Somewhere between Jobs Plus and the proposed education corridor, Duane Hagdone lost his vision for Coeur d’Alene, unless that vision was simply that locals should serve rich guys attracted here by the tourism industry.
Some 20 years ago, Hagadone, Tom Richards and others who raised a million bucks to kick off Jobs Plus were hailed as visionaries for their far-sighted attempt to diversify the local economy as the mining and timber industries slumped.
Today, Hagadone and his Coeur d’Alene Press are trying to stop or hamstring one of the most important projects in 21st-century Coeur d’Alene: a proposed education corridor at the site of Stimson Lumber’s soon-to-close DeArmond Mill on the Spokane River between the University of Idaho center and North Idaho College.
Anyone with common sense knows that higher education is a clean industry that provides year-round, good-paying jobs – the type of jobs that Jobs Plus has tried to attract for decades. Yet, Hagadone, through his newspaper, has thrown in with a small group of naysayers who are dedicated to dismantling Lake City Development Corp., the urban renewal growth engine that has helped transform Lake City’s waterfront and downtown area, as well as made possible the construction of the new library, Kroc Center, Riverstone, Riverstone Park and other key projects.
CdA Press attacks via innuendo
On Sunday, a Coeur d’Alene Press editorial, with the loaded title of “Corridor of Confusion,” used words like “hidden agenda” and “special-interest scheme” to discuss the education corridor.
In the old days, Hagadone would have been one of the key promoters of the education corridor. But that was before Mayor Sandi Bloem and the Coeur d’Alene City Council rejected his idea for a memorial garden downtown and rejected his annexation request for a proposed $100 million project for his Blackwell Island property over differences about a slip for an emergency boat and the width of a planned bike path.
It isn’t hard to guess that personal anger toward Bloem and the council are fueling the rear-guard attacks against the education corridor in Hagadone’s newspaper. That, and a misguided belief by Hagadone that other developers are cashing in on urban renewal money when he has financed his own projects. He, of course, overlooks the fact state and local governments have subsidized his projects by abandoning or swapping rights of way and by granting huge swaths of Coeur d’Alene lake surface for his marinas and floating green for relatively small fees.
The Hagadone of old would have trumpeted the education corridor in his newspaper and ignored naysayers. The Hagadone of today values personal grudges more than community good.
No, that wasn’t Police Chief Wayne Longo serving coffee – with creamer, sugar and stirrers – to a group of women waiting to testify in court at the Kootenai County Courthouse annex Monday. But it sure looked like him, according to one of the women treated by the anonymous public servant … “You might be an Idaho liberal if …” begins Adam’s Blog in responding to a post by a liberal commenter at Huckleberries Online that ripped conservatives, “… you left your prior state because it was a complete hellhole full of misery, corruption, crime, and vandalism. You also think Idaho’s backwards because we don’t do things here like they did in your old state” … Among the seven ways you can tell that you’re a Vandal, Managing Editor Alec Lawton/UI Argonaut lists: “Your parents are far enough away to consider yourself an adult, but close enough to help if you prove yourself wrong.”
How big did that flap get re: the Navy’s initial decision to block local Iraq war vets from accepting Buck knives as gifts for their service? Big enough to run as the No. 2 story on WorldNetDaily ( www.worldnetdaily.com), a ha-huge conservative Web site that supports the military. Mebbe that’s why the Navy did an about-face on the issue.