OpenCDA

March 13, 2012

Mary Souza’s Newsletter

Filed under: The City's Pulse — mary @ 1:37 pm

Whom Do You Trust?

I started to title this newsletter, “Flip Flopper”, because it’s about Councilman Mike Kennedy and his radical opinion changes on McEuen Field. But then, on Sunday, Mr. Kennedy had an unbelievable Letter to the Editor in the Press, which spun the subject way past flip flopping, into the realm of purposeful mistruths with very selective wording.

Let’s start with his letter.  First Mike announces that the city is now going to compromise! “This week the Coeur d’Alene City Council voted for significant compromise on the McEuen Park project”, Mike wrote.  

No, not really.  They had a 3-4 split vote with the Mayor breaking the tie to accept $11.5 Million in taxpayer money from LCDC to fund Phase One of the McEuen Plan. They also split the vote to approve $1.9 Million for Team McEuen (Miller-Stauffer Architects) in a No-Bid contract to create the construction documents.

(I’m told by people familiar with large construction projects that the $1.9 million is way too high. But, with no bids, there’s no comparison for the public.)

The “compromise” Mike Kennedy refers to is simply that the city was forced to temporarily scale back their plans because LCDC couldn’t come up with enough money.  It does not mean the original McEuen Plan has been permanently downsized, as implied by Mr. Kennedy.

He says, “The boat launch will stay”.  But he does not say for how long.  My info is that they are actively working with the Idaho Transportation Dept. to get a Silver Beach location for a new launch.  It may take another year, so they’ll leave the 3rd Street launch in place…for now.  But they will relocate the trailer parking. My guess is the number of boat launches will drop, due to the parking inconvenience, and the city will then replace 3rd Street with “equal or better” to the less-used boat launch.

On a related side note, the Mayor was on KVNI radio this morning (Tuesday), where she said the first thing they’ll do on McEuen, once the construction documents are done, is to “take the entire area and scrape it”, then install infrastructure and redo Front St. and the parking. I tell you this because when it’s all ripped up, what access will there be for summer boaters to launch at 3rd street?

Do you trust them?

Mike Kennedy also writes in his letter that “Tubbs Hill is not part of the project”. That’s a totally misleading statement because the city is still working on getting the proposed changes to Tubbs, they’ve just made it an independent project. A committee is currently working on a wheelchair accessible ADA pathway on the East side of Tubbs, which I’m told could, “for safety reasons”, end up being forced to go all the way across to the 3rd Street side.  Can you imagine the destruction of the Hill needed to get a wide, smooth pathway all the way around?  And, I’m told, Mr. Kennedy himself has been talking about the proposed accessible trail on the North face of Tubbs, and pushing for its inclusion in the planning process.

Do you trust them?

And now for the baseball field. Back in October of 2009, when Mike Kennedy was running for re-election in a very close race, he was given a golden endorsement by the American Legion baseball group.  Here’s what Kennedy wrote on a local blog back then: “I’m humbled by the support of the American Legion Baseball family and I will always fight to keep Legion baseball on McEuen Field. I respect Coeur d’Alene’s baseball legacy and I am honored by Charlie Roan’s public support.”
Mike won re-election by 3 votes.

In February of 2010, Mike still said,“I’m on the record supporting keeping the Legion ball fields on McEuen, their historic home.  I’ll continue to support that.”

But something has changed!  On March 7th of this year, he was quoted by the CdA Press saying he will vote to remove the American Legion ball field from McEuen. His reason? “You have to have vision and look out into the future to create great communities,” said Mike Kennedy, councilman. “I think we should move forward with the project and get it going.”

Do you trust them?

Mike ends Sunday’s Letter to the Editor with the old excuse that “when you make an omelet you have to break some eggs”. Is that his smarmy way of justifying broken promises? Has he now been anointed with “vision”, so previous pledges of support are simply tossed by the wayside?

It appears that we, the people of CdA, cannot trust their promises, dedications and commitments.  Maybe the old saying is correct, “If their lips are moving…”

*********************************************************

On a much more positive note, I’d like to quickly tell you about an interesting effort to refuse Obamacare health exchanges here in Idaho.  A group of very experienced people from North Idaho have put together an alternative plan that will improve health care here, save individuals a lot of money and save the State big money too.  Sound too good to be true?  Well it’s not.  It’s real. It’s been presented to the legislature and you can hear the proposed plan this Thursday evening at the CdA Inn.  The Idaho Health Care Forum and Dinner is presented by KC Republican Women and will feature my friend Brent Regan explaining this new proposal.  Tickets are $15. each (chicken dinner provided).  Social Hour at 6pm, dinner and program start at 7pm.  Call Jeanette at 215-1895 or Sharri at 771-0332 for tickets.  Please call now so they have a head count for dinner.  Hope to see you there!  –Mary

PS–I know the Zags play at 4:20 Thursday, but the game should be over by 6:30, so you can get there just in time for dinner and the presentation…that’s our plan.

