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Posts tagged: My 2 Cents

My 2 Cents: Welcome To Fray, Steve

I've been waiting to exhale since I learned that anti-City Hall activist Mary Souza was running for mayor. I knew someone would step forward to oppose her — and I don't mean Jim Brannon or Joe Kunka. However, I was hoping it wasn't some self-diluted individual who would pull votes from a stronger, nonpartisan candidate. Now, that Steve Widmyer has stepped forward, I can exhale. Widmyer, the owner of the historic Fort Ground Grill, has a solid business background and deep roots in the community. Also, he's his own man, without ties to the divisive Far Right politics that threatened to tear this community apart before voters erected a resounding stop sign during the recent Coeur d'Alene School Board elections. Given the alternative choices, Widmyer's bandwagon is worth jumping on. However, Widmyer's decision to step forward is only the first step in keeping our City Council out of the hands of radical ideologues. It'll also be important to keep the free seats now held by Woody McEvers, Deanna Goodlander and Mike Kennedy. Kennedy has already announced his decision not to run again. McEvers and Goodlander are testing the political waters for possible re-election bids. I like the incumbent council members. But it is possible that they acquired too much baggage in their decisions to back the McEuen Field makeover, urban renewal, and the controversial antidiscrimination ordinance. The strongest nonpartisan candidate for those seats should get support, whether it's one of the incumbents or someone else. The Far Right will certainly have its own candidates for those seats. Widmyer has a good chance to keep the mayor's seat out of radical hands. Now, it's time to focus on the best nonpartisan candidates for the three council seats/DFO.

Thoughts?

DFO: All ‘Republicans’ Are Not Alike

The decision by veteran Treasurer Tom Malzahn to withdraw plans to retire should serve as a warning to all Kootenai County Republicans that something's very wrong at the Central Committee level. Malzahn rescinded his retirement because he isn't confident that the Central Committee would pick at least one qualified person among the three names it would send to the County Commissioners to fill his vacancy. Everyone knows that Treasurer Malzahn considers his able assistant, Laurie Thomas, to be the most qualified person in the county to fill his shoes. But rumors abound that a subgroup within the Central Committee was lobbying actively behind the scenes to make sure that Laurie's name wasn't among the three sent to the commission. The in crowd wanted a party hack instead. The GOP Central Committee no longer can be trusted to act in the best interests of the public. Rather, it has become a vehicle for Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paulers, and various other elements of the local Tea Party to push their extreme agendas under the name of the Republican Party. For the past year, we have watched as “Republican” activists have created turmoil on the Coeur d'Alene City Council and Coeur d'Alene School Board. Councilman Steve Adams, a former North Idaho Patriot for Ron Paul, won office as a “Republican” and now has Coeur d'Alene facing an economic disaster as a result of his flipflop stand against wastewater treatment expansion. The Coeur d'Alene School Board, including three appointees, all of whom have Republican Party backing, has bounced from one self-inflicted controversy to another in the last 9 months. Malzahn's decision puts a fine point on the radicalism of the local GOP CC. Anyone who stands up to this new version of the Grand Old Party will be denounced as a “liberal” and trashed. But that's a small price to pay to take our Kootenai County communities back from the right-wing RINOs/DFO.

My 2 Cents: Which Message Sent?

I agree with the Recallers licking their wounds this morning that they sent a message to Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three Coeur d'Alene City Council members targeted for recall. But it's not the message they think they sent. The Recallers don't represent a majority of this community. That was evident in their inability to gain the required 4311 valid signatures after trolling Hard Right (Tea Party, Reagan Republicans, anti-property tax) precincts early and then beating every bush in Coeur d'Alene. The Recallers were unavoidable. I'd guess almost all of the registered voters in Coeur d'Alene saw them hanging out with their signs in high-visibility sidewalks and street corners, as well as Primary Election Day polling places. Yet, they didn't get the necessary signatures. They failed because the community didn't support the recall. On the other hand, Mayor Sandi Bloem & targeted council members know now that the Recallers aren't going away. Backed by the well-organized Reagan Republicans, they'll be back next fall to try to capture at least one more seat to take control of the council (now the Ron Edinger has thrown in his lot with Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams). Hard Right Republican partisans have already captured the Coeur d'Alene School Board (including two seats held by Trustees, Terri Seymour and James Purtee, who supported the recall). The message Mayor Bloem, the recall targets and their supporters must learn from this is … the 2013 municipal election campaign begins today. The Bloem administration and them must  communicate its message of accomplishment much better. They need to stop being bullied by political opponents and confront propaganda and quarter truths with fact. Every time. In every venue — print, online or over the air. They need to start promoting new candidates, if any of them are certain now that they won't run for re-election in 2013. They should celebrate the defeat of the recall effort Wednesday night — and then get busy with their 2013 campaigns. I'm sure the other side has already began discussing Plan B — DFO

My 2 Cents: It Ain’t Over

State Rep. Kathy Sims is shown at her station across from Sherman Hardware, trying to attract signatures for her recall petitions.

