record spending sprees and the money to pay the bills has to come from somewhere. The county might be looking to the city and the city, since the people of Livingston pretty much, by no fault of their own, don’t have a clue, might be looking at special levies, like the $17.5 million boondoggle at exit 330. The city and county leadership know that Livingston people mostly do not understand because they are so busy trying to make a living and pay their taxes. Then, when they do and write 50 plus letters to their representatives against said boondoggle, they are questionably intercepted by the city manager and staff, and then eventually ignored, when presented to the city commission. Fifty letters!

The Enterprise misquoted the city proposal for residency requirements on city boards in the newspaper yesterday. The proposal said, “Residency requirement unless specified by the resolution establishing the board or committee every member will have been a resident of Park County for a year.”

That means that there is no requirement to live in the city where money is collected from its residents. The Enterprise incorrectly said, “The proposed language allows people who work or own businesses in the city, but do not live in the city, to be on city boards, despite not being eligible to vote for city commission.” That is simply not what the city proposal said. It said anyone from Park County can serve on any city boards. Subtle, but actually subtle as a sailor on a six-hour leave. There is no requirement that the person serving on city boards live in the city of Livingston. The city proposal simply said that people from the (anywhere in the) county could be on city boards including the buddies of the buddies. These are advisory boards. And mostly what do they advise the city commission to do? Spend money or approve projects so that money can be spent. Why would the city allow anyone but those paying money into the city be on its boards where they advise how that money will be spent? It seems simple to me. The city and the county and their money are separated by law and should stay that way.

Patricia Grabow