Latest from The Spokesman-Review
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.
Jim Brannon sent this news release to Huckleberries Online moments ago: “Since I announced my candidacy for mayor of the great city of Coeur d’Alene, I have been humbled by the generous support and encouragement of my fellow citizens. While I believe my leadership would have been beneficial to our community, it is far more important to me that Coeur d’Alene’s voters focus on the issues. If I were to continue actively pursuing the office of mayor, there is little doubt that the winner of the election this fall would be determined by less than a majority of the votes. Such a result is unacceptable to me and I believe that it could lead to further discord.” More here.
Question: How does Jim Brannon's decision affect the race for mayor?
Duane Rasmussen photo.
Jim Brannon appears to be holding up the KCRR tent at the North Idaho Fair.
Is it me or is this the same outfit Jim was wearing last week?
- Jim Brannon
Jim Brannon speaks to the North Idaho Pachyderm Club this morning. Duane Rasmussen, photo.
Mayoral candidate Jim Brannon spoke to the North Idaho Pachyderm Club this morning. Mayoral candidate Mary Souza was present. Candidate Steve Widmeyer was not.
Brannon said he does not like the “rainbow bridge” entrance to McEuen Park.
What do you estimate Brannon's chances are at winning the race for mayor?
That reclusive mayoral candidate Jim Brannon will speak tomorrow's Pachyderm meeting, 7:00 AM at Jonesy's Restaurant, CdA.
I do hope one of you will be able to attend and give us some feedback. I don't get up at 7 AM for anything. Well. Maybe breakfast with George Clooney….
- Jim Brannon
Originally posted at 11:02 a.m. today
A Coeur d’Alene man who contested his loss in a 2009 City Council election has lost his appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court. The court today issued its opinion in Jim Brannon’s legal fight over the narrow election loss to Councilor Mike Kennedy. The justices ruled that Kootenai County 1st District Judge Charles Hosack properly denied Brannon’s motion for a new trial. Hosack concluded in his October 2010 decision that there was no error in the counting of votes, as Brannon had argued, nor misconduct on the part of county elections workers that would change the result of the election/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Supreme Court conclusion: “We find that the district court did not err when it denied Brannon’s motion to disqualify. We also hold that the UOCAVA absentee voter requirements did not apply to municipal elections held prior to 2011, but that there is insufficient evidence in the record to conclude that the five disputed votes in this case were illegal. We hold that the district court did not err when it refused to order non-city residents to testify about their residency at trial.” Idaho Supeme Court ruling here.
Question: How will Brannon's followers spin this one?
The 2009 Coeur d'Alene city election lawsuit went before the Idaho Supreme Court Wednesday, with the high court saying it will consider whether to uphold or reverse a previous ruling that solidified a City Council incumbent's narrow victory over his challenger. The five-member bench, four of which were present at First District Court, didn't give a timetable on when a decision would be reached, meaning it could be weeks or months before a written ruling is issued on the three-year old case. “The issue here isn't vote totals, and who won and who lost,” said Starr Kelso, attorney for then-Seat 2 City Council challenger Jim Brannon, who filed the lawsuit. “It's the sanctity of the” election process/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you consider Brannon to be a crusader fighting for justice? Or a sore loser?
Nearly three years removed from the election, and two years since its court ruling, the 2009 city election lawsuit will go before the Idaho Supreme Court on Wednesday. It's scheduled to go before the high court's five-member body at 11:10 a.m. at the Kootenai County Courthouse. The election challenge suit, filed by then-Seat 2 City Council challenger Jim Brannon (pictured), claimed that inadmissible ballots had led to incumbent Mike Kennedy's five-vote victory. Brannon filed the suit shortly after the election day loss. But litigation with the highly-publicized suit stretched over a year, ending when 1st District Judge Charles Hosack upheld the election following a six-day trial in September 2010. Part of the ruling tossed out four illegal votes (one of which was for Brannon), trimming Kennedy's victory to three votes/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
A Coeur d'Alene City Councilman fresh off a contentious court battle for his council seat said the recall effort launched last week to oust him and three incumbents is similar to the 2010 court case he called a political attack. Mike Kennedy, who spent a year in the courtroom defending his then-5 vote victory over challenger Jim Brannon, told The Press “the core” group of people between both efforts makes the two hard to separate. “I do,” said Kennedy on whether he believed the two were similar. “They are still appealing the election lawsuit from 2009 to the Idaho Supreme Court and it is the same core group of people involved. The two things are linked.” Recall supports say that couldn't be farther from the truth. The two are completely separate, they said, and if some people involved in the recall effort were also involved in the election challenge lawsuit or anything else it is coincidental/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Is the attempt by Orzell-Souza-Sims & Co. to recall Mayor Sandi Bloem & three council members, including Kennedy, the second coming of the Jim Brannon election challenge?
