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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Council 4-2 Against Gun, Bias Bills

The Coeur d'Alene City Council voted to voice its opposition to two legislative issues that are working their way through the state Legislature this week. House Bills 426 and 427 both would allow Idahoans to refuse to do business with those they object to for religious reasons. If passed, the bill could conflict with the city's recently adopted anti-bias ordinance. Senate Bill 1254 would allow retired law enforcement officers and people with enhanced concealed weapons permits to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood, as a member of the city's legislative committee, recommended the council oppose both state efforts. As a timely example, Wood, who also sits on North Idaho College's Board of Trustees, said that a student was arrested Monday morning for allegedly carrying a concealed handgun on campus/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Agree/disagree?

Regan, Sims Back RRepub Candidates

On Friday, Jeff Selle of the Coeur d'Alene Press reported that three families have contributed a considerable amount of money to Mary Souza's mayoral campaign: $6000 of her $29,223 from six members of the Damiano family; and $4000 from former Coeur d'Alene school trustee Brent Regan and three other members of his family. Additionally, state Sen. Kathy Sims ($500) and her daughter, Rita ($1000), contributed $1500 combined. Souza campaign finance report here. Regan and the Sims family also made large contributions to the three Reagan Republican candidates aligned with Souza:

Question: I'm surprised that mayoral candidate Mary Souza's campaign coffers runneth over, while the other Reagan Republican candidates on her informal ticket are digging in their own pockets for loads to fund their campaigns.

Debate: Evans, Fillios Square Off

Item: Evans, Fillios talk city salaries at candidates' forum/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The first question from the Coeur Group panelist, which sponsored the event, dealt with how the candidates would repair what some believe is a dysfunctional City Council. Fillios said he would restore transparency and oversight first. “Whether that be toward the question of urban renewal or the budgets,” he said. “Budgets are routinely rubber stamped. They are not examined for detail.” He pointed to the parks budget which he said does not include any line items. Evans, pictured, said it is important to have fresh voices and fresh faces on the council and the city should listen to all of the people in the community, as well as evaluate efficiencies in the budget and capitalize on those. “I am a fresh face and I am a fiscal conservative that will look at the budget carefully and look at all efficiencies that are to be had,” she said. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

DFO: When asked by the Coeur Group to say how he differs from his opponent, Fillios said he's a conservative fiscally and socially, while his opponent if a progressive liberal. Evans didn't respond to that jab, stating only that she thought Fillios was a nice man whom she'd just met. Thoughts?

Brannon Won’t Run For Council Either

Jim Brannon stopped by The Press office this morning and told The Press he has no intention of seeking any of the City Council seats. Brannon, a one-time prospective mayoral candidate, announced earlier this week he wouldn't run for mayor because it would split the vote. Some thought he might switch his run for a council seat, but Brannon, known for his narrow loss to Mike Kennedy and ensuing court case from the 2009 election, said today he won't/Coeur d'Alene Press.

Thoughts?

Fillios Files For Coeur d’Alene Council

East Side Highway District Commissioner Chris Fillios has become the third person to file for the Coeur d'Alene City Council seat now held by Councilman Mike Kennedy, who isn't seeking re-election. With filing deadline at 5 o'clock today, Fillios filed for Seat 2 against Amy Evans and Jared Festner. Those signing Fillios' candidacy petition were: Gary Ingram, Martha West, Karen Lawson, Rebecca Funk, Judey Brown, Lyssa Kopke, Steve Kopke, Linda Fillios, (one unreadable name) and the candidate himself.

Council OKs Downtown Street Change

Item: Part of Third St. to be two-way: Cd'A City Council votes 4-3 to approve change/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Downtown Coeur d'Alene driving will be dramatically different next spring. A lot to do with downtown will be different next spring when the $20 million McEuen Park reconstruction project wraps up, but two-way traffic will be incorporated into the finished project. The Coeur d'Alene City Council narrowly agreed 4 to 3 Tuesday to turn the one-way Third Street into a two-way street from Front to Lakeside avenues. The change is designed to ease vehicle congestion as a result of turning Front Avenue into a limited-traffic and pedestrian-friendly zone between Second and Third streets - a decision the City Council agreed to by a 5-1 vote in January.

Question: Do you feel that this significant downtown street change flew under the radar?

