Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Frank Orzell and ReclaimCDA, the re-minted RecallCDA organization, will meet the candidates — or at least some candidates (judging from the group's email list) at Kathy Sims' Honda dealership on Seltice Way this evening. The get-together will begin at 7. Coeur d'Alene council candidates on the email list circulated last week were Sharon Hebert, Chris Fillios and Noel Adam. Adam is also the guest speaker this week at the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Meanwhile, Balance North Idaho is busy interviewing candidates fior endorsement purposes.
- Earlier: Orzell airs RecallCDA bat signal/HucksOnline
Frank Orzell, one of the ringleaders of the failed RecallCDA effort, circulated the following email to his followers, telling of a meet-the-candidates night at state Sen. Kathy Sims' Coeur d'Alene Honda dealership:
Please plan to attend a meeting of RECLAIM CdA on Wednesday, September 11, at (Coeur d'Alene) Honda on the 2nd floor conference room in the automotive side (newer building) of the complex. It is important that you arrive and enter the building before 7PM to allow sufficient time for the Honda staff to close down the business for the evening. You will meet our candidates and discuss with them their plans and needs as we head into the critical months leading up to the election on November 5. You all understand how important it is for us to be victorious in the effort we began with RECALL last year. We need your support.
For those keeping score at home, the names of three candidates who filed this week are on the email list: Sharon Hebert, Chris Fillios and Noel Adam. But none of the other candidates are on the email list, which includes who's who of conservative activists: Bill McCrory, Brent Regan, Jeff Ward, Jim Purtee, Rita Sims-Snyder, Sharon Culbreth, Terri Seymour, Gary Ingram, etc.
A Berry Picker dropped this mass mailing from Frank Orzell's Reclaim Coeur d'Alene off at Huckleberries HQ moments ago. Last week, Orzell, a leader in the failed RecallCDA effort, launched his new organization, Reclaim Coeur d'Alene. The RecallCDA group narrowly failed in its 2012 attempt to force Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers to face a recall election.
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.
Blast from the Past: In this Coeur d'Alene Press file photo from April 2012, Jeff and Pam Tyler stand under their umbrella as supporters of a recall of Coeur d'Alene's mayor and half of the city council chant outside of city hall Wednesday. (Press photo: Jerome A. Pollos)
Item: Reclaim Coeur d'Alene PAC is formed/Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: Recall CdA's organizer has formed a political action committee for the November city elections. Frank Orzell, who led the Recall CdA effort, formed the new committee, Reclaim Coeur d'Alene. He said in a press release Tuesday the group will provide information on relevant issues through its website and public events for direct interaction with candidates. “We are in the process of identifying potential candidates for voter consideration. Qualified individuals willing to step up to the challenge should make themselves known to the group by email.” (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo of Decline To Sign's Jennifer Drake encountering a RecallCDA protester last spring)
Question: So does Orzell want to reclaim Coeur d'Alene of six or seven years ago when he arrived in town? Or reclaim it as it was in the 1990s? Or rebuild the softball fields & American Legion Field on McEuen? What?
I had the strangest flyer taped to my front window this morning. Maybe someone taped it there Sunday. But I didn't see it until this morning. It focused on the county and legislative candidates in Coeur d'Alene who did or did not support RecallCDA. No organization was listed as responsible for the flyer. It seemed to focus on Republican Luke Malek (pictured), who, according to the flyer “declined to sign and placed his campaign signs on properties owned by people opposing the recall.” Also, the flyer noted, that Democrat Janet Callen, Luke's opponent, also did not sign the petitions. But “Constitution Party candidate for that seat, Ray Writz, proudly signed the recall petitions.” The flyer didn't say whether its backers supported or opposed the recall. But I'd guess that the backers supported the recall and Writz. (See attached flyer).
Question: Would the recall attempt earlier this year influence your vote for or against a candidate?
Mary Souza, thrice denied by Coeur d'Alene voters (loss to Mike Kennedy in 2005, Brannon's loss to Kennedy at polls and court 2009, and now RecallCDA loss), has emerged to denounce Secretary of State Ben Ysursa for recall failure. Seems Mary (shown in Phantom Photographer photo setting up for a Tea Party event at Greyhound Park) thinks Ysursa affected recall effort by shortening petition process & by declaring “that any person signing the Recall petition must have their petition city address match their Voter Registration city address exactly.” Seems Mary thinks that Ysursa's “second pivotal interpretation” cost Recallers 200 signatures. You can read her 10:01 post under today's editorial by Coeur d'Alene Press at Press Online here. You'll notice that Meesterbox & Timeless are engaged in thread, trying to match facts with fiction provided by Mary & her entourage (MisterD, LTRLTR, DeNiles, etc.) Don't be afraid to join the online party.