Even if City Clerk Susan Weathers declares the Coeur d'Alene recall attempt a failure (void ab initio) at 4:30 p.m. today, the attempted takeover of City Hall ain't over. I doubt that the Souza-Orzell-Sims would waste the time and energy to launch another recall against the same officials in three months. But I suspect to see a lawsuit of some sort surface in the next few days, challenging disqualified ballots and maybe seeking an injunction against an upgrade to McEuen Field. Beyond that, the Recallers will spin the results of their failure and go back to work networking with the Tea Party & Reagan Republicans to target the 2013 city elections. Good city elected officials like Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three targeted for recall will remain vulnerable to this organized and vocal minority if the individuals who made the Decline to Sign movement successful lose focus. The 75-day recall attempt is just the beginning. The future is still up for grabs between those who applaud the upgrades along the waterfront and those who have opposed many of those projects, including state Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, who supported the suit to stop the North Idaho College Foundation purchase of the Education Corridor. (BTW, NIC Trustee Christie Wood responded to all of Sims' claims in the link above here.) The first referendum on the Coeur d'Alene recall attempt isn't in November 2013. It is this November when Sims, an outspoken supporter of the recall effort, faces Democrat Anne Nesse in an attempt to win re-election to her House seat. Sims has an advantage in that she's a Republican in an area that votes knee-jerk Republican. A poor showing or even the defeat of Kathy Sims would serve to be a harbinger of the 2013 city elections — DFO.

Correction: Rep. Kathy Sims supported the lawsuit to stop the purchase of the old mill site for an Education Corridor that was filed by Larry Spencer, Tom Macy and Bill McCrory.

DFO: D’s Should Field More Candidates

I know why local Democrats don’t field more candidates to oppose to oppose Republicans in Kootenai County races. It’s hard to persuade someone to raise thousands of dollars, take 6 months of their life off, and expect to be beaten by 55-60% of the vote. But a situation like Phil Hart’s begs the question. Why not simply get someone to serve as a name holder — or place holder — in case the Republican melts down? The Demo wouldn’t have to raise all that much money or campaign hard. Just be there to hold a Republican accountable for his actions — or votes in the previous term — in debates and newspaper interviews. It’s next to impossible to try to defeat Hart with a write-in candidacy. I applaud Demo David Larsen for stepping up as a write-in candidate in the spring primary, so House Education Chairman Bob Nonini will have to explain some of his curious positions on education, including his behind-the-scenes opposition to UI’s attempt to sign a lease for a building in Coeur d’Alene’s future Education Corridor. It’s a shame to see Rep. Phil Hart, with his myriad tax problems, running unopposed in the general election — DFO.

They’re Attacking Woody, Too?

I didn’t realize until Joker posted a comment this morning that Councilman Woody McEvers is in the cross-hairs of OpenSEWER.com: “This week Gary Ingram depicted Woody McEvers as a buffoon and dangerous on the OpenCDA site. Dan Gookin is one of the main operators of that site. He never deleted the comment or asked Gary to be civil. Instead Gary’s comment was “frontpaged” and more discussion about it took place. Where’s the outrage Mr. Gookin over a public slam that atttacks Mr. McEver’s character?” In checking out Gookin’s site a few moments ago, I found four posts aimed solely or partly at Woody within the last week. Which means Gookin, Souza, McCrory and their sockpuppets are trying to soften up the popular incumbent should he seek re-election this year. Or discourage him from running again. Either way, Gookin & Co. don’t live by the creed of civility that they espouse in letters to the editor and columns in their house organ, the Coeur d’Alene Press. Then, I’m bringing more attention to this matter than it deserves. Rightfully did Phaedrus observe re: OpenSEWER.com: “That insignificant little ghost town in cyberspace is nothing more than a circle-jerk of character-besmirching and words-in mouth-placing conducted by the bitter few against those who have vanquished them.”

Question: Do you want Councilman Woody McEvers to seek re-election?

My 2 Cents: How It Is w/Me

I’m still trying to get my lets under me as I learn this new blogging system. I’m exasperated by some of the things I can no longer do easily. But impressed by new capabilities. At my SR office Wednesday, I hit my stride in the afternoon — and posted quickly. I hit my “zone” for mebbe 90 minutes Wednesday evening when I approached my “blogging at the speed of light” barrier. Today, however, I’m back to clunking along at home with my laptop. I still struggle with the mix out front. It doesn’t feel right on the strange new blog front page. I miss my blogrolls. I like the avatars but I’m not comfortable with the main comments thread yet. I see the potential of the new blog. But I have so much muscle reflex to un-learn that it’s frustrating. I thought this old dog was through learning new tricks. On the other hand, I’m glad so many of you have followed me over.

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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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