OpenCDA

June 1, 2012

Cheap Shots

Filed under: The City's Pulse — mary @ 2:28 pm

Mary Souza’s Newsletter 

CdA City Councilman Mike Kennedy was policing the school district’s LCHS parking lot last weekend. Kennedy got out of his car and confronted two Recall CdA volunteers who were using a small corner of the empty public school parking lot. “Who are you?”, he asked.  The volunteer didn’t know Mike, so he responded by asking, “Who are you?”  Mike then identified himself as a CdA City Councilman and insisted the Recallers tell him if, and from whom at the school district, they had approval to use the space. Then he got on his phone and started calling. (photo above, middle, by one of the Recall volunteers) 

Mike didn’t seem to notice the 5 cars with “For Sale” signs parked in the school parking lot without permission. Bet he didn’t make any calls about those.  He probably didn’t remember that the Luna Recall people used school district property last year…they had tables set up in the breezeway to Woodland Middle School on the eventful night when the CdA City Council was holding an official meeting there to vote on the $39.3 Million dollar McEuen Park Plan?  The Luna Recallers asked everyone going into that meeting if they wanted to sign their recall petitions.

Mike also confronted Recall volunteers down at McEuen baseball field last weekend, in much the same way.  He was a very busy guy.  Mike didn’t identify himself as he grilled the volunteer, asking, “Do you need a permit to be doing what you are doing here?”  The volunteer didn’t recognize Mike so she asked him the same question back, “Do I need one?”  Mike just continued to parrot the same question again and again.  Finally the Recaller realized who is was, and said, “Councilman Kennedy, don’t you know the rules?”, to which Mike answered something like, “Well you should know, you people think you know everything!”  And he walked off with three of his kids in tow.

We had a permit for the gazebo on McEuen. I’m sure if one was needed for a small table near the baseball game, Mike would have had the cops there in a split second.

And yesterday I was set up as the target of an intimidation attempt.  A staunch Decline guy, who confronted me last weekend down at McEuen, showed up yesterday as I was waving signs and helping at the Army-Navy store on Gov. Way. This guy, who gave me his business card, is an engineer named Jeffery.  After a brief conversation in which he became increasingly confrontational, I asked him to leave me alone. He followed me and continued to harass me with constant questions like, “Are you afraid to talk to me?”  I asked him to stop and I walked away.  He followed, all the while bantering me with questions.  This went on for several rounds until a red car pulled into the parking lot. A man got out and walked over to me, even though there were other Recallers present. He seemed to have a question. Jeffery continued to harass me and the new guy quickly–probably too quickly–came to my defense.  But his supposed defense included foul words and physically pushing Jeffery, ever so slightly.

That was it!  The man in the red car took off and a smiling Jeffery got on his phone, called the cops and said he had been “assaulted by a Recall volunteer”. (photo of him on the phone to the police after the “assault”).

The police came out (our tax dollars at work) and took a full report from Jeffery, from me and from retired General Bob Brooke, who was helping  with the Recall.  The police officer was  nice and treated us well.  I made it very clear that the guy in the red car was NOT a Recall person and none of us had ever seen him before.  So it goes…it was probably a big set up to get attention on the blogs and a headline in the Press, and I’m sure those entities will cooperate, however trumped up the situation.

Speaking of the Press, did you notice the huge, two page, full color advertisement for LCDC / Riverstone in last Sunday’s paper?  The ad did not reveal who paid for it.  A local businessman emailed Editor Mike Patrick, asking what entity placed the ad, who paid for it and how much the ad cost. Mike Patrick responded with only one word:  Riverstone.

Riverstone?  Didn’t they go into bankruptcy?  They lost the condos, the theater and the adjoining buildings. How could they pay?  A two page, full color ad like that would cost the Recall group almost $5,000.  Did the Press give it away to Riverstone / LCDC for free?  Or did LCDC use taxpayer dollars to pay for it?  Mike didn’t say.  And the businessman cancelled his subscription.

And on a side note, many of you have asked about the Decline signs downtown and in the Ironwood and hospital areas. Many or most of those signs are on property owned by the insider group.  Charlie Nipp (former long time chairman of LCDC) and / or Steve Meyer ( boss of Mike Kennedy and father in law of Decline co-founder Sarah Meyer) own a great deal of land…the Bank of America lot downtown, the half block across from McEuen, many places on Ironwood drive where you see the signs, some along NW Blvd, the Prairie shopping center and much more.  And there are some other land owners involved too.  So when you see the signs, just realize they may well be on land controlled by a select few.