Goodlander Won’t Seek 5th Term

Item: Goodlander won't run: Cd'A City Council member says four terms is enough/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Coeur d'Alene City Council member Deanna Goodlander said Tuesday she will not seek a fifth term on the council. Goodlander said she's leaving the post on her terms, confident that qualified candidates will replace her and continue moving the city toward a vision of progress. She listed a number of accomplishments she's proud to have been a part of in her 16 years, including the construction of the Coeur d'Alene Library, three new fire stations, partnering to build Kroc Community Center and creating a positive working environment at City Hall.

Question: How will the departures of Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy and Deanna Goodlander change the tone of the 2013 Coeur d'Alene city elections?

Kennedy Not Running For Re-election

Councilman Mike Kennedy announced this morning that he is not running for re-election nor is he running for mayor this year:

“Today I’m announcing that I will not run for re-election to the City Council nor will I run for Mayor this fall.  There are two reasons:  1) after eight years of public service my family is looking forward to having more of my undivided time and energy; and 2) our company Intermax Networks is growing rapidly with the construction of our new fiber data and voice network throughout North Idaho.  The opportunities are great, we are hiring and expanding, and I want to focus on that growth. I’ve loved this chapter in my life as an elected official, and I will definitely continue my civic involvement in some form in the future because it’s the right thing to do.  My time on City Council has been a valuable down payment on public service.” More here.

DFO: I will interview Mike online about 11 o'clock this morning re: his announcement.

Thoughts?

Goodlander Explains Anti-Bias Vote

In this Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 video, Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander eplained her vote in favor of the controversial antidiscrimination ordinance prior to the City Council vote Tuesday night:

Thoughts?

SR Update: Anti-Bias Law OK’d 5-1

On her Facebook page, Cathleen Schnur O'Connor posts this photo of demonstrators from both sides outside the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting in which the controversial antidiscrimination ordinance is still being discussed at 11:14 tonight:

Originally posted 11:43 p.m.

Coeur d’Alene, a community that stood up to the racist Aryan Nations and has established a tradition of celebrating human rights, is the latest Idaho city to extend legal protection from discrimination to gay people. Following more than three hours of heartfelt testimony, the City Council voted 5-1 late Tuesday night to add sexual orientation to the city’s anti-discrimination law. Councilman Steve Adams opposed the change, which will take effect within the week. The vote shortly before midnight capped a long night of clashing testimony touching on morality, religious freedom, civil rights and equal protection under the law. Hundreds of people packed the meeting room at the city library, and dozens testified on the proposed change, most of them urging the council to vote no/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: I was surprised by the margin of the vote, thinking it would be 4-2 or 4-3 in favor. How about you?

Anti-Bias Ordinance Passes 5-1

After almost five hours of lengthy and sometimes heated discussion at the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting tonight, the council appears to be passing the antidiscrimination ordinance. Council members Dan Gookin, Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander have announced their intention to vote for the proposal. Councilman Steve Adams has said he was against the ordinance. That's 4-1 with Councilman Mike Kennedy (who is serving as mayor tonight in Mayor Sandi Bloem's absence due to illness) already on record in favor of the ordinance. That's 4 votes. Councilman Woody McEvers is talking. He sounds as though he is going to support the ordinance, too. Councilman Edinger attempted to amend the ordinance that would reduce violation of the ordinance from a misdemeanor to an infraction. But couldn't get a second. Also, Edinger failed to get a second for a motion that would remove the word “transgender” from the ordinance.

Adams: No On Fed $$$ For New Cops

In the draft minutes for the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, City Clerk Renata McLeod reports the discussion that led to a 5-1 vote (w/Councilman Steve Adams dissenting) to accept $125,000 in federal money to add officers to understaffed Coeur d'Alene Police Department:

Finance Director Troy Tymesen stated that the grants were the same and that leveraging dollars is an efficient way of managing staffing levels.  He clarified that the City does not know when these grants are going to be available, so they have to be responded to quickly.  Councilman Gookin stated that he understands that there are strings that come with a grant; however, the City needs the police positions and he will support this item.  Councilman Adams stated that he has made his position clear, and clarified that as a fundamental fact government does not produce anything; therefore it has nothing to give.  Anything the government gives away it must take from somebody else to do, therefore violating their rights.  He believes it is a liberty and moral issue.  He believes modest restructuring within the budget could cover the positions.

Question: Do you consider the ongoing, anti-federal government position by Adams to be principled or unreasonable?

