Spirit Lake voters on Tuesday gave Robert Knapp the honor - unique in North Idaho - of being the city’s fourth mayor in a year.
Knapp, a 58-year-old businessman, said he wasn’t surprised.
“You’ve got to be confident, don’t you?” he said, laughing.
Knapp, who’s never held public office, was moved to run because of a simple problem: the city’s dirt roads.
“We’re going to get rid of the dirt streets in this town,” he said Tuesday night. “It’s dusty, it tears your car up. We pay enough taxes - other people don’t have to live with roads like this.”
Knapp pledged to keep a close eye on city funds and to eliminate illegal drug use within the city.
In the council races, the city also re-elected incumbent councilman Jeff Brown and elected former Spirit Lake police officer Donald Stout.
The votes for mayor were:
Robert Knapp: 144
Robert R. Root: 40
Eugene Clary: 125
For City Council, the votes were:
Incumbent Jeff Brown: 144
Martha Fairchild: 96
Sandra Faubion: 84
Donald Stout: 123
Ellis “Ed” Hanna: 114
Mike Easley: 46
Most of the candidates vowed to change the city’s reputation for drugs, intimidating bikers and political shenanigans. Outsiders seem to have forgotten the small city’s beautiful lake and good fishing, they said.
Several said they were tired of city officials pushing through their own agendas - most notably former Mayor Paul Korman, whose wife lobbied the council on behalf of a large developer. Although the Kormans said they saw no conflict of interest there, many in the city did.
Korman resigned unexpectedly in April and was replaced by Bob Street. Street quickly resigned, saying it was hurting business. Mayor pro tem Tina Spadt stepped in and will step down in January.
Instead, candidates like Stout, a 63-year-old retired cement worker, promised to restore public input into city decisions.