Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

‘Anti-McEuenite’ Gookin Attends Event

Councilman Dan Gookin, who with Councilman Steve Adams and Ron Edinger fought the makeover of McEuen Field at every phase, was on hand for the dedication ceremonies Saturday morning. In this Duane Rasmussen photo, Gookin is being interviewed by a Spokane television crew. In a letter to the Coeur d'Alene Press editor Sunday, Gookin took issue with a recent Press editorial that used the phrase anti-McEuenites. Seems his new spin — and one that apparently will carry him into a possible run for a new term next year — is that he didn't oppose the reconstruction, he simply wanted a public vote. See his letter below.

In your May 23 editorial, you wrote, “Wonder what the anti-McEuenites think now?” This is a cheap shot, unworthy of your publication. It’s my understanding that the people who voted Mr. Edinger, Mr. Adams, and me into office in 2011 — and by great margins — were not “anti-McEuenites.” While a handful of people did express a desire for nothing to happen at McEuen, we represented a majority who simply wanted a public advisory vote. We represented people who would have preferred a more open, honest process to redevelopment of McEuen Field. We represented people who felt that the total cost — a number that constantly fluctuated — should be more reasonable. The new park will be enjoyed by everyone. Although it didn’t happen the way I would have preferred, I welcome its success/Councilman Dan Gookin, Coeur d'Alene, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Would we have a destination park on the waterfront today if the Gookin faction of the City Council had one more vote — say, Jim Brannon had beaten Mike Kennedy in the 2009 City Council election?

Dan: Sandi, Mike Fear McEuen Fallout

Item: Kennedy not long for council: Also squelches mayoral rumor/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Kennedy supported McEuen Field's reconstruction, now well underway. He is the second of the four park supporting incumbents targeted in the recall not seeking re-election. Mayor Sandi Bloem is the other. The two remaining council members, Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander, haven't declared. City Councilman Dan Gookin (pictured) said McEuen Park will be a mandate this election, as it was in 2011. He said regardless of what incumbents say, a major decision not to rerun is because victory at the polls will be hard to achieve over of the public's dissatisfaction with McEuen Park. “I think that's absolutely why they don't run,” Gookin said. “They don't want to face an angry mob”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think that, deep down, Mayor Sandi Bloem and Councilman Mike Kennedy decided not to run for re-election because they feared facing fallout for supporting McEuen Field reconstruction?

Gookin Backs Same-Sex Benefits

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act does not directly impact a local city councilman's efforts to provide benefits to domestic partners, it could in the future. Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin (pictured) has been working with the city's Human Resource Department for the past couple of months to determine if the city could begin offering benefits to domestic partners who have lived together for several years, but never married. “We don't have any same sex couples that I am aware of yet,” Gookin said Wednesday. “What I am doing deals with domestic partners, who for whatever reason may have so many entanglements in their lives they cannot get married. “The only difference between them and a married couple is a piece of paper”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Should the city of Coeur d'Alene make it a high priority to provide benefits to same-sex partners?

Berns: Gookin Wrong Re: Windfall

Executive Tony Berns of LCDC responds to comments made by Councilman Dan Gookin earlier this month:

At the City’s June 6, 2013, strategic planning session, Councilman Gookin shared that a key strategy of his to address the City’s budgeting challenges would be to terminate the LCDC, thus resulting in more revenue to the City (link to his comments:  http://youtu.be/h-oOmNDmq0).  As you know Wendy, LCDC has two redevelopment districts; the Lake District which sunsets in 2021, and the River District which sunsets in 2027.  Councilman Gookin shared that via his analysis, it would take about 3 years to “unwind the debt” of the LCDC, which he shared would then result in an additional $3 million/year of revenue for the City. There will not be $3 million in revenue per year to the City of CDA in three years by terminating the LCDC in 2014The City will not experience a windfall of new revenue if the LCDC is terminated.  Here is why: More here.

Question: Would it be foolish/wise to terminate LCDC in 2014?

