January 3, 2013

6 ½ Hours of Fun!

Filed under: General,The City's Pulse — mary @ 4:48 pm

Mary Souza’s Newsletter  -1

6 1/2 hours of fun.  That’s what you missed last night if you didn’t attend the CdA City Council meeting or watch it on Channel 19.  The Agenda was way too heavy— poor planning by the City Administrator—the meeting didn’t end until about 12:30 am.

I was present until after Public Comments, then watched from home until I had to leave for the airport.  Here are the highlights, including some you won’t see reported anywhere else: 

–Two separate citizens suggested that the parking garage be put on hold and its $7 million allotment go to pay for the “extra” items in the park, while using the new parking south of City Hall, the new diagonal parking on Front Street and developing parking north of Sherman, where LCDC already owns land for this purpose.  This good idea received no comment from the Council.

–After all was said…and believe me, a lot was said…the price tag on McEuen has gone up by $6.9 million.  (not the figure that was in this morning’s Press headline, that was just LCDC’s portion).  The NEW BOTTOM LINE = $21 million.

–City Administrator Wendy Gabriel was slick-talking when she claimed that “no new taxes will be created to pay for this project.”  Hasn’t that phrase changed over the last year?  First it was “no taxpayer money will be used” (but LCDC is taxpayer money), then it changed to “your taxes will not go up”(but they want to rob dollars from future city budgets and use the Rainy Day Fund, both of which must be replaced, so our taxes will have to go up) and now it’s “no new taxes will be created”.  Bunch of bunk.

–The Mayor was proud that they are “only” up to $21 million.  She said, “We all have to step up to the plate.”

–I almost laughed out loud when City Attorney Mike Gridley gave an incredibly flowery PR presentation on “Coeur d’Alene 2020”, and talked extensively about Bend, Oregon’s fabulous community-involved 2030 planning program.  He showed a “visioning” video and suggested that CdA consider that kind of intense citizen participation project here.  This, from our city that wouldn’t even let the public have a vote—not even a non-binding advisory vote—on a massive “visioning” and spending project called McEuen Park.  A little hypocritical, wouldn’t you say? I would love to have our city leaders be as concerned about the public’s opinion as seems to be the case in Bend, but I’m not buying this sudden change in attitude from our City Hall.

–Councilman Mike Kennedy was waiting with a trap for School District Chairman Tom Hamilton, who attends our City Council meetings when Person Field is to be discussed.  (In fact almost all the district Trustees were present last night, which I thought was great but, as Tom pointed out, only Dan Gookin and Steve Adams have attended the School Board’s meetings about the park.)  When Tom Hamilton came to the podium to correct a point of information about the Person Field negotiations, Mike Kennedy pounced.  He gleefully produced a paper he had prepared and read from it comments Tom had posted on his own private Facebook site about the McEuen Park project.  (Nothing foul. Tom called it “McScrew-um” Park and said something about Woody being washed up from the 70’s).  Kennedy went off on it and admonished Tom.  Mike reread the page again and wouldn’t let it go. And the Mayor, whose job it is to run the meetings, said nothing.  (Did she know about this ahead of time?) Finally Ron Edinger had to speak up and ask the Mayor to move the meeting along.  So much for inter-agency relationships in the City of Excellence.

–Dan Gookin made some great points last night. He said McEuen should have gone to the voters as a Bond election to begin with because then the funding would be set and the community would be united behind the project.  He said Urban Renewal was never intended to be the city’s “Bank” for pet projects.  On the topic of Person Field, Dan made a motion to hold a public, televised meeting of the City and the School District to discuss the project and see if some agreement can be reached.  The motion passed, so now that invitation will go to the District.

–The $33.5 million dollar Wastewater Treatment Plant update will go to a judge for confirmation as “ordinary and necessary”, rather than go to a Bond election.  The judge will probably approve it but if not it will go to a public vote.

–Our water rates are going up.  (Just another drip, drip, drip in the draining of our wallets. Pun intended.)

–I’ll tell you about the LID (Local Improvement District) for Front Street after it’s decided by the council on Jan. 15th.  They discussed it last night and there were some interesting comments from developer Steve Meyer and some residents of the condo towers.

–And so it goes.  But I wanted to leave you an interesting story about a man I have neither met nor heard of, who held the Mayor+3 in serious discomfort for a while last night.  This gentleman is in a wheelchair, so he was welcomed to make his public comments at the City Attorney’s microphone on a low table.  Everyone making public comment gets 5 minutes and there’s a huge projection screen that shows their time counting down. This man started out with a brief reference to the city’s spending on McEuen and then connected it into the Recall effort.  He supported the Recall, he said.  Then he spent the next 5 minutes talking about the Recall and how he analyzed the data and is convinced it was “politically squashed” on purpose.  He referred to the Sec. of State as “Ben” and reminded the Mayor+3 that there were “150% more people who signed to recall them than elected them.” He talked only about the Recall and detailed the many changes and inequities in the rules set by “Ben”.  He made some very good points. The time counted down.  The screen said “Your time has expired, thank you for your comments” But he kept talking. Normally the Mayor would cut the person off and make them stop, but she didn’t say a word.  Neither did Wendy or anyone else. They were probably afraid of looking politically incorrect.  His comments were finally complete at about 10 minutes.  Bravo, sir.  Thank you.  That made my night.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Nice recap – Mary. You pretty much said it – one of my favorite parts was when Woody voted wrong and they had the ‘do-over.’

    Comment by Stebbijo — January 3, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  2. Bitchin’

    Just sayin’, well bitchin’


    Comment by justinian — January 3, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

  3. Woody’s confused vote startled the Mayor,so she glared at him and he changed it. Who says he’s burned out?!

    Comment by mary — January 3, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  4. For there to be “burn-out”, there had to have been something initially to “burn out.”

    Comment by Bill — January 4, 2013 @ 6:59 am

  5. At my age, one doesn’t wish time to fly but Nov. will be very interesting. On the one hand, Bloem (and oh how I’d like to use Wood-brains favorite word in front of Bloem) would not want the embarrassment of losing an election. On the other hand, she is so arrogant and full of hubris, she probably thinks she can win. Sadly, she may be right. I have always believed she would not run again, but now I’m not so sure. Kennedy will run, Goodlander may and Woody will do as told. Tis a puzzlement!

    Comment by rochereau — January 4, 2013 @ 10:12 am

  6. While this council may seem to read like a De Maupassant short story I’m not of the notion that Mayor Bloem thrives on hubris or arrogance as much as a vision that is believed in as much as the opposing vision is believed in. Not much less similar to the departure of Ishmael and the rift that continues to this day.
    Things have gotten so far that neither side can relent as both sides suffer from excessive “hubris”
    One might say yeah but, it’s the other sides fault so I’ll not relent and on and on we go.
    One semi refreshing aspect would be Adams-do-right and the Gookinator are trying to move forward on the McEuen project, for better or worse, and indeed trying to move on. I give them credit for that. In fact they agreed on some aspects at the last meeting.
    I’m not saying I agree with the plan but once the dog poops on the floor you can only look at it for so long as it won’t go away by