Home builder and Republican activist Jeff Tyler will file Monday for election to Idaho House of Representatives Seat A, a district containing Post Falls, Rathdrum and southeast Kootenai County. Tyler, in his first run for public office, will seek a two-year term to the seat currently held by Rep. Bob Nonini, who announced he is running for the Senate. Tyler, 52, is a long-time Republican and conservative activist as a founder and 1st Vice President of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans and a founder of the Panhandle Pachyderm Club. In 2009 Tyler became well known as the campaign manager for Republican Jim Brannon in his campaign against Democrat Mike Kennedy for the Coeur d’Alene City Council. A resident of Kootenai County since 1994, Tyler lives with his wife of 25 years, Pam, on Harbor Island. Jeff and Pam have 2 grown sons, Kenny and Keith/News Release. More here.
Gracious! Mary Souza is still selling the snake oil, for all gullible OpenCDA.com readers (both of them), that Councilman Mike Kennedy didn't beat Jim Brannon in the 2009 Coeur d'Alene City Council race. This, despite a court decision that he did. Mary suggests that County Clerk Cliff Hayes has uncovered some profound evidence that Mike actually tied Brannon. Or mebbe, shazam, that he lost to Brannon. Mary: “Mike Kennedy won his re-election in 2009 by only 5 votes. During the lengthy and sometimes contentious Election Challenge trial that followed, the court decided to invalidate 3 of Mike’s votes. That brought Mike’s margin of victory down to 2. Now, it seems, the election was possibly a tie or, in my opinion, an almost certain win for Jim Brannon and probably other candidates in that election as well.” Mary goes on to explain her “rationale” for her theory. You can read all about it here.
Question: How many conspiracy theorists does it take to concede an election?
Don't look now, but Coeur d'Alene attorney Starr Kelso has filed a brief appealing the 1st District Court decision against his client Jim Brannon in the never-ending 2009 Coeur d'Alene municipal election case. This, according to OpenCDA.com, the Kelso-Brannon PR wing. Bill McCrory reported on the appeal three days ago (which goes to show how often I check in on OpenCDA.com, as amusing as it can be at times). McCrory called the brief as “a road map to guide the Idaho Supreme Court justices through the 2,676 pages of documents in the trial court record, 111 exhibits consisting of 563 pages, 876 pages of trial transcript, and transcripts of numerous other hearings held before and after the trial.” You can read more about this latest waste of court time and resources here.
Item: Illegal voters fined, sentenced: Hayden couple voted illegally in 2009 Cd'A city election/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press
More Info: A Hayden couple was each fined $200 and sentenced to three months of probation for illegally voting in the Nov. 3, 2009, Coeur d'Alene general election. Ronald Prior and Susan Harris both entered Alford pleas on July 15 after each was charged with one count of illegally registering to vote. An Alford guilty plea means the defendant doesn't admit guilt but admits there is enough evidence for a conviction.
Question: Beyond wasting a lot of money, changing a vote or two, and catching 2 illegal voters, what did the long-running lawsuit filed by losing challenger Jim Brannon accomplish?
Never one to take his eye off the ball, Bill McCrory reports for OpenCDA.com that he attended a pre-trial conference for Susan Harris & Ronald Prior, who were charged with voting illegal in the 2009 Coeur d'Alene City Council elections. Remember? Mike Kennedy-Jim Brannon? Star Kelso? Election without end, amen? Anyway, Judge Bob Burton accepted Alford pleas from Harris and Prior, which means that neither admitted guilt but admitted that the charge likely could be proven at trial. According to McCrory, Burton fined them both $200 and sentenced each to 90 days of unsupervised probation.
Question: Is there anything left from Brannon's fruitless effort to overturn his loss to Kennedy?
COEUR d'ALENE - The city of Coeur d'Alene won't fine a former City Council candidate for not filing an updated 2010 campaign finance disclosure report.
Former Seat 2 challenger Jim Brannon terminated his report in February 2010, and contributions and expenditures after that went to court costs associated with the legal suit that followed the election, Brannon said in a letter to the city.
The letter was dated Jan. 31, the deadline to file 2010 reports.
The city said Thursday it won't argue with that interpretation since Idaho law doesn't contradict it.
“We're not going to pursue anything, (the attorney general's office) didn't express any interest in pursuing anything, so that's kind of where it is,” said Mike Gridley, city attorney.
While 2010 wasn't an election year for a city seat, the 2009 election turned into a yearlong court case, meaning two former Seat 2 candidates were still accepting and spending money in 2010 tied to the 2009 campaign. Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press Full story.