DanG: Younger Gen More Tolerant

Councilman Dan Gookin: One thing that missing in the overall discussion is the generational difference of opinion regarding equal rights for the LGBT community, i.e., younger people don't seem to have an issue. Just last night, my youngest son returned from his Christian youth group (at RLM, by the way). I explained to him some of the upset. His response? “I have a moral objection to the homosexual lifestyle, but I'm adamant that they not be discriminated against.” He echoed sentiments of my other boys, who also consider themselves Christian. They support the philosophy behind this ordinance.

Thoughts?

Gookin Wants To Extend Benefits

Prior to the vote on the controversial antidiscrimination ordinance Tuesday night, Councilman Dan Gookin voiced support for extending benefits to same-sex city workers. The city attorney advised that the council couldn't do anything with the idea until it's properly advertised. (Video: Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19)

Question: I know I've asked this as today's poll question. But let's have a discussion also. Should the city of Coeur d'Alene extend benefits to same-sex couples?

Christie RE: Mary & Dan’s Stand

Christie Wood, president of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, commented on HuckleberriesOnline over the week:

I read with interest Mary's position on the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance being presented by the Kootenai CountyTask Force on Human Relations. Her statements were very similar to a conversation I had with Councilman Gookin earlier this week. He has made his support for her very public,and they are very good friends so I assume they share similar values. Mary stated she cannot support the ordinance because “There are exceptions for certain groups that don't have to follow that law.” Dan told me that he cannot support it for the same reason. Dan made it very clear to me he supports same sex marriage, and equal rights for the LGBT community.He said there should not be an exception in this ordinance for religious organizations because that still allows for discrimination. He asked me to share his thoughts with the Task Force and I have done so. More here.

Question:

Mary Souza Is Running For Mayor

Get Adobe Flash player
Mary Souza Announces For Mayor

Mary Souza, long-time critic of the Bloem administration, announced her candidacy for mayor of Coeur d'Alene this morning near the Third Street dock. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

In the Examiner.com, reporter Joe Newby writes about today's mayoral announcement by City Hall critic Mary Souza:

Speaking at the Third Street boat launch — also in need of repair — Souza said she's running for mayor to “include everyone.” “Let’s start to heal the divides. We can bridge the gaps and work together. And when there are major issues that will cost a great deal of money or change something sacred to our history, we’ll have a public vote,” she said. She also promised to hold city council meetings that are respectful and professional. “We won’t allow name-calling or juvenile behavior, and we’ll listen to citizens when they speak, and they’ll be treated well,” she said. Full article here.

Question: Can Mary Souza win a race for mayor in Coeur d'Alene? Or does she have too much baggage?

Recallers To Attend Gookin Reveal

In the comments section, Randy Myers posts re: an email he received from Frank Orzell, head of a new organization called “Reclaim Coeur d'Alene”:

“You may have read in today’s Press that Dan Gookin will be making an important announcement related to the November election in CdA. Dan, Mary Souza and a number of us from Recall will be there and we are hoping you will join us. Construction has things pretty well shut down; the best parking will likely be in the resort parking garage or at the newly laid out parking spaces south of the city hall. We are requested not to bring signs.”

DFO: Randy, many thanks for posting this.

Question: So RecallCDA activists are going to be part of the Gookin announcement tomorrow? This just got even more interesting.

Gookin To Announce Mayor Bid?

Above, you'll see the letter sent to news outlets, including Huckleberries, by Councilman Dan Gookin announcing his plans to announce his plans for possible mayoral bid this fall.

Dan Gookin appears to be ready to run for mayor. The second-year city councilman sent a letter to media outlets stating he’s ready to announce his intention to vie for the mayor’s seat come November. The letter didn’t say he will for sure run for mayor, only that he will announce whether he will or not. So, would he call everyone out to the Third Street boat launch at 10 a.m. Friday to announce he’s not running? He told The Press today he didn’t want to “pre-announce his announcement.” But, he added, “I will not be wasting your time. I wouldn’t do that. That would be a joke, but I don’t want to pre-announce this announcement”/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Gookin versus Brannon versus ???, oh my. Thoughts?

