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Solomon, Rice butt heads at forum


October 11, 2013

Lindsay Brown

Bob Rice, left, Republican mayoral candidate, and Tim Solomon, Democratic mayoral candidate, discuss local topics during Thursday's candidate forum at Havre High School. Havre High School history teacher John Ita, center, moderated the evening.

A cordial and short debate for the mayor race ended with a jab from Mayor Tim Solomon to Bob Rice Thursday.

Solomon, in his closing statement at the candidate forum sponsored by the Havre Daily News, brought up a concern about former mayor Rice’s eligibility to run for mayor.

Solomon said Rice had moved out of town after he was defeated four years ago. Solomon recalled Rice saying during the campaign he would leave if he was defeated.

Democrat Solomon said the law requires that candidates for mayor live in the city for two years before running. After losing, Rice moved to Missoula and returned less than two years ago.

Solomon said he would not challenge Republican Rice’s qualifications in court, but just wanted to bring it to the voters’ attentions.

“That was a cheap shot, Tim,” Rice interjected in response, in the middle of Solomon’s closing statement.

Rice said he owns property in Havre and therefore is eligible.

The rest of the forum was cordial and the candidates agreed on many of the issues brought up by the moderator.

Solomon gave his opening statement first.

“First off, I want to welcome Bob back to Havre,” Solomon said. “I can’t believe it’s been four years.”

Solomon then went into his background about being raised in the Bear Paw Mountains, his family ties to Havre, his 28 years working at the Hill County Sheriff’s Office and his nine years working at the county fairgrounds.

He expressed his hope for talking about Havre’s important issues, like the state of the roads.

Rice began his opening statement with a thanks to everyone being at the debate, including his grandson, who was going door to door with him earlier that day to help him campaign.

“This is an extraordinary election,” Rice said. “We’ve both got experience.”

He spoke of his setbacks since the last time he ran for mayor, including his mother dying and his stroke, which he has “fully recovered from.”

Rice said the reason he left Havre was to be with his mother in her final days.

“I’m a hands-on guy,” Rice said. “You’re going to see me working in the streets. Solomon lets the department heads take care of things; that’s not my style.”

The first question concerned Havre residents’ complaint about the state of the streets, potholes and snow removal.

“They definitely have a legitimate complaint,” Solomon said.

Solomon said he and his team put together a capital improvement plan to not just dig up streets and repave them, but to look at the infrastructure of the roads to make them better.

Rice responded to Solomon’s statements by talking about his approach to maintaining the streets.

“You’ll see me with a three-man crew on the weekends,” Rice said.

He spoke of obtaining funds from the state through “aggressive politics,” after talking to the mayor of Missoula’s success in getting funds to make a bicycle lane in the streets.

The second question was about their opinions on whether or not there should be nonpartisan elections in the city. The question will be on the ballot that will be mailed to voters next week.

Rice spoke first and said “I’ve been for nonpartisan elections from the start.”

Having to have candidacies attached to a political party “keeps good people from running for office,” he added. “It’s not the way to get things done.”

He brought up that Havre is one of five cities in Montana that still has partisan elections and is the largest one out of the five.

Solomon said he agrees with Rice “100 percent,” on the issue.

The third question asked the candidates if they like the present form of Havre’s government.

Both candidates spoke of the benefits of having a city manager form of government, but both said they are happy with the current form of government.

Ita then asked both to describe their managerial style.

“My style is leadership by example,” Rice said “I’m a total quality manager.”

“It depends on the job at hand,” Solomon said. “You can’t know all the jobs in the city. You have to put the right people in place and work with them. I have excellent people surrounding me.”

On the topic of annexation, both candidates said they thought it was important to expand city limits.

Ita then asked the candidates what makes them uniquely qualified.

Solomon talked of his approachability and willingness to try new methods to better the city, and Rice said his eight years of experience makes him unique, as will as his “hands-on” style.

The last request from Ita before the closing statements was for each candidate to say something nice about each other.

Rice said Solomon was a friendly guy, had a good truck and spoke of a past statement of Solomon’s about Rice always being a good dresser.

“He looks good tonight too,” Rice said.

“Thank you, and you still look nice,” Solomon said. “You have a lot of nice cars and I just have that one pickup.”

After the debate, Rice said he thought the debate went well, “except for that cheap shot at the end,” concerning Solomon’s statement about his eligibility to run.

Solomon said he thought the debate went well in the time they were given.

“It was good for the amount of time we had,” Solomon said. “It’s not a whole lot of time to cover things. There’s a lot of research that goes into this and not enough time to really address them, but I think it was good.”


Reader Comments

Getaclue writes:

Jazz, Bob Rice was born in Glasgow, was raised in Eureka and didn't move to Havre until well into his teen years. He has NOT always been from Havre.

RetireForGood writes:

Clowns... Time to retire the old birds......... Get some dudes in there that want to get s**t done and not worried about same old Havre politics....ridiculous along with most comments on here

HeyJazz writes:

Mayor Tim singlehandedly got us one of those recycle trailers that’s what he has done. He accomplished this in only 4 short years. How could you not love a guy breaking his back like this for the city we all love?

Jazz writes:

I just read all the comments about the debate. First I know Bob Rice well I know he is a resident of Havre always has been, so what that he spent time in Missoula. he still had a residence here where he has always spent most of his time. Since Tim has been our Mayor what has he done to improve Havre? The fair is a mess, our town needs new streets and a splash park, Bob will do these things even getting out in the cold and helping his crew fix it. Thats just how he is and we need him. Hope is Bob

SomebodyElseRun writes:

Personally I would rather see totally different candidates run. I think it will be a good thing for Havre not the have partisan elections.

Joe writes:

I agree that the city should hire good department heads and let them do their jobs. On the other hand it is the Mayor's responsibility to oversee those department heads. Tim hasn't even had one meeting with them in four years to even try to get to know what they are doing. The Tim's managerial style is to simply let the tail wag the dog. Perhaps it is time for some of that Hope and Change

NotSurprised writes:

You caught me Joe! Not only am I council member, I'm also married to all the other council members. And Mayor Tim! I'm so ashamed you saw through me. But seriously, why is it that all the Bob Rice supporters think anyone who disagrees with them is a democrat or council person? I would never accuse you of representing Havre on the city council... Mostly because I'd love to think Havre voters would have more sense.

Vote4Tim writes:

Tim Solomon has every right to collect a retirement, and continue to work for a paycheck! Or more than one! Are you going to tell me that Bob Rice is not entitled to military retirement, benefits or anything else if he's drawing a paycheck as mayor?? Unbelievable! Tim isn't perfect, but his management style is dead on. You hire good department heads and trust them to do their jobs, intervening only when necessary. Micro-management is NOT how you lead! Bob is a control freak NOT a leader!

grasping writes:

Seems Tim and the dems are worried about losing the mayor's race if they are grasping at straws like this. Judging by the comments on here it is apparent that it is all about party politics. For once just try voting for what is best for Havre

Joe writes:

I did check my facts Notsuprised. You should take your own advice and check into that 4 years living abroad deceitful accusation you made. Are you on the city council or just married to a councilperson?

Speakup writes:

Looks like Bob broke the campaign rules with his signs and now we fund out that he hasn't even been a resident. If you want change, that is fine. But why are you relying on a rule breaking crybaby to do it for you??? I say kick Bob out of the race.

Curious writes:

Just curious. Is there anyone making negative comments about Rice on this article that is not a city employee or a democrat council person and/or their relatives?

Getaclue writes:

I would be amused at HAVREVOTER's response, but stupid isn't funny. I told the truth, and as usual, a Havre person doesn't like it. What's up with people here hating the truth? I see some of my posts have not been posted, so the HDN also does not like the truth, either, and it isn't the first time that has happened. It is out there if you go looking for it. And I am neither Democrat nor Republican....I'm just anti-stupid-people.

LostBigBucks writes:

Not to mention the lost revenue when Tim did the counties bidding and stalled the annexation of commercial properties that are escaping paying city taxes although they receive city services.

LostBigBucks writes:

Why doesn’t anyone say anything about all the money Sheriff Solomon cost the county with lawsuits over his discriminatory practices towards Native Americans? He didn’t retire from being sheriff because it was his idea. As Mayor Solomon has cost the City big bucks when he caved in and let the county off the hook in paying their fair share of the city-county swimming pool expenses.

Getaclue writes:

For all of you cowards on this forum bashing on city employees, I would like to see you out when it is forty below trying to fix a broken water main. You can't do it because you are wimpy little girls who would cry for your mother within 10 seconds of being out there, cold, wet and tired! Next time you think you're so great, I'd love to see you do this and not complain....yeah that will NEVER happen because you aren't as great as you think you are, and neither is Bob!

HavreVoter writes:

I'm amused by GETACLUE beating the old Democrat drum of calling anyone they disagree with a bully. One thing liberal minded people fail to understand is accountability. They are threatened by any form of authority that doesn't fit their crony management style. From what I've seen Mayor Bob expects hard work and quality results. Good luck Bob!

Wondering writes:

I wonder if they will also make an issue of Greg Jergeson's fake Havre residency in the upcoming senate race

Willy writes:

Yup the city employees do not want Bob back as Mayor because they will have to work. I still believe that it is a conflict of interest for some issues with Mayor Tim being an employee of both the City and the County (example Mayor Tim rolling over on the Library issue). Good luck Mayor Bob!

notsurprised writes:

Actually, I'm pretty sure Mayor Tim volunteers his time at the Boys & Girls club. Check your facts Joe. And Whatthe I think most people would agree that residency would require more than just owning property in town. He's been living in Missoula for the last 4 years, not Havre. He may own property here, but he hasn't been a resident in a long time. He's a sore loser, and I wish Mayor Tim would have made a bigger stink about Bob Rice's illegitimate residency claim for this election.

Whatthe writes:

GETACLUE You must be one of those City employees that Rice expected to actually do a full days work for your pay. I am voting for Rice just so you can get back to doing something

Whatthe writes:

Rice is retired military and didn't have a second job after he lost to Solomon last election. So what if he spent a few weeks in Missoula? Most retired people from Havre spend 6 months in Arizona. Are they then also considered non-residents? What a cheap shot Mayor Solomon

Joe writes:

Rice worked full time at being mayor and knew what was going on in the city. Solomon draws a retirement check from the county for being sheriff, draws a county check for his job at the fair grounds, a city check for being mayor and also contracts to do maintenance at the Boys and Girls's club. Along with all that he still manages to find time for a hour of so coffee break over at the county courthouse. Doesn't seem to leave much time for the Mayor's job

Grumpy writes:

Soloman Rice, buttheads at the forum. At least they got the title of the article right.

Getaclue writes:

Cheap shot? Tim told the truth! Anyone offended by the truth needs to NOT be in politics! Bob's management style is BULLY, he's not qualified to work on the streets, all he does is get in the way of those who do know what they are doing! He sticks his nose in where it does not belong, and we've lost several GREAT employees as a result of Bob's interference. Bob is an incompetent fool who makes more work for the taxpayers than he helps! GO AWAY, BOB, and STAY AWAY!


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