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Posts tagged: Coeur d'Alene City Council

CdA Resident Wants No-Drone Zone

You've probably seen the Time magazine cover. The front of the February issue shows an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle hovering over a suburban home, with the title of the lead story in big, bold print: RISE OF THE DRONES. Inside, the article details how drones are being used more and more in everyday life: From military battlefields to real estate marketing. But the cover alone was eye catching. “I think the cover got a lot of people's attention,” said Jared Festner, a Coeur d'Alene resident who wants the city, if not Idaho, to craft its own legislation seriously restricting drone use locally. “It does get the issue out there”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you lose any sleep over drones in a sky near you?

My 2 Cents: Gookin, Nilson Lead Way

Gotta give a H/T to Councilman Dan Gookin and NIC Trustee Ron Nilson for their enthusiastic reaction to a possible events center being built at Riverstone. During a joint meeting of the City Council and NIC trustee board, Gookin and Nilson said — on “Woody TV” Channel 19 — that an events center would benefit the community as well as the college. Also, both said that the proposed events center should be built large enough to handle events like state high school football championships that are now being lost to Moscow and Pocatello, which have domed stadiums. Gookin was optimistic that voters would pass a bond (that could be floated after creation of a Recreation District) for an events center if they were informed properly re: the benefits. Nilson, who was instrumental in the passage of the bonds to build KTEC in Rathdrum, agreed. However, both balked when the specter of the Lake City Development Corp. was raised to provide some funding. All at the meeting agreed that NIC athletic/events facilities are outdated. Christiansen Gym was built in 1944. A good example of the restrictions caused by poor facilities is the 2014 national NJCAA wrestling tournament that NIC will host — in Spokane/DFO.

Question: I support the idea of a $12M-$15M events center that would attract events here. Also, I think the support of Gookin and Nilson is important for this idea to find traction. What do you think?

Legion Field Should Be Ready In 2013

From spokesman Keith Erickson of the Lake City Development Corp:

Crews involved in the 2012 McEuen Park upgrades have so far hauled away an estimated 25,000 cubic yards of dirt (the equivalent of 2,500 dump truck loads) from the Third Street parking lot. Another 3,000 yard of soil is due to be scraped from the site, lowering the former parking lot by as much as 12 feet. The dirt is being transported eastward to what will become the new East City Hall parking lot. Paving there is expected to occur on schedule November 2. The final four light poles at the McEuen ball field will be removed next week. Officials waited to remove the last poles until nesting osprey moved on, which they have. Meantime, development of the new American Legion field at the southwest end of Ramsey Park continues with lighting expected to be installed by the end of the month. City Parks Director Doug Eastwood says he expects the field to be ready for play by next season, which starts in June 2013. (SR file photo)


McEuen Project Employs 125

Above, current view via city of Coeur d'Alene Web cam of work on parking lot south of City Hall and part of old McEuen Softball Field No. 1. See McEuen Web cam here.

In her draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, Assistant City Clerk Renata McLeod reports:

“Tina Johnson, 601 E. Front Avenue: Was concerned about a quote from a Councilmember that the money is going toward a park when it could go toward creating jobs.  Ms. Johnson contacted the contractor and found that they have approximately 125 people involved in project, providing continued and new employment opportunities.  Additionally, local supplies are being purchased for this project.  She thanked Councilman McEvers, Councilman Kennedy, and the Mayor for owning and employing local workers.  Councilman Goodlander stated that she would have loved to be at groundbreaking but had a family commitment to attend that day.”

Question: Anyone check out work at McEuen Field lately?

Council OKs Legion Baseball Move

On a unanimous vote, with even long-time holdout Councilman Ron Edinger agreeing, the Coeur d'Alene City Council OK'd an agreement with American Legion Baseball to move the ALB diamond from McEuen Field to Ramsey Park. The 6-0 decision Tuesday night followed a discussion in which Parks Director Doug Eastwood laid out plans to add 75 to 100 parking spaces for American Legion Baseball and the softball fields on a former railroad right of way. Edinger groused that he didn't think the new baseball diamond and location met the qualifications of being “equal or better” than the current American Legion facility. Approval by American Legion Baseball of the memorandum of understanding for the move was key in winning council approval. The move will clear the way for an upgrade and new design concept for the history McEuen Field. You can read the discussion in the rough draft of the council minutes here. (Jesse Tinsley SR file photo of home plate call during American Legion Baseball game at McEuen Field)


