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Business groups, tribe oppose CdA recall effort

Two business organizations and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe announced Thursday that their leadership opposes a recall effort launched against the city of Coeur d’Alene’s mayor and three council members, saying it could hurt the city’s image and derail efforts to attract new businesses.

Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers are targets of the recall campaign, whose members are collecting signatures in an effort to get the recall on the ballot later this year.

The campaign follows the mayor and council members’ endorsement of a controversial $14.2 million plan to redesign McEuen Field, a waterfront park.

Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and the North Idaho Building Contractors Association sent out letters signed by their boards of directors in opposition to the recall. Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, praised the council’s “progressive community vision” and noted that many of the city’s popular new amenities – including the Kroc Center, new library and Prairie Trail – had their share of controversy in the planning stages.

In the chamber’s letter, board members said that recall elections are appropriate for instances of unethical or illegal behavior, but they didn’t think a difference of opinion should prompt a recall campaign. Unfounded recall efforts disrupt the government stability that is needed for business growth and development, the letter said.

The contractors association urged local citizens not to sign the recall petition, saying that disagreements with council members’ stances should be resolved at the polls through the normal election process, not a recall.

“We believe it will have a negative effect on both the local economy and our community at large,” the board said in the letter.

Recall supporters must collect 4,311 valid signatures from city voters to put the matter on the ballot.