Council Minutes: Legion Not Happy

From City Clerk Renata McLeod's draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday:

Monte Larson, 930 N. 5th Street, stated that the Coeur d’Alene American Legion Baseball Memorandum of Understanding states that replacement of the field will include equal or better facilities, restroom facilities, and that details for the design such as size, dimension, location, etc. would be agreed upon between the parties.  He expressed concern that the Ramsey Park facility construction began and the dug outs are not sunk into the ground as was agreed upon previously.  He stated that a recent meeting at Miller Stauffer’s office was held and they reviewed the plans for facilities that have not yet been constructed.  He stated that he felt that the fencing was adequate; however, the bathroom facilities (CXT) on other side of trail had no running water and did not have multiple stations, like the McEuen facility.

Question: Is the American Legion being too finicky re: the new ballfield constructed for them by the city in exchange for leaving McEuen Field?

SR: Adams Misguided Re: Sewer Plant

Coeur d’Alene’s plans for a $36 million upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant took a strange turn when a lone City Council member decided he knew more about the Idaho Constitution and the environmental challenges cities face removing phosphorus from the Spokane River. Councilman Steve Adams was on board with the upgrades until last month, when he announced that the city’s funding plan was unconstitutional. He then leveled a threat to delay the project for up to a year, forcing the City Council to put the project to a vote May 21. The irony is that this anti-government ideologue’s antics will end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to stage and promote the election, and potentially millions more if the voters say no. This is what happens when officeholders try to dismantle government, rather than run it/SR Editorial Board. More here.

Thoughts?

City To Seek Sewer Expansion Vote

It's going to a vote. The Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Thursday to ask voters for the authority to borrow up to $36.3 million for federally mandated upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. The City Council begrudgingly voted 4 to 1 to put the up or down question on a ballot for the May 21 election as a way to prevent one councilman from handcuffing the city's options by tying the issue up in court. It means the city all but will abandon its preferred route — judicial confirmation — which would be the less expensive option. But the council said an election is the best route to take to prevent the project from possibly stalling. “This is ridiculous. We shouldn't be here,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman. “Steve put us all in a very bad position over an ideological matter that I think is a misunderstanding of Idaho state law”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: City Attorney Mike Gridley explains bond vote to City Council)

Question: What will be the political fallout for Councilman Steve Adams in all of this?

LCDC, Council Ponder ‘4 Corners’

It’s the core of Coeur d’Alene, and city officials are trying to figure out what to do with it. The so-called “4 corners” area is where Northwest Boulevard runs into Sherman Avenue downtown at the intersection of Government Way and Mullan Avenue.  Crews tore down a warehouse in the area last year, paving the way for new development. Now … what to do? During a joint meeting between the LCDC and City Council on Thursday, officials discussed options ranging from leaving it as green space, to developing townhouses, or dormitory housing for nearby college students. The field is wide open, officials agreed, and will involve input from the city, urban renewal agency, North Idaho College, the county and Fort Grounds residents.

What would you like to see done with the 4 corners area?

Inlander Looks At Paul Disciple Adams

Councilman Steve Adams says he's been inspired by libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. (Inlander photo: Mike McCall)

“McEuen field isn’t the main issue. Not anymore,” Goodlander says. “It’s a philosophical difference.” Goodlander says she’s been a lifelong Republican, but Adams isn’t conventionally conservative. “There was a lot of stuff going on in Coeur d’Alene that was a microcosm of the federal government,” Adams says. “Just tax-and-spend, liberal, Machiavellian, ends-justify-the-means governing.” Describing his political philosophy at Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, Adams cites his discovery of libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. “It was amazing. There were hundreds of votes where he was the only guy to vote no.” Adams has also repeatedly voted no. Any time there’s a tax increase or use of federal money, he votes no. “The federal government’s broke,” Adams says. “Why should we perpetuate the problem?”/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here.

DFO: I missed this one, from last week's edition of the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

Thoughts?

Witness: Adams Was Out Of Control

Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander: Mr Adams has his facts a little skewed. He was out of control and Mike Kennedy along with Ron was trying to get him to calm down. He shook his fist not two inches from the Mayors face and she reacted telling him to back off, when he did not do so she in her words “lost it” She later felt badly that she had allowed him to make her so angry. I find it sad that Mr Adams fans find it acceptable for him to abuse staff members, the Mayor and other members of the council as well as the potential damage that he could cause to the citizens of Coeur d'Alene. I also find Mr Adams search for constant publicity for his behavior and his lack of respect for the professionals that work for the city a matter of deep concern.

Question: Hmm. Sounds like there are a number of eyewitnesses to the incident involving Adams, Gridley and later, Mayor Bloem. What do you think?

