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CdA Budget Calls For 2% Tax Hike

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

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

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

Adams: Rather Join Than Fight

A Coeur d'Alene city councilman who has voted against moving forward with nearly every component of the McEuen Field redevelopment plan, said he's ready to surrender the fight. "At this point, I've effectively conceded," Steve Adams said Tuesday, one day after voting to approve a memo of understanding between the city and American Legion baseball. "What else am I supposed to do?" Siding with Adams in favor of the MOU at Monday's General Services Committee meeting - an advisory panel of the City Council -was member Ron Edinger, who, like Adams, has opposed all votes tied to the estimated $14.2 million park overhaul since the beginning but agreed to the MOU. Edinger said he approved the MOU "begrudgingly," and did so only because American Legion baseball approved the agreement that would have them playing ball at Ramsey Park by opening day 2013. "The way I looked at it, the American Legion, their board was in favor of doing that," Edinger said. "I've always supported the Legion program, although I don't believe (the proposed ballpark is) equal or better"/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: I never thought I'd say this, but H/T to Steve Adams for seeing the light.

Question: Now are we ready to move ahead with making McEuen Field another terrific attraction on the Coeur d'Alene waterfront?

Edinger, Adams Oppose McEuen Pact

The fine print behind financing McEuen Field is set to go to the Coeur d'Alene City Council. Not that moving forward on the contract between the city and its urban renewal agency was recommended by the General Services Committee Monday - it wasn't - but the agreement that spells out the financial details on the downtown park reconstruction project will go before the City Council next week anyway. And if it's like everything else with McEuen Field, it will eke by, four votes to three. "Their concern is they want to make sure the work gets done and done in an acceptable manner if they're putting the money out," City Attorney Mike Gridley said on the reasons for a formal written agreement with Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency. "They're putting out a lot of money and they just want to make sure it goes for the project they're funding." LCDC has agreed to pay up to $11.5 million on the city's $14.2 million proposed park overhaul project/Tom Hasslinger,  Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Edinger and Adams appear to be no more than speed bumps as the city continues to work to improve McEuen Field?

Hucks: Adams Touchy About Rebuttals

Steve Adams, a new Coeur d’Alene councilman who refuses to support any issue that involves federal dollars, doesn’t like correction. After being corrected twice by City Attorney Mike Gridley for questionable statements, Adams asked Gridley in writing not to rebut him again during council meetings. Adams wrote that Gridley appeared to be dissing him to the mayor and council, staff and “especially the public.” Adams told Gridley to offer his opinions in private. Gridley responded that he has “a duty to correct any inaccurate statements of law or fact made by (Adams) or anyone else regarding the legality of city actions.” As an example, Gridley said, he would not say anything if someone opines that 15th Street is rough and should be repaved. However, Gridley wrote, if someone says 15th Street needs to be repaved because the city is violating the law “then I have a duty to express my legal opinion on the matter. It would be malpractice and a dereliction of duty if I didn’t”/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries print. More here.

Question: Do you like being corrected by someone?

Adams Lectures City Attorney Gridley

Here's the letter that Councilman Steve Adams sent to City Attorney Mike Gridley re: correcting Adams at City Council meetings: "I have been hesitant in writing to you to address my concern, because I do not want to damage our relationship, which I feel up to this point has been good. However, I believe my concern is of greater importance. Twice now you have rebutted me during a council meeting. After the first time you did call to apologize, which was respectable. I do believe however, that it is not appropriate for you to rebut me openly during a council meeting. I do not believe it is your intent to be disrespectful, but it gives that appearance to all other parties (mayor & council, staff and especially the public). I do value you(r) legal opinion, (please do not take this as snide) but, you are not an judge or the judge, and I have the right to express my opinions. I respectfully ask that in the future, (unless asked) you please refrain from rebutting me during a council meeting, instead addressing me after the meeting or contacting me at a later date." (For the record, Gridley declined a public request from Huckleberries Online for this letter, citing attorney-client privilege.)

2010: Adams Backs McEuen Upgrade

If you read the minutes of the Feb. 2, 2010, Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting, you'll see that then Parking Commissioner Steve Adams had this to say about McEuen Field: "Mr. Adams said that he would like to go on record that he supports enhancements to McEuen Field and improved parking capacity for those using the field but still expects the Mayor to apologize to Mary Souza." Mayor Sandi Bloem had challenged the claim from Souza, brought before her by Adams, that the city was planning to build a two-story parking garage on McEuen Field. The mayor further explained to Adams, according to the minutes, that enhancements are being looked at for McEuen Field and the City’s plan is to have community input. She noted that every time the topic of McEuen Field is mentioned there are always rumors, speculation and exaggeration spread around."