- Talking points to counter Mary & Co. at Press Online: Ysursa has forgotten more about election law than they'll ever know; hundreds of signatures were accepted before voter registration cards were turned in; signature gatherer Rod Bitterman's petitions were accepted and counted; and get over it.
I agree with the Recallers licking their wounds this morning that they sent a message to Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three Coeur d'Alene City Council members targeted for recall. But it's not the message they think they sent. The Recallers don't represent a majority of this community. That was evident in their inability to gain the required 4311 valid signatures after trolling Hard Right (Tea Party, Reagan Republicans, anti-property tax) precincts early and then beating every bush in Coeur d'Alene. The Recallers were unavoidable. I'd guess almost all of the registered voters in Coeur d'Alene saw them hanging out with their signs in high-visibility sidewalks and street corners, as well as Primary Election Day polling places. Yet, they didn't get the necessary signatures. They failed because the community didn't support the recall. On the other hand, Mayor Sandi Bloem & targeted council members know now that the Recallers aren't going away. Backed by the well-organized Reagan Republicans, they'll be back next fall to try to capture at least one more seat to take control of the council (now the Ron Edinger has thrown in his lot with Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams). Hard Right Republican partisans have already captured the Coeur d'Alene School Board (including two seats held by Trustees, Terri Seymour and James Purtee, who supported the recall). The message Mayor Bloem, the recall targets and their supporters must learn from this is … the 2013 municipal election campaign begins today. The Bloem administration and them must communicate its message of accomplishment much better. They need to stop being bullied by political opponents and confront propaganda and quarter truths with fact. Every time. In every venue — print, online or over the air. They need to start promoting new candidates, if any of them are certain now that they won't run for re-election in 2013. They should celebrate the defeat of the recall effort Wednesday night — and then get busy with their 2013 campaigns. I'm sure the other side has already began discussing Plan B — DFO
Jennifer Drake reports to HucksOnline that 7 anti-Recallers have gone through about 200 petitions, checking for signatures that should be disqualified — almost halfway there. She tells HBO: “Things are all over the board. Lots of people not registered as voters, lots of wrong addresses. More and more who signed the petitions before they were registered. But each page is so different that we really won't know until much closer to the end. It's a very tedious process. Another thing is that it's taking us a lot longer than we thought, and we don't even have to check as much as the clerk's staff does. It will be interesting to see if they get it all done in the shortened time period. I think there's a reason they are supposed to have 15 days.” Also, Jennifer tells HucksOnline that there seems to be invalid signatures on every petition, sometimes as few as one, other times as many as 10. (Coeur d'Alene Press file photo)
In case you didn't see yesterday's post with links to those who signed the RecallCDA petitions, you can read them by clicking on links below:
Originally posted at 3:13 p.m. today
… Anti-Recall organizers Sara Meyer and Jennifer Drake have found 4 petitions signed by Rodney Bitterman, the RecallCDA petition gatherer that was subject of an investigation after being recorded giving out false information to collect signatures on Tubbs Hill. The petitions were all dated around April 29 and the beginning of May. Ultimately, county Prosecutor Barry McHugh decided not to file charges against Bitterman reasoning that Bitterman didn't knowingly provide false information to collect signatures, which is a felony in Idaho. But it would be interesting if these four petitions could stand legal muster if the number of signatures needed for recall barely succeeds. Stay tuned.
- Recall signatures against Mayor Sandi Bloem
- Recall signatures against Councilman Mike Kennedy
- Recall signatures against Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander
- Recall signatures against Councilman Woody McEvers
Question: Can anyone open these large pdf files?
Mary Souza dances a little jig at the weekly Real Reagan Republicans luncheon Mary 17 shortly after announcing that she'd probably get her photo on Huckleberries Online shortly. Mary was greeted warmly by her peeps. Imagine the jig Mary is dancing today now that she and her Recallers appear to have the necessary signatures to trigger a Recall election against her political foes Mayor Sandi Bloem and Councilman Mike Kennedy and two other council members (Photo Photographer photo)
Mary Souza and her Recallers are massing at the upper parking lot of City Hall as I type this, preparing to turn in petitions to recall Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three targetted City Council members: Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy. Souza claims in an OpenCDA.com post that the Recallers will be delivering “well over 5,311 signatures” to City Clerk Susan Weathers. The Recallers need 4,311 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. Mary and her Recallers are planning a rally celebration in conjunction with turning in the petitions. She writes: “Please help us celebrate our hard work and effort by joining us for a Rally as the petitions are carried in.” Full post here.