Austin: Urban Renewal & Outsiders

A funny thing happened to Silver Valley residents on their way to a decision on whether or not they want an Urban Renewal Agency (URA) in their county. They've heard from their neighbors to the west, including two elected officials angry over Coeur d'Alene's agency and its investment in McEuen Field. The newest change to urban renewal law requires approval from local residents before their elected officials can form a URA. Previously, in over four dozen cities and at least one county, those officials needed only proof of deterioration within their boundaries to authorize the URA and appoint its members. As a result of the law change, Shoshone County Commissioners have scheduled a vote on the issue for this Tuesday. What they could never have imagined was the interference of residents outside the Valley, but that is exactly what has happened/John Austin, Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed article. More here. (Idaho Legislature photo: Rep. Kathy Sims)

Question: Should state Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, and Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin be trying to export their anti-urban renewal philosophy to the economically depressed Silver Valley?

John: Sims, Culbreth, Gookin Intruded

JohnA (re: Idaho Freedom Foundation opposes Shoshone County urban renewal agency): Well, I guess it is time that I opined on this issue, since I am under contract with Shoshone County to help them create an urban renewal agency. The fact is that the county commissioners have a chance with their private partners in the Big Creek area, Sunshine and Crescent Mines and Essential Metals silver refinery, to rebuild Big Creek Road from I-90 to the Sunshine and thereby fix the deficiencies in the road. The net gain is over 300 high paying jobs, which makes this the exact purpose of urban renewal in the first place. After intrusions from those who don't live in the county, in particular Kathy Sims from CDA, we tried to give the correct facts last night in Kellogg. Then, we heard from Sharon Culbreth and our own Dan Gookin, both of whom said it was a bad idea to help the county to create 300 mining jobs at Sunshine. Now, no one in the crowd was a rich realtor or best selling author, but they clearly knew from the onset that the Silver Valley needs these jobs to grow their economy and some clearly resented this intrusion from the west. More below.

Question: Should anti-urban renewal types from Kootenai County stick their noses into the debate re: an urban renewal agency proposal in Shoshone County?

Gookin Asks Adams To Reconsider

In the draft minutes below, City Clerk Renata McLeod offers a good recount of the debate among the City Council re: the decision to go ahead with a public vote on the wastewater treatment plant (special meeting March 28). Even council ally Dan Gookin is urging Councilman Steve Adams to switch from his dug-in position against judicial confirmation (see link below):

Councilman Adams stated that from a principal standpoint he could not compromise the integrity of the Idaho Constitution for a couple of interest points.   Councilman Kennedy stated that the Boise case contains a different set of facts, and Councilman Adams is misapplying the facts to this situation.  In the Copsey case, it was reasonable but not necessary and was for a parking garage, not like our case that is both reasonable and necessary.  He stated that there is a lot of misinformation and it should be clear that it is a different point than the Boise case.  Councilman Adams stated that it is arguable that it is ordinary and necessary; however to spend half of the City’s annual appropriation is not ordinary.  Councilman Gookin thinks Councilman Adams has made his point and that in this case it would be best to move forward and fight the battle another day. Full discussion here.

Question: Gotta give Gookin credit for trying to talk sense to Adams, right?

Edinger: Council Needs To Tone Down

Item: Personal politics: Coeur d'Alene City Council members look to put personality conflicts, testy meetings behind them/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The longest tenured city councilman said he has never served on a council where arguing has been so commonplace. Disagreements in politics are par for the course, Councilman Ron Edinger said, but never has he served on a council where personality clashes and personal digs have occurred so frequently. “I think that sometimes it gets a little carried away,” Edinger said Friday, a day after an at-times testy council workshop on Thursday in what has been a month full of testy city meetings. “Personal things get involved, and I think that's wrong.”

DFO: I can't blame the majority of the council for being testy toward Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams, who rode into office by trashing the City Hall and the McEuen Field project — and then sat back arms crossed while allies of theirs led a recall effort. Is the majority of the council suppose to grin and bear it when Adams throws a monkey wrench into a well-devised plan to pay for a sewer expansion because he's received some sort of divine insight into the Idaho Constitution? Civility is nice. But I also want elected officials to challenge colleagues when they are doing — or have done — something that the public should know about.

Question: Do you agree with Edinger that City Council members need to be more civil to one another?