Question: Interesting, hunh?

Dan/Steve/Ron Would Fill Vacancies

Arsaken: To recall the Mayor and Council means that this group wants to take away our right to vote. They are attempting to invalidate my past vote for Mayor Bloem and these three councilmen. In addition, if the recall is successful, then Gookin, Adams, and Edinger get to select their personal choice as Mayor and Council, thus taking away our choice to vote. The idea of Mayor Souza (someone who ran for office and could not get elected) is enough to make me spend every waking hour trying to stop them.

DFO: I just talked to City Clerk Susan Weathers (who had discussed this with Coeur d'Alene legal counsel) about the progression should Mayor Sandi Bloem & 3 council members be recalled. Gov. Butch Otter would appoint a fourth City Council member to create a quorum w/Steve Adams, Dan Gookin and Ron Edinger. The new quorum would then appoint the mayor. Could be someone inside or outside the council. The mayor would then nominate individuals to fill the two remaining City Council seats. A council with only three voter-approved members would continue to hold office until the 2013 municipal election.

Question: Would you want Councilman Ron Edinger, Steve Adams and Dan Gookin to fill vacancies for the mayor and two council positions, if the recall is successful?

OTV: Where Does Gookin Stand?

OrangeTV: I’m also curious what Gookin’s thoughts are on this recall effort. He’s been suspiciously silent on the issue. Could it be that once he got into his position of city councilman he came to realize that the city council wasn’t all the smoke-and-mirrors, backroom dealing shadiness that he had been harping about for so long and that his co-council members are just normal people following due process and not the conspiracy laden bunch of folks he once imagined?

DFO: I also want to know where Steve Adams and his new best buddy, Ron Edinger, stand on this issue. It's one thing to disagree with other members of the City Council on a major issue — and quite another to support a recall attempt or remain mum while colleagues are trashed.

Question (for non-targetted half of the City Council): Where do you stand on this recall bid?

Move Afoot Not To Move Boat Parking

A boat launch without trailer parking attached to it isn't much of a boat launch, according to a pair of City Council members. City Council members Steve Adams and Ron Edinger (pictured) want to revisit the McEuen Field conceptual plan by directing its designers, Team McEuen, to include the current boat trailer parking lot at the Third Street marina. It doesn't make sense to keep the boat launch and not the adjoining parking lot, they said. "In the spirit of compromise, I think that's fair," Adams said Monday. The topic will go before the City Council next week after Adams and Edinger requested it be placed on next week's agenda during Monday's General Services Committee meeting/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Should parking for the Third Street boat launch remain adjacent to the docks?

JohnA: One & Done For Steve Adams

RE: Steve Adams: No on all federal funding/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

JohnA: Adams’ vote against the city matching federal funds for CityLink is very shortsighted. Does he really think without that match the federal government will simply save the million dollars a year they send to the county? That million per year is use-it-or-lose-it money; the feds give you three years to spend your allocation or IT GOES TO SOMEONE ELSE. The county opts to work with the Tribe and KMC to match the funds and 600,000 rides are the result. Meanwhile, it is grant money from the highway user tax on each gallon of gasoline we all buy. What better way to spend those user fees than encouraging people to take the bus instead? Adams’ stand is absolutely undefensible and his actions do nothing to further his community or the needs of his constituents. One and done, I hope.

Question: Is Steve Adams a man of principle re: his anti-federal government stand or extremely shortsighted?

Steve Adams: No On All Federal Funding

Item: Adams: No on all proposals tied to federal funding/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: City Councilman Steve Adams said this week he will not support any city proposal tied to federal funding. The new councilman voted Monday against extending a grant administration contract with Panhandle Area Council that helps the city allocate federal dollars it receives each year to assist low- to moderate-income families. Saying he was "philosophically opposed" to accepting federal money, Adams said he didn't plan to approve projects or contracts tied to national funds. "We've taken someone else's money and decided to give it to someone else," he said of federal grants. "And the federal government's broke to begin with."