33 Comments

  1. “It may be an old cliché, but when you make an omelet you have to break some eggs.”

    Yep, an old cliche used by totalitarian thugs throughout the centuries. Most famously that hero of the proletariat, Karl Marx said things like that. Just guessing, but is Mr. Kennedy a Democrat?

    Comment by justinian — March 13, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  2. “You have to have vision and look out into the future to create great communities,”

    But, think of the possibilities.
    But, think of the possibilities.
    But, think of the possibilities.

    (Credit John Austion)

    One man one goal one mission,
    One heart one soul just one solution,
    One flash of light yeah one god one vision

    No wrong no right,

    I’m gonna tell you there’s no black and no white,
    No blood no stain,
    All we need is one world wide vision

    (Credit Queen… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUsOR5rWH8I)

    Comment by Pariah — March 13, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  3. The other interesting thing about the “flip flopper”label, is that it belongs also to the Spokesman’s blog man, Dave Oliveria. Back in 2002, he wrote this column for that paper stating:

    “For those keeping score at home, Hot Potatoes not only tuned in as the City Council rubber-stamped the Gang of Nine’s McEuen Field plan. But taped it. For posterity sake–in case a future council tries to break those oh!-so-heartfelt promises to American Legion reps that they’ll get a new-and-improved ballfield elsewhere before a blade of grass is touched on their current McEuen diamond…in 1999 the council also promised to preserve all three ballfields, including the American Legion one, when it OK’d the Walker-Macy report. Bottom Line? A City Council promise and a buck or so will get you a cup of joe at Starbuck’s…thank you Ron Edinger, for being the only one to stand up and say the plan reeks.”

    Now? Now Dave has a completely different take on the issue. Just over a year ago, he wrote this about the American Legion field on McEuen:

    “I consider it to be a bad use of the public space — one group claiming squatter rights to a large portion of the current space on McEuen Field.”

    Can you say flip flop?

    Comment by mary — March 13, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  4. Kennedy’s idea of compromise is for Lucy to put the ball back down after Charlie Brown gets up from flat on his back, then saying, “Try again, Charlie Brown. Just trust me…”

    I do like Mikey Chins’ egg-omelette thingy, though.

    Mikey Chins: Ya gotta break eggs to make an omelet.
    Taxpayers: But we don’t want an omelet.
    Mikey Chins: That’s your only choice if you want to break your eggs.
    Taxpayers: We don’t want to break all our eggs, either. We want one egg, over easy. Tomorrow, maybe we’ll have one egg, poached. We want a voice in when and how our eggs will be cooked.
    Mikey Chins: The steering committee and I have decided — you gettin’ an omelet.
    Taxpayers: But we don’t want an omelet.
    Mikey Chins: All right, I’ll compromise. Give me your eggs, and I’ll make the omelet.

    Comment by Bill — March 14, 2012 @ 6:52 am

  5. “We want a voice in when and how our eggs will be cooked.” Very good, Bill. And your accurate depiction of Mike’s compromise?–”Give me your eggs and I’ll make the omelet”!

    Obviously, the city…guess I have to stop saying “the city”, now it has to be “Bloem, Kennedy, Goodlander and McEvers” (BKGM?) have the mindset that they are far smarter than the citizens and the other half of the city council. Also, obviously, they think they are better “cooks”!

    Sit down, shut up and eat your omelet…after we make you pay for it first.

    Comment by mary — March 14, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  6. pariah, you do this site no favors. Childish and repetitive…ho hum.

    Comment by rochereau — March 14, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  7. I’ve been reading everything that everyone who lives in the area has been reading and have been trying to come up with an alternative to this ” damn the torpedoes full steam ahead” attitude of the gang of four.
    The only solution I can see because of their intransigent attitude, one which would probably be very expensive but none the less successful as it is a tried and true solution favored by most obstinate groups,take them to court on environmental issues.

