Latest from The Spokesman-Review
- Wednesday Poll: Two-thirds of you (84 of 127, 66%) said you aren’t interested in World Cup games that don’t include the United States. 43 of 127 (34%) said you are interested in soccer games between other countries.
- Today’s Poll: Is it proper for Kootenai County Republicans to donate $2500 to back Jim Brannon’s legal challenge to his 5-vote loss in the 2009 city elections?
A new, sticky question could emerge Jan. 30, 2011, if seat 2 challenger Jim Brannon doesn’t disclose the financial contributions he’s rounded up since the election went from the campaign trail to the courtroom. Brannon, challenging his five-vote loss to City Council incumbent Mike Kennedy, dodged answering questions about whether he intends to file that annual report or not last night before the Kootenai County Republican Party’s central committee meeting. “One never knows,” he said when asked. Brannon went on to say he didn’t think he had to disclose the sunshine report that tracks all the donors who’ve contributed $100 to $1,000 to his campaign because the money’s no longer going toward an election but rather to a court battle, so the sunshine laws don’t apply/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you think Brannon has to disclose the names of individuals who have contributed $100 to $1000 to his legal defense?
Seems the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is mulling a $2500 donation to challenger Jim Brannon in his never-ending attempt to overthrow his 5-vote loss to incumbent Mike Kennedy in the 2009 City Council elections. This, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press. At this point, the R’s are split on the propriety of the move, with some wondering if it’d set a bad precendence. The Press reports that the R’s are waiting for an opinion from counsel Jason Risch re: whether they should do so. The money was raised at the central committee’s Lincoln Day fund-raiser in February.
- Donations to Brannon raise questions/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
Question: Do you think it’s proper for the GOP Central Committee to contribute $2500 to the legal fund of a nonpartisan, City Council race?
As reported here Monday, Judge Charles Hosack set Sept. 13 as the trial date for Jim Brannon’s attempt to overthrown results in the 2009 Coeur d’Alene City County elections, including his 5-vote loss to Councilman Mike Kennedy. Also, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Hosack denied several motions filed by attorney Starr Kelso, including refusing to amend the complaint to include malconduct by the city for possible voting irregularities. Hosack said Kelso, who is representing Brannon, could amend the complaint later should Kelso find legal reason to include malconduct down the line, but for now not enough proof is there to warrant a change. “There isn’t anything there,” Hosack said, adding that possible errors in conducting an election don’t amount to malconduct. Also, Hosack rejected an attempt by Bill and Elizabeth McCrory to intervene in the case.
Question: Do you think Brannon, attorney Starr Kelso, et al, will find anything there between now and Sept. 13?
- Update: Dan of the County reports: “(The Brannon case is) now set for trial the week of September 13th.”
At 3:30 p.m. today, Judge Charles Hosack will hear five motions in the long-running attempt by challenger Jim Brannon to overthrow the Coeur d’Alene City Council election results. Brannon has asked Hosack to reconsider the ruling he made May 14 that Brannon hasn’t made a claim that’s sufficient to overturn the results in his five-vote loss to Councilman Mike Kennedy or the three other races on the municipal ballot last November. Also, the judge is being asked to rule on the request to intervene in the lawsuit by Bill McCrory and his wife. Also, Attorney Scott Reed, who represents Kennedy, and Mike Haman, who represents the city of Coeur d’Alene, have asked the judge to set a date for the trial.
Question: Am I being a bit cynical when I consider that a Sept. 13 trial will push this case into the heart of the next election cycle, possibly benefitting some of the individuals running for various local offices?
I can’t figure out why state law allows the loser of a close election to directly sue the winner. Then, has any losing candidate ever followed the steps taken by Jim Brannon after his five-vote loss to incumbent Mike Kennedy, sidestepping a recount in favor of a lawsuit to overturn the entire election? That fact hasn’t been lost on Kennedy. Who posted this comment at HucksOnline last week: “Writing as a private citizen being sued, here, regardless of whether he loses or wins this court case, because of this willful and admitted plan of suing me individually first without pursuing all legal steps in the process, I would assume that Mr. Brannon has been preparing himself personally for the time when I as a private citizen seek to recover every penny of all applicable legal costs, personal costs, and damages in this lawsuit through full discovery in the courts …”/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.