All of the attempts at intimidation only accentuate the desperation of those opposing a public vote on the recall issue.  They don’t want you to have a vote. They want to continue their control. This Recall effort is undermining the deeply rooted power players in this town; we are trying to change things that have been in place for decades if not longer, and we’re almost there, but it is not without controversy.  We expect the intimidation attempts to increase over these final 9 days.

Our signatures are near 5000 now but it is NOT enough.  Please help others realize they cannot sit back and wait for the election.  We don’t have enough signatures yet to cover the fall out of names the city might cut from the list, for whatever possible reasons they can conjure up.

Please talk to your friends, family and co-workers, and get them to sign this week. We have only 9 days left!  5000 people can’t be intimidated, and extra signatures will help seal the deal and get us all a public vote.

I have a new favorite quote, which comes from Aristotle:

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.”

Let’s do something…and let’s do it together!
Have a great weekend. –Mary

***

PS–here’s a link to a new Business Insider article listing the city with the highest level of unemployment in each state.  Guess which city has the most unemployed in Idaho?…yep…CdA.  We are at 9.2%  compared to our state average of 7.8%.

(Hey, maybe it’s time to spend Million$ to make a park into a park!  Will that bring in *good* jobs?…)

Here’s the article:  http://www.businessinsider.com/most-unemployed-city-in-every-state-2012-5#coeur-dalene-idaho-13

******************
 Mary Souza is a 25 year resident of CdA, local small business owner and former P&Z Commissioner.   Her opinions are her own.  To sign up for the free weekly newsletter, or access a free archive of past columns, visit www.marysouzacda.com  Comments can be sent to marysouzacda@gmail.com.  Please visit the local issues web site www.OpenCdA.com for more discussion.

27 Comments

  1. Mary, is there any rule or precedent in play that will let the recall observe the authentication process? Will there be a list of names removed and the reason for their removal? Can those disqualified names be re-instated if they can be proved correct?

    Now, rhetorical question time…..from the above, would you conclude that I don’t trust the powers that be in CDA? 🙂

    Comment by rochereau — June 1, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  2. Great question rochereau. Will there be someone from the recall side there during validation?

    Not rhetorical from me. I do NOT trust the powers that be in CdA!

    Comment by concerned citizen — June 1, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  3. Is everyone absolutely positive there is no money from the general fund being funneled into the McEuen project, inquiring minds would like to know? Like let’s say into the Parks Capital improvement fund?

    Comment by lexacon — June 1, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  4. Good questions all. When the signatures are filed with the city clerk, she is supposed to “promptly” pass them to the county clerk for verification but no one knows the legal definition of promptly. I think some Recall people should stay with the signature pages until they are given to the county. We do, however, have scanned copies of every page and a paper copy too. Plus every page has a code number on it, so if any pages are missing, we will know it and can prove it.

    We’re sure the city will bring out their microscopes and try to find any and every reason to reject signatures.

    Comment by mary — June 1, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  5. Lexacon, I don’t think anyone is sure of that at all. The city is famous for moving money around.

    Comment by mary — June 1, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  6. I don’t know either way but the City can’t remove names I don’t think, maybe they could challenge some then I would hope the County Clerk would move quickly and involve both sides with all determinations with the burden being on the City to prove it beyond all doubt. Then again it is just sad how hard the City will work I’m sure to discredit any names they can without most likely unbiased work to also vindicate the citizens and names who have signed and want this.

    One of the things that UR boasts about when avoiding the laws requiring adoption of prior plans, and the fact that blight is not a part of many projects is the end game and how happy everyone is, so happy, and oh yes the creation of jobs, jobs, jobs, guess its just not working with the highest unemployment here. Back to the illegality drawing board.

    Comment by Appalled — June 1, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  7. rochereau and concerned citizen,

    I can’t give you a definitive answer to your question “Will there be someone from the recall side there during validation?”, but I seriously doubt that Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes would want any interested parties involved in the recall issue present when his staff is examining and validating petition signers. Interested parties would include not just Recall CdA and Stop the Recall people, but also any City officials including the City Clerk, the City Attorney, or the Council and Mayor. The Elections Office staff that will be doing the examinations do this same process (validating absentee voters) during every election. The presence of interested parties would be a distraction and it seems to me would increase rather than reduce the possibility of errors. Equally important, if the County Clerk and his staff happen to find evidence of criminal violations, the chain of custody on the evidence needs to be preserved. Allowing interested parties access to that potential evidence may jeopardize that.

    My opinion is that once the city clerk has passed custody of the petitions to the County Clerk, we need to let the County Clerk and his staff do their jobs free from outside interference. Remember, statutorily the County Clerk has only 15 business days to complete the examination and verification.

