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

  • Sunday, February 25, 2018 - 1:00pm
    Long, cold winter getting you down? Get out of the house and join the fun on Sunday afternoon for Bingo to help the homeless pets of Carbon County. Be there for Beartooth Humane Alliance Bingo, Sunday, Feb. 25, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., at the Red Lodge Elks Club.
  • Monday, February 26, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 9:30am
    Open 2nd and 4th Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. 206 N ‘D’ Street. More info 662-1060.
  • Thursday, March 1, 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, March 1, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.