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In the draft minutes for the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting Tuesday, City Clerk Renata McLeod reports the discussion that led to a 5-1 vote (w/Councilman Steve Adams dissenting) to accept $125,000 in federal money to add officers to understaffed Coeur d'Alene Police Department:
Finance Director Troy Tymesen stated that the grants were the same and that leveraging dollars is an efficient way of managing staffing levels. He clarified that the City does not know when these grants are going to be available, so they have to be responded to quickly. Councilman Gookin stated that he understands that there are strings that come with a grant; however, the City needs the police positions and he will support this item. Councilman Adams stated that he has made his position clear, and clarified that as a fundamental fact government does not produce anything; therefore it has nothing to give. Anything the government gives away it must take from somebody else to do, therefore violating their rights. He believes it is a liberty and moral issue. He believes modest restructuring within the budget could cover the positions.
Question: Do you consider the ongoing, anti-federal government position by Adams to be principled or unreasonable?
City Councilman Steve Adams doesn't want to hire two more police officers despite the department's claim it's understaffed. Nor does the second-year councilman support the city extending its lease with the University of Idaho to allow the school to operate at the Harbor Center inside the education corridor. He says government doesn't have a role in education, which is why he's voting against the lease extension. And as for the additional officers, he opposes paying for them with the help of a federal grant, which is what the police department is proposing. “I'm not opposed to having additional officers or increased public safety, but I am opposed to the funding method, as I have been in the past,” said Adams, nicknamed by some Dr. No for frequently voting no, including against any grant tied to federal money, on Monday/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you think Adams is making a principled stand?
COEUR d'ALENE - Ouch.
It's been quite a week in what's been quite a month for Councilman Steve Adams, who drew his fair share of attention recently for advocating the city go to an election to decide the fate of the wastewater treatment plant and the multi-million dollar upgrades it requires.
The pursuit of an election made the second-year councilman unpopular with the rest of the council, which preferred judicial confirmation to secure the funds.
Tense meetings on the topic lasted all March, which included arguing, finger pointing, a 911 call, alleged threats, shaking fists and swear words.
Add a parking ticket.
Not just left on a windshield, but posted online, to boot.
“I didn't expect that one,” Adams said Thursday of the parking ticket he received March 28 while attending a City Council workshop involving the sewer issue at the public library - a ticket he appealed, lost, and was posted online on a blog that has been critical of Adams every step of the wastewater way. “I was surprised.” More here. Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press
Do you think the things posted on this blog amount to a campaign to make Steve Adams look bad? And do you believe his statement that he doesn't pay attention to Huckleberries Online?
- Steve Adams
Update: Huckleberries has learned that the Parking Commission has denied Councilman Steve Adams' appeal of a parking ticket at the Coeur d'Alene Library. Here is the reply from the Parking Commission: “His notice with denial was mailed out on the 2nd of April so as far as we are concerned the matter is closed. He was given until April 15 to pay. If he doesn't, it will go to collections just like any other citizen.”
Constitutionalist Councilman Steve Adams has seen the light re: his threatened appeal of judicial confirmation of the “ordinary and necessary” sewer plant expansion. So Huckleberries wonders if he has also gained clarity re: some sort of divine right of local elected officials not to pay parking tickets. Huckleberries has submitted a request to City Hall, asking if Adams has also dropped his appeal of the $15 parking ticket he got for staying over-long in a Coeur d'Alene Library space during a joint meeting between the City Council and Lake City Development Corp. I'll let you know the answer when I get it. Meanwhile, you can amuse yourself by re-reading this episode of the Trials & Tribulations of Councilman Adams here.
Question: Should we talk up a collection to pay Adams' ticket in appreciation for all the blog fodder he has provided over the last 7 to 10 days?