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  8. Appalled,

    Idaho Code §34-1713 describes how a signer can remove his own name after signing before the petitions are filed.

    I think it would be very valid for the County Prosecuting Attorney to consider this: What statute has been violated when someone signs the petition knowing and intending that s/he will later remove his/her name in an effort to reduce the number of valid signatures submitted?

    Comment by Bill — June 1, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  9. Mary, bravo! This is one of the best, most melodramatic rants you ever posted. You really do have a gift for that, and all sarcasm aside, I do appreciate that. I am actually tentatively planning on writing a book about this whole CDA Recall thing, and it’s blog posts like this that make the whole idea shimmy with possibilities.

    Comment by Patrick Jacobs — June 2, 2012 @ 1:04 am

  10. PJ … my thoughts as well about the book but I think TV would be a better medium. I’ve said from the beginning that this is made for TV movie material.

    Most outsiders are amazed at the lengths the voter suppression group members have gone to in their petition blocking efforts. Even more so after learning what it is all about and seeing the park. The most common question/thought has been – “what are they trying to hide?”.

    Comment by always curious — June 2, 2012 @ 6:43 am

  11. Seems as though Mr. Kennedy is feeling the heat from, I’m a guessing, his employer??????? I also would wonder how concerned these recall targets would have been if the County Clerk’s office had retained its operative status quo?

    Comment by Wallypog — June 2, 2012 @ 7:22 am

  12. Ms. Souza, while I don’t know you I do commend you for your community spirit in the face of such organized and abusive adversity.

    Some claim your motives are personal, opinions and comments were varied along those lines, however the spirit and the intent of the recall and the many THOUSANDS supporting a vote indicate that there is a much broader feeling of discontent than some would claim or have others believe.

    Not everyone supports the recall for the same reasons but a very common denominator among many is the firm belief in the sanctity of each and every citizen having the right to vote – regular election or recall vote of confidence.

    Comment by always curious — June 2, 2012 @ 7:32 am

  13. always curious:

    Mary is indeed a very brave person to follow her beliefs despite the negative attacks. I have personally seen and heard many conversations and actions to conclude the City of Cda. has not been completely honest with our citizens. However, I was too fearful to speak out as I had to protect my career and the careers of my family members. Yes, I felt shame by having to keep silent.

    I started to follow news articles written by Mary a few years ago. Her concerns and questions were identical to mine and I determined very quickly she was a person of good character. She is a bright star for our community.

    Thank you Mary and I am glad I finally had the chance to meet you.

    Comment by LTR — June 2, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  14. Always curious, agreed, I’ve also not met Mary but am thoroughly impressed.

    Bill, doesn’t the statute you reference allow a person to remove his name but only before the petition is filed? The questionable process for me is with the validation at the City level then the County for who has authority to remove names. You would think a paper trail regarding the basis for doing that must exist for each name that would carefully be assessed and administered. I imagine that the City would provide the largest list that the County would have to take into consideration then validate. In my opinion the City will work hard to create a long list as opposed to validating the names without bias.

    My question was more directed to it becoming some sort of toss fest with the City attempting to do that initially and in such a manor that completely leaves the petitioner out of it. Agreed the work should not be done with both sides breathing down their necks though, just some measurer in place for fairness.

    Comment by Appalled — June 2, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  15. As a former lawmaker, the language in Idaho Code 34-1713 is very clear to me. Any person wishing to have their name removed must do it themselves. They cannot ask anyone else such as the city or county clerks to do it. so, any official asked about it must refer that person to Recall CDA and that person then must obliterate their name personally.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — June 2, 2012 @ 10:27 am

  16. Gary, that makes sense, thank you! Aside from that any idea regarding the validation process that the City might employ followed by the County?

    Comment by Appalled — June 2, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  17. Gary is correct. Anyone wishing to remove their name must do it themselves.

    The issue is that there needs to be some checks and balance to know that Mr. Orzell is allowing those asking to be removed have the opportunity to do so. That is why it is a good idea to contact both the City Clerk and Orzell if you want to do so.

    If you want to learn more about the process of removing your name from the petition, there are recommended steps listed at http://www.stoptherecallcda.com

    Comment by meesterbox — June 2, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  18. I believe the decline to sign organized effort that once included a few hundred emails about a business has crossed the line. The website listed by Meesterbox would be better received after the petition placed the measurer before the public for a vote.

    IC 34-1714. Prohibited acts — Penalties. (1) A person is guilty of a felony, who:
    (i) To offer, propose, threaten or attempt to sell, hinder or delay any recall petition or any part thereof or any signatures thereon;
    (ii) To offer, propose or threaten to desist from beginning, promoting or circulating any recall petition;
    (iii) To offer, propose, attempt or threaten in any manner or form to use any recall petition or any power of promotion or opposition in any manner or form for extortion, blackmail or secret or private intimidation of any person or business interest.