Gookin Describes ‘Crony Capitalism’

Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 provides an interesting video 4:45 minutes in length in which LCDC executive director Tony Berns and anti-LCDC Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin discuss urban renewal philosophies. To Gookin's credit, he admitted that he supported urban renewal money for infrastructure at Riverstone and the Education Corridor — and that LCDC had been “more focused” on correct things in recent years. Toward the end of the video, Gookin is challenged by Councilman Mike Kennedy after he uses the term “crony capitalism” to describe some of LCDC dispersals. Gookin stands pat, stating: “Giving public money to people who already have a ton of money is crony capitalism.” Enjoy:

Gookin, Patzer Spar RE: ‘Land Mines’

In a delightful give-and-take, Lake City Development Corporation board member Dave Patzer rebuffs Councilman Dan Gookin, who'd asked about future troubles the urban renewal agency might face. (Video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, per request of Huckleberries Online)

Thoughts?

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.

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?

Adams, Gookin, Edinger Won’t Show

A groundbreaking ceremony for the first step in the McEuen Field redevelopment project will take place at 10 a.m. Monday at the lower level of the City Hall parking lot, but not everyone is saving the date. The three City Council members who have opposed the downtown park plan since the get go said Wednesday they don't plan on showing up for the celebratory event. They're not trying to show up the side of the council who supports the plan, they said, they just don't want to be a part of something they've sided against all along. “I just don't think I could stomach it. The whole thing kind of makes me ill,” said Steve Adams, who was elected in November in part because he took a firm stance against the $14 million park redevelopment project, and will be elk hunting at the time of the ceremony. “I oppose the project, I still oppose the project. I don't think I could stand there and watch the dirt movers roll. It would be gut-wrenching, heart breaking”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Brooke Carey watches her daughter Paige Carey, 1, swing at the McEuen Field playground Wednesday)

Question: Would you want Steve Adams, Dan Gookin or Ron Edinger to appear at ground-breaking ceremonies for the future new & improved McEuen Field?

Kennedy Confronts Gookin re: Rumor

Following is Mike Kennedy's response via the comments section re: why he confronted fellow Councilman Dan Gookin at the Tuesday meeting:

I had asked Dan during a break if he recently called a reporter for the Press telling them that SD271 was going to have the School Resource Officer program “moved” to work with the county instead of the city. After pressing a bit he admitted that he had placed that story with the reporter even though it was false. I had asked him if he had called any of the following for clarification of the facts before calling the reporter: Mayor Bloem, Administrator Gabriel, Chief Longo, Superintendent Bauman, Sheriff Watson, or anyone else in a position to know. Dan said he did not call any of them. There is only one reason to plant a story like that, to spread a rumor like that - because you want to make a city department (in this case police) or a city department head (in this case Wayne Longo) look bad. Dan said that wasn’t his motivation, but there are enough other examples of his intimidating, aggressive and hostile questioning of staff to allow me to believe it. In my mind the episode only highlighted the need for a true Public Information Officer for the city, something I’ve advocated for years. I shared my feeling that a sitting council member feeding false stories to the press and causing untold hours of fact-checking and rumor-controlling is long term more costly and corrosive to productivity, efficiency, morale, and the city’s “bottom line” than one line item in the budget that is intended to help communicate basic facts and real-time information with the public better.

Thoughts?

Gookin Opposes CdA Collegiate Team

On a 5-1 vote Tuesday, with Councilman Dan Gookin dissenting, the Coeur d'Alene City Council supported possible location of a West Coast League team at Cherry Hill Park. Here's a draft of that discussion: “Councilman Kennedy introduced the item as discussed at the General Services Committee meeting.  Councilman Kennedy explained that the General Services Committee is recommending City Council endorse the concept of allowing a West Coast Collegiate Team to locate in Coeur d'Alene in 2014 as the anchor tenant for the Cherry Hill Sports Complex.  Henoted from the staff report that the Parks Department and other interested baseball enthusiasts have been proposing a new baseball field in Coeur d'Alene for approximately 12 years.Councilman Kennedy said the request is to adopt the concept of bringing a West Coast League Team to Coeur d'Alene. Fee structures, management, and uses would be worked out over the next several months including routine maintenance and capital improvements. The estimated cost of the facility is $2,700,000 and those funds are being raised privately.  The Panhandle Parks Foundation is taking on the fund raising and all funds are going to that organization.”

Question: I'm trying to figure out why Gookin would oppose a project like this when the money is going to be raised privately. What do you think?