Bill, Mary and the OpenCDA.com crowd never fail to amaze. After watching Golden Boy Steve Adams toss in the towel re: his threatened appeal of the sewer treatment plant expansion, I was curious how OpenCDA.com would spin the inglorious defeat. In four words: “Well done, Councilman Adams!” I'm at a loss re: what Adams did well, other than read a prepared statement on two or three different occasions, call the cops on City Attorney Mike Gridley, and remind many of us that he's not ready for Woody TV prime time on council nights. Well done? Adams couldn't find any place for judicial confirmation in his reading of the Idaho Constitution (although the practice was used for sewer expansions in Post Falls and Hayden). And then, after he was roundly criticized for endangering the city's economy with his ploy, he saw the light and celebrated Judge John Luster's wise decision. Well done? What changed between the two divine revelations (other than some hilarious dust-ups on and off camera)? We're going ahead with the sewer expansion without a public vote, which Adams declared only days ago to be unconstitutional. I'd be somewhat impressed if Adams admitted he was wrong rather than offer a smoke-and-mirrors excuse for his second flipflop on this same issue. I suppose the OpenCDAers have to mollify the dwindling number of individuals you can fool all the time, with its proclamation: Well done/DFO. You can read Bill McCrory's full post here.
In this Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 video, Coeur d'Alene School Board candidate Bjorn Handeen (who's running against Tom Hearn) voiced support for Councilman Steve Adams before Adams withdrew his threat of appealing a judicial confirmation decision re: sewer plant expansion. During public comments, Handeen said he took offense to jabs taken at fellow Constitutionalist Steve Adams for his stand against judicial confirmation on constitutional grounds. Handeen said there are thousands of fellow Constitutionalists in Coeur d'Alene who support Adams through their votes.
- H/T: Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, for providing video
Question: Any thoughts about Adams' prepared statement?
The election is off. Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Steve Adams said he will withdraw his pledge to appeal a judge's ruling that green-lights major upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, meaning the city will secure roughly $33.5 million for the project through a judicial confirmation after all. It also means the May 21 election will be called off. Adams said Tuesday evening he was satisfied with 1st District Judge John Luster's decision issued hours before the City Council meeting that declared the project was “ordinary and necessary,” and voter approval to secure the debt obligation wasn't required/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: So why did Adams say “uncle”?
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?
Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams is appealing a $15 parking ticket that he received from Diamond Parking at 2:28 p.m. Thursday while he attended a joint meeting of the council and Lake City Development Corp. Adams was ticketed for parking for more than two hours at 710 Front Avenue (Coeur d'Alene Library parking lot). In his appeal, Adams protested that he “was attending a 'special call' council meeting in the community room of library — official Government Business — meeting ran long. However believe there (is) an exception for elected officials.” You can see Adams' appeal and citation here.
DFO: Should we take up a collection to help Councilman Adams pay his parking fine?
Question: Do you agree with Councilman Adams that elected officials should be immune from parking tickets that occur while they're engaged in official business?
Coeur d’Alene’s plans for a $36 million upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant took a strange turn when a lone City Council member decided he knew more about the Idaho Constitution and the environmental challenges cities face removing phosphorus from the Spokane River. Councilman Steve Adams was on board with the upgrades until last month, when he announced that the city’s funding plan was unconstitutional. He then leveled a threat to delay the project for up to a year, forcing the City Council to put the project to a vote May 21. The irony is that this anti-government ideologue’s antics will end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to stage and promote the election, and potentially millions more if the voters say no. This is what happens when officeholders try to dismantle government, rather than run it/SR Editorial Board. More here.
It's going to a vote. The Coeur d'Alene City Council agreed Thursday to ask voters for the authority to borrow up to $36.3 million for federally mandated upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. The City Council begrudgingly voted 4 to 1 to put the up or down question on a ballot for the May 21 election as a way to prevent one councilman from handcuffing the city's options by tying the issue up in court. It means the city all but will abandon its preferred route — judicial confirmation — which would be the less expensive option. But the council said an election is the best route to take to prevent the project from possibly stalling. “This is ridiculous. We shouldn't be here,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman. “Steve put us all in a very bad position over an ideological matter that I think is a misunderstanding of Idaho state law”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust Coeur d'Alene Press photo: City Attorney Mike Gridley explains bond vote to City Council)
Question: What will be the political fallout for Councilman Steve Adams in all of this?
In the letters to the editor section of today's Coeur d'Alene Press:
- Pro Adams: I would just like to go on record about Steve Adams. I’ve done business with Steve for many years. I have found him to be a very honest, straightforward and sincere person. Why does the mayor, Woody and the city attorney seem to want to attack him verbally because he wants the public to have a say in what is going on in our fair(?) city? Just because he changed his mind on something and chose to speak against it (the sewer project)/Larry Pilcher, Coeur d'Alene. More here.