Kennedy Welcomes Gookin To Govt

In this video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, Councilman Mike Kennedy expresses amazement at the pickle that Councilman Dan Gookin finds himself in re: the purchase of Bryan Field.

Adams Waves Off Sewer Warnings

In this Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 video, Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams waves off warnings from City Attorney Mike Gridley and wastewater treatment manager Sid Fredrickson that a delay in expansion of the sewer plant could cost Coeur d'Alene $1 million per month in fines — and a possible hookup moratorium that would shut down local construction.

Thoughts?

CdA Resident Wants No-Drone Zone

You've probably seen the Time magazine cover. The front of the February issue shows an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle hovering over a suburban home, with the title of the lead story in big, bold print: RISE OF THE DRONES. Inside, the article details how drones are being used more and more in everyday life: From military battlefields to real estate marketing. But the cover alone was eye catching. “I think the cover got a lot of people's attention,” said Jared Festner, a Coeur d'Alene resident who wants the city, if not Idaho, to craft its own legislation seriously restricting drone use locally. “It does get the issue out there”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you lose any sleep over drones in a sky near you?

My 2 Cents: Gookin, Nilson Lead Way

Gotta give a H/T to Councilman Dan Gookin and NIC Trustee Ron Nilson for their enthusiastic reaction to a possible events center being built at Riverstone. During a joint meeting of the City Council and NIC trustee board, Gookin and Nilson said — on “Woody TV” Channel 19 — that an events center would benefit the community as well as the college. Also, both said that the proposed events center should be built large enough to handle events like state high school football championships that are now being lost to Moscow and Pocatello, which have domed stadiums. Gookin was optimistic that voters would pass a bond (that could be floated after creation of a Recreation District) for an events center if they were informed properly re: the benefits. Nilson, who was instrumental in the passage of the bonds to build KTEC in Rathdrum, agreed. However, both balked when the specter of the Lake City Development Corp. was raised to provide some funding. All at the meeting agreed that NIC athletic/events facilities are outdated. Christiansen Gym was built in 1944. A good example of the restrictions caused by poor facilities is the 2014 national NJCAA wrestling tournament that NIC will host — in Spokane/DFO.

Question: I support the idea of a $12M-$15M events center that would attract events here. Also, I think the support of Gookin and Nilson is important for this idea to find traction. What do you think?

Legion Field Should Be Ready In 2013

From spokesman Keith Erickson of the Lake City Development Corp:

Crews involved in the 2012 McEuen Park upgrades have so far hauled away an estimated 25,000 cubic yards of dirt (the equivalent of 2,500 dump truck loads) from the Third Street parking lot. Another 3,000 yard of soil is due to be scraped from the site, lowering the former parking lot by as much as 12 feet. The dirt is being transported eastward to what will become the new East City Hall parking lot. Paving there is expected to occur on schedule November 2. The final four light poles at the McEuen ball field will be removed next week. Officials waited to remove the last poles until nesting osprey moved on, which they have. Meantime, development of the new American Legion field at the southwest end of Ramsey Park continues with lighting expected to be installed by the end of the month. City Parks Director Doug Eastwood says he expects the field to be ready for play by next season, which starts in June 2013. (SR file photo)

Thoughts?

McEuen Project Employs 125

Above, current view via city of Coeur d'Alene Web cam of work on parking lot south of City Hall and part of old McEuen Softball Field No. 1. See McEuen Web cam here.

In her draft minutes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, Assistant City Clerk Renata McLeod reports:

“Tina Johnson, 601 E. Front Avenue: Was concerned about a quote from a Councilmember that the money is going toward a park when it could go toward creating jobs.  Ms. Johnson contacted the contractor and found that they have approximately 125 people involved in project, providing continued and new employment opportunities.  Additionally, local supplies are being purchased for this project.  She thanked Councilman McEvers, Councilman Kennedy, and the Mayor for owning and employing local workers.  Councilman Goodlander stated that she would have loved to be at groundbreaking but had a family commitment to attend that day.”

Question: Anyone check out work at McEuen Field lately?

Council OKs Legion Baseball Move

On a unanimous vote, with even long-time holdout Councilman Ron Edinger agreeing, the Coeur d'Alene City Council OK'd an agreement with American Legion Baseball to move the ALB diamond from McEuen Field to Ramsey Park. The 6-0 decision Tuesday night followed a discussion in which Parks Director Doug Eastwood laid out plans to add 75 to 100 parking spaces for American Legion Baseball and the softball fields on a former railroad right of way. Edinger groused that he didn't think the new baseball diamond and location met the qualifications of being “equal or better” than the current American Legion facility. Approval by American Legion Baseball of the memorandum of understanding for the move was key in winning council approval. The move will clear the way for an upgrade and new design concept for the history McEuen Field. You can read the discussion in the rough draft of the council minutes here. (Jesse Tinsley SR file photo of home plate call during American Legion Baseball game at McEuen Field)

Thoughts?

