September 19, 2010 in Idaho Voices

Huckleberries: Big words and local politics

By The Spokesman-Review

Huckleberries hears … there were fireworks at the executive committee meeting of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee earlier this month. Seems Chairman Tina Jacobson objected to the presence of House District 3 write-in candidate Howard Griffiths. Who wanted to include his literature with other Republican material on a table at the Tea Party meeting at the Greyhound Park Sept. 12. Griffiths is running against tax-dodging Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. One witness told Huckleberries that Jacobson was so confrontational that Griffiths left. Jacobson has filled in for Hart during the Legislature in the past. Griffiths confirmed the report for Huckleberries. Later, Jacobson warned Matt Roetter that his position as state committeeman would be in jeopardy unless Roetter supported Hart. Roetter confirmed that he was, indeed, threatened with removal after he told Jacobson that he couldn’t back a tax resister like Hart (who is indebted to the IRS and the Idaho Tax Commission for almost $700,000 in back income taxes, penalties and interest). Roetter said he told Jacobson and the executive committee that Griffiths is a lifelong Republican while Hart switched allegiance from the Constitutionalist Party to become a Republican simply to get elected. Such are the life and fast times under the shrinking Big Top of the local GOP tent.

Secretly taped

So what would you do if a strange woman showed up at your door asking for your wife, and then tried to get her to say who she voted for in the 2009 Coeur d’Alene City Council elections? Under false pretenses? While secretly taping her? Mild-mannered Major John Chamness of the Salvation Army/Kroc Center stepped in and demanded that the individual identify herself. Seems a tall, middle-aged female showed up on the Chamnesses’ doorstep to shake down Lani Chamness regarding her vote in the contested election race between Mike Kennedy and Jim Brannon, saying she was researching voting irregularities for the city of Coeur d’Alene. She refused to give her name to John Chamness. Who then said it wasn’t her business whom his wife voted for. When pressed, the stranger admitted she was working for a private investigator but claimed she wasn’t working for attorney Starr Kelso or his client, Jim Brannon. That’s when John noticed she was trying to secretly tape their conversation – and called her on it. Ultimately, the woman handed Lani Chamness a subpoena from Kelso to appear in court as a witness. Later, Kelso dismissed her as a witness. That’ll teach John and Lani to do their duties as citizens and vote in a tight Lake City election.


Longtime County Clerk Dan English remains unflappable despite constant online personal attacks from fans of 2009 Coeur d’Alene city elections challenger Jim Brannon. After hours of mind-numbing questions from Team Brannon attorney Starr Kelso last week, English commented on Hucks Online: “Well, I discovered at least one good thing about having to testify for over eight hours in two days … you have one of the best reserved seats in the house!” … By 70.83 percent to 22.02 percent, my blog readers said that Councilman Mike Kennedy will prevail over Brannon in the Election Trial Without End Amen … In the “kids say the darnedest things” category, Christa Hazel reports that her daughter, Emma, “says second grade is harder than first grade because ‘the words are huger’ ” … Don’t forget the big game this today. Nah, I’m not talking about Seattle vs. Denver at Mile High Stadium in Denver. I mean the Snake Pit Venomous Vixens against the Roller Derby team from Moscow at Skate Plaza. Contest begins at 7 p.m. … In an interview after announcing his write-in candidacy against GOP primary winner Jai Nelson, Commissioner Rick Currie told Hucks Online: “I have learned that I should not have been such a nice guy when Jai and her constituents were spreading their untruths and malicious gossip.”

Parting shot

Local social networker Jamie Lynn Morgan saw that Obama sign painted on a window of the going-out-of-business Denally’s décor store, 6040 Government Way – you know, the one that said: “So much for Obama’s stimulus package.” Jamie thinks other factors may be more to blame, including the store’s location. Jamie: “If they are running their business correctly and have quality products that people ‘need’ and innovative ways to keep current customers and grab new ones they (should have been) fine. I think, besides carrying products that people don’t really need, (the key) is location, location, location. Government Way is a nightmare on a good day.”

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