Council-McEuen Meeting ‘Contentious’

HucksOnline asked a Berry Picker in attendance whether the City Council-LCDC-Team McEuen meeting Thursday morning was contentious. Here's the reply: “Yes it was contentious.  Dan and Ron pulled all the positive energy out of the room with their whine about Legion Ball. Dan said that we were 'kicking the kids who play ball to the curb.' Also: 'Baseball is the all american sport and we were talking it away.” What he failed to notice was that the amphitheatre part of the park would allow a pick-up baseball game for anyone who wanted to put together a game.  It actually shows how baseball could be played there on that site on the plans,  just no organized ball, no fences.  Ron, was just harping continually on the 'equal or better' and that we were breaking our promises to Legion. It was clear that they will continue to fight every part of the project and anything that could be related to it.”

Question: Will Councilman Ron Edinger's legacy of public service to Coeur d'Alene be affected in a positive/negative way by his dug-in position on McEuen Field?

Recallers Claim Enough Signatures

Organizers for the group, Recall CDA, say they're close to getting a petition on the ballot. On the chopping block are Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandy Bloem, Councilmen Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers, and Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander. The magic number for Recall CDA is just above 4,300 signatures.  So far, organizers say they have around 5,000, but those signatures have yet to be certified. If the recall movement has enough signatures, the process will begin for selecting a date for an election.  Both sides disagree on just about every issue and have different views on the significance of this development/Shawn Chitnis, KREM2. More here.


Adams Lectures City Attorney Gridley

Here's the letter that Councilman Steve Adams sent to City Attorney Mike Gridley re: correcting Adams at City Council meetings: “I have been hesitant in writing to you to address my concern, because I do not want to damage our relationship, which I feel up to this point has been good. However, I believe my concern is of greater importance. Twice now you have rebutted me during a council meeting. After the first time you did call to apologize, which was respectable. I do believe however, that it is not appropriate for you to rebut me openly during a council meeting. I do not believe it is your intent to be disrespectful, but it gives that appearance to all other parties (mayor & council, staff and especially the public). I do value you(r) legal opinion, (please do not take this as snide) but, you are not an judge or the judge, and I have the right to express my opinions. I respectfully ask that in the future, (unless asked) you please refrain from rebutting me during a council meeting, instead addressing me after the meeting or contacting me at a later date.” (For the record, Gridley declined a public request from Huckleberries Online for this letter, citing attorney-client privilege.)

Mary Decries Council ‘Loyalty Oath’

In her newletter this week, Mary Souza of is claiming today that the Coeur d'Alene City Council has some sort of “loyalty oath” to keep everyone in line. She sez that “Coeur d'Alene City Council Standards and Norms” is akin to a loyalty oath in offering 24 points, much of which begin with the statement, “I will …” For example, two points reads, I will tell the truth,” and “I will be accountable.” (Shazam, I smell a conspiracy coming) Now, for Mary's take: “In order to put the “Loyalty Oath” in perspective, I asked some city administration and council folks from nearby towns if they have ever seen  anything like this document.  They were all shocked.  They said they had never heard of such a thing, and that city councils are elected by the people and are not beholden to the mayor or any other city official. City Council members are responsible to the citizens.” You can read the rest of Mary's complaint here.

Question: So is this a loyalty oath or simply a code for good conduct while serving at a City Council member?

Plan Seeks More Accessible Tubbs Hill

Item: A more accessible Tubbs Hill: Plan would reduce grade of trail, create wheelchair turnarounds/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The city of Coeur d'Alene is trekking forward with its plans to alter the east side of Tubbs Hill to make the popular hiking trail more accessible for people with disabilities. The General Services Committee, a subcommittee of the Coeur d'Alene City Council, recommended Monday the city contract Welch Comer Engineers for $9,000 engineering studies to determine how to improve wheelchair accessibility on the downtown hill. The proposed project doesn't have anything to do with creating a north trail on Tubbs Hill, which is how it earned its support from the Tubbs Hill Foundation.

Question: Does Tubbs Hill need to become more accessible?

