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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

McHugh: He Thought He Was Truthful

No charges will be filed against a petitioner who was surreptitiously recorded making inaccurate statements while attempting to collect a signature on a petition to put a referendum to recall four Coeur d’Alene elected officials before voters. The recording, made April 29 on Tubbs Hill, was published on CDAPress.com and can be heard by following this link: Recording captures recall petitioner’s pitch Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh sent a letter to Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department Det. Jerry Northrup last week advising there is insufficient evidence that the petitioner, Rodney Bitterman, knew his statements regarding the petition to recall Mayor Sandi Bloem and City Council members Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy and Woody McEvers were false. McHugh wrote in the letter that Bitterman understands he made false statements, but says he didn't know they were false/Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


McHugh Investigates Recall Complaint

The Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday it will investigate the complaint filed last week by recall opponents, Stop The Recall. Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said the office will look into the complaint largely based on the volume of allegations in it. “I’ll likely ask someone to do some investigative work,” he said. “There are a number of assertions in it.” That’s not to say the allegations have merit, or charges will be forthcoming, he said. Stop The Recall, the group that is opposing the recall effort led by RecallCdA, turned the complaint into the city last week. The city forwarded the complaint Monday to the county for further evaluation. The complaint states that recall supporters aiming to unseat four city incumbents have used incorrect information while seeking signatures, which would be a felony offense according to Idaho Code/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: How do you think this investigation (which could conclude today) will play out?

OpenCDA Slams Anti-Recall Cause

Bill McCrory of OpenCDA.com claims the Decline to Sign movement is trying to deprive Coeur d'Alene residents with an opportunity to retain or remove three-term Mayor Sandi Bloem and Councilman Deanna Goodlander, Woody McEvers and Mike Kennedy from office. McCrory calls the anti-recall movement's "Decline to Sign" motto "a perfect slogan." Quoth McCrory: "Next time you see or hear 'Decline to Sign,' remember that behind it is an organized effort to keep you and your friends and neighbors from voting to either retain or remove those named in the recall petitions.  You will only get to vote for the recall if  there are sufficient qualified signatures on the recall petitions." More here.

Question: Ah, didn't the voters already decide that they wanted these four in office 2 1/2 years ago? Ah, isn't the Stop the Recall movement exercising their right as voters to stand against the recall? Where's the problem?

Recall Foes Launch Online Petition

On their Stop the Recall online page, organizers Sara Meyer & Jennifer Drake have created a petition in support of the recall targets. They write: "We have created an online petition for people to sign in support of Mayor Bloem and Council Members Goodlander, Kennedy, and McEvers.  Unlike the recall petition, ours is purely symbolic, but we are still hoping to blow the recall signatures out of the water!  All you have to do is go to our webpage and click on "Sign Petition", or go to the petition webpage and sign there.  Either way, it is simple and will only take 30 seconds.  Please sign and tell your friends and family to do so as well.  Let's get thousands of names on there opposing the recall!" You can sign the petition here.

Question: Do you plan to sign up?

Stop The Recall Begins Mailing Letters

Sara Meyer & Jennifer Drake of the Stop the Recall movement began mailing out a letter to every registered voter in Coeur d'Alene today, electronically first and then a hard copy next week — 21,600 residents, 14,500 homes. The letter challenges four reasons given by the Souza-Sims-Orzell recall group for attempting its overthrow of city government. "Our mayor and council members being targeted for recall have done nothing wrong. They have done nothing illegal or immoral. A recall is an important part of our system of government, but it is a tool to be used in extreme circumstances, warranted by things such as criminal malfeasance or illegal activities. To attempt to recall four oustanding leaders because of an ideological disagreement is a misuse of the system. You can read the letter yourself here. (Jerome A. Pollos' Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Jennifer Drake of the Stop the Recall movement eyeballs recall proponent at City Hall April 4)

  • Stop the Recall will be staging a rally at 107 N. 4th St. in downtown Coeur d'Alene at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    Wednesday, April 25 at 5:00pm at 107 N 4th St, Coeur d'Alene.