- Otter tries to swim above diverse gubernatorial poll/Betsy Russell, Boise
- Weather for Memorial Day: Don’t even try to guess/Michelle Boss, Weather
- Priano’s new location offers more space for bigger toys/Nils Rosdahl, Business
- Sandpoint High student nurtures love of writing/Patty Hutchens, Sandpoint
- Indicators show more gardeners growing own food/Pat Munts, Gardening
- Stick w/pre-fab deli at made-over Safeway/Patrick Jacobs, Restaurt Review
Question: When the smoke finally settles in Jim Brannon’s attempt to overthrow his 5-vote loss to Mike Kennedy in last fall’s City Council elections, who will laugh last?
Councilman Mike Kennedy: Jim Brannon filed this suit — no one else (though Bill McCrory has incurred liability by seeking to enter the lawsuit on Jim’s side). Brannon sued the county, the city, and me, after rejecting the free opportunity he had to follow the state legislated process and do a recount before considering legal options. Writing as a private citizen being sued, here, regardless of whether he loses or wins this court case, because of this willful and admitted plan of suing me individually first without pursuing all legal steps in the process, I would assume that Mr. Brannon has been preparing himself personally for the time when I as a private citizen seek to recover every penny of all applicable legal costs, personal costs, and damages in this lawsuit through full discovery in the courts. And I would certainly assume that preparation doesn’t include (hypothetically speaking, of course) diverting or shielding personal assets, inheritances, or family trusts in the names of any other individuals or family members. Full comment here.
Question: Some would say that MikeK should grin & quietly bear the costs and personal hassle of being sued individually by the loser in his narrow council victory last fall — that his post at HucksOnline provides fodder for Brannon and the Kennedy haters who follow him. I wouldn’t. Would you?
At OpenCDA.com, Mary Souza provides her spin re: what happened during the Friday hearing on the latest motions by challenger Jim Brannon and incumbent Mike Kennedy. As you may recall, Judge Charles Hosack added the city of Coeur d’Alene back into the suit and rejected Kennedy’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit altogether. Using terms like “seasoned,” and “astute” to describe Hosack (largely, I suppose because he ruled the way she wanted), Souza gushed about the proceedings, even taking time to take a swipe at Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, who dared tell readers of this “internet gossip blog” that some on her side behaved badly in the courtroom. You can read Mary’s report on the courtroom proceedings here.
Question: Is Judge Hosack up to the task of handling this case properly?
- Judge denies Kennedy motion to dismiss the Brannon suit/Tom Hasslinger, Press
Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander: I was in the courtroom this afternoon (when Judge Charles Hosack added the city of Coeur d’Alene back into the Brannon suit as a co-defendant). I am a Republican and have attended many Republican functions. I recognized many of the Brannon supporters that were in the courtroom from some of those events. I was appalled at the disrespect shown and the comments made by some of those people. They all profess to have respect for the princlples of the founders of this great country of ours and trumpet how they are defenders of freedom and yet, whenever the attorneys for the City and Mike Kennedy spoke they were rude and disrepectful, making snide comments during the attorneys statements. It seems to me that respect for the court system is one of the most important principles of this country of ours, wether you agree or disagree with the issue. Respect was not shown today.
Question: Why are some grownups — and I use that word advisedly in this case — simply rude, even in such public settings as a courtroom?
This afternoon, Judge Charles Hosack reinstated the city of Coeur d’Alene as a defendant in Jim Brannon’s ongoing attempt to overthrow his narrow 2009 Coeur d’Alene City Council election loss to Mike Kennedy. Hosack ruled that all the individual council members, excluding Kennedy, were exempt from the suit. Huckleberries hears that city attorney Mike Haman paused at one point when a Brannon supporter made an outburst during his arguments. But Hosack either didn’t hear the outburst or ignored it. Haman then continued. Plaintiff Brannon already has excluded the county from the lawsuit. The case will now continue.
- Election challenge returns to court after 2-month break/Tom Hasslinger, Press
In her latest newsletter, Mary Souza has issued a call to arms (figuratively) to her F Troopers to be at the courthouse today when Judge Charles Hosack hears a series of motions in Jim Brannon’s never-ending lawsuit against incumbent Mike Kennedy. The hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. But the courtroom hasn’t been determined yet. Mary points out that one of the issues on board is Bill McCrory’s attempt to bring the city back into the lawsuit. Sez Mary: ”It would help a great deal to have as many people as possible present at the hearing so retired Judge Hosack, newly appointed to this case, understands the public’s interest in this important issue.” Stay tuned.
Question: How do you think this will play out?
