Missoula’s battle against gentrification rages into 2020. WGM Group is pushing for a development of unaffordable condos on 4th Street near Missoula’s Hip Strip. The plan involves destroying several century-old houses to construct in their place, a glassy eyesore for the enjoyment of the very rich. The proposed development is on property currently owned by former Griz and Roughrider Quarterback Cole Bergquist. Mr. Bergquist happens to be the realtor put on probation “for unprofessional conduct” after selling the University’s Salmon Lake Lodge to Paws Up in 2017. Since he owns these historic 4th street buildings, Bergquist now wants to displace Missoula’s neighbors from these historic homes to erect multi-million-dollar condominiums that no locals will ever be able to afford. To maximize profits, Bergquist is asking City Council to rezone the property and surrender public right of way around it, in-turn displacing locals, leveling history, and uprooting neighborhood foundations.
Trump has united Iran against America. The Pentagon’s unprovoked drone assassination of the Iranian general responsible for the defeat of ISIS should confuse most Americans. But the fact that General Soleimani was murdered while negotiating a peace deal signals that America ’s oligarchs are finally ready to ignite World War III. The attack corroborates General Wesley Clark’s revelation that the “War on Terror” involved invading and overthrowing seven Middle-Eastern countries in five years – finishing with Iran. Since the War on Terror began, America has surrounded Iran with over 40 military bases, mirroring the intentions set by the Brookings Institution’s 2009 regime change strategy guide: “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran.” And ever since the Mossad’s ill-advised deployment of the STUXNET virus and the resulting cyber war that followed, Iran has proven capable of defending itself with a deterrent far more effective than nuclear arms.
Business closures continue raging through Missoula. Displaced shopkeepers cite increased rents and property taxes as the prime cause. But the same vice squeezing locals out of business is also pinching residents from their homes. 26% of Missoula’s work force must now commute from outside of town because they cannot afford to live in town anymore, as Missoula’s income disparity rises to the 33rd highest in the nation. Locals are not happy about this deadly trend, and they’re beginning to realize its origin: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a taxpayer-giveaway scheme that spikes property taxes, increases rents, displaces locals and gentrifies cities. TIF forces taxpayers to bail out private businesses, extracting money from deteriorating roads and underfunded schools, police and fire departments to benefit wealthy developers. TIF addicts never respond to specific criticisms, claiming instead that Missoula citizens just are just too goddam dumb to understand how TIF works.
If Missoula’s affordable housing woes and homelessness crises weren’t already ridiculous, the approaching avalanche of luxury condos cascading into the Garden City now places us firmly in the theater of the absurd. WGM’s Nick Kaufman appeared again before the Missoula City Council this Monday to present their 4th Street gentrification project: The Reed. The plan involves displacing Missoula locals, tearing down century-old structures and uprooting gardens to construct towering eyesores of glass and steel erected for the 1%. But Missoula’s locals are told we should celebrate, because this development being crammed down our throats will help us “go green”. The most egregious missteps involved sneaking commercial “spot zoning” past Missoulians and weaponizing politicians in the class war they wage against working people. A class war worsened by the brazen cronyism of Revolving-Door Economics: the infiltration of public offices by organizations who stand to benefit from deregulation.