    I’m the last thing from an attorney but maybe we can find some young, upstart attorney that would file a quick (if there is such a thing)brief pro bono and make a name for himself.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — March 14, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  8. PS: all we need is to hold them off for 18 months.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — March 14, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  9. Roche,

    Maybe it is just me, but I think that kind of Alinsky style satirical poking is good for our side. My opinion, your mileage may vary, and no doubt in California we should add “This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.”

    Cheers!

    Comment by justinian — March 14, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  10. Ancient, with all due respect because I know your thoughts on McEuen, I think it is premature to suggest that the Council makeup will change next year. First, we don’t know who will even be on the ballot or what their general direction for the city will be.

    It’s very rare when a single issue leads to mass changes on the Council. McEuen may or may not be that rare issue but we won’t know that until the candidates line up with their positions. Believe it or not there are other big issues facing the city these days, especially concerning its utilities, so while one-issue candidacies dominate the news (and the blogs) there is much more to analyze when selecting one’s leaders.

    I’ve said it before that my hat’s off to Dan and Steve for winning their elections, but I’ve also said there was more to each candidate and their qualifications than just the McEuen Field issue. Indeed, it would denigrate each of them to suggest that was the only reason they were elected.

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  11. “It’s very rare when a single issue leads to mass changes on the Council.”

    Humor is always a good thing. And THAT is funny.

    Just my opinion.

    Comment by justinian — March 14, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  12. Oh, but John, look beyond the McEuen issue: The behavior of the Mayor and her now smaller voting block of Kennedy, Goodlander and McEvers, has remained the same, even after the message of the last election. It’s an arrogant, “we know better than you” attitude on multiple subjects, not just the park. It’s their refusal to reduce employee costs when most local businesses, and the State, were forced into layoffs and/or cutbacks on hours. Instead, the city gave raises! And remember that more than 19 city employees will make over $100,000 this year, and that’s not counting their golden benefits package.

    Then there’s the city’s mishandling of the Dan Dixon police dept. lawsuit, which could well cost taxpayers $4-5 Million dollars.

    I could go on and on. It’s a consistent attitude of ignoring the will of the people.

    Comment by mary — March 14, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  13. It made me chuckle, too, Justinian. Do they not “get it”?

    Comment by mary — March 14, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  14. John, you can spin a defense any way you wish and that’s your prerogative but all we need is just one opposition seat. Regardless of your thoughts the council will change. Not all incumbents win all the time and very seldom does the entire mix of the council stay unchanged. You may feel there are more pressing issues but I think the way this McKuen issue has been handled is the biggest issue facing the city along with the $40,000,000 price tag.
    And don’t try to sugar coat the $’s saying it’s not. This is a multi-stage game plan. What they’re trying to do is cook the books just like the Feds did with Obamacare. The electorate is just a little smarter than credit you give them for and so or the posters to this blog.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — March 14, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  15. Don’t you love it, Ancient? The new 10 year estimates for Obamacare from the Congressional Budget Office are nearly DOUBLE what was predicted when they “just had to” ram through the 2400 page bill.

    I bet we’ll find the same kind of thing true on McEuen.

    Comment by mary — March 14, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  16. “It’s very rare when a single issue leads to mass changes on the Council.”

    If you think that is funny, Mary, name another one. And, Just, when was the last encumbent defeated? Think hard, now.

    Meanwhile LCDC has just the $11 million for upgrades to McEuen, and I don’t see any more in the future. It has taken 15 years to get the $11 million and they only have eight years left in the life of the Lake District. So, it is time to quit with the $40 million thing.

    And, Mary, you ARE denigrating the election of Dan and Steve when you say it was about McEuen (“even after the message of the last election”.) The message from the last election was that it is much easier to win when there is an open seat and you have name recognition (Dan ran two times previously) or when you have a very good organization behind you.

    As far as the employees’ compensation that is more a matter of negotiations with the city’s associations. I can tell you having bargained against them on many occasions that is a tough one. Dan will find that out soon enough. Too, why don’t you make an issue of the other six-figure employees in other local cities?

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  17. Austin is correct. The upcoming city council shift will not be due to a singular issue. It will be due to the singular ‘up yours’ arrogant attitude on the part of certain sitting elected officials. McEuen is just one example but it is the one which clearly defined the totality of their personal ambition(s) and lack of voter concern. The smarmy mixture had been brewing and McEuen was the final catalyst. Now it is a smoking, off-gassing, solid mass of political goo, and it really, really stinks bad.