At RecallCDA headquarters, Mary Souza continues to whip her troops to the finish line June 11. Mary sez that she's feeling the love from the community for her crusade, claiming 80 percent of the response from the community is positive and that many motorists are responding with waves, smiles and honks to volunteers holding “Recall CdA, Sign Here” signs. But she castigates the “weird negative vibe from the few Anti-recall folks.” Some, for goodness sakes, have given the volunteer Recallers a thumbs down. Others, according to Mary, have gone even further by flipping Recallers off, including a whole family “Both parents and 3 small children…all at once as they drove by. Great parenting from the Anti-recall group.” Now, I agree with Mary (mark your calendar) that there's no excuse for anyone flipping off the other side, if that's what really happened. However, Mary's leap to the connect-the-dot conclusion that Middle Finger Family (again, if it really exists) is associated with anti-recall organizers is over the top, too. You can read Mary's latest OpenCDA.com comment here.
DFO: BTW, I've asked the Coeur d'Alene police for that report of Mary's encounter with an anti-Recaller. 'Twill be interesting to see what each side said. I also plan to ask for the 911 recording from that incident.
Some have wondered whether any steps have been taken by the Souza-Orzell-Sims Recallers to remove names from petitions of individuals who have had second thoughts about the recall effort. The short answer is yes. City Clerk Susan Weathers responded to my inquiry into this situation this morning with this email: “I received information from the people who had requested from me that their names be removed, they received a certified letter from Mr. Orzell noting that as soon as he finds their names he will contact them to remove their names from the petitions. Today, one of the individuals told me he just received another letter from Mr. Orzell telling him the dates and times he may go to their office to remove their names. So it appears that they are in the process of removing their names.” In letters to Recall organizer Frank Orzell (pictured) earlier this spring, Weathers had cautioned that the names needed to be removed before she could perfect the petitions. You can read those letters here and here.
I know it's never news that Recall organizer Mary Souza is using her newsletter to criticize Councilman Mike Kennedy again. But it is interesting. Today, Mary blasts Mike for having the audacity to confront the Recaller who used Lake City High grounds over the weekend in an attempt to gain signatures, without permission. (You can read about that here.) Mary grouses: “Mike didn’t seem to notice the 5 cars with 'For Sale' signs parked in the school parking lot without permission. Bet he didn’t make any calls about those.” She also writes that she was confronted by a “Decline” guy named Jeffrey while she was on the sidewalk in front of Army-Navy Store on Government Way trying to attract signers. Again, Mary: “We expect the intimidation attempts to increase over these final 9 days.” Interestingly, toward the end, Mary admits that the Souza-Sims-Orzell recall attempt doesn't have enough names to cover possible fallout of invalidate signatures. You can read Mary's latest here.
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.
James Purtee, the newly appointed member of the Coeur d'Alene School Board, sets up an inflatable at McEuen Field over the Memorial Day weekend, supporting the attempted recall of Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and three City Council members: Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy. A Berry Picker reports: “Later, I saw this was little colorful air balloon with giant letters that said Recall CdA. From Front Ave, it was not very visible behind the trees and below the parking lot line of sight.”
Question: Some Coeur d'Alene residents are concerned that two Coeur d'Alene School Board members actively support the recall effort — Terri Seymour, one of the original signers of the petition to launch the recall, and now Purtee. What do you think?
At the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday night, RecallCDA organizer Frank Orzell of Coeur d'Alene, pictured, said (according to the rough draft of City Clerk Susan Weathers' minutes) “… that he had received complaints of intimidation. John Montandon, 6269 E. French Gulch Rd., commented that he allowed the recall group to use his parking lot and as a result he received calls from clients stating that they were going to stop doing business at his store and believes that this is a form of intimidation. Mayor Bloem noted that this is a very personal time for her and the Council being recalled and their families. She respects the right for citizens to shop where they want, but she does not condone any threatening or intimidation.” Stop the Recall organizer Jennifer Drake commented later that she and other members of her group have been intimidated, too. She reportedly turned to Montandon in the audience and apologized to him for feeling intimidated for anything that was happening.
- You can read Susan Weathers' rough draft of the council meeting here.
- You can read the prepared statement made by Stop the Recall organizer Jennifer Drake here.
Item: Recall drive hits 3,700: Group needs 4,311 valid signatures from voters/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: RecallCdA said Monday it has about 3,700 petition signatures seeking the ouster of four Coeur d'Alene officials. The group needs 4,311 valid signatures from registered Coeur d'Alene voters to issue a recall election against Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers — all of whom supported moving forward with the McEuen Field redevelopment project.