Question: Do you agree/disagree with Adams' position on federal funds?

Adams Huffs About Ed Corridor

Councilman Steve Adams made the following comment to Jon Mueller during discussion of a proposed zone change for the Education Corridor: The whole entire Ed Corridor project got scrutiny from its very inception mainly due to the funding process, the complicated, back door method, bypassing Article 8 Section 3 of the Idaho Constitution for long term capital debt.  Also, using outdated potentially improper appraisal that has brought a lot of questions from the community, it has brought a lawsuit. I am just wondering if you anticipate that this will be the continued funding method of the college for any projects that are going to exceed the fiscal year’s budget." Later, City Attorney Mike Gridley (pictured) commented: "I know the law suit was thrown out by the court.  There has been no violation of the Idaho Constitution, the funding is legal. … the question you asked contains false information." You can read the entire exchange here.


Gookin, Adams No On Corridor Zone

The notes of the Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting last night may explain why new Councilmen Dan Gookin and Steve Adams voted against the proposed zone change to commercial of part of the Education Corridor: ".  "Councilman Adams expressed his belief that his constitutional right to vote on the funding of this project has been violated and therefore will vote against this zone change.  Councilman Gookin voiced his concern of the shoreline regulations and the impact to the alleyways as a result of the eastern parking garage abutting the residents along North Military Drive. " The motion carried 4-2. (Facebook photo from Steve Adams page)

Question: Can someone explain why Councilman Adams would think he has a constitutional right to vote on the funding for the Education Corridor?

Edinger Will Get McEuen 2nd Tonight

Time for a vote one way or the other. The Coeur d'Alene City Council will consider whether to put the conceptual plan for the McEuen Field redesign project out to a public advisory vote at 6 tonight.  The agenda item, scheduled under old business, was requested by City Councilman Ron Edinger. Edinger requested a handful of times in 2011 that the multi-million park proposal be put in the hands of the voters to gauge the public's support on the project before any of the proposed changes are put in. It never received a second in 2011, so the council members never had to vote up or down on the idea. New city council members Dan Gookin and Steve Adams, who earned their seats after the November election, have said they plan to second Edinger's motion this time around, so that should change tonight/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: I believe the City Council will vote 4-3, with Mayor Sandi Bloem casting the tie-breaker, to oppose a public vote on McEuen Field. What do you think?

Edinger Motion Likely To Get A 2nd

Councilman Ron Edinger's motion will receive a second. Then whether the McEuen Field project should be put to a public advisory vote will be up for the City Council to decide Tuesday, Jan. 17, the first full meeting for new councilmen and vote-supporters Dan Gookin and Steve Adams. Councilman Ron Edinger's motion will receive a second. Then whether the McEuen Field project should be put to a public advisory vote will be up for the City Council to decide Tuesday, Jan. 17, the first full meeting for new councilmen and vote-supporters Dan Gookin and Steve Adams. With the election of Adams and Gookin, who were seated Tuesday, that's expected to change/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you expect a 4-3 vote against Councilman Ron Edinger's motion when he gets a second (from either Gookin or Adams), with Mayor Sandi Bloem casting the tie-breaker?

Gookin, Adams Join CdA Council

Item: Change comes to Cd'A council: Adams, Gookin take oath; Bruning, Hassell honored/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: After the presentations, Adams, Gookin and Edinger took their oaths, and the victors were seated. Their first order of business included voting for Mike Kennedy as Council President. Kennedy earned the title unanimously. After the meeting, Edinger, the former president, said he was content giving up the title since he had served in the role several times, for different mayors. Gookin acknowledged he'd had different opinions than Kennedy in the past, but it was a good move as the new members work together with incumbents.

Question: What do you make of move by Dan Gookin and Steve Adams to support the motion to make Mike Kennedy president of the Coeur d'Alene City Council?

Hart, Barbieri, Adams Back Ron Paul

Bonner County Commissioner Cornel Rasor is leading the effort to line up endorsements from GOPlegislators in advance of Idaho's first-ever Republican presidential caucus on March 6. So far, four lawmakers are in the Paul camp: Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, and Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. That quartet is featured in a four-page e-flier from Rasor dated Monday, along with Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Steve Adams (pictured, in Adams' Facebook photo). Many Paul supporters hold precinct committee posts that give him substantial influence on the Idaho Republican Central Committee/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Rasor, Hart, Barbieri, & Adams are bucking the Idaho GOP establishment and supporting Ron Paul for president?

