Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Tom Taggart, the former county clerk who did a swell job as the first and only county administrator, comments that he's going to oppose the Kootenai County government change on the November ballot:
Just so you know, I will be voting no on this also. I have a number of reasons. I think the main issue I have with this is it is clearly going to fail and that will mean it will be a long time before any group of commissioners will try again. There are some smaller changes that could help without making these huge changes. The commissioners did not invite any input and instead relied on past studies. There is no question county government is cumbersome and inefficient and I doubt anyone would come up with the current structure if starting from scratch. However, we are not starting with a blank slate, but rather attempting to change a well established institution. It is also important to keep in mind that a little inefficiency in government in not all that bad.
Question: Anyone out there who is going to support this?
John Austin is wrong; Dan Gookin is wrong; Tony Berns is wrong; Mary Souza is wrong; Kathy Sims is wrong; Mike McDowell is wrong; Cliff Hayes is wrong; and any other person who has stated an opinion regarding the tax impact of urban renewal districts on taxpayers located outside of any district is wrong. How is that possible? How can everyone be wrong when talking about the impact of tax increment financing? Because it is nearly impossible to accurately analyze the true tax impact of any urban renewal district. To do so would require the ability to travel back in time and see what would have happened if the district had never been created. This could be called the George Bailey effect, after the Jimmy Stewart character in "It's a Wonderful Life." What would Coeur d'Alene look like if there had never been any urban renewal district created? No one knows. We do know it would not be the same, but how would it differ? Again, no one knows. Many have opinions, opinions based on assumptions, assumptions that are based on few actual facts/Tom Taggart, Coeur d'Alene Press op-ed piece. More here.
Tom Taggart is the second former Kootenai County clerk urging the Kootenai County commissioners to reject a proposal by County Clerk Cliff Hayes to reduce the number of voting precincts from 71 to 44. Taggart served as county clerk before Dan English, who also opposes successor Hayes' plan. In an email to HucksOnline, Taggart said the commissioners should avoid moving too quicklly during a year when redistricting already will add to voter confusion. He tells HBO: This "comes from people new to their positions who refuse to seek input or advice from those with expertise, but rather make decisions in a vacuum. If they don't back off there will be major problems in administering future elections. Voters will suffer under this proposal." You can read the letter that Tom sent to the commissioners re: this matter here. (Photo from Tom Taggart's Facebook page)
FlorineD: And now, wouldn’t it be a gracious and face-saving move to become heroes? Can the Brannon cadre now say, “Our purpose was to clean up the election process by revealing the vulnerability and the conflicting state/federal policies and the loopholes. So now, we’ll join forces with all who care and start pressing the legislature to do their job and fix it!” I like heroes. Including those who do their jobs with integrity and intelligence and knowledge guiding them. Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Deedie. And thanks, Tom.
Question: What will be the community’s reaction if Jim Brannon and Starr Kelso decide to appeal Judge Charles Hosack’s decision to the Idaho Supreme Court?
Former county clerk/county administrator Tom Taggart comments: Having once been in DOTC’s shoes, I have been watching this legal challenge unfold over the last year with great sympathy toward Dan, Mike K, and especially Deedie. I was there when the election department was created and know first hand how important fair and honest elections are to Deedie. Anyone who has ever been involved in the administration of elections can testify that they are messy and that human errors happen. That is true all over the country. It is also clear that there is confusion between federal and state statues and guidelines. It is one thing to want to improve the process by tightening election laws, coordinating state and federal laws and guidelines, adding election department resources, etc. It is something else to sling mud at good and decent people. There was not one shred of evidence of any misconduct or collusion or fraud on the part of the election department, the city, or Mike Kennedy. More below.
I have been involved in local government in Kootenai County for over 28 years and I can tell you that this is one of the most amazing examples of cooperation and team work I have ever seen. We have three school districts, North Idaho College, local businesses, landowners, and the City of Rathdrum all working together to make this a reality. There have been challenges and disagreements along the way, but they have all been overcome as time after time individuals put aside their differences and focused on what is best for our children/Tom Taggart, Lakeland School District finance officer, via Bay Views. More here.
Question: Have you changed your mind re: supporting or not supporting the proposed Kootenai Technical Education Campus?
Dan of the County: When I was appointed county clerk for the Democrat Party back in ‘95 I always appreciated the advice that the out-going clerk, Tom Taggart, gave me. He said that if he had it all to do over again he would have taken a lower partisan profile, particularly because of the county clerk’s role as chief election official. Therefore, while I certainly have never made it a secret that I’m an elected Democrat and do many things to support my party in general, I’ve also been careful not to become overly partisan for any particular candidate. In fact, the only yard signs I put up in my yard are my own. I’ve also chosen not to even hold a precinct committee position because of my election responsibilities.
Question: Who do you consider the most partisan elected official now holding an office in Kootenai County? The least partisan?
MikeK: The last county administrator, Tom Taggart, played a large part in making the county government well-functioning and responsive. People like Tom don’t come around every day (or often, he’s among the best I’ve ever known) but professionals with creativity and diplomacy do exist and can help. Things haven’t worked as well in his absence over the last years. I really hope the county goes to a paid administrator sooner than later. Not sure that Taggart would be interested in a sequel but I’d ask him first if I were the commissioners …
Tom Taggart: As to my future, it would not include any position at the County, EVER.
Question: Is there a person who now lives in Kootenai County that you’d consider great material to become a county administrator, if Jai Nelson and Dan Green follow through with their intentions to hire one?