    Comment by Wallypog — March 14, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  18. I believe that at least one INCUMBENT was defeated in 2009. Maybe we will find out soon, when the massive irregularities of the 2009 election are dealt with by the Idaho Supreme Court.

    Comment by doubleseetripleeye — March 14, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  19. Did you read my comment #12, John? I list off the many issues, in addition to McEuen, that folks are upset about. Dan and Steve were elected to counter all of those things and to bring a responsive, respectful attitude to the council, which is something that has been sorely lacking.

    You asked when was the last “encumbent” defeated? Last November. Incumbent John Bruning was defeated by Steve Adams. And, of course, before that the questionable 2009 election that is still in the court system.

    Comment by mary — March 14, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  20. I’ll give you a hint, Mary, when the last incumbent council member before this election was defeated. It is also the same answer to the last time a mass change came. And, it was 30 years ago when both the issue AND the group had a name.

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  21. Bzzzz, time’s up, Mary.

    The ‘Gang of Four’ led by my former Chemistry teacher, Jim Fromm, ran on a Save Our Shoreline (SOS) campaign. The end result was four new members on the Council, including Jim as Mayor. It also lead to the CDA Resort compromise that allowed a very tall building but not a two story wall of development from Tubbs Hill to city park that would have completely blocked off city views along that corridor.

    I don’t see McEuen as being another SOS but you are free to make your own judgments, as usual.

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  22. It really wasn’t that funny after all, huh Mary?

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  23. And before that John, in 1963, 49 years ago, it was all the incumbents up for re-election, 4 of them plus the mayor who were kicked out for proposing a zone change that was designed to allow development for a hotel on Tubbs Hill.

    Lesson? Don’t mess with the hill or its environs.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — March 14, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  24. ROTFLMAO! Johnny is talking to himself again. That”vision” thingey he and Mikey have is a hoot. And yes, Johnny, this ONE issue is that funny. The name of the issue? Honesty. The lack of honesty will end the role that the “pretty people” play in the Lake City, and that is a very good thing.

    Comment by Pariah — March 14, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  25. So, where’s your ‘Queen’ song, R? Trying something relevant, are you?

    Comment by John Austin — March 14, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

  26. Ignoring the petty little ego strutting, what strikes me is how the role of the “working media” has changed in the last decade. It looks like they have gone from being on the side of the folks on the outside to cheerleaders for the inside crowd. How very interesting. It makes the case for bloggers being the “new media” and an essential part of the American democratic experience. Kudos to the folks who started and run blogs like this! (This is a blog, no?)

    Just my opinion. Just.

    Comment by justinian — March 15, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  27. Interestion point, Justinian (#26). And that change seems to coincide with News becoming a part of Big Media.

    I recall that the major networks used to run their news divisions without regard to profit. That changed abou 30-40 years ago and the News division was told to make a profit or else. Thus was born the infotainment style of journalism we have today. It’s not about the news, it’s about the ratings. It’s about big business. And big business doesn’t care squat for the little guy, e.g., “the folks.”

    Comment by Dan — March 15, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  28. Dan,

    I recall all too well that shift. There was an info-babe named Connie Chung that started it, if I recall correctly.

    Just my thoughts. Just.

    Comment by justinian — March 15, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  29. I believe that as print media slowly perishes it has to rely upon the limited advertising revenue it receives from businesses. Businesses want the print media to maintain a ‘everything is fine’ facade in the community so that the ordinary Joe/Jane Six-Packs can go about their daily lives without concern and spend their money freely. It was not same ‘back in the day’ when the economy was more robust. My opinion this is what caused the flip flop (sell out) that Mary revealed in number 3 above.

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — March 15, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  30. My apologies in advance for the lengthy copy/paste text. I couldn’t help myself.

    Psychology~

    If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and place a set of stairs under the banana. Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water. When another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, all of the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

    Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

    Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

    Now, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by the fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. The monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

    Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, not one of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

    Why, you ask? Because in their minds — that is the way it has always been!

    This, my friends, is how Congress operates and this is why, from time to time, ALL of the monkeys need to be replaced at the same time.

    The End.

    Comment by Buddy Sparks — March 15, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  31. Buddy Sparks;

    AWESOME POST!

    Comment by concerned citizen — March 16, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  32. The above post by Buddy Sparks, is great!

    Comment by Rudy R — March 16, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  33. Welcome, Buddy Sparks and Rudy R! We’re glad you could join our conversation.

    Comment by mary — March 16, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

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