Councilman Mike Kennedy tells HucksOnline that Judge Chuck Hosack has set 3 p.m. Friday as the date to heard a number of motions in Jim Brannon’s lawsuit, including: Brannon’s motion to reconsider dismissal of the city, motion for permissive appeal of dismissal of city, motion to strike affidavits of defendant Kennedy, McCrory’s motion to intervene and defendant Kennedy’s motion to dismiss. Kennedy said he doesn’t know which courtroom will be used.
DFO: Sometimes, I get surprised that this silly suit — and I, indeed, believe it has next to no substance — is still in play, until I hear of another court date involving it.
Huckleberries has learned from Councilman Mike Kennedy that Judge Charles Hosack has been appointed to take over the case and preside over any trial that might result from challenger Jim Brannon’s lawsuit. Hosack will replace Judge Benjamin Simpson, who stepped down from the case earlier this month w/o giving a reason.
Another Berry Picker at the local GOP CC meeting last night offers this: “After Starr’s presentation, which he emphasized a number of times the suit is to contest the handling of the election, a committee member made a motion to donate $2,500 to the legal fund (again emphasized not a campaign fund) on the basis that the proper handling of the election process affects all citizens and all candidates in future elections. After much discussion, including a few members who pointed out that the committee would be beat up on the blogs because it would have the appearance of partisanship, the point was made that the role of a central committee (for both parties) is to work for the election of their party’s candidates in county and state elections. The central committee is not a PAC and that’s why the motion failed, not because of fear.”
Question: If local Republicans had contributed to Brannon’s legal fund, what would have been the fallout among regular R’s and the rest of the community?
Huckleberries hears from a Berry Picker … that Starr Kelso gave a rundown re: his version of Jim Brannon’s Coeur d’Alene City Council election lawsuit against Councilman Mike Kennedy at the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting last night. I’ll let my Berry Picker take it from there: “A motion to support the Election Contest court case was introduced. Got the wimpy GOP all riled up. They were afraid of the perception and how they would be ‘brutalized on the blogs.’ Even some prominent ones that are running for state office were afraid of sticking their neck out.”
Question: Do you understand the politicians’ reluctance to be ‘brutalized on the blogs.” Is the local blogosphere that intimidating? Or are the politicians that wimpy?
- Thursday’s Poll: 132 of 182 respondents (73%) said that Jim Brannon’s ongoing lawsuit to overturn his 5-vote loss to Mike Kennedy in the 2009 City Council elections is no more than “sour grapes.” 50 of 182 respondents (27%) said that the lawsuit represents Brannon’s attempt to correct problems in the municipal election process.
- Weekend Question (in lefthand rail): If the GOPrimary election occurred today, which two county commissioner candidates would win your vote?
Cis: This is not sourgrapes per se … it isn’t the process so much either … IT IS PERSONAL … it has been since Mike ran the first time … he has had a target set on him since he started the first run … and the group is mad because he got past the residence bit … even though it was very legal … so they have harrassed him from the side lines since then … constantly … then he ran again … And if the process was perfect, they would have found something to use to have what you have today. The fact that 5 votes defined this election fell into their laps, was a wonder.
Question: Do you think Jim Brannon’s lawsuit would have gone on as long as it has, if Councilman Mike Kennedy wasn’t involved?
Question from Berry Picker: Did you notice that the Coeur d’Alene Press story cited information from Huckleberries Online without providing attribution. My guess is they edited out the attribution to not give you any credit. What do you think?
“Kennedy commented online after a recent Press article about the challenge, detailing the financial burden he has endured fighting his five-vote victory in court. ‘My family is having to bear this burden simply because I won an election,’ Kennedy wrote, calling Idaho’s current political climate ‘toxic’ where winning a close election can put one at risk of getting sued. ‘The city and county are not responsible for my legal bills, I am personally,’ he wrote.” Tom Hasslinger’s story here.
DFO: I think you guessed right. But it’s not that big of a deal. The story got out.
In a letter to City Clerk Susan Weathers Wednesday, attorney Starr Kelso (pictured) said that the Secretary of State’s office is wrong when it says that any fund-raising to aid Jim Brannon’s election challenge is subject to campaign finance laws. Kelso was responding to a letter from Timothy A. Hurst, chief deputy of the Secretary of State’s office. Hurst had written to City Attorney Mike Gridley in response to this question: “Are expenditures by a candidate incurred as part of a post-eletion lawsuit challenging or upholding the election results valid campaign expenditures under Idaho Code title 67, Chapter 66.” Hurst answered in a word “yes.” And then elaborated (Hurst letter here). Brannon attorney Kelso responded to a letter from Weathers (Weathers letter here) referencing the Secretary of State’s opinion by saying: “Mr. Hurst’s reasoning and his conclusions contained in his undated letter are simply wrong.” (Kelso letter here). (Also: Weathers February letters to Jim Doty on same subject here.)