Council OKs Team McEuen Pact 4-3

The McEuen Field designers will begin creating the construction documents to send the downtown park project out to bid. A divided Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Tuesday to a $1.96 million architectural and engineering contract with the park's designers, Team McEuen, that should turn the conceptual plan on the 20-acre park into reality. “You have to have vision and look out into the future to create great communities,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman. “I think we should move forward with the project and get it going.” The contract was approved 4 votes to 3 votes, with Mayor Sandi Bloem casting the deciding vote in what's becoming a standard split on the council regarding McEuen Field since new councilmembers Dan Gookin and Steve Adams took their seats in January/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR file photo of Coeur d'Alene parks worker preparing McEuen Field diamond for play)

Question: Are you more receptive to McEuen Field changes, now that the boat launch is left in the first phase and the American Legion Baseball field could be moved to a better facility at Cherry Hill Park?

Now Illegal To Moon Someone In CdA

The Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Tuesday to close a legal loophole that made it difficult to prosecute those who expose themselves indecently. The city adopted an amendment to its obscene conduct law that specifically includes indecent exposure for offenders who drop trou to annoy or offend people, rather than those who do so with lewd intent. It passed 5-1. Councilman Dan Gookin opposed the amendment because the city's disturbing the peace ordinance already addresses the issue, he said/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Wikipedia photo of old Coppertone advertisement)

Question: Do you support this move?

Gookin Opposes Bruning Appointment

Interestingly, new Councilman Dan Gookin was the only City Council member to oppose the appointment of former Councilman John Bruning to the Natural Open Space Ad Hoc & Arts Commission last night. Even Councilman Steve Adams, who defeated Bruning in a three-way race in November, voted for the appointnments. Here's how the minutes read: “Motion by Goodlander, seconded by Kennedy to appoint John Bruning to the Natural Open Space Ad Hoc Committee and the Arts Commission, to re-appoint Kelly Ostrom to the Personnel Appeals Board, and re-appoint Jim VanSky to the CDA TV Committee.  Councilman Gookin believes that John Bruning is already serving on two committees and, therefore, will vote against him being appointed to these two committees.  Mayor Bloem noted that the two committees the John Burning is currently a member of, as mentioned by Councilman Gookin, are ad hoc committees and not standing committees.  Motion carried with Gookin voting no. ”

Question: Do you agree with Gookin's reason for voting no?

Council To Set Letter Reading Policy

Item: The letters of the law: Cd'A council may craft policy about written comments at meetings/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press

More Info: Last week's letters ruffled some feathers — or at least raised some eyebrows.Now, the city of Coeur d'Alene could consider crafting a policy addressing whether letters should be read into public record during meetings if the author isn't there.A policy isn't in place. After five letters were read into public record at the Jan. 17 City Council meeting opposing a public vote for the McEuen Field proposal, some said the city should draft a policy to establish a rule whether that should be allowed. Drawing a clear-cut line could also help the city avoid a possible perception that it could play favorites when it comes to reading written comments.

Question: Besides Mary Souza and the crowd, who cares which letters are read into the record at a City Council meeting?

Flashback: The Night I Guessed Right

The Coeur d'Alene City Council's 4-3 vote against Councilman Ron Edinger's motion for an advisory vote on the proposed McEuen Field changes reminds me of another tie-breaker decided by the mayor, more than 26 years ago. In fall 1985. Only that time Edinger was on the side fighting an advisory vote. At issue that time was the call for an advisory vote on Duane Hagadone's controversial proposal to return hydroplane races to Lake Coeur d'Alene. Hagadone threatened that he would pull the proposal before he would allow it to be put on the ballot. The council was split down the middle — with Steve McCrea, Jim Michaud, and Bob Brown for the vote and Edinger, Dixie Reid, and one other (whom I can't recall) against. Edinger was wearing a pro-hydroplane button. I was in my first year of reporting on local government. Before the meeting, then Mayor Jim Fromm told me he planned to vote for the advisory vote. Based on that statement, I submitted my story that the motion for an advisory vote had passed 4-3 with Fromm casting the tiebreaker — 15 minutes before the council voted, to meet my deadline. And then crossed my fingers that Fromm was good for his word. He was. And that's why I'm still earning my supper with the SR rather than being fired that night for guessing on the outcome of a front-page story. (BTW, the matter was placed on the ballot and the public overwhelmingly rejected the hydroplanes) — DFO.

