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Posts tagged: Ron Edinger

2 Edinger Grandkids Revealed Ties

Item: Nepotism rules slip under city's radar: Two grandkids said they were related to city council president on application for city jobs/Tom Hasslinger, Press

More Info: Two of the three grandchildren of a Coeur d'Alene councilman who were fired as city seasonal workers because of nepotism rules stated on their applications that they were related to the council member. The city's Human Resources Department said two of the applicants specified they were the grandchildren of City Council President Ron Edinger on their applications, which asked whether they were related to any city employees.

Question: Does this disclosure affect your view of the employment and later firing of Councilman Ron Edinger's three grandchildren?

OTV: Edinger Acted Like An Old Fart

OrangeTV: Graves vs Edinger was pretty wild. Graves was respectful, thoughtful and eloquent and I agreed with basically everything he had to say. Edinger on the other hand, true to character, was a grumpy old fart - he just couldn’t let the “75 year old geezer” thing go and he came across as rude and enormously condescending the way he asked Graves “Why are you running for MY seat?!?” He could have asked any number of questions that would have contributed to the discussion in a meaningful way but instead he made it all about him. It was like Grandpa was an hour past nap time and was getting grumpy and rummy. I do have a lot of respect for his time serving the city, but I do think it’s time for him to step aside and make way for some freshness.

Question: How much of a factor for you is 75YO Ron Edinger's age in the 2011 City Council elections?

Graves Miffed That He’ll Be iPadless

Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate Adam Graves is upset that he won't be allowed to use his iPad at the televised CDATV candidates forum Wednesday afternoon. He wrote this letter to City Clerk Susan Weathers, who had advised him of the change: “You are going to force me to use outdated technology (notes and print outs like some 75 year old politician). Wow, this is exactly what is wrong with government. What year is it again? Do you expect me to run the city the same way once elected — “level the playing field” to what the lowest and oldest common denominator? Give me a break.  If this is the city's stance then I propose NOTHING should be allowed to be brought by anyone. Information is information. Period. Otherwise I am being singled out personally for utilizing a new and better information source which is not as harmful to our environment.” The Coeur d'Alene debates will be taped at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the Coeur d'Alene Library Community Room.

Question: Does Adam have a good point?

Cops, Fire Back Sayler, 2 Incumbents

Local public safety unions have endorsed three men running for the Coeur d'Alene City Council this fall — former legislator George Sayler, and incumbents John Bruning and Ron Edinger. A billboard supporting Sayler and Bruning is currently standing at Northwest Boulevard & Lakewood (by Lake City Senior Center). The billboard is sponsored by Coeur d'Alene firefighters, Coeur d'Alene police officers, and the Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff's Association. HucksOnline hears that Edinger asked not to be on the billboard because he didn't want to appear to be running on a ticket with Bruning & Sayler. HucksOnline hears the billboard is viewed by some as a lucky charm, since it was used by Mayor Sandi Bloem and NIC Trustee Judy Meyer during their election runs.

DFO: Can someone snap a photo of the billboard for HucksOnline?

Graves: Edinger Seeking Sympathy

Coeur d’Alene City Council candidate Adam Graves said Thursday that his opponent’s claim that Graves is “out to get his family” is “pure political posturing in pursuit of the sympathy vote.” Graves is challenging 40-plus-year incumbent Ron Edinger, who said Wednesday that “individuals” were attacking his family because they had no issue with which to discredit him. City Attorney Mike Gridley said Wednesday that following Graves’ inquiry about Edinger’s daughter’s city employment, he investigated further and discovered three of Edinger’s grandsons had been hired by the city in violation of state nepotism laws. The grandsons’ employment subsequently was terminated last week. The daughter’s job is grandfathered in under the 1990 nepotism law/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Should there be an Idaho law that prevents family members of mayors and city councilmen from working for their cities?