- Anti Adams: I never thought I’d live to see the day when the Coeur d’Alene City Council would make the Spokane City Council look sane. Sadly, that day has arrived. 911? Really? Wagging your finger in the face of our Mayor? Really? How moronic/Tina Johnson, Coeur d'Alene.
Question: Has your view of Adams changed since the flap over judicial confirmation for the wastewater treatment plant expansion?
It could go to a vote. Coeur d'Alene's legal department said Wednesday it's recommending the city hold an election to get approval to pay for up to $36.3 million worth of federally mandated improvements to its wastewater treatment plant — a move that comes in response to one councilman's pledge to tie the matter up in court if the city didn't ask voters. Staff has crafted a proposed bond ordinance that it will ask the City Council to approve during a special meeting at noon today that would put the issue before voters on May 21. It means the council could decide on whether to hold an election on wastewater treatment plant upgrades before it even knows the fate of its judicial confirmation — the way it originally sought to secure the money to pay for the project/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: This might be the day that Judge John Luster rules that the federally mandated sewer plant expansion is a necessary expense, not requiring a public vote.
Question: Has anyone called Councilman Steve Adams to inform him that he represents more people than just the OpenCDA.com crowd in this matter?
The decision by veteran Treasurer Tom Malzahn to withdraw plans to retire should serve as a warning to all Kootenai County Republicans that something's very wrong at the Central Committee level. Malzahn rescinded his retirement because he isn't confident that the Central Committee would pick at least one qualified person among the three names it would send to the County Commissioners to fill his vacancy. Everyone knows that Treasurer Malzahn considers his able assistant, Laurie Thomas, to be the most qualified person in the county to fill his shoes. But rumors abound that a subgroup within the Central Committee was lobbying actively behind the scenes to make sure that Laurie's name wasn't among the three sent to the commission. The in crowd wanted a party hack instead. The GOP Central Committee no longer can be trusted to act in the best interests of the public. Rather, it has become a vehicle for Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paulers, and various other elements of the local Tea Party to push their extreme agendas under the name of the Republican Party. For the past year, we have watched as “Republican” activists have created turmoil on the Coeur d'Alene City Council and Coeur d'Alene School Board. Councilman Steve Adams, a former North Idaho Patriot for Ron Paul, won office as a “Republican” and now has Coeur d'Alene facing an economic disaster as a result of his flipflop stand against wastewater treatment expansion. The Coeur d'Alene School Board, including three appointees, all of whom have Republican Party backing, has bounced from one self-inflicted controversy to another in the last 9 months. Malzahn's decision puts a fine point on the radicalism of the local GOP CC. Anyone who stands up to this new version of the Grand Old Party will be denounced as a “liberal” and trashed. But that's a small price to pay to take our Kootenai County communities back from the right-wing RINOs/DFO.
It appears that the 911 call by Councilman Steve Adams is going viral. Here's how Glenn Church presented the situation on his Web site Foolocracy: Government by Fools, Silliness & Unintelligent People:
Idaho politics might be a little too intense for Coeur d’Alene City Councilman Steve Adams. In a city council meeting, city attorney Mike Gridley got within a foot of Adams while using some profanity and calling Adams a “moron.” The topic was how the city will pay for an overhaul of a sewage treatment plant. Gridley never touched Adams, threatened him or raised his hands in an intimidating manner. Vehemently disagreeing with Adams and questioning Adams’ intelligence was enough to inspire Adams to call police. Afterwards, Adams said that he overreacted. While calling Adams a “moron” isn’t going to settle any political issues, Adams reaction to calling the police doesn’t do anything to dispute Gridley’s observation. More here (including KREM video from Monday newscast.
Question: Adams admits on the KREM video that he overreacted. Does he owe his constituents a public ap-hollo-gy?
