LETTERS, published March 31, 2017

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Helmet law would restrict riders’ liberty

I’m writing in response to “Helmet law for the benefit of all.” Mr. Hoffman, I applaud your efforts, however misguided, to improve the safety of individuals in our state. If you want to continue with public education and the promotion of “safety gear,” that is commendable.

I do find it amusing that you present such obviously contrived statistics to support your stand. Such as, “80 percent of deaths occur when then the rider is not wearing a helmet.” Really? If a motorcyclist is hit by a train does he fall in to the 80 percentile category? I think it is safe to say that over 99 percent of motorcycle fatalities happen to riders who are wearing shoes. Using your logic we should make wearing footwear illegal when motorcycling.

There is no question that motorcycling can be a dangerous sport. I have stated that before and will do so again. I personally have nothing against helmets. If you want to wear a helmet when you ride your motorcycle or mow your lawn for that matter, by all means, be my guest. You may be willing to exchange your liberty for what you perceive as your personal safety. I am not. Leave ours alone. —Scott Cobbley, Kalispell

MSU sorely needs money for renovations

As an alumna of MSU, I am disappointed the renovation of Romney Hall was not included in the recent infrastructure bill proposed by House Republicans. As the fastest growing university in Montana (33 percent increase in 10 years), MSU is out of space.

As MSU states, “a renovation of Romney Hall will improve programs that directly serve students by adding classrooms, a new veterans’ center, new disabilities services center, new writing and math centers and new student study rooms.” All factors, which help students stay in school and graduate. Presently Romney has four classrooms with 140 seats; the plan is to repurpose the building to 18 classrooms with over 1,000 seats.

If renovated, over 9,000 students a day or 1.4 million students per year will utilize this space. With students coming to MSU from all 56 counties in Montana, this is an infrastructure project that has statewide implications.

It is important for our legislators to provide funding to support our present and future students with adequate classroom space. —Carol J. Nelson, Lakeside, MSU Alumni Relations Advisory Board member

Helmet law would be government over-reach

A recent letter talked about helmet laws for motorcyclists in Montana. I lived and rode in California when the helmet law passed. We were all pissed off. As a 30-year career police officer, I can tell you most fatal crashes result in head injuries ... seat belt or not. I suspect the writer is a liberal pressing for more government control over us.

If this person lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, my greatest sympathy.

Keep government out of our lives. I choose to ride without a helmet. The government shouldn’t tell me how I protect my life. —Mark Parker, Kalispell

Sen. Regier on wrong side of energy issue

Keith Regier, the senator in my district, has two bills in the state Legislature opposing solar and other alternative energy. He states and this is a direct quote, “Solar energy is fine. It should be market driven, not financed by the rate payers. Solar and wind are weak energy sources that need back up generation.” If this invalid statement were true, why are some of our largest corporations turning to solar, i.e., Target, Walmart, Apple, Costco and Kohls et. al. The answer is, the bottom line, it saves money. Utility scale solar is growing at a very fast rate and will increase by many gigawatts over the next several years. Solar and alternative energy is happening, Mr. Regier. Why not get on board rather than approve energy sources that contribute to the threat of climate change? The science is there. —Roger Sherman, Whitefish

A musician is just what D.C. does need ...

In one of the negative ads that erupted almost the second Rob Quist announced his candidacy for Montana’s seat in Congress, it was said that, “Montana doesn’t need to send a ‘court musician’” to Washington, implying that no musician could be effective in government as a representative of the people.

I disagree. Someone like Rob Quist is precisely what Washington needs. I happen to know something about musicians. To be a good one takes a lifetime of overcoming challenges until you are capable of true expression and creativity. Playing in a band, particularly a bluegrass band, demands an individual to improvise and create, while adhering to the constraints of the tune, and simultaneously being sensitive to the other players. At times you’re the soloist, at others you’re playing a supporting role. All the while, you need to engage the listener, and remain faithful to the song. An effective congressman must have the ability to collaborate, to constantly listen, to yield the spotlight at times, and bravely step into it when required. Musicians don’t shy away from challenges, in fact they are drawn to them. Successful ones like Rob Quist will practice a “lick” relentlessly, until it’s just right. That sounds like a person I want representing me in Congress.

In his life as a gigging musician and aspiring civic leader, Rob Quist has seen parts of our state that the billionaire transplants avoid. He has shaken hands with folks who can often be overlooked. One of his most widely acclaimed compositions is a song about standing up to bullies. These are the qualities that are desperately needed in Washington right now. Congress and our current administration already has plenty of billionaire politicians. Rob Quist has been Montana’s troubadour for decades; it’s time the nation got to know him. —Hank Handford, Kalispell

Wherefore art thou, Gianforte?

Where, oh where, has Greg Gianforte gone? While Rob Quist is traveling all over Montana, holding town hall meetings on important issues like public lands and health-care reform, Gianforte is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he thinks paying for big TV ad campaigns is enough to buy the election. That works in New Jersey where Gianforte came from but here in Montana we like to actually meet the people who want to represent us in Congress. —Ken Toole, Cascade

Use language more precisely

“A disaster” “on life support.” These were the media’s descriptions of Trump’s health-care bill that didn’t come to a vote today.

Do people/the media really think this political setback is a disaster? Hurricane Katrina, the meltdown of Fukashima nuke plant, tornadoes wiping out whole neighborhoods — those are disasters, and anyone who has experienced a real disaster knows a vote or lack of a vote in Congress sure isn’t a disaster.

Someone with a dying loved one might understand the real meaning of life support. A political vote does NOT come close to these levels of pain. We all experience setbacks in life, must analyze our situation, come up with a better plan, and get moving again.

Let Congress and the president get on with the business at hand without the dramatics and inappropriate analogies. God bless America. —Dee Armstrong, Bigfork

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