Family of Mayor Sandi Bloem closed a pair of accounts at Sherman Hardware this week, after the store's owner allowed recall supporters to seek signatures to oust the mayor and three city council members. The decision was a personal one, family members said, and not part of an orchestrated retaliation against store owner John Montandon. Montandon, who has owned the hardware store at 1010 Sherman Ave. for 24 years, said he has been “dodging bullets” from upset citizens after he let RecallCdA supporters — the group organizing the petition drive - use his parking lot to gather signatures. “And I think I've got hit several times,” Montandon said Wednesday. He said he has received between 15 and 25 phone calls from upset people since petitioners started using his lot on Sunday/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: State Sen. Kathy Sims in Sherman Hardware lot earlier this week)
The divide widened this week after some downtown business owners who display “Decline to Sign” signs at their stores began receiving a postcard addressed to them, mocking their stance. The postcard, mailed from Spokane without a sender's name, calls the store owners “servants to the glorious Visionaries!”
Original story: Hayes asks (for) recaller recording investigation
RecallCdA organizer Frank Orzell confirmed Thursday the recall petitioner secretly recorded giving inaccurate information in an attempt to solicit a signature works for his organization. Orzell said he spoke to the petitioner — whose first name was withheld from the online story but is known by The Press — about not using misinformation in the future. “We do an extensive training program,” Orzell said of the petitioners, most of whom are volunteers but some are paid. “He did not intentionally” use wrong information, Orzell said. The recording was provided to The Press Tuesday, and posted online with a short story Wednesday. The approximately three minute recorded conversation between a man and the petitioner could not be authenticated because neither camp would go on the record Wednesday, but Orzell said Thursday the conversation did happen/Tom “Pitbull” Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you think charges should be filed for giving false information to obtain signatures?
I.C. 34-1713(3) The signer of any recall petition may remove his own name from the petition by crossing out, obliterating, or otherwise defacing his own signature at any time prior to the time when the petition is filed.
Responding to an email, City Clerk Susan Weathers tells Huckleberries Online that nine to 12 residents who'd signed the RecallCDA petitions contacted her office Wednesday to ask how to take their names off the petitions. She emails: “As the I.C. indicates, you must remove your own name, no one else can do it for you. The preferred process would be to send an email request to both me at firstname.lastname@example.org and to Frank Orzell at email@example.com requesting your name be taken off. Mr. Orzell indicated that he would then search the petitions (a group of names at a time), then contact the individuals to let them know when the petitions would be available for them to go to the Recall CDA Office to remove their names. In order to avoid confusion, Mr. Orzell requested that anyone wishing to remove their names from the petition contact him directly and I am requesting that citizens copy me on their requests so I can confirm they had the opportunity to remove their names. If anyone prefers to call us directly - my phone number of 769-2231 and Mr. Orzell's phone number is 819-2912.”
Question: Do you know anyone who is having second thoughts about signing the petitions?
In her latest newsletter, Mary Souza of OpenCDA.com claims that RecallCDA is more than halfway to the goal of getting signatures needed to trigger a recall election involving Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy. But Mary sounds a bit desperate: “The Recall effort may be down but we are NOT OUT! We are already beyond the halfway point in both time and signatures, but we need to ramp it up and kick into high gear. Will you help? I’m serious.” Then, she claims that the Coeur d'Alene Press has turned against the Recallers (although I believe the Press has been extremely fair re: coverage of this divisive issue): “The Press is teetering on the brink of insanity, with overly dramatic headlines nearly every day. Reporter Tom Hasslinger has morphed from a nice guy into a pit bull looking for blood, no accuracy or accountability required.” She goes on to say that Hasslinger has “hounded” Recall leader Frank Orzell several times each day, showed up at his house unannounced and even threatened him, saying “The road is going to get very rough for you…” And you want Mary's friends on the council to pick the next mayor and 2 City Council members? Tsk. Tsk. Full newsletter here. (Phantom Photographer photo: Mary hanging with Gov. Otter at Post Falls Pachyderms Unity dinner)
Question: Isn't the Recall effort in big-time trouble if it is only halfway (Mary's claim not mine) to the signature goal at this point? Shouldn't the first 1000-2000 signatures be the easiest to get?
Update 2: “The Press knows the identity of the individual who recorded the conversation, and we know the first name of the petitioner. Recall CdA organizer Frank Orzell did not deny or confirm that they have a petitioner by that name when Tom Hasslinger asked him about it.”
Update: Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes just told The Press he would like to see a legal investigation of the recording. Hayes said he will ask Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo to have the department open an investigation.