Gookin Rips City For Edinger Dustup

On his campaign blog site, Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate Dan Gookin spotlights the current dustup involving nepotism charges against Councilman Ron Edinger. Gookin criticizes city officials rather than Edinger for the problem. Gookin isn't running for Edinger's seat: “This episode with Mr. Edinger isn’t about him as much as it’s about the failure of City staff to do their jobs. There’s also a responsibility for follow-through by the City Council to provide oversight and accountability. The article mentions city employees who apparently were supposed to know and follow the law: City Attorney Mike Gridley (next year’s salary $125,000) and Chief Administrator Wendy Gabriel ($123,000). The article should have also included the City’s Human Resource director, Pam MacDonald ($112,000). I would assume, based on their high level of pay ($360,000), and the continuing praises lavished upon staff by the incumbent council, that these City employees are all doing a super job. Apparently not.” More here.

Question: Who is most to blame for the problem? Edinger? Bloem administration? Other?

Possible Conflict Addressed In 2000

On June 17, 2000, then SR CdA bureau reporter Winston Ross (pictured) wrote a story about the impact of a conflict-of-interest law re: Idaho cities hiring relatives of mayors of city council members. Here's part of that report: “In Coeur d'Alene, Councilman Ron Edinger's daughter works for the city Parks Department. Paula Austin was hired 10 years ago, long after her father began a 30-year stint as a councilman and mayor. When asked about the conflict, Austin put a reporter on hold, never returned to the telephone, and then didn't answer subsequent calls. Edinger could be off the hook in this case, however. It's unclear what the nepotism laws were before 1990, when the current statute was enacted. `'When (Austin) was hired, I had nothing to do with that,' Edinger said. 'I didn't even know she applied. The fellow in charge of parks and rec at the time didn't know she was my daughter.' City Attorney Jeff Jones wouldn't comment on Edinger's situation, claiming it would violate attorney-client privilege.” More here.

Back story:

Question: What did they know, and when did they know it?

Graves: Didn’t Know About Grandkids

In light of the recent press release issued by incumbent Ron Edinger, I feel it is only appropriate and fair for the news to fairly report the actual events. After reviewing a report Dan Gookin created and posted on his web site, which showed pay increase percentages for each city employee, I emailed the document to Troy Tymeson to confirm the numbers shown were accurate. My subsequent verbal question specifically to Mr. Tymeson was if Mr. Edinger had to recuse himself from voting on this portion of the budget, as it appeared to me a clear conflict of interest to vote on a wage increase to your own daughter. The answer I was told was no, he can and does per Idaho law. That was the end of it, or so I thought. What transpired beyond that initial inquiry, I was not aware of until reading the press release posted on newspaper websites yesterday. Let me be clear, the subsequent actions taken by the city happened without my involvement or knowledge.  As I stated above, I did not inquire about the law because I, like everyone else involved, did not know about it. I also had no idea Mr. Edinger’s grandchildren worked for the city/Adam Graves, Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate.   More here.

Question: Is this controversy hurting incumbent Ron Edinger or challenger Adam Graves? And/or: Will it affect other races?

Ron Edinger: Didn’t Know Law

Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Ron Edinger said Wednesday he’s the victim of a smear campaign because he believes the proposed makeover of McEuen Field should be put to a public vote. In a statement released to the media, Edinger said he never used his position to help three of his grandsons get jobs with the city. Two of them have worked part-time for the city for years, he said; a third worked seasonally for the streets department. “Left with no issue upon which to discredit me and a heated dissatisfaction with my position taken on McEuen, there are individuals who have chosen to go after the core of my being; my family during this campaign,” said Edinger, 75, who has served on the council for more than 40 years and is running for re-election/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: Is this a case of a smear campaign? Or getting caught doing something improper? Or something in between?

Edinger Addresses Nepotism Issue

Originally posted at 12:47 p.m.

Councilman Ron Edinger just emailed this message re: an accusation being made that he used his position to gain city employment for his grandchildren: “After many years of my family and me serving the citizens of Coeur d’Alene, I find myself forced to come to the public with this announcement. There is a law titled (18-1359, Using Public Position for Personal Gain) that was enacted in 1990. The law contains the provision that “no member of a council member’s family or mayor may be appointed or employed by the city with which the salary or wages are paid from the general fund.” With that said, for many years two of my grandsons have worked part-time within the city and for the last two summers a third grandson has worked seasonally for the street department. My grandsons were never appointed or hired by me; my family has always assumed that they could always apply as well as any other citizen in this community for these part-time positions. I have never, let me repeat, never used my position to further the aspirations of any employee of the city including those of my grandsons. Unbeknownst to them or me, they were ineligible for employment.” More here.