Councilman Steve Adams says he's been inspired by libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. (Inlander photo: Mike McCall)
“McEuen field isn’t the main issue. Not anymore,” Goodlander says. “It’s a philosophical difference.” Goodlander says she’s been a lifelong Republican, but Adams isn’t conventionally conservative. “There was a lot of stuff going on in Coeur d’Alene that was a microcosm of the federal government,” Adams says. “Just tax-and-spend, liberal, Machiavellian, ends-justify-the-means governing.” Describing his political philosophy at Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, Adams cites his discovery of libertarian Ron Paul. “They call him Doctor No,” Adams says. “It was amazing. There were hundreds of votes where he was the only guy to vote no.” Adams has also repeatedly voted no. Any time there’s a tax increase or use of federal money, he votes no. “The federal government’s broke,” Adams says. “Why should we perpetuate the problem?”/Daniel Walters, Inlander. More here.
DFO: I missed this one, from last week's edition of the Pacific Northwest Inlander.
After almost a year and a half of on-the-job training, the Adams saga just gets weirder. It reached a low-water mark last week in yet another heated debate over the city's wastewater treatment plan, this time a post-meeting whizzing match first with City Attorney Mike Gridley and then with Mayor Sandi Bloem. Bad words, pointy fingers and clenched fists all reportedly were wielded. Feelings ended up being the only articles that were actually bruised in the final act of this particular high schoolish drama, but some very real concerns are emerging among the electorate. When it comes to ideology vs. policy, is Adams just playing devil's advocate, or is he actually the devil?/Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.
Do you suppose that the hard-working 911 dispatcher bit her tongue when Coeur d’Alene Councilman Steve Adams SOS’d to tattle on City Attorney Mike Gridley? A short version of the two-minute 911 call made by Adams after the testy council meeting Tuesday: He’s bigger than me, and he called me names (“moron” being the only printable one). The two have been dueling over the councilman’s attempt to sidetrack a federally mandated $33 million expansion of the city’s sewer plant. The dispatcher coulda told Adams to call a Wahhhmbulance. Or lectured him not to use 911 except for emergencies. But she remained professional throughout. Which is something that can’t be said for Adams or Gridley/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
I wasn't able to post the audio of Councilman Steve Adams' 911 call until late yesterday afternoon — you know, the one claiming that City Attorney Mike Gridley had threatened him after the City Council meeting Tuesday. It's definitely worth a full day of discussion today. You can read the actual text of that discussion here.
The lone city councilman who opposes the city's request for a judicial confirmation said his opposition to the issue earned him threats from the mayor and city attorney following a meeting late Tuesday - claims the two officials deny. Steve Adams, the second-year councilman who opposes paying for $33 million in upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, said City Attorney Mike Gridley told Adams to “(bleep) off” following the four-hour meeting and Mayor Sandi Bloem said she wanted to punch the councilman's nose off. “For the City Attorney to verbally assault me, twice now, with inflammatory and derogatory comments, is a violation of his attorney code of ethics and, according to the city's personnel rules, is insubordination,” Adams stated in a press release, calling for Gridley's termination and an apology from Bloem. Bloem and Gridley said they didn't threaten the second-year councilman/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: How do you think this is going to play out?
Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander: Mr Adams has his facts a little skewed. He was out of control and Mike Kennedy along with Ron was trying to get him to calm down. He shook his fist not two inches from the Mayors face and she reacted telling him to back off, when he did not do so she in her words “lost it” She later felt badly that she had allowed him to make her so angry. I find it sad that Mr Adams fans find it acceptable for him to abuse staff members, the Mayor and other members of the council as well as the potential damage that he could cause to the citizens of Coeur d'Alene. I also find Mr Adams search for constant publicity for his behavior and his lack of respect for the professionals that work for the city a matter of deep concern.
Question: Hmm. Sounds like there are a number of eyewitnesses to the incident involving Adams, Gridley and later, Mayor Bloem. What do you think?