Adams Targets LCDC From Get-Go

Item: Urban renewal options: Incoming city council members ponder what to do with Lake City Development Corp/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Steve Adams says he could explore one legal avenue to shut down the city’s urban renewal board. The city council-elect, set to take his seat in January, said in interviews he could make a motion to disband Lake City Development Corp., the city’s urban renewal agency, and have the council fill its shoes — a legally possible route. While urban renewal law allows cities to take over their urban renewal boards, Adams said he realizes the motion doesn’t have much of a chance of getting off the ground, at least not in the immediate future. … Yet Dan Gookin, the other council-elect who campaigned on urban renewal oversight, called disbanding the board a “doomsday” option.

Question: Do you think the state's urban renewal law is unconstitutional, as Adams does?

Adams Ready To Join CdA Council

Steve Adams looks you in the eye when you're speaking, smiles often - even if you're disagreeing - and never seems to raise his voice. He's even apologetic when the phone rings inside the Allstate insurance agency he bought from his father in 2000. His dad, who taught Adams the insurance trade, and mother still live in the Pine Avenue home at the foot of Tubbs Hill where Adams and his three brothers were raised. "A block from the water," Adams says. Adams has an unshakable list of priorities, and near the top is Coeur d'Alene, a city he says he loves above most everything else. He moved away once, as a college student, and didn't like it/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Photo: Steve Adams Facebook page)

Question: What do you expect from Steve Adams when he joins the Coeur d'Alene City Council?

Dan, Steve, & Mike Do Lunch

On his Facebook wall, Councilman-elect Dan Gookin posts: "Went to councilman school today. Very interesting. I relish wielding my new-found elected power. Seriously: It was informative, though most of it was quite familiar. Ate lunch with Steve Adams and City Attorney Gridley."

Question: Anyone want to make up dialogue re: what was said among Dan, Steve Adams, and City Attorney Mike Gridley at lunch today?

Kennedy: Go Slow On McEuen Field

It's not getting shoved through. In fact, before the Coeur d'Alene City Council takes up McEuen Field again, it should wait until new members take their seats, City Councilman Mike Kennedy said. It would be prudent to wait for Dan Gookin and Steve Adams to become council members in January before the body tackles anything to do with McEuen Field again, he said late last week. "People spoke this week and we have two new council members, so we'll see where it goes," Kennedy said Friday/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. More here.

Question: Do you endorse Mike Kennedy's wait-until-new-guys-sworn-in approach to McEuen Field?

Mary Gets Around To Gloating

In case you were wondering when Mary Souza would get around to gloating re: the election results Tuesday, you need wonder no longer. She does in her weakly newsletter. "Well, the good news is there will be two new voices on city council now.  I know their votes may not carry the issues but they can speak out in public, televised meetings and ask questions.  They can make a motion on a topic and get a second, so the whole council is forced to discuss the issue in public.  Wow, that's big.  Even if the final vote does not go the way many of us want, at least the council members have to give some sort of rationale for their decision.  It’s a great step in the right direction." Mary sez the three biggest issues in the election were: 1. Public vote on McEuen, 2. High salaries & raises at the city, and 3. Arrogance & disrespect from mayor & council. Funny, Dan Gookin, who knocked on many doors, said the issues were but three: 1. McEuen vote, 2. Are you an incumbent, and 3. Are you a Republican. I'll trust Dan on this one.

Question: Will one of the other council members change his/her position on a public vote on McEuen Field?

RRepubs Felt In Nonpartisan Races

Coeur d'Alene Councilman-elect Dan Gookin hangs out with Reagan Republican brain trust Ron Lahr, left, and Jeff Ward at the North Idaho Pachyderm Club meeting Friday morning.

After Tuesday's election, Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem attributed KCRR's influence as a key factor in the election's outcome. Both Steve Adams, who won seat 5, and Gookin are KCRR board members and were supported by the political group during the campaign. Both won easily. But how much influence the political group deserves is split. Even the group's president, Jeff Ward, who also worked with KCRR member Ron Lahr on Strategery, thinks it's getting too much credit. "It's nice to get those kind of kudos from the mayor, but she actually over-emphasizes our importance in the elections," he said. "It was a series of things; it was McEuen Field, it was pay increases - and Republicans turned out to vote." With the help of KCRR/Tom Hasslinger, CdA Press. More here.