Reaction?

Adams Leads Bruning In Fund-raising

Challenger Steve Adams has raised more than triple the amount of money than incumbent John Bruning in his 2011 race for Bruning's Coeur d'Alene City Council seat No. 5. Adams has raised $5673 and spent $1695 through today's first filing period for campaign finance disclosure statements. Bruning has raised $1772 and spent $69 to date. Dark-horse candidate Amber Copeland has raise $220 and spent $13. Adams has received $1000 contributions from Charles Adams, Craig Adams, and Mary Adams, all of Coeur d'Alene; a $999 donation from Regan Properties, and a $500 donation from James Hollingsworth. Bruning has received one $200 donation, from Douglas Fagerness, of Coeur d'Alene, and loaned himself $200. Copeland has received two $100 donations, from Carole Preslar-Gibson and Sam Crawford. You can read all the campaign finance statements here.

  • Seat 1: Incumbent Ron Edinger has raised $2430 and spent $25 in his race with challenger Adam Graves. Graves has raised $1750 and spent $686. Top contributors to Edinger's campaign are Robideaux Motors, $300; Waste Management, $250; and Pat Acuff & Jack Fullwiler, $200 apiece. Graves' campaign has received a $1000 donation from Thomas Magnuson of Spokane. Both reports here.

Question: What do you make of Adams' warchest?

Hollingsworth Seeks Edinger Seat

Item: Hollingsworth vows less government, more listening/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Three-time Republican representative candidate and building contractor Jim Hollingsworth is running for Coeur d'Alene City Council. The 71-year-old, in his first attempt for a city seat, is campaigning on scaling down the role of city government, including reducing employee wages and staff positions, loosening parking and building code restrictions and supporting a public advisory vote on the McEuen Field project.

Question: What exactly is meant by less government, more listening?

Huckleberries Hears …

… That Coeur d'Alene Carousel Foundation is pressing the Coeur d'Alene City Council behind the scenes to construct a 12,000sf building for the historic city carousel — at Independence Point. It might be an issue that's bubbling under the surface for this year's council race. No formal request has been made. Nancy Edinger, wife of Councilman Ron Edinger left a message for Huckleberries this PM to say that a site closer to the Human Rights Institute has been considered but not Independence Point. At last night's council meeting, Councilman Edinger called from the audience Rita Sims-Snyder (who's fighting the Bloem administration tooth & nail to scale McEuen Field changes way back) to discuss Carousel plans. It'll be fun to see the Carousel spinning again. BUT not at Independence Point. I can't imagine constructing a building that would obscure the current view of the lake (as was the case in the old days when Templin's restaurant and the bungalows behind it hid the view). There's gotta be a better place for the Carousel than Independence Point. (SR file photo/Kathy Plonka: Coeur d'Alene Carousel Foundation President Richard Le Francis carriesa carousel horsenear Independence Point on Monday.)

Question: Where to you think the Carousel should go?

Edinger Plans To Run Again

Long-time Coeur d'Alene Councilman Ron Edinger told Huckleberries moments ago that he planned to seek re-election this fall. Edinger said he was gathering signatures for his candidacy petition and will submit them to the city clerk's office next week. Edinger has been on the City Council since the 1960s, serving as mayor in the late 1970s. He told Huckleberries that he's in good health after a scare earlier this year. His doctor confirmed that during an examination last week. He said he's still looking for a second to his motion to put proposed changes to McEuen Field to a public vote. Otherwise, he said he's eager to seek another term, commenting: “It's hard to put us old guys down.” Edinger becomes the second candidate to indicate his candidacy for council. Dan Gookin announced Thursday that he'll seek the seat currently held by former mayor Al Hassell. Hassell has been leaning all year toward not running again.

Edinger Calls For McEuen Vote Again

Gone are the big crowds, but City Councilman Ron Edinger is still going against the council grain regarding the McEuen Field project. During Tuesday’s City Council meeting the longtime city official and council president made a motion to put the project to a public advisory vote. He first did that, twice actually, before a large, cheering crowd during the May meeting when the City Council adopted the park’s conceptual redesign plan 5 votes to 1. The one no vote was Edinger. On Tuesday, just like in May, the motion died from a lack of second/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question (for Mike Kennedy): What's the mood of the council behind the scenes toward Edinger and his motion?