Gookin Asks Longo To Watch Vagrants

Responding to a constituents concern (and photo) re: the increasing number of vagrants, homeless in Coeur d'Alene, Councilman Dan Gookin exchanged emails with Police Chief Wayne Longo (which Huckleberries Online obtained via a public records request). This is the first of those exchanges, sent at 3 p.m. Thursday — from Gookin to Longo: “I'm not happy with this (email attached). Is it 'profiling' to stop a vagrant walking around East Sherman with a parcel in his possession? I would argue, 'Not now.' Also, in the picture, anyone pushing a shopping cart through the streets is guilty of grand theft. I believe stopping someone pushing a cart like this is probably cause, not profiling, and not picking on someone who is 'homeless.' Given that the Post Office will no longer leave parcels at the front doors, it's no longer a choice in my opinion. This situation is not going to look good. I don't believe my constituants moved to Coeur d'Alene so that they could live with this kind of stuff going on. They expect packages to be left on the front porch and not stolen by vagrants. Thank you for your time.”

  • Gookin sent this email to Longo the day before re: crimes of opportunity. Click here.

Question: Are you concerned with possible criminal activity created by the increasing number of homeless and vagrants in the Coeur d'Alene area? And/or: Should Coeur d'Alene police profile individuals who appear to be homeless?

CdA Budget Calls For 2% Tax Hike

On a 4-2 vote, with Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams (pictured) dissenting, the Coeur d'Alene City Council supported a 2% property tax hike for the 2012-13 budget. The action came after Adams reminded the council of his pledge not to vote to increase property taxes. This is from Susan Weathers' rough draft of the budget meeting minutes: “Councilman Adams asked about pay grade projections.  He asked if the top 20% of employees took a pay reduction.  Mr. Tymesen explained that to adjust pay grade would disrupt the scale by which positions are paid. Councilman Adams recommended that staff not be given the COLA and reduce employee wages as he believes that good leadership comes through sacrifice.  Councilman Adams also noted that pledged he will never approve any property tax increase and he is standing by that pledge.”

  • You can read the rough draft of the minutes here and here.

Question: Do you agree with Councilman Adams that the city should balance its budget by not giving a 3% COLA to employees and reducing their wages?

Edit: Gookin’s Right, It Isn’t Fair

Darn it, Dan, you're right. It isn't fair. We're referring to Parental Frustration No. 4,366, Article 119, subsection B. You could look it up. We're paraphrasing here, but this particular fairness doctrine involves difficulty in effectively communicating with college-aged children. In this particular case, Dan Gookin — a local author, member of the Coeur d'Alene City Council and proud pop — wrote a letter to the editor expressing his angst over several aspects of PF 4366. One of Dan's sons didn't see a “tuition due” email he'd been sent from North Idaho College, leading to his tuition not being paid, NIC withholding the son's certificate and rendering credit for summer courses in doubt. News flash: Many college-aged children have moved past email at lightning speed. It is as antiquated to them as snail mail has become to many a middle-ager. These days, as Mr. Gookin points out, text messaging and social media like Facebook and Twitter are not just the preferred methods of youthful communication, but in some instances are seemingly the only ways they communicate/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: How often do you use traditional email to communicate with others?

Trustee Responds To Gookin Letter

On Sunday, the Coeur d'Alene Press published a letter to the editor from Councilman Dan Gookin in which Gookin criticized North Idaho College for sending a son's tuition notice via email. Gookin's son apparently didn't open his email and see the bill. In today's Press, NIC Trustee Mic Armon responds to Gookin's criticism:

I can understand your concern. I have had three of my own children/students enroll for classes at the University of Idaho, the University of Arizona, online at Boise State University, online at Brigham Young University and as a dual enrolled student at NIC. Every one of these institutions has the same policy. They are all very succinct in informing the incoming student that all communication including billing, grades, updates, etc., will be through their college email account. It is truly the student’s responsibility to stay informed and read their emails. Also, once the student reaches the age of 18, they are an adult, and even though you may be paying the tuition bill, all information will only be released to the student. More here.

Question: How responsible were you at 18?