Yesterday, Mary Souza of OpenCDA ap-hollow-gized for calling respected Councilman Ron Edinger “dumb.” Now, she’s hedging on that ap-hollow-gy by saying that someone of Edinger’s tenure should be more informed re: the issues surrounding failed challenger Jim Brannon’s lawsuit. Spouts Mary of Edinger: “Come on, it’s been more than a year! Now he sits in a public meeting and spouts all kinds of erroneous information, misdirecting the public and confusing the issue? That’s not acceptable to me.” Seems Wallypog’s comment (No. 6) that states Edinger lacks bladder control, hinting that the councilman needs Depends, is acceptable, because it’s still posted on the OpenSewer.com site. You can read the rest of Mary’s latest rant (Comment No. 10) here. Hucks commenter Steve Badraun has it right when he sez of Edinger: “I have found him to be fair, honest, and above the clamor of petty political jealousy. He truly has, in his heart, the concerns of the common citizen of his city.”
Never one to be gracious in defeat, Mary Souza of the OpenCdA.com crowd greeted the news the the city was underwriting incumbent Mike Kennedy’s legal expenses by blasting respected Councilman Ron Edinger. In a comment below a thread re: Tuesday’s various rulings by Judge Charles Hosack in the never-ending election lawsuit by challenger Jim Brannon, Mary answers a comment by another OpenCdA commenter by saying of Edinger: ” … is Ron Edinger as dumb as he seems or is it an act? He kept
saying that all Brannon needed was a ‘SIMPLE RECOUNT’! (screaming capital letters are Mary’s not mine) I’m sure he must
know by now that a recount would do nothing. … Is Ron really that out of touch with reality? Or does he just put on a good show?” Full comment (No. 6) here.
Question: Anyone care to answer Mary’s questions?
Item: Cd’A picks up lawyer tab: City Council approves funding $69,660 for Kennedy attorney fees/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: The council said paying the fees best served the interest of the public, since similar suits could deter candidates from seeking office. It also put the matter behind them, since the TORT claim, if denied, could warrant future legal action on behalf of Kennedy.
Question: Did the City Council do the right thing in agreeding to underwrite $69,660 accrued by Mike Kennedy in defending himself against failed candidate Jim Brannon’s election suit?
One of the wild rumors sweeping the Kootenai County Courthouse these days is that county clerk-elect Cliff Hayes might tap failed 2009 City Council candidate Jim Brannon as his chief deputy. Then, the worker bees initially were worried that he might pick Tina Jacobson. Another totally unsubstantiated rumor that was out there, even during the election campaign, is that Hayes will hold the office for a couple of years and then turn it over to whoever is his chief deputy. That he’s already accomplished his job of getting the office back into Republican hands. The worker bees are nervous. But I doubt that either of the two mentioned above are on Hayes’ radar. He’s sharper than that.
Question: Who do you think Hayes will pick as chief deputy? Why?
Since several of you have been discussing Bill McCrory’s latest broadside against all things involving the city of Coeur d’Alene, I figure I’ll post a link to his latest toxic screed, lambasting the request by Councilman Mike Kennedy to pay his legal bills for the 2009 municipal election. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Jim Brannon, pictured, is still pursuing his lawsuit to over turn his bitter 5-vote loss to Kennedy more than a year ago. Now, he and attorney Starr Kelso have appealed Judge Charles Hosack’s adverse decision against them to the Idaho Supreme Court. Meanwhile, OpenCDA.com ally McCrory explains why the city shouldn’t pay the $105,000 Kennedy accrued for making the mistake of beating sore loser Brannon. You can read McCrory’s OpenCDA.com thoughts here. Interestingly, a poll being conducted by the Coeur d’Alene Press overwhelmingly opposes the city paying Kennedy’s legal bills.
Question: Do you agree with any of McCrory’s points?
Mary Souza is at it again, lambasting the city for demanding that failed challenger Jim Brannon pay the city’s legal bill of $36,000 to defend itself from Brannon’s long-running lawsuit. Mary fumes that the city hired Mike Haman to handle the defense while City Attorney Mike Gridley watched and texted from the back of the courtroom. Later, in her newsletter to her minions (the names and e-mails of whom she inadvertently published in her mass e-mailing), she castigates Her Sandiness & the City Council for not asking one question when votes were canvassed in the 2009 municipal elections. No where does Mary mention that her concerns were addressed by Judge Charles Hosack in his ruling against Brannon earlier this fall. She simply blathers on. Per usual. Quoth Mary: “They did not do their job for the voters of Coeur d’Alene; they did not make sure the city election was accurate and trustworthy. This was their failure of duty.” You can read the entire screed here.
- Wednesday’s Poll: Overwhelmingly, Hucks Nation believes failed challenger Jim Brannon should be required to pay the $36,000 in legal fees accrued by the city of Coeur d’Alene in its defense of his 2009 election lawsuit. 114 of 162 respondents (70.37%) said Brannon should pay back the tax dollars spent fighting his suit (not counting the $105,000 that Mike Kennedy has spent so far). Only 43 of 162 (26.54%) said Brannon shouldn’t be forced to repay the money. 5 were undecided.
