June 23, 2012

Let’s Play Make-Believe…



Let’s play make-believe.  Let’s make believe that Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Mayor Sandi Bloem is able to be honest when talking with citizens.

At the Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on June 19, 2012, citizen Charlotte Gherke addressed the Mayor and Council during public comments concerning the recently-concluded effort to recall the Mayor and Council President Mike Kennedy and Councilmen Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander.  One of the issues leading to the recall was the Council’s approval on May 24, 2011, of the McEuen Park Master Plan.  The cost estimates in the approved Master Plan ranged from $36 million to $42 million. Here is a YouTube of Charlotte Gherke’s exchange with the Mayor.

At about 4:44 into the almost 8-minute YouTube presentation, Ms. Gherke asks the Mayor about the $14 million “Phase 1” of the project.   The Mayor denies that this is only “Phase 1” and says that it is a park project.  The City taxpayers have been concerned that the Mayor and Council have been deceiving the people by saying the project never was a $40 million project, that we were wrong, and that it’s really only a $14 million project.   When the community heard the Mayor and Council using the term “Phase 1” before the recall began, we just naturally assumed that’s because there would be more money spent on Phase 2, then Phase 3, and so on.  Again, listen to the Mayor’s denial of Phase 1 in the YouTube response to Ms. Gherke.

Now look at the professional services agreement signed March 6, 2012, between the City (signed by Mayor Bloem) and Miller/Stauffer Architects.  The City agreed to pay the architects just under $2 million to perform the services described in the agreement and its exhibits.  It is an 8-page agreement and 25-page exhibit.  On page 6 of Exhibit A, it clearly states under Task 2… Background Information, “McEuen is a large, likely multi-phased project”!  In particular, note the number of times the expression “Phase 1” is used on Exhibit A pages 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 15, 16, 20, 21.  The kicker, though, is on page 21 of Exhibit A under the heading Phase 1 – 1.  Mass Grading/Site Utilities – c.  That reads, “Preliminary engineering and infrastructure provisions … for all future Phase II components which are listed below.” [emphasis mine]

So tell us again, Mayor Bloem, how there is no Phase 1.  It’s just a park project.  Yeah, right.

Let’s play make-believe that Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem has changed her ways since the recall effort and has begun being honest with the citizens.  We have to make believe, because it certainly isn’t reality.


  1. I should’ve included Queen Sandi’s theme song.

    Comment by Bill — June 23, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  2. I think calling Mayor Bloem “Queen Sandi” isn’t useful nor helpful to the recall/McEuen opposition/ concerned about City transparency folk.

    Simply stating the facts and disclosing that there ARE Phases beyond 1 mentioned in official documents is much more powerful than belittling, name-calling, and grousing.

    I watch this blog, HBO, and the Press. I’;d like to see higher roads taken by moderators and commentators alike. I cringe when mudslinging occurs.

    Comment by Randy_Myers — June 23, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  3. Oh Randy…… Protocol would dictate that the Mayor should be addressed as the ‘Honorable’ XYZ. Various other offices of high power use terms like -Eminence- or -excellency-. But it is truly the person who defines the real adjective that applies to the office, how they conduct themselves and whom it is they serve.

    So maybe it would be more accurate to refer to Bloem as ‘Madam Developer’ or the ‘Sultanette of Spendthrift’ or “Off with the Recallers Heads’? Or perchance wrestling terms would be clearer, like ‘Choke-Hold Sandi’ or Her Honorable Groin Kick’? Sadly Gridley has already cornered the moniker of ‘Rip Out their Lungs’.

    But, make no mistake, Mayors always come with some ‘title’ and in Sandi’s case Queen is likely the nicest possible attribution and, after-all, she does seem very focused on serving the upper crust at the expense of the peonage. And she actually does retail tiara’s. Why I am more surprised that she has not ordered herself a scepter and orb. Well, not yet anyway.

    Comment by Wallypog — June 24, 2012 @ 7:30 am

  4. @ Wallypog. LIKE!

