The city of Coeur d’Alene broke Ray Stone’s heart 25 years ago.
The former North Idaho College instructor and jazz band leader had raised a record $10,000 for his campaign and appeared to be headed for an unprecedented, third, four-year term as mayor. But a funny thing happened on that second Tuesday of November 1993.
Soft-spoken Councilman Al Hassell beat Stone. Actually, Hassell stomped Stone, 2,861 to 1,579. A third candidate, Patrick Mitchell, siphoned off 693 votes. Still, Hassell won 56 percent of the vote to Stone’s 31 percent, leaving the feisty Stone and his supporters stunned and searching for answers.
Stone blamed an anti-incumbent vote for his downfall. Others said his overconfident attitude did him in.
Under a front-page headline, “Hassell ends Stone age,” a Coeur d’Alene Press reporter wrote: “Stone’s abrupt style – some called it brash – may have been his undoing at the polls, but those who knew him best saw through his rough demeanor.”
Stone could cuss you as well as pat you on the back. He held grudges. He popped off. Once, he nearly triggered a border war by calling Spokane residents who boated on Lake Coeur d’Alene “suckers” who should pay a boater fee to the Lake City.
But Stone had a soft, brave side, too.
As a young GI during World War II, he helped liberate a Nazi concentration camp. As a mayor and after his public life was over, he fought for the underdog and was a champion of human rights.
But, on Election Night 1993, he was a man soundly rejected by the city he loved. He never got over it.
You may know that Farragut State Park, adjacent to Bayview, Idaho, was named after David G. Farragut, the first admiral of the U.S. Navy and a Civil War hero. But did you know that Farragut uttered the famous words, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”? In the successful battle at Mobile Bay, Alabama, to rid the Gulf Coast of the last Confederate stronghold, Farragut actually said, “Damn the torpedoes. Four bells, Captain Drayton, go ahead. Joett, full speed.” But the paraphrase is better. (Side note: “torpedoes” in those days were tethered mines.) President Franklin Delano Roosevelt picked the name on May 30, 1942. And now you may have guessed that Huckleberries has been reading the historical “Images of America” volume by Gayle E. Alvarez and Dennis Woolford, “Farragut Naval Training Station.”
As she was scrolling through the divisive, political postings by her Facebook friends this week, Spokane’s Billie Gaura spotted the silver lining: “I am willing to bet that there’s more active voters now than over the last 10-plus years. And in a midterm cycle, no less. That’s pretty rad!” Bingo … Poet’s Corner: All of that daylight/ we saved through the year,/ now that we need it/ why isn’t it here? – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Time Change”) … Yes, Virginia, there is a custom-made sign on Fourth Street as you enter Dalton Gardens from the south that says: “Go slow. Fawns in area.” Some in the rural Kootenai County town who are tired of abundant deer eating gardens and greenery might be tempted to accelerate … She Said It: “Election Day is tough for recovering journalists. I keep thinking I need to do something” – Erica Curless, former S-R reporter (Huckleberries approves of this message) … He Said It: “I realize that voting early or absentee works better for some folks. But for me there is nothing like going to my polling place and casting my vote” – David Dodson, former Coeur d’Alene Fire Department lieutenant. (Huckleberries approves of this message, too).
Every day, Kellogg’s finest handle all sorts of difficult situations while patrolling the old mining town’s streets. But occasionally, KPD Blues ignores things closer to home. Hence, the note from police Chief Dave Wuolle that officers found recently: “When you dirty a dish from the kitchen, please wash it. We do not have a maid to do our dishes, so do them yourself, please.” Words to live by.
You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at email@example.com.
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