- Today’s Question (for the 40th anniversary of the EPA): How would you grade the performance of the EPA in its first 40 years of existence?
Item: Cd’A seeks fees from Brannon: City Council could decide Tuesday about paying Kennedy’s fees/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: The city of Coeur d’Alene is seeking around $36,000 in legal fees and costs from 2009 general election challenger Jim Brannon. Brannon has objected, claiming that the city doesn’t have the legal grounds to request money from him since the election challenge wasn’t frivolous. Meanwhile, the Coeur d’Alene City Council may take action next week on whether the city will pay around $105,000 for Seat 2 incumbent Mike Kennedy’s legal fees.
Question: Should Jim Brannon pay the legal fees incurred by the city as part of his long-running lawsuit to overturn his 3-vote loss to Mike Kennedy?
Brannon and his grandstanding lawyer, Starr Kelso, ought to be ashamed of themselves. Single-handedly, they’ve made the idea of running for City Council toxic. And if legislators don’t think the same thing could happen to them, they’re deluding themselves. The Legislature needs to fix this by exempting candidates from lawsuits against cities, counties or the state over election results. Every city council member we know of spends far more hours on the job than he or she is compensated for. The notion that they should also be compelled to pay for their right to hold office is repulsive/Twin Falls Times-News. More here.
As expected 2009 Coeur d’Alene City Council election loser Jim Brannon and his attorney, Starr Kelso, have filed an appeal of Judge Charles Hosack’s decision to the Idaho Supreme Court. The two apparently didn’t wait for Judge Charles Hosack to rule on their request for a new trial. Hosack will hear that request Dec. 7. Team Brannon reportedly appealed on 23 different grounds. You can read the appeal here.
- Weekend Poll: 117 of 223 respondents (52.47%) voted that the city of Coeur d’Alene should pay the approximate $105,000 in legal fees and costs accrued by Councilman Mike Kennedy to defend himself from Jim Brannon’s election challenge. 99 of 223 (44.39%) said the city shouldn’t pay those costs. 7 of 223 (3.14%) were undecided.
- Today’s Poll: Should Paul Wulff be retained as head football coach at Washington State next year?
Item: Kennedy asks Cd’A to pay for attorney/Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: Mike Kennedy is seeking attorney fees from the city of Coeur d’Alene. The total being sought is around $105,000, city attorney Mike Gridley said. Kennedy, City Council seat 2 incumbent, accumulated the fees defending his then 5-vote victory over challenger Jim Brannon in the November 2009 general election, a suit that lasted 11 months.
Question: Should the city of Coeur d’Alene pay Councilman Mike Kennedy’s legal fees?
Christie Wood (re: Kennedy tab to date: $107,000): I get it that the plaintiffs see this as a challenge of election laws (although I am convinced it is also very personal) but they do have the ability to seek changes through legislative action rather than the courts. So why a new trial? It is hard on everyone involved, so why not work toward clarifying future election laws rather than breaking the bank for Brannon and Kennedy? The people behind this that do not have to foot the bill or have their name constantly in the blogs or other media, ask yourselves…are you really being a good friend to Jim by encouraging him to continue on? Or is this satisfying your own desire to keep going after Kennedy?
Question: Why do you think Brannon is continuing to pursue his election challenge?
Councilman Mike Kennedy tells Hucks Online that the legal bills submitted by his attorneys Scott Reed and Peter Erbland in Jim Brannon’s never-ending lawsuit total $107,000 to date. That’s not a misprint. Kennedy said he’s appealed for financial help to the court, to the city, and he’s fund-raised ($6500 to date to pay for costs unrelated to direct attorney time.). Kennedy guesstimated that the city’s outside litigation counsel bill will be about $35,000. So the cost in defense attorneys’ fees is $142,000 to date. This does not count one hour of city staff time, internal legal work or research for the city. It also counts not one hour of any such time for the county staff, including their internal legal research, etc. Sez Kennedy: “Someone can do the estimated math on that and the total number is staggering - well over $250,000 I would think.” Kennedy isn’t sure what costs he’ll face in a possible re-trial or Supreme Court challenge by Brannon.
Item: Brannon to try again: Election challenge parties expected in court Dec. 7/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: Jim Brannon, unsuccessful challenger for Coeur d’Alene City Council seat 2 at the polls and in the courtroom, has filed a request for a new trial citing “erroneous” determinations by the court. The petition, filed Monday, comes nearly two months after the election challenge suit ended in September in favor of incumbent Mike Kennedy. … “The evidence at trial is insufficient to justify the verdict,” Brannon’s attorney, Starr Kelso, wrote in the filing.
Question: Anyone out there who still has sympathy for Jim Brannon’s cause?