A recording of an apparent recall petitioner soliciting signatures reveals that the petitioner used wrong information while attempting to get at least one person to sign. The recording turned over to The Press Tuesday took place on Tubbs Hill around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the person who provided the tape. The person who recorded the conversation via cell phone did not want his name in the story, but the recording tracks several minutes of apparent conversation between him and another male apparently trying to gather signatures on a recall petition seeking a recall election against four Coeur d’Alene officials/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
- Spending $40 million to renovate the park
- 18% property tax increase
- Denied a vote six times
- Get to elect a new mayor and council in November
- Redoing all the trails on Tubbs Hill and make it more commercialized
On the Reagan Republican Facebook page, a RR Friend reports that he has made the difficult decision to sign the petition to recall the mayor and three council members in Coeur d'Alene. Interestingly, he writes:He goes on to say that he regards anyone “
The leader of an effort to recall Coeur d’Alene’s mayor and half of the City Council characterized his differences with the council as an ideological dispute over their vision for Coeur d’Alene, including how much public money should be spent on downtown improvement. “There’s an inordinate focus on downtown business interests…There’s a feeling that downtown is getting more than its share of attention,” said Frank Orzell, a retired management consultant who is leading the recall effort. A $14.2 million makeover planned for McEuen Field – a popular green space on Lake Coeur d’Alene – was simply the latest controversy in a growing discontent with city leadership, Orzell said. “McEuen Field coalesced a lot of people into taking action,” he said. “They started clamoring for recall”/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.
DFO: If you're keeping score at home, this is the 7th recall post today. Sawwy.
Question: As their a clamor for recall citywide, or simply in the circles in which Orzell runs?
Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes has filed suit against the city of Coeur d'Alene and individuals involved on both sides of the recall attempt in an effort to clarify the recall deadline, now set for June 19. Hayes, through his counsel, Prosecutor Barry McHugh, wants to clarify whether the recall process, including signature verification ends on June 19. Or whether that is the date to complete signature gathering, with verification coming afterward. Named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit besides the city of Coeur d'Alene are Mayor Sandi Bloem and the three recall targets, Councilman Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy, as well as Recall CdA and recall organizer Frank Orzell. link to lawsuit here.
Looks like RecallCDA will be using its Tea Party connections to collect signatures tonight at the Greyhound Track. Someone pseudonymed William Wallace posted this in a comment thread: “RecallCDA will be collecting signatures at the Conservative Candidate Forum, April 11th, Greyhound Park, Post Falls. Doors open at 5:00. Stop by, sign the petition and meet the candidates that will be on the May 15th primary ballot.”
On OpenCdA today, Mary Souza is questioning the 500 individuals on Facebook now backing the Stop the Recall movement, which she calls “Government-Knows-Best” group. Mary suggests in a comment that the 500 individuals who have signed on in support may simply be combined groups of friends dumped onto the new page by the Stop the Recall organizers. “The problem is that many folks don’t check their Facebook info very often. So they could be in the Government-Knows-Best group for days or weeks before they realized they were automatically part of a group they didn’t want to be associated with.” Then, she goes further and says that's exactly what the Stop the Recall group is doing. Quoth: “They don’t want voters of CdA to have a voice and they dump people into their Facebook group without approval. Tacky.”
Question: Are you part of the Friends group for the Stop The Recall Facebook page?
- Question: What do you think of the recall announcement today?
- Sandi Bloem: We were informed earlier so I wasn't surprised. I've been hearing rumors for several months. They have the right to do that.
- Question: What do you plan to do at this point?
- Bloem: I plan to do just what I would be doing whether the petition had been filed or not. I will continue working with the staff and the community to hopefully make this a great place to live.
- Question: Are you disheartened that a recall effort is under way not only against you but three fairly respected members of the council?
- Bloem: I'm disappointed because this is divisive for the community. For me personally, I would be very selfish if I was disappointed in the 11 years I've been able to serve this community. It has been an incredible opportunity and I would do it again in a heart beat.
- Question: Do you think that Frank Orzell & Co, who filed the recall papers today, speak for the community?
- Bloem: They speak for a portion of the community. They have surrounded themselves with others who think like they do. I'm sure they don't speak for the community as a whole. No one does that.
- Question: Would you do anything differently re: your approach to McEuen Field upgrade?
- Bloem: No, not as far as hiring the amazing team we have (Team McEuen) and the approach of the advisory group and community meetings. I would change the way the message was delivered to some degree. I would try to communicate what was happening before untruths and rumors took the lead.
- Question: Will this recall effort cause qualified people in the community to take a pass on public elected office?
- Bloem: I think it will play a part in stopping people from running. The lack of civility at times & lack of respect for differing opinions, along with this effort, will make people think twice before they decide to put their name in the hat.