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Balance North Idaho announces new board member

Kootenai County, Idaho, June 9, 2014- Balance North Idaho today announces that former Mayor of Post Falls, Clay Larkin, has joined the Board of Directors. A fundamental element of Balance North Idaho’s growth vision is that the board has representation from different communities within the county. Execution of that vision is in process. Board member, Ryan Brodwater, formerly of Post Falls, resigned from the board as he relocated to Spokane.

“We are honored to have Clay Larkin on our board,” said Eden Irgens, BNI President. “He brings deep knowledge of the Post Falls community and is very respected within our county. It will be a pleasure to work with him on future non-partisan elections.

“I had followed the work of BNI since it's inception, and thought how important their mission is, to keep local non-partisan elections just that – non-partisan. My philosophy for over 40 years has been to vote for the most qualified candidate. There are great folks on the Board, and I am honored to join them. There is much work to do to keep the mission alive, and BNI has a lot of faithful followers.”

More below.
 Reaction?

BNI: More Balanced Than RRepubs

A news release from Balance North Idaho: The City Council elections are jam packed with some great candidates.  We can say that with confidence because we interviewed many of them.  We invited everyone, but there were several who opted to not participate in our interview process. Demonstrating we are true to our purpose, we endorsed a Regean Republican candidate in the Hospital Election last Spring.  We do know firsthand that the RR's did not bother to interview anyone they consider left of their agenda. RR's say we're all a bunch of liberals.  Labeling anyone and everything a “liberal”, including Balance North Idaho, is a shallow attempt to disqualify a credible candidate or organization in the eyes of the public.  What does “liberal” mean to them? Simply put, liberal stands for anyone left of the far right.  To reassure you about the makeup of our board — Balance North Idaho consists of individuals representing all parties (R, D, I) for the purpose of being balanced.  As we have stated, our President, Eden Irgens, and Treasurer, Mic Armon, are Republicans.  Endorsements are made using facts, qualifications, and a structured interview and evaluation process, not political party.  These are nonpartisan races and that fact should be respected rather than ignored.

Question: Who has a more balanced approach to candidate interviews — Balance North Idaho or Reagan Republicans?

BalanceNI Picks Widmyer, Jacobson

Balance North Idaho has sent Huckleberries its endorsements in the Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls mayor and City Council races:

Coeur d'Alene:

  • Coeur d'Alene mayor — Steve Widmyer (“financial acumen, vision, wisdom”)
  • Coeur d'Alene Seat No. 2 — Amy Evans (“heart, non-profit depth, growth management”)
  • Coeur d'Alene Seat No. 4 — Woody McEvers (“commitment, honest, track record”)
  • Coeur d'Alene Seat No. 6 — Kiki Miller (“driven, fact tracker, open mind”)

Post Falls

  • Post Falls mayor — Ron Jacobson (“financial acumen, sales focus, broad city experience”)
  • Post Falls Seat No. 2 — Alan Wolfe (“financial acumen, citizen advocate, experience”)
  • Post Falls Seat No. 4 — No endorsement
  • Post Falls Seat No. 6 — Unopposed, no endorsement

You can read more about the endorsements here.

DFO: Interesting that Balance North Idaho didn't endorse in race for Post Falls Seat No. 4, where Councilwoman Betty Ann Henderson is running for re-election.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with these endorsements?

Regan Targets Foes On Way Out

(Former Trustee Brent Regan) said that while considering ways the district could save money, he noticed that the district had paid about $4,700 to Range Northwest, a downtown design firm, for graphic design work and printing work for Sorensen Magnet School's spring fundraiser auction. He noted that Range Northwest's owners are Eden Irgens and Adam Graves. Irgens sits on the board of Balance North Idaho, a political action committee, he said. Balance North Idaho endorsed Regan's opponent, Hazel. Graves chaired the Sorensen fundraiser, Regan said. “I'm not giving any allegation of wrongdoing here, but what I am saying is that things like this can put the board in a difficult position, because the optics on it are very bad,” he said. He said that the $4,700 would have been better spent on something for the district rather than for printing services. Lisa May, a Sorensen mother and parent who has worked on the school's auction, said the funds spent on the event were not school district dollars. They were raised by the parents at the school, she said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Thoughts?

Balance Wins PAC Duel w/RRepubs

Item: Balance North Idaho wins PAC duel/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Kootenai County Reagan Republicans were shocked when the early results of the non-partisan races trickled in Tuesday night. About three dozen of them gathered in the back room of the Fedora Pub and Grille to watch the results come in. When the first ones arrived, only two of their candidates - both seeking seats on the Post Falls School Board - were winning. While they cheered for their Post Falls candidates, the mood changed as the results of the Coeur d'Alene School District and Kootenai Hospital District races came in. Jeff Ward, co-founder of the Reagan Republicans, said the results were a little confusing. He wasn't sure if the absentee ballots had been counted or if they had started counting precinct votes first.

Question: Is there a new sheriff in town?

