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Thursday, August 6, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: You are free to say what they want you to say

No one can blame the Kootenai County commissioners for adopting a social media policy for county employees. The Spokesman-Review has one, too.

But some of the 16 guidelines approved by Dan, Jai and Todd seem, well, paranoid and/or Big Brotherish. Consider Guideline No. 2 (which Huckleberries calls the anti-whistle-blower rule): “Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working relationships of the County and its elected officials for which loyalty and confidentiality are important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among co-workers, or negatively affect the public perception of the County.”

Guideline No. 16 wraps up the new rules by calling on employees to snitch on one another: “Any employee becoming aware of or having knowledge of a posting or of any website or Web page in violation of the provision of this policy shall notify his or her Elected Official or Department Head immediately for follow-up action.”

A few years ago, county commissioners unsuccessfully banned courthouse worker bees from looking at the Huckleberries website ( spokes, which could be the unspoken goal of this exercise, too.

Jim Elder, RIP

Credit Ruth Pratt of the Coeur d’Alene Library Foundation for placing a “CdA” heart on the library wall-of-contributors nameplate of the late Jim Elder. The simple act underscores what volunteer extraordinaire Elder meant to the “City with a (Broken) Heart” … Former Kootenai County Commissioner Gus Johnson is two-thirds the man that he used to be. Literally. That’s why it was hard to recognize him along the Centennial Trail by North Idaho College on Monday. The much slimmer Johnson was walking from Post Falls to his wife’s office in Coeur d’Alene when Huckleberries encountered him … “Nasty.” That’s the word Coeur d’Alene school trustee Terri Seymour used at a Bullying Task Force meeting to describe comments on the Coeur d’Alene Press site and my Huckleberries blog. How can you address bullying among children if adults bully one another in cyberspace? Terri wondered. Methinks Terri doesn’t know the difference between criticism, which comes with the territory, and cyberbullying.


Poet’s Corner: Dear IRS,/here’s all my money,/please don’t let them/spend it funny – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“April 15”) … The Lake City Development Corporation expects the new expanded parking garage at reworked McEuen Field to be finished by Nov. 19 – or about two weeks after the Coeur d’Alene city elections, which will be a referendum on the Bloem administration’s controversial decision to overhaul the hallowed green space for $20 million … You can find all kinds of items lying on Interstate 90: hay bales, dead deer, tire tread, ladders, et cetera. But last Thursday passing vehicles contributed the Mother of All Road Hazards to the inventory (east of Coeur d’Alene): an actual kitchen sink … Huckleberries hears that Coeur d’Alene school trustee Ann Seddon has turned down an invitation to debate challenger Dave Eubanks at a forum at the Coeur d’Alene Library, conducted by the neutral Coeur d’Alene Education Partnership and the Coeur Group. Meanwhile, Republican Seddon has trolled for votes in the nonpartisan race at safe GOP events.

Parting shot

An eagle-eyed ISP officer saved the day – or, at least, Tuesday morning – by calling out the Idaho Transportation Department to fix a safety hazard of its own making on eastbound I-90 at Beck Road, one mile east of the state line. Seems construction cones were set up to merge traffic – (drum roll, please) into the wrong lane.

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