Dismaying

Dear Editor,

How dismaying to read that a former contract prosecutor for the City of Red Lodge has filed a libel suit against two tenacious critics of local government, one of whom is just beginning a term as a newly-elected member of city council. 
My bet is that this action will serve no good community purpose, but will perpetuate and expand the detestable political divisiveness of recent months.
To me, this complaint is a disappointing use of a law degree, with potential to financially punish critics of government. It's a shame; much good could be accomplished by using that degree in a more positive way.
Unlike many who live in other places, Montanans have a special right to access their government — a right to observe, record and participate in governmental proceedings, and to view and copy documents.
Every city document is open to the public, unless it's subject to one of few narrowly defined exceptions allowed by statute, court order or case law.
All the grief, consternation and laborious effort generated by past stiff-arming of a couple of critical citizens could have been avoided by simply providing the documents as requested.
No one is forced to work in government, not those elected, or appointed, or employed, or working under contract, but each who does becomes a public figure to one degree or another. As such, they have little legal protection from unflattering public discussion, criticism, misstatements or even outright lies. 
A judge will most certainly dismiss this lawsuit sooner rather than later. But better yet, the plaintiff could start the healing process by withdrawing it now.
The voters made their choice last November. They elected a harsh critic of city government to the council. Get over it. Let’s move ahead.
And thank you, tenacious critics, for establishing an oasis of knowledge in the vast wasteland of information about city government.

Jim Moore
Red Lodge

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Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 (All day)
    The Red Lodge Carnegie Library will be closed, Feb. 20 in observance of Presidents' Day. It will reopen, Feb. 21.
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 5:30pm
    Red Lodge Call to Action (RLCTA) meets the third week of each month from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Honey's Cafe. Non-partisan and open to all, the purpose of the group is to empower our community to be effective activists on local, state and national issues. The next meeting will be Feb. 20.
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10:00am
    An Overeaters Anonymous group will meet every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Grace Fellowship Church, Absarokee.