Question: What factor had a bigger impact on the outcome of the Coeur d'Alene City Council elections — McEuen Field controversy or Reagan Republicans involvement?

Amber: No Regrets Re. Election Run

After he election loss in which she finished 3rd with 10.5% of the vote, Amber Copeland wrote on her blog: "Some people spend their entire lives inside of a shell of fear. There are many things they desire but don't seek simply because the idea of failure looms so heavily that the reward of success seems impossible. While this may be safe and predictable it sure doesn't help anybody acheive their goals. Reaching for things may end with burnt fingertips but not reaching for them always ends with nothing. Even when you don't win whatever prize you are after you must remember that it is our wounds that teach us how to be better fighters, how to build stronger armour, how to swim faster and jump higher. Those failures aren't actually failures at all." More here.

Question: What lessons have you learned from failure?

Hucks Poll: Anti-Bloemers Won’t Win

  • Monday Poll: Hucks Nation doesn't think either challenger Dan Gookin or Steve Adams will win Coeur d'Alene City Council seats today. 97 of 157 respondents (61.78%) said neither opponent of Mayor Sandi Bloem's administration will win council seats. Meanwhile, 29 of 157 (18.47%) said both would win; 24 of 157 (15.29%) said Gookin would win; and 7 of 157 (4.46%) said Adams would win. Moi? I don't think the majority is right this time.
  • Today's Poll: Should Spokane cop Karl Thompson be free while waiting sentencing Jan. 27 in the Otto Zehm case?

Poll: Return Vandals To Big Sky

  • Weekend Poll: A supermajority wants to see the Idaho Vandals return to the lower-division Big Sky Conference and re-form national rivalries with Montana, Montana State, & Eastern Washington. 85 of 120 respondents (70.83%) wants Idaho to quit trying to keep up with Boise State in Division I football and return to the Big Sky. Only 29 of 120 (24.17%) wants the Vandals to stay in Division I football at all costs. 6 (5%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Which of the anti-Bloem administration challengers will win Coeur d'Alene City Council seats Tuesday?

Coming To A Mailbox Near You

Here's one of the attack mailers you'll see this weekend, if you live in Coeur d'Alene …

RRepubs Spending $10K On CdA, PF

Update: HucksOnline has learned that Strategery Group, which has been paid at least $9300 to date to assist in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls council elections for 5 Reagan Republican-endorsed candidates, is owned by Reagan Republican board member Ron Lahr. We're discussing the curious connection in this thread now.

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans have spent $3802 so far, promoting the Coeur d'Alene City Council candidacies of Dan Gookin and Steve Adams, according to the 7-day, pre-election financial disclosure statement that's due by 5 o'clock this afternoon. The Reagan Republicans have budgeted $5000 from their Victory Fund to push the candidacies of their two board members. All of the money so far has been spent with The Strategery (cq) Inc. of Post Falls. Disclosure statement here. Meanwhile, the Lake City Employee Association and the Washington State Council of County and City Employees raised $1500 apiece and donated $1000 apiece to the candidacies of George Sayler, John Bruning, and Ron Edinger. Disclosure statement here.

Question: Is there anything wrong with Reagan Republican lieutenant Ron Lahr, through his Strategery Group of Post Falls, raking in much of the advertising dollars from Reagan Republican Victory Fund-raising efforts and endorsed candidates?

Kathy Sims Backs Gookin, Adams

Coeur d'Alene Honda, owned by state Sen. Kathy Sims, has contributed $908.48 apiece to the Coeur d'Alene City Council campaigns of Dan Gookin and Steve Adams. Sims, an outspoken critic of Mayor Sandi Bloem's administration, made the contributions Oct. 3. Of note, Sims filed the 7-day, pre-election campaign financial disclosure statement on time and to the appropriate entity, the city clerk's office. Four years ago, Sims & Tom Macy of Post Falls violated city statutes by filing an incomplete disclosure statement with the state rather than the city. Sims & Macy then fought the city for more than a year re: the matter before reaching a settlement. The controversial disclosure statement covered the cost of an attack flyer Sims & Macy circulated on the final weekend of the campaign against City Council incumbents.

Gookin: ‘Neat Truck’

On his Facebook wall, Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate Dan Gookin posts this photo with the simple cutline: "Neat truck."