The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion. © James R. Conner.


9 May 2012

Brenneman victory likely to stand

According to preliminary election returns, former Flathead County Commissioner Joe Brenneman defeated incumbent School District 5 Trustee Ivan Lorentzen 330–325, a margin of five votes, which is 0.76 percent of the total votes cast. That excludes an automatic recount, but permits Lorentzen to obtain a recount if he pays for it (state recount handbook).

Unless there was a blunder or a systemic error that skewed the counting, the outcome is likely to stand. Random errors are just as probable to be distributed in Brenneman’s favor as in Lorentzen’s. In the meantime, congratulations to Brenneman on his victory, and thanks to Lorentzen for his long and responsible service as a trustee.

Rerun the Kalispell building reserve levy in the 6 November 2012 general election


With yesterday’s defeat, multi-million-dollar building reserve levies for the Kalispell high school district have failed in three consecutive elections. The latest levy lost by less than 200 votes, which might tempt the trustees to run another election as soon as possible — a temptation to which the trustees ought not yield.

Another low key campaign in the spring has a low probability of success. My recommendation: put the levy on the 6 November 2012 general election ballot. Use the next six months to mount an effective campaign for the levy.

And, avoid mistakes like the yard sign at left. It lacks name and contact information for the person or group behind it, an omission that basically says “Go away. We don’t want your help.” The sign gets the issue wrong as well. Education was not on the ballot. A building reserve levy was.