Christie: Time For Sonny To Grow Up

Item: Gookin unhappy with North Idaho College email/Coeur d'Alene Press letter to editor

NIC Trustee Christie Wood: “Dan, If you are checking in here I certaily agree with your statement of “NIC is a great learning institution.” As for the rest of your concern it is really not an issue for the Board of Trustees. If your son is over 18 years of age then he is considered an adult and you are not privy to his bills or grades even if you pay the bill. It is up to your son to inform you. All of the students are assigned an email account and they are told upfront that is how they will receive their tuition notice, any communication from instructors, and their grades. Trust me I have been in your shoes. My son was attending U of M and I did not have access to any of his records even though I paid the bill. He seemed to like that set up. He also signed up for a few on-line classes that I paid for at NIC and he never bothered attending or dropping them. I responded by dropping him from my college banking account. If he wants to finish his degree he will have to pay for it. Love him dearly but I am insisting he take responsibility. I will let you know some day how it all turns out!

Question: Tell us a time that you stepped back and let your kid learn a valuable but tough lesson.

Gookin Unhappy With NIC Email

I’m a big fan of going paperless. I’ve opted to receive my phone and cable bills through email. I also receive my bank statements online. It’s very convenient, but in all cases I chose to receive email notifications as an option. In my books, I explain to my readers that email is not the first choice to receive any important information; notices from the government or bills come through regular mail. It’s official. Email is not. Email can get lost, and not everyone checks email. For example, my son rarely checks email, especially his MyNIC account he received when he enrolled in North Idaho College last year. Many his age don’t check email, preferring text messaging, Facebook and Twitter. So it was with some surprise that I learned how NIC no longer sends out notices of tuition due. I find it especially frustrating, not only because my son doesn’t check his MyNIC email, but also because he doesn’t pay the bills. I do. We weren’t given a chance to “opt in,” we were thrown in/Dan Gookin, letter to the editor/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: College students don't check their email? Really?

Hucks: Councilman Changes Tone

Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Dan Gookin recovered well from a recent political faux pas. Gookin, an outspoken critic of proposed changes to McEuen Field, offered verbal balm to the town a day after the recall petition drive against Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council members failed. At the Tuesday council meeting, Gookin said he told recall allies that “it’s over” and insisted that they file no lawsuits to extend the controversy. Gookin said he was ready to move forward with the McEuen Field work and promised to bird-dog spending on the $14.2 million project. His conciliatory tone contrasted sharply to the angry email he fired off to City Administrator Wendy Gabriel (Huckleberries, June 17), belittling her for accidentally leaving him out of the loop in a media announcement about a proposed McEuen Field compromise (for which Gookin later apologized three times). Gabriel wasn’t present Tuesday when Gookin remarked that the public accuses the council of not listening when it is/DFO, HucksOnline. More here.

Gissel Warns Re: Hostile Environment

Although he never mentioned Councilman Dan Gookin by name or his dust-up with City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, Coeur d'Alene attorney Norm Gissel warned City Council members to avoid creating a hostile work environment for staff. Speaking during the public comments period of the council meeting Tuesday, Gissel, a long-time leader in the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, said: “All of you have an affirmative duty to make sure none of you harass staff.” On Thursday, Gookin fired off an email to Gabriel in which he belittled her for failing to alert him before a story appeared on the Coeur d'Alene Press Web site that Team McEuen had proposed a change to boat-trailer parking in the McEuen Field upgrade. Gissel recommended that council members  “get ahold of counsel and review matters pertaining to a hostile environment.”

Thoughts?

Gookin: Let’s Move On, No Lawsuits

Early in the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday evening, Councilman Dan Gookin said that he didn't want to see the Recallers sue as a result of the failed attempt to trigger a recall election for Mayor Sandi Bloem and three council members. “This is over, done,” Gookin said. “I've talked to the recall people … we need to move on.” Then, he said that the city is going forward with the upgrade to McEuen Field, adding that his job is to ensure the process is open and transparent and to make sure that the city saves every nickel possible. Later, he added that the job performed by City Clerk Susan Weathers during the trying 75 days (remember the first day wasn't counted because the Recallers had to refile the petition to trigger the petition drive) was “outstanding,” calling Weathers “phenomenal and fair.”

Question: I'm beginning to think that we may be allowed to move on without a lawsuit. How about you?