Question: Which side to you trust more re: the interpretation of campaign finance requirements in this instance — Chief Deputy Timothy Hurst or Brannon attorney Starr Kelso?
KXLY video of Thursday story re: the Coeur d’Alene City Council election challenge by Jim Brannon of his 5-vote loss to incumbent Mike Kennedy:
- Wednesday Poll: A plurality of 61 of 152 respondents (40%) said that an accountant does their taxes for them. 50 of 152 (33%) said they use tax software to do their taxes. 30 of 152 (20%) said they do their own taxes. 8 of 152 (myself included) said they use a firm like H&R Block to do their taxes. And 3 of 152 (2%) said they don’t file returns.
- Pro-Tech School: 62 of 103 respondents (60%) said they’d support a $9.5M capital facilities levy to build a professional-technical school on the Rathdrum Prairie.
- Today’s Question (in lefthand rail): Why is Jim Brannon pursuing his lawsuit against Mike Kennedy?
Five months after voters cast their ballots, election results for Coeur d’Alene’s City Council Seat #2 are still in dispute. Incumbent Mike Kennedy beat opponent Jim Brannon by five votes so now Brannon is turning to the court hoping a district judge will order a new election. Brannon says his challenge is not about losing or winning or even the city council seat at this point. Brannon claims he continues to fight to ensure a fair electoral process but not everyone agrees. “I’m not a sore loser, it’s not about who won, its way past that, it’s about the process,” Brannon said. Brannon insists he’s not a sore loser after losing the closest race Coeur d’Alene has seen in decades, but instead of requesting a recount Brannon filed a lawsuit instead/Tania Dall, KXLY. More here.
- Simpson withdraws from Brannon case/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
Question: At this point, do you think Jim Brannon is a sore loser? Or do you think that his lawsuit is about fixing a flawed process?
Huckleberries has learned that Judge Benjamin Simpson has recused himself from Jim Brannon’s suit to overturn his 5-vote loss to Mike Kennedy in the 2009 City Council election. County Clerk Dan English said this morning that he’d received notice of Simpson’s decision Tuesday afternoon, confirming a tip that Huckleberries Online received. English said no reason was given for Simpson’s recusal. Now, it’s up to administrative Judge John Mitchell to appoint a new judge to hear the election challenge.
Question: Why do you think Simpson withdrew from the case?
Herb: If prayer really works, maybe we should all bow our heads in a request for sanity to return to Coeur d’Alene. And while we are at it, father, can you find some constitutional way to shut up the nay sayers? The natering nabobs of negativity?
Question: Can you provide a short print prayer in comments directed at the return to sanity for the city of Coeur d’Alene?
In an e-mail sent to Huckleberries Online, challenger Jim Brannon has challenged incumbent Coeur d’Alene Councilman Mike Kennedy to a second election to settle their contested City Council election of last November. He wrote to Kennedy that he’s willing to settle his lawsuit at the ballot box in the May 25 primary election. Brannon wrote: “I propose that the new election for Seat 2 be held as part of the upcoming primary. All the apparatus and people will already be in place. It would be a minimal cost to the City or County. Mike, I ask you to acknowledge the serious problems with the election. Join with me to request a new election. If we agree, I believe the City will agree and the Judge will order it. Then the necessary changes in the election process can occur in an atmosphere of cooperation. To ensure fair elections, let’s gather the people necessary to make the new election happen on May 25th. Time is short. Please let me know your answer.” You can read the text of Brannon’s challenge here. H/T: Soaf
Question: What would you do if you were Mike Kennedy?
Item: Votes questioned: Private eye firm finds several votes in November 2009 Coeur d’Alene election came from people who lived elsewhere/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press
More Info: Nancy E. White voted in the Nov. 3, 2009, Coeur d’Alene general election. The problem is, according to a Hayden private eye firm, White’s a Kootenai County resident who used a false Coeur d’Alene address to cast her ballot. Confidential Investigations, the firm hired by attorney Starr Kelso to dig into finding inadmissible ballots cast in the city election, said it has pinpointed several questionable votes such as White’s that could be thrown out. “You see stuff like that and you go, ‘time out,’” said Phil Thompson, Confidential Investigations vice president.
Question: What do you make of this development?