BNI Letter That Angered Mary

The mass-mailing letter from Balance North Idaho that attracted Mary Souza's wrath:

Your vote is Crucial on May 21:  Just how crucial is your vote on May 21?  It is VITAL to the direction of our School Districts and Hospital Board of Trustees. 

CDA School Board: 

  • 1.     Should Boosters be able to control their own funds?
  • 2.     Do you want Sorensen Magnet School's successful, creative curriculum offering to stay?
  • 3.     Should our kids learn beyond just Rote Memorization?

These are a few issues you can be sure to hear about should this current Board maintain leadership.  Vote for Christa Hazel (Zone 1), Dave Eubanks (Zone 4) and Tom Hearn (Zone 5).

Question: Why does this letter have the archconservatives up in arms?

Balance Mailing Upsets Souza

At OpenCdA.com, Mary Souza is upset by a recent mailing by the Balance North Idaho group: “The Balance North Idaho group has sent out a letter filled with twisted, manipulative information that amounts to nothing but campaign trickery.  And they’ve done it at the very end of the school board campaign, when there’s no time left to respond by mass media before the election Tuesday. Who is this new Balance North Idaho?  Their web site shows the small Board of Directors includes Sara Meyer and Eden Irgens, who were so active against a Public Vote on McEuen and against the Recall.  Also on their Board is Mic Armon, the former NIC Trustee who was against a public bond vote on the $10 million dollar Mill site land purchase.” You can read the rest of Mary's complaint here.

Thoughts?

Balance, Reagan Repub PACs Battle

Reporter Jeff Selle of the Coeur d'Alene Press provides an in depth look at the PAC battle between Balance North Idaho and the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans in the nonpartisan races this spring:

We can try and finesse this all we want,” said Jeff Ward, founder or the Reagan Republicans. “But the reality is, this is an old-fashioned partisan election - it always has been.” That sentiment was prompted the formation of the new Balance North Idaho PAC, which brands itself as a non-partisan political action committee that will support “qualified” candidates, regardless of which political party they belong to.”These races have nothing to with how left leaning or right leaning the candidates are,” said Eden Irgens, co-founder of Balance North Idaho. “These races have everything to do with our kids' education and the way our hospital is run.” More here.

Question: Has Balance North Idaho done a good job challenging the more entrenched Reagan Republicans this spring in the nonpartisan races?

‘Balance’ Rattles Regan Republicans

Sara Meyer: The emergence of Balance North Idaho must have made an impact on the Reagan Republicans this week. We had one of their members try to hijack our FB page, nasty comments from that member on the Press, the mention of “balance” in Jeff Wards “newsletter” and now the comment from 57chevy. It’s been quite a week. :) The purpose of BNI is to find out more about the candidate as a person and less about their party affiliation. You can read more about BNI on our webpage. I personally believe that when you sit down and actually talk with someone about their views, you learn a great deal. This can also produce a healthy debate, which is essential in an organization that represents many different views. I prefer to know something about someone before I label them, but that's just me.

DFO: You can make a Regan Republican groupie angry by following these Facebook pages: Balance North Idaho or Citizens for a Positive Coeur d'Alene or Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership.

Question: What role do you see Balance and other new education groups playing in the 2013 Coeur d'Alene School Board elections?

Mary Decries ‘Balance’

In her latest OpenCDA.com newsletter, Mary Sousa rips into the new Balance North Idaho group, which has been enthusiastically endorses by the Coeur d'Alene Press and Huckleberries. Sez Mary: “The group claims their mission is to 'endorse and promote candidates and issues in local non-partisan elections.' They state they want people who are fiscally responsible. So I looked up the board members of this group and almost fell off my chair.  These people seem to have one very big thing in common, and it’s not balance.  They do NOT want the public to have a vote!” Mary then goes on to rip 3 of the 5 leaders of the Balance group — Sara Meyer and Eden Irgens, for stopping Mary's recall attempt in its tracks last year, and former NIC board member Mic Armon. Owner Steve Widmyer of the Fort Ground Grill and Elva Allan, wife of Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribal Chairman Chief Allan, escaped Mary's considerable wrath. This time. More here.

Question: I wonder what Mary's definition of balance is?

Balance Group Backs Nonpartisanship

Candidates seeking election in nonpartisan races in Kootenai County will now have an opportunity to receive endorsements and campaign funds from a newly formed political action committee. The founding board of the PAC, Balance North Idaho, announced the committee's formation Monday in Coeur d'Alene.  “The name that we've selected is very meaningful to our cause,” said Eden Irgens (pictured), a downtown business owner and the PAC's board president. Several nonpartisan elections, with ballots that do not indicate the political party affiliations of candidates, will take place in Kootenai County on May 21. …  Irgens said political party members tend to take their voting cues from candidates' party affiliations rather than the individuals' qualifications. “Everything is moved very far to the right in this town,” Irgens said/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Does this mean that the Reagan Republicans will have to work harder to foist their Hard Right “Republicans” (see: Steve Adams) on unsuspecting Coeur d'Alene voters?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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