Stop The Recall Mailing 21,000 Letters

Sometime this week, 21,000 Coeur d'Alene residents will receive a letter from Stop the Recall organizers that begins: "As you are probably aware, there is currently a select group of citizens attempting to recall Mayor Bloem and Council Members Deanna Goodlander, Mike Kennedy, and Woody McEvers. A lot of false information is being disseminated and we feel it is important for every Coeur d’Alene resident to understand the facts of the situation. Our mayor and council members being targeted for recall have done nothing wrong. They have done nothing illegal or immoral. A recall is an important part of our system of government, but it is a tool to be used in extreme circumstances, warranted by things such as criminal malfeasance or illegal activities. To attempt to recall four outstanding leaders because of an ideological disagreement is a misuse of the system." I'll post a link to the entire letter once it's mailed out.


‘Decline To Sign’ Stickers Appear

Looks like the "Decline to Sign" advocates are locking up the Toyota vote. Heidi Pracht Rogers writes on her Facebook wall: "This Toyota is sporting the message 'Decline to Sign.' Are there any Fords, Hondas, GMCs, or Dodges supporting the message?" Meanwhile, Stop the Recall co-organizer Jennifer Drake tells Facebook followers where to pick up "Decline to Sign" T-shirts for $10 apiece: "Don't forget to email savecda2012@gmail.com if you want to get your hands on the hottest new clothing item in town! We just need a name, size, and quantity and we'll let you know where to pick it up. Shirts are $10 with all proceeds going to STOP THE RECALL!"

Stop The Recall T-shirts In Offing

On the Stop the Recall Facebook page, Jennifer Drake posts: "Thank you, everyone, for your continued support! Just so you know, our first round of 'DECLINE TO SIGN' t-shirts is already at the printers. They should be available later this week, so email savecda2012@gmail.com if you'd like to get your hands on one."

  • Sara Meyer, co-leader of Stop the Recall movement: "I’ll be wearing my shirt proudly every chance I get! In fact, I think I’m going to run in the Spring Dash on April 22nd and wear my DECLINE TO SIGN shirt! Who’s with me?"

Question: Would you wear one of these?

Mary Denounces Stop-Recall FB Page

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?

HBO Interviews Stop Recall Leaders

HucksOnline is now interviewing the organizers of the Stop the Recall movement, Sara Meyer (left) and Jennifer Drake. (BTW, check out Jennifer supporting the council & mayor alongside pro-recall codger in Thursday's Coeur d'Alene Press here)

  • Question: Were you surprised by the response you got at the Fort Ground Grill last night?
  • Sara Meyer: We were amazed considering that the planning took place in 24 hours.
  • Jennifer Drake: There were about 40 people there. And among that group were outstanding community leaders including the four being targetted for recall. Everyone was fired up in a positive way. (Sara recaps last evening's meeting on the Stop the Recall wall here)
  • Question: It's interesting that this anti-recall movement is led by two young mothers with 18MO babies.
  • Sara: We're passionate about our city. We're both Idaho natives and we came back here after going to school to raise families. It's not about us any more, it's for our families.
  • Jennifer: I'm currently raising the fifth generation of my family in this town. I refuse to stand by while a select group of uncompromising zealots try to ruin my community before my daughter sees how great it can become.
  • Question: What was the most encouraging thing that happened last night?
  • Jennifer: For me, it was the fact that we had the room almost entirely filled before 6 a.m. People were so eager to show up and support us that they took time out on short notice to show support. When the mayor & 3 City Council members walked in there was cheering and back-patting.
  • Sara: I was overwhelmed by the passion people seem to have found. They have awakened a sleeping giant. People were okay to sit back because things were going along well. But now they realize the future of our community is truly in trouble. It's time to fight fire with fire. It's time to fight lies with facts.
  • Question: You two come from different political backgrounds (Sara's father was a Democratic Bonner County commissioner for 6 years, Dale Van Stone, and Jennifer's father is former Republican senator & Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs.) How does this nonpartisanship work?
  • Jennifer: We have found common ground through rational discussion. In this particular case understanding that the city council should be nonpartisan and should not feel undo influence from either side of the political spectrum.
  • Question: How do people get involved with the Stop the Recall movement?
  • Sara: They can join our Facebook group, like our Facebook page, or email us at SaveCdA2012@gmail.com.
  • Jennifer: We are also encouraging people to write letters to the editor supporting the mayor and city council and opposing the recall — and simply telling everyone they know not to sign the petition. We have a PO Box they can send money to: Stop the Recall, PO Box 2781, Coeur d'Alene 83816.

You can follow the news from Stop the Recall at this Facebook page here.