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Huckleberries: Kootenai Republicans’ civil war not letting up

The battle between the conservative Reagan Republicans and the uberconservative United Conservatives of North Idaho for control of the Kootenai County Republican Party won’t end soon.

Huckleberries hears that the Republican Central Committee is split 31 to 31 between the factions after the precinct committeeman elections Tuesday, with six others having ties to both sides and two vacancies.

Earlier this year, the two right wings fought over an invitation to tea party darling Richard Mack to speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner, resulting in a private investigation of a questionable Central Committee proxy vote.

Later, some uberconservatives decided they were, in fact, the real Reagan Republicans. They registered the name and sent a demand letter via attorney to the original Reagan Republicans to quit using that name.

The Spokesman-Review and my Huckleberries blog are collateral damage in the War of the Elephants. Local GOP chairwoman Tina Jacobson alleges that she was defamed by an anonymous blog commenter on Valentine’s Day and has filed suit against John/Jane Doe. She has subpoenaed me to cough up the name. The paper is fighting the subpoena. See what happens when Kootenai County Republicans have no Democrats to kick around?

Caught on tape

Another recording has surfaced of a signature gatherer fibbing in the attempted recall against Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and the better half of the City Council. That’s a no-no. In Idaho, it’s a felony to lie to gain such signatures.

Earlier this spring, a signature gatherer on Tubbs Hill was recorded by cellphone telling several whoppers to acquire signatures, including the lie that the council-approved upgrade of McEuen Field (the focus of the recall controversy) would raise city property taxes 18 percent and would commercialize sacred Tubbs Hill.

This time, Nic Casey secretly recorded (which is OK in Idaho) a petition gatherer saying he’d read that the planned upgrade of McEuen Field could go as high as $80 million. Actual cost? $14 million and change (from urban renewal funding, not property taxes). But who can blame the guy for exaggerating when recall organizers have been bandying about the inaccurate price tag of $40 million from the start?


My Huckleberries Online readers list Avista among the biggest losers in the North Idaho GOPrimary election for helping bankroll the failed bids of two tea party candidates in Bonner County. Incumbent state Sen. Shawn Keough and Rep. George Eskridge won easily. And they say Elephants have long memories … Among the animals loose on Kootenai County roads Thursday were a big bull, a mule and a peacock. Be careful out there … No North Idaho candidate received a bigger bang for his buck than KKKer Shaun Winkler, who attracted 182 votes (3.3 percent) in his GOPrimary race for Bonner County sheriff – and a million dollars worth of national publicity. Which was the point of the stunt in the first place … It’s a good thing neighbor Bjorn Handeen was running unopposed for Precinct 52 committeeman, because poll workers forgot to provide a ballot for his race to about 50 voters, including me. Bjorn’s a die-hard fan of Ron Paul. But I would have voted for him anyway.

Parting shot

The reason Post Falls frequencies aren’t working on your regular police scanner? Post Falls switched to a digital system last week. Kootenai County is following suit. The Federal Communications Commission is requiring the switch by 2013. It may cost you $500 to stay tuned. Which means fewer listeners following the activities of local police and providing tips. Not good.

Read Dave Oliveria’s blog, Huckleberries Online, at

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