MikeK, Edinger Talked Before Vote

Mike Kennedy: “I had talked with Ron about running for Council President two years ago. He said he wanted another term so I didn’t put my name in for it then. After this recently concluded election we talked again and I expressed interest and he told me he had already decided he was not going to run again for Council President. I think McEuen played a small role in his thinking as he expressed it to me, in that Ron’s feeling is that the Council President should do his or her best to be supportive of the Mayor, at least on the “big issues”. On McEuen he wasn’t in agreement with the Mayor, and so it wasn’t a major issue for him to not seek the position again. I respect his position on that, and he voted for me last night. So in short, Ron did not seek the position again, and I was interested. Deanna Goodlander made the motion to nominate me and Woody seconded it, both of which I appreciated.”

Question: Does being council president put a bigger/lesser target on Councilman MikeK's back re: individuals who are hell-bent on beating him in two years?

Gookin, Adams Join CdA Council

Item: Change comes to Cd'A council: Adams, Gookin take oath; Bruning, Hassell honored/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: After the presentations, Adams, Gookin and Edinger took their oaths, and the victors were seated. Their first order of business included voting for Mike Kennedy as Council President. Kennedy earned the title unanimously. After the meeting, Edinger, the former president, said he was content giving up the title since he had served in the role several times, for different mayors. Gookin acknowledged he'd had different opinions than Kennedy in the past, but it was a good move as the new members work together with incumbents.

Question: What do you make of move by Dan Gookin and Steve Adams to support the motion to make Mike Kennedy president of the Coeur d'Alene City Council?

Adams Targets LCDC From Get-Go

Item: Urban renewal options: Incoming city council members ponder what to do with Lake City Development Corp/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Steve Adams says he could explore one legal avenue to shut down the city’s urban renewal board. The city council-elect, set to take his seat in January, said in interviews he could make a motion to disband Lake City Development Corp., the city’s urban renewal agency, and have the council fill its shoes — a legally possible route. While urban renewal law allows cities to take over their urban renewal boards, Adams said he realizes the motion doesn’t have much of a chance of getting off the ground, at least not in the immediate future. … Yet Dan Gookin, the other council-elect who campaigned on urban renewal oversight, called disbanding the board a “doomsday” option.

Question: Do you think the state's urban renewal law is unconstitutional, as Adams does?

RRepubs Felt In Nonpartisan Races

Coeur d'Alene Councilman-elect Dan Gookin hangs out with Reagan Republican brain trust Ron Lahr, left, and Jeff Ward at the North Idaho Pachyderm Club meeting Friday morning.

After Tuesday's election, Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem attributed KCRR's influence as a key factor in the election's outcome. Both Steve Adams, who won seat 5, and Gookin are KCRR board members and were supported by the political group during the campaign. Both won easily. But how much influence the political group deserves is split. Even the group's president, Jeff Ward, who also worked with KCRR member Ron Lahr on Strategery, thinks it's getting too much credit. “It's nice to get those kind of kudos from the mayor, but she actually over-emphasizes our importance in the elections,” he said. “It was a series of things; it was McEuen Field, it was pay increases - and Republicans turned out to vote.” With the help of KCRR/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. More here.

Question: What factor had a bigger impact on the outcome of the Coeur d'Alene City Council elections — McEuen Field controversy or Reagan Republicans involvement?

Contrast Clear In Edinger-Graves Race

When Ron Edinger began serving on the Coeur d’Alene City Council, Adam Graves had not entered the world. Now the two – the 75-year-old with 40 years of incumbency and the 37-year-old businessman determined to modernize the city – are facing off for council seat 1. The race has been cast both as a battle over the future of McEuen Field and as one of looking to the future rather than being mired in the past. “I’ve got a vision for the future. I think Ron is stuck on preserving history and the past,” said Graves, co-founder of a Coeur d’Alene marketing and branding company and a board member of the city’s Downtown Association. “That’s been shown in his thinking on the McEuen Field projects.” Edinger sees it differently/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: How does this race look to you as it enters the final week of the campaign?

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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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