Council OKs McEuen Field Changes 5-1

Originally posted at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday (also see KXLY video below)

The Coeur d’Alene City Council on Tuesday voted 5-1 to move forward on a plan to dramatically update its aging downtown park, McEuen Field, despite extensive opposition, mostly to removing the baseball fields and the Third Street boat launch. “You can beat on me. You can not like me. My next time around if you don’t re-elect me, that’s fine,” said Councilman Woody McEvers. But, he said, “I’m going to do the best job I can for the future. I’m doing the best I can and that’s how I came to this decision.” Councilman Ron Edinger cast the dissenting vote. “I’ve got a clear conscience. I can get up and look in the mirror and say, ‘Ron, you did one hell of a job,’” Edinger said to wild applause from the crowd, most of whom favored putting the matter to a public vote/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

You can read my posts from Tuesday night's meeting below:

Question: Do you agree with the council's 5-1 decision to move ahead with McEuen Field changes?

DanG On McEuen: Show Me The $$$

Dan Gookin: Even so, the big nut in the McEuen fruitcake is the cost. The public has a right to know how much it will be paying, not only for the whole enchilada but (as Mr. Edinger mentioned over and over yesterday) the maintenance and operations for eternity. I find it sad that such information is unknown at this point. From my viewpoint, it’s predictable from a City Hall that is unwilling to be completely honest with the public regarding costs and impacts of something that will have a major impact to the city. I also find it highly questionable that such an ambitious project is taking place with such urgency in these economic times. Full post below.

Question: Do you think proposed changes to McEuen Field are affordable and sustainable?

Mary & Ron Edinger Now BFFs

It wasn't that long ago, if memory serves me correctly, that Mary Souza & her OpenCDA.com playmates weren't that complimentary of Councilman Ron Edinger. Now that Ron has come out in favor of a public vote on McEuen Field, things have changed. In civil terms in her latest newsletter, Mary tells of her close encounter with Ron at the Reagan Republicans luncheon at Fedora's Thursday. Mary writes of her BFF Ron that “He wants Tubbs to be left alone, he wants the boat launch to stay and the American Legion ball field as well.” Then, she writes, that Ron said, “Yes, I would,” when asked directly if he would support a public vote on whatever the final plan might be. Mary continues: ” We all gave him a big round of applause.” We'll see if all that goodwill translates into support for Ron this fall during the city elections. Full column here.

Question: Will the city be forced by public outcry to have a vote of some sorts on McEuen Field revitalization?

Deanna: A Little Disappointed w/Ron

Deanna Goodlander: I disagree with Ron on the public vote. this is a planning process, not written in stone, and frankly I am a little disapointed that Ron would make such a big deal about being left off the planning group. I also asked to a be a part of that group, since my father was so involved in the group that saved McEuen from becoming a shopping plaza. I remember him going to meetings and working on plans. In fact I have one of the original drawings that shows a stage on Tubbs Hill for concerts and events. We all have our responsibilites to the Council and liason to different departments. Mine is Library and Arts Commission and Building department. I know Ron has streets and fire and police. John Bruning is Park and Rec. It was appropriate since he was liason that he be part of the group.

Question: Do you believe most Coeur d'Alene residents want some change for McEuen Field?

Edinger Supports McEuen Vote, Too?

  • Update: Councilman Edinger verified most of the OpenCDA.com post. See my comment below.

OpenCDA.com has posted an item in which the author (Dan Gookin?) reports on a speech by Mary Souza at the Reagan Republicans Thursday afternoon. Souza maintained that the public should have a vote on any significant changes proposed for McEuen Field. No surprise there. But the post goes on to say that Councilman Ron Edinger in the audience agreed with her. Quoth: “During the meeting, Ron spoke for the need of a public vote. Like other big issues in town, such as the hydroplane races or Hagadone’s memorial garden, the McEuen project affects almost everyone. The public should have a say, a vote.” Then: “After the meeting, Ron pulled me aside. He told me that he sincerely wanted to be on Team McEuen, but was turned down. Ron explained that he’d been told he wouldn’t be a good mix.” You can read the entire post here.

Question: Do you think a public vote would doom chances for any change to McEuen Field?

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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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