He’s used a 3-ton U.S. Air Force camera to capture Soviet satellites skipping across the sky.
D.E. “Sam” Sears Sr. also spent 20 years nursing millions of tree seedlings for the U.S. Forest Service. Now he wants to spend some time helping Coeur d’Alene solve its problems by serving on the City Council.
Sears’ decision to run, along with incumbent Dixie Reid’s announcement she will seek re-election, means Coeur d’Alene will have some competition for its three open council positions. In addition to Sears and Reid, incumbent Ron Edinger and newcomer Chris Copstead also have announced their candidacies for the at-large positions.
Sears, 65, is making his first run for political office. “I’ve lived here for a long time, I’ve seen the city grow and for once I’d like to serve the people I live with,” Sears said.
He describes himself as a fiscal conservative and says the city needs to find ways to raise funds without raising taxes. On that note, Sears is pushing for the Legislature to allow impact fees and a local hotel-motel tax.
Sears is worried about the effects of growth on schools, and he’s leery of annexing land south of the Spokane River.
“As the mayor said a few months ago, it’s inevitable,” Sears said. “But we have some things north of the river to take care of first.”
He disagrees with the council’s recent decision to annex Blackwell Island because the ground is below the flood plain. “I watched what happened on the Mississippi River flood plain and the Missouri River flood plain” when people were allowed to build and then were washed out.
Sears was an Air Force photographer from 1948 to 1968, including a three-year assignment to President John F. Kennedy’s summer White House. After retiring, he moved to Coeur d’Alene and worked at the U.S. Forest Service nursery.
He’s held several offices with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, including president of the board of its national children’s home. Sears has served on the Idaho Veterans Affairs Commission since the early 1980s. That’s given him valuable experience with the Legislature that would be an asset on the City Council, he said.
Veteran Councilwoman Dixie Reid, 52, also announced she is running for a fifth term. She is interested in another term because “there are critical decisions to be made about what we are going to do and how we’re going to do it that are going to affect my grandchildren, my children and me,” Reid said.
That includes sewage and storm-water treatment and disposal, street construction and maintenance, and protecting the aquifer. “I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution,” she said.
Reid says her council experience, which dates back to 1975, is a key asset. “I know how a sewage treatment plant works, I know the storm-water regulations,” she said.
“It’s hard for someone to pick it up cold turkey,” she said.
Reid is a Coeur d’Alene native whose family arrived here in the late 1800s. She worked for Chapman Design for six years and recently opened her own decorating firm.
Eleven people have picked up applications for the office. They must return a petition with the signature of 40 registered voters by Oct. 10.
The election is Nov. 7.