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Opinion >  Column

Huckleberries: Recall effort fueled by new lie, old rivals

The recall election launched last week against progressive Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and three City Council members is based on a fib and old grudges.

A recall backer circulated a flier at the Republican Women’s luncheon Thursday claiming that her group is trying to remove Bloem & Co. from office because they wouldn’t allow an advisory vote on the, ahem, $40 million upgrade of McEuen Field (the ball fields and green space at the foot of Tubbs Hill in downtown Coeur d’Alene). Only the real cost of the makeover is $14.2 million, including about half to transform five acres of concrete into green space by moving the Third Street parking lot. All without raising property taxes.

Mary Souza, one of the recall leaders, was an outspoken critic of the Bloem administration, even before she lost a 2005 three-way race to Mike Kennedy, one of the recall targets. State Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, is another recall leader. Sims helped circulate an attack ad against three City Council incumbents in the 2007 city election and then fought City Hall for more than a year before paying a small fine for submitting incomplete campaign finance papers. Sims has battled relentlessly in the Idaho House to limit the state’s urban renewal law, the vital funding mechanism that has transformed Coeur d’Alene.

Only in divided Coeur d’Alene can you get recalled for trying to improve and upgrade a waterfront park.

Get a room

You may have heard that state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who faces trial for income tax invasion Nov. 5, was found sleeping at a Highway 95 rest stop where a woman was shot in the stomach by a possible stalker. Hart was quickly cleared as a suspect. But one of my Huckleberries blog commenters saw the irony: “It’s funny that someone who refuses to pay his taxes doesn’t seem to mind using a taxpayer-supported rest area. Shouldn’t he have stopped at a private-enterprise hotel and paid for a room instead?”


Scanner Traffic (from Wednesday afternoon): “A 40- to 50-year-old male in gray hoodie is pretending to be an airplane by holding his arms out at Hangars 19 and 20 at Kootenai County airport/Hayden.” Deputies brought Captain America back to Earth after finding him in a red-and-white airplane … Cindy Hval, my Huckleberries blog sub, tweeted before the winners of the Mega Millions jackpot was revealed: “I don’t need no stinkin’ lottery ticket. My mama says I am a WINNER.” I plopped $5 down on the MM lottery. Hope my Mama feels the same as Cindy’s … Poll: The 2012 Legislature was very unpopular with readers of my Huckleberries blog ( blogs/hbo). Eighty-three percent graded the session with F’s, D’s and incompletes … In the “Thanks A Lot” Department, Gov. Butch Otter tweeted self-congratulations for cutting Idaho income taxes by $35 million. But he failed to mention that corporations and the wealthiest 17 percent of wage earners would benefit.

Parting shot

My beloved wife has loved me almost 40 years, warts and all. She says things to me that few others would dare to. So we both got a big chuckle Thursday night when I returned home from an organizational meeting of the Coeur d’Alene Stop the Recall group, passionate about the struggle that will tear my town apart. She listened to me for a while. Then she asked quietly: “Did you have your pants unzipped the entire time you were at the meeting?” She has a way of cutting through the rhetoric.

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