Councilman Steve Adams is demanding an apology from Mayor Sandi Bloem and the immediate firing of City Attorney Mike Gridley for an incident that happened after Tuesday night's council meeting. The Coeur d'Alene Presss Online just filed a story. Here's Adams' explanation of the incident:
“While still in the community room after last night's city council meeting, City Attorney Mike Gridley approached me and asked if I was going to provide him with a copy of the ethics complaint I filed against him. I told him the Idaho State Bar would likely send him a copy with a request to respond. He then proceeded to get in my face and told me was a “moron”. I asked him If he was threatening me, he said no, but that in 30 years of practicing law he had never had anyone make a complaint against him, and again he told me I was “moron”. He was still in my face at this point, just inches away, leaning in on me. I again asked if he was threatening me and he said no, but that I could “(bleep) off you stupid moron.” At this point I grabbed my cell phone and called 911 to ask for officer assistance as I perceived this as an assault. Mr. Gridley walked away saying he was going to his office and then home. I walked through the library and into the ante room where the Mayor, Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander, Wendy Gabriel and Jon Ingalls were standing. Mike Kennedy told me I should calm down. I told him about the exchange I had with Mr. Gridley and he responded with surprise and expressed dissatisfaction. I turned to the Mayor and pointed at her exclaiming that she should take disciplinary action against Mr. Gridley. She told me not to point at her, so I apologized for pointing. She then said not only would she not be disciplining Mr. Gridley but, raising her fist at me, she said she had half a mind to 'punch my nose off of my face'.” More of Adams' statement below. More of Tom Hasslinger's Press report here.
Question: Who owes whom an apology here?
In this video provided by Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, City Attorney Mike Gridley explains to Councilman Steve Adams why he's an adverse party in the judicial confirmation process for the wastewater treatment plant expansion.
Question: Do you understand what City Attorney Mike Gridley is telling Adams? And/or: Do you understand what Adams means by “circular reasoning,” in this situation
In this Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19 video, Coeur d'Alene Councilman Steve Adams waves off warnings from City Attorney Mike Gridley and wastewater treatment manager Sid Fredrickson that a delay in expansion of the sewer plant could cost Coeur d'Alene $1 million per month in fines — and a possible hookup moratorium that would shut down local construction.
We saw again last night why ideologues are bad replacements for competent elected local officials who put community needs and values ahead of personal agendas. Councilman Steve Adams, until now an interesting distraction who refuses to support any budgetary item tied to federal funding, placed the financial stability of Coeur d'Alene in danger by flipflopping on judicial confirmation of the federally mandated expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. He supported it. Then, he didn't. I was amazed, as I watched Coeur d'Alene TV Channel 19, how Adams waved off warnings from City Attorney Mike Gridley and wastewater treatment plant manage Sid Fredrickson re: his threat of appeal for pending judicial confirmation of the project. They said he could be subjecting the city of Coeur d'Alene to fines of $37,500 per day and $1M per month with his demand for a public vote on the scheduled expansion. More below.
Possible change of course. The city of Coeur d'Alene is considering asking voters for approval for millions of dollars in upgrades for its wastewater treatment plant instead of getting the go-ahead from a judge because of one councilman's pledge to tie up the matter in court. The City Council voted 4 to 2 Tuesday for staff to begin crafting what language on the ballot could look like if the city should send the issue to ballot in May. A couple months ago, the city unanimously sought a judicial confirmation that would allow the city to spend at least $33 million in upgrades to the plant in light of stricter federal discharge requirements. But Councilman Steve Adams - who voted in favor of the judicial confirmation - reversed his stance about a month ago and said he would appeal 1st District Judge John Luster's decision should Luster rule in favor of the city/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: This reckless action by Councilman Adams could cost the city $1 million per month in EPA fines and lead to a moratorium on sewer hook-ups, stopping the resurgence of the local housing industry. Also, it could lead to sewer fees in five years of $70 per month. It was amazing to watch Adams stubbornly shrug off those warnings from the city attorney and wastewater treatment manager last night.
What’s the latest on the dust up between City Attorney Mike Gridley and Councilman Steve Adams (pictured) following Tuesday’s public disagreement? A letter, no reply, and the Councilman still considering filing a complaint or two. Adams said this week he still hasn’t retained an attorney as he continues to consider filing a complaint against the city and Gridley stemming from when the City Council voted to remove Adams from legal discussions surrounding the judicial confirmation the city is seeking — a legal stance Adams opposes. “I’m being blackballed,” Adams said this week. He sent a two page letter to Gridley Friday asking Gridley to explain why HE considered Adams “an adverse party” and where in the rules it says the councilman should be excluded from the legal discussions. … Gridley told The Press he’s not going to respond/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Should Gridley respond to Adams?
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?
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.”
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?