The Week in Review, Aug 30-Sept 6, 2008

Everyone, it's been another busy week. Here's what I've been working on:
Last Saturday, I worked on the MSU Bobcat Stat Crew for the home opener against Adams State. We had trouble printing our game reports, but the Bobcats prevailed, so all's well! Go, 'Cats!

On Sunday, I went to the Bridger Canyon Property Owners' Association picnic and talked about the proposed oil and gas leases on state lands in and adjacent to Bridger Canyon Zoning District. I'm bird-dogging more information all the time about how tracts are nominated, why people weren't notified, how value is assessed, etc.

Monday, I got caught up on emails and submitted an article for the Bozeman Business and Professional Women's newsletter, emailed neighbors of a development north of Bridger Road, and followed up on a proposed land swap in Madison County of some prime elk hunting lands. I also wrote a letter of support for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks to the Montana Arts Council. I've been a long-time supporter of Shakespeare in the Parks; it's a respected and most appreciated cultural effort for Montanans statewide every summer, and there's nothing else like it that travels town-to-town offering free performances!

Tuesday, I reviewed the packet for the Bozeman Planning Board meeting, met with constituents about tax refunds, and scheduled a meeting with residents of mobile home parks about language that should be included in Bozeman's growth policy update. Besides that, I ran a bunch of errands to the post office, printer, etc.

Wednesday began with a meeting with my fellow representative, Franke Wilmer, and fine supporters of ours. Later, I contacted Judge Bruce Loble at the Montana Water Court about language proposed for the Bozeman growth policy update. Montana law has clear regulations for abandoning water rights and water user facilities, and Judge Loble and all the fine people at the Water Court will help me formulate language in the growth policy that complies with state law. I've worked really hard on water law and water rights. Last session, I co-wrote and co-sponsored a bill with a Republican representative on water use in closed basins (like the Gallatin Valley) and wrote an article about the new water law for My moniker in certain circles is the "Water Wonk"!

Wednesday night, I chaired the Planning Board meeting (I've served on the Planning Board for eight years, four as chair). For more than a year, the Planning Board has held public meetings, citizen panels, and land use sessions to update the growth policy; Wednesday, we reviewed the chapters on Subdivision Review and Land Use (with a revised land use map).

Thursday began with a meeting of supporters and Democratic staff; after that, I attended a Montana Women Vote meeting at the library. Montana Women Vote is a group that focuses on registering voters and getting information to voters. The emphasis is on an important but typically non-voting block of the population: single working women. The voter registration effort before the primary election was effective, registering more than 500 new voters; MWV is continuing voter registration, and making its voter guide for the November election. Also on Thursday, phone calls and phone conferences with state agencies in Helena.

Friday, I attended the Gallatin County Treatment Court proceedings in Judge Salvagni's courtroom. The Treatment Court offers its members an 18-month-long program of support, supervision, and methods by which to rehabilitate from their addictions, make restitution to the court, and stay out of the Corrections system. It's the most effective way to help people break their addictions, destructive behavior, and get back on course to be happy, healthy, productive citizens. I couldn't be prouder to support the Treatment Court program and its participants and staff. It's truly remarkable the dramatic changes that people make in their lives in the Treatment Court program. It is life-changing for the members, their families, and their fellow citizens. It's hard work, and at the beginning, it feels punitive to members, but the skills that they learn carry farther than the 18 month program; yesterday, a participant graduated--clean, sober, and grateful--and a former member visited the court with more than 1,500 days sober to tell participants he knows where they are, what they're going through, and that they can be successful. Unfortunately, not all members succeed in the program, but they're given the chance and the tools, and even those who revert back and are remanded to Corrections report later that they knew the tools to use to get through that experience.

Friday afternoon, I met with members of the mobile home community to discuss language that could be included in the growth policy for manufactured homes, mobile home parks, and affordable housing.

Later, I met with campaign supporters, caught up on email, etc. Sometime, I've got to find some time to do laundry...

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