    Does that activity qualify as proposing to hinder or delay a recall petition that is prohibited? How about when emails targeting a business interest and the complaint filed with the City clerk that so far doesn’t identify any specific activity or persons clearly engaged to delay the recall? The website providing news is one thing but it goes way beyond that and proposes a hindrance stating decline to sign and wish you hadn’t signed. Then it has a place for donations, is this a registered business with the State, or a non-profit, obviously a political action group – who is looking into all of that???

    Comment by Appalled — June 2, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  19. Freedom of speech has its limitations like here when a Recall effort has ensued likened to intimidating a witness, something’s you just can’t do, but here I believe the statute points to specific protections and prohibits certain acts during the activity of the Recall petition.

    Likewise the same statute places prohibitions for false statements that are “willfully or knowingly” circulated, published or exhibited or representation concerning the contents. The section applicable to the anti-recall group does not mention “willfully or knowingly” and I believe it has a wider reach and more teeth should anyone of authority ever care to consider it. It most certainly should not be disregarded.

    Comment by Appalled — June 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  20. Really got to wonder why Jeff B. (the “assaulted” Civil Engineer) didn’t get the guy’s plate number. I’ve known Jeff long enough to know that he never acts without foresight (and electronic devises) to have recorded the confrontation he instigated with Mary and then the alledged assailant–and at minimum got the most basic of evidence to support his claim.

    I sincerely hope CDA Blue investigates. Something is fishy – and it ain’t in Denmark.

    Comment by old dog — June 3, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  21. There is a way to handle situations such as this. Takes some props, but Mary has proved time and again that she has those.

    Walk away, stop suddenly, turn and look heckler in the eyes. He/she will be surprised and possible bump you, then will automatically take a step back. You take a step forward for each of their steps back, never saying a word and always looking straight into the eyes. Trust me, this not only completely throws them off their game, it is intimidating as well. Even if someone is simply being rude, staring at them and NEVER speaking always works. It has never failed me!

    Comment by rochereau — June 3, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  22. What a blockhead. This is just another example of why the Recall is so needed.

    Comment by Pariah — June 3, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  23. Kennedy is the Recall police? First the McEuen baseball field with permits for doing that contacting Recall volunteers when he is one of the subjects of the Recall followed by also making contact and with more Recall volunteers in the LCHS parking then placing a call all authoritative like is something he himself should remain far from. Haven’t heard of the Mayor and other council members doing that so where does he get off being the chief Recall City police officer/code enforcement officer. What next the bell tower somewhere?

    Mary what wonderful fortitude when facing confrontation. If the caller to the police really used the words the man was a actual volunteer and isn’t, does that qualify as a false police report? Sounds like it goes to far under the Recall hindrance law any way to me. There is something really wrong with claiming this person is a Recall volunteer and not attempting to get his picture or a license plate to identify him. I’d be embarrassed to call the police!

    Kennedy hasn’t ordered a drag net and review of all traffic cams in the area? Absent anything like that happening sounds to me like you guys nailed it for what it really is. Maybe it’s not his turn and somebody else is taking the baton for the moment and filing another most questionable complaint – go figure. Mike will be back I’ll bet ya!

    Comment by Appalled — June 3, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  24. A point that has been overlooked here, verbal assault is also against the law. And that is what this buffoon is guilty of.

    Comment by rochereau — June 3, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  25. Roch of Ages – you may have missed the part in criminal law 101 where assaults are ALWAYS verbal. Battery is the physical part. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault

    Just my tiny attempt at pedantry. Just

    Comment by justinian — June 3, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  26. Thanks for the good advice. I am a trusting person by nature and believe most people are basically good. There are exceptions and maybe I was too naive to notice the set up while it was happening. When it was over, a more experienced person told me they thought it was all planned out. Probably so. I will be more cautious in the future and will take Rochereau’s wise advice.

    I have also learned to use the video & recording features of my phone, and will use them along with calling 911 if I am harassed again.

    Comment by mary — June 3, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  27. I stopped by just after the police arrived and Jeffrey was ever so smug, with a big grin on his face as he conversed with someone on his cell phone as he paced, you could tell it was a set-up, he then told the policeman “sticks and stones”
    bla bla …
    Mary was the perfect example of classy and professional.
    Thank you Mary for your hard-persisant work to enlighten the public.

    Comment by Jullee — June 7, 2012 @ 11:42 am

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