The sudden closure of the Old Post American Legion Hall this past Thursday illustrates the heartbreaking reality of our desperate economic climate. Dozens of other Missoula staples including the Uptown Diner, Palace Lounge and Stage 112 have been forced to close their businesses in recent years, but so too has it gone with homeowners who could no longer afford their property taxes. A huge proportion of these local establishments and citizens are squeezed out of neighborhoods they grew up in, while wealthy, out-of-state developers take advantage of our generosity and dramatically gentrify entire districts of the city at our expense. Controversial TIF projects have exploded the cost of housing in Missoula, pricing locals out of their own neighborhoods and saddling the City under decades of debt. Tax monies are being used to subsidize the rich while our schools and roads deteriorate. All this has contributed to one of the most heated City Council elections in the city’s history.