    Comment by concerned citizen — June 24, 2012 @ 8:40 am

  5. Randy is right. But that won’t change anything. Me included.


    Comment by Pariah — June 24, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  6. I agree with Randy but understand the feelings Wallypog expresses. One big correction though Wally: Mike Gridley’s moniker is SUYA, meaning of course the “Shove it Up Your A**” directive he made to the Plaintiff’s attorney, in court, while he, Gridley, was on the witness stand during the 2009 Election Challenge trial.

    What’s most amazing is not that Gridley made the highly unprofessional comment in court, it’s that Mayor Bloem let him continue in his top-pay-in-the-city job as Chief City Attorney at $125,000 plus incredible benefits.

    Comment by mary — June 24, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  7. I don’t see the difference between referring to her as Queen Sandi in my comment and this. If your objections are to “The Great Pretender” song being associated with her, then your objections should have been raised when I posted Themes on OpenCdA on January 30, 2009. I happen to prefer Freddy Mercury’s (Queen) version of “The Great Pretender” simply because the audio quality is better than the Platters’ version I used in 2009.

    Comment by Bill — June 24, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  8. You are right, Bill, that there is no difference between your reference and the cartoon by Jimmy Barona. Some of our commenters even thought that cartoon was too attractive and too nice! The reality is that caricatures, in name or in drawings are not fully accurate, but they do convey the feelings of the community, and that’s something Sandi should note. She is looking more and more like a recluse Queen, imperially raising her eyebrows and scowling at comments by her city council members, giving them dirty looks if they ask questions. She keeps her head down when someone she does not like is speaking to the council and she seems to take notes energetically, but I’m told she’s really doodling the whole time. It all gives an air of entitlement; like she knows what’s best for this town because her family has been here for generations and her grandfather used to own a hardware store on Sherman. That’s local history but it does NOT mean that Sandi has any right to push through major spending and historic cultural changes without a vote of the PEOPLE.

    Comment by mary — June 24, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

  9. If I remember correctly, she didn’t greet the many citizens who took the time to attend the first park plan meeting at Woodland School. She sat alone in the bleachers. I thought it odd that she couldn’t be bothered to greet the audience and thank them for taking the time to attend. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — June 25, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  10. Bill, you always, every time, pick the most unflattering photos of the people you choose to rant about on this site. Fair enough, it’s your blog, but ultimately it reflects back on you and it makes you look not only biased, but also very bitter and nasty. I know Sandi well enough to know that she just laughs off your posts here because they are ridiculous in nature. When you use them term “Queen Sandi”, it just comes across as juvinile, jealous, and lame, but if we were to really play it out, it’s a a title she has actually earned, having fought off the continuous and expensive (taxpayers) attacks from the lot of you. I would truly love the people involved with this site to actually do something for CdA that actually registers as POSITIVE. There are so many more productive ways you all could be spending your never ending angsty energy. Sometimes it seems Mary Souza is merely obsessed with getting her name in the paper, but to what end? So far, zilch.

    Comment by Patrick Jacobs — June 25, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

  11. i have to agree with randy and patrick to a degree-the name calling ‘queen’ and the unflattering pictures. i expected this site would take more of the high road. other than that it gives me things to think about. thanks

    Comment by murphyk — June 26, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  12. Bill, Please continue to express your editorial license. The photos you have chosen in the past have reflected the mental images of the personalities held by many of citizens.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — June 26, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  13. Great video Bill, she nailed it, without being rude. I really loved the part where Queen Puppet-Master Bloem denied Phase One exists. Remember folks, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or woman in this case.

    Comment by dinosaurman — June 26, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  14. The McEuen Currents indicated a “Historical Committee Meeting was scheduled for Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 12pm.”

    Anyone attend?

    Comment by LTR — June 26, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  15. I heard about the ‘wooden bat’ tourney this past weekend and so I went down to watch a bit of the Saturday evening game under the lights. There was a large crowd. Baseball games played ‘under the lights’ are especially enjoyable and coupled with the ‘crack’ of a wooden bat striking the ball, instead of the ‘tink’ of aluminum, the game harkened back to a kinder and gentler time in the lake city. The game was extremely well played. The Lumbermen are obviously well coached and their play reflected it. Following the game, as I walked out with the crowd, it was clear to me that it was this type of pleasant family activity in the heart of the city that caused so many people to love Cda and move here.

    Comment by up river — June 26, 2012 @ 9:45 am

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