Council-McEuen Meeting ‘Contentious’

HucksOnline asked a Berry Picker in attendance whether the City Council-LCDC-Team McEuen meeting Thursday morning was contentious. Here's the reply: “Yes it was contentious.  Dan and Ron pulled all the positive energy out of the room with their whine about Legion Ball. Dan said that we were 'kicking the kids who play ball to the curb.' Also: 'Baseball is the all american sport and we were talking it away.” What he failed to notice was that the amphitheatre part of the park would allow a pick-up baseball game for anyone who wanted to put together a game.  It actually shows how baseball could be played there on that site on the plans,  just no organized ball, no fences.  Ron, was just harping continually on the 'equal or better' and that we were breaking our promises to Legion. It was clear that they will continue to fight every part of the project and anything that could be related to it.”

Question: Will Councilman Ron Edinger's legacy of public service to Coeur d'Alene be affected in a positive/negative way by his dug-in position on McEuen Field?

Recallers Claim Enough Signatures

Organizers for the group, Recall CDA, say they're close to getting a petition on the ballot. On the chopping block are Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandy Bloem, Councilmen Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers, and Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander. The magic number for Recall CDA is just above 4,300 signatures.  So far, organizers say they have around 5,000, but those signatures have yet to be certified. If the recall movement has enough signatures, the process will begin for selecting a date for an election.  Both sides disagree on just about every issue and have different views on the significance of this development/Shawn Chitnis, KREM2. More here.

Thoughts?

Adams Lectures City Attorney Gridley

Here's the letter that Councilman Steve Adams sent to City Attorney Mike Gridley re: correcting Adams at City Council meetings: “I have been hesitant in writing to you to address my concern, because I do not want to damage our relationship, which I feel up to this point has been good. However, I believe my concern is of greater importance. Twice now you have rebutted me during a council meeting. After the first time you did call to apologize, which was respectable. I do believe however, that it is not appropriate for you to rebut me openly during a council meeting. I do not believe it is your intent to be disrespectful, but it gives that appearance to all other parties (mayor & council, staff and especially the public). I do value you(r) legal opinion, (please do not take this as snide) but, you are not an judge or the judge, and I have the right to express my opinions. I respectfully ask that in the future, (unless asked) you please refrain from rebutting me during a council meeting, instead addressing me after the meeting or contacting me at a later date.” (For the record, Gridley declined a public request from Huckleberries Online for this letter, citing attorney-client privilege.)

Mary Decries Council ‘Loyalty Oath’

In her newletter this week, Mary Souza of OpenCDA.com is claiming today that the Coeur d'Alene City Council has some sort of “loyalty oath” to keep everyone in line. She sez that “Coeur d'Alene City Council Standards and Norms” is akin to a loyalty oath in offering 24 points, much of which begin with the statement, “I will …” For example, two points reads, I will tell the truth,” and “I will be accountable.” (Shazam, I smell a conspiracy coming) Now, for Mary's take: “In order to put the “Loyalty Oath” in perspective, I asked some city administration and council folks from nearby towns if they have ever seen  anything like this document.  They were all shocked.  They said they had never heard of such a thing, and that city councils are elected by the people and are not beholden to the mayor or any other city official. City Council members are responsible to the citizens.” You can read the rest of Mary's complaint here.

Question: So is this a loyalty oath or simply a code for good conduct while serving at a City Council member?

Plan Seeks More Accessible Tubbs Hill

Item: A more accessible Tubbs Hill: Plan would reduce grade of trail, create wheelchair turnarounds/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The city of Coeur d'Alene is trekking forward with its plans to alter the east side of Tubbs Hill to make the popular hiking trail more accessible for people with disabilities. The General Services Committee, a subcommittee of the Coeur d'Alene City Council, recommended Monday the city contract Welch Comer Engineers for $9,000 engineering studies to determine how to improve wheelchair accessibility on the downtown hill. The proposed project doesn't have anything to do with creating a north trail on Tubbs Hill, which is how it earned its support from the Tubbs Hill Foundation.

Question: Does Tubbs Hill need to become more accessible?