Representative James Knox used his website http://www.citizentruth.com (it has since been removed but check out this link about it) to degrade city firefighters. Here is a screenshot of his Facebook account where he clumsily attempts to promote his “very cool website for Montana”. He’s so sly! Knox, well known for his attention to grammar confuses us by using the word “sean”. It doesn’t seem to be someone’s name, as it is not capitalized, so we can only assume that Knox made a spelling error. I’m not especially nit picky about small details but if our legislators aren’t smart enough to even utilize spell check (especially when the one in question owns a computer business) I’m afraid there is something terribly wrong. Anyway, I digress……
According to a report released by the city of Billings yesterday, Knox’s ongoing and one-sided feud with the firefighters didn’t end with his cool new website. It appears that he was not only commenting on the Billings Gazette online forums under various online identities, he also caused a serious altercation between the Fire Chief and several retired and active duty firefighters while they were eating at a local restaurant. Here is the story:
Retired firefighters Don Regnier, Phil Phillippi and Ed Newlin and active firefighters Mike Martin and Ron Martin (no relation) were having their weekly breakfast on Dec. 7 at the Alpine Casino on 16th Street West. A firefighter made a reference to a comment left online in discussion (shown below) of a Billings Gazette article about the firefighters by “taxed2crabbiness” who they suspected was actually Rep. James Knox who was seated at the next table- also eating I presume.
Never one to shy away from the limelight, Knox was certain to not only send the Billings Fire Chief Dextras a text message, but to also call him immediately thereafter to
tattle to inform him that his firefighters were conspiring to sabotage the brakes on Quick Response Units as well as planning to put additives in the water. He told Chief Dextras “You better get over here“. Within minutes, Dextras arrived in uniform. He approached the table of firefighters, red-faced and fuming angry, according to the firefighters. Oddly, however; Knox claims the chief was very calm. From the Billings Gazette:
“He was angry as hell. He was very angry,” Regnier said.
“The man had fire in his eyes. Three-quarters of the way through it he still called me a liar.”
Mike Martin, one of the active firefighters and a union leader, said the incident was very tense. He said the firefighters would never do anything to damage city equipment or put the public in danger.
“It was so confrontational that I didn’t know if I was going to have to jump up and fight or what,” Martin said.
An investigator was called in from Helena by the city of Billings. He found that Dextras inappropriately disrupted a meeting of private citizens after assuming wrongly that the firefighters were already guilty based solely on Knox’s phone call. He found no evidence that the firefighters were actually planning to sabotage the trucks. The city redacted Knox’s name from the investigation documents although Knox gave permission to use his name. That doesn’t surprise me a bit for some reason. Knox says, “it was pretty evident what they were saying.” Apparently only to Knox.
This is yet another chapter in the continuing drama surrounding Knox. Rep. James Knox was fortunate enough to ride the tea party wave into office last November, but constant mistakes, malicious attacks, and refusal to acknowledge the needs of his constituents will no doubt combine to ensure he is a ONE-TERM legislator. It is unfortunate for Knox who suffered a heart attack shortly after the 2011 legislative session began and likely needs his $733/mo health insurance compliments of we the people, but fortunate for Montana.
See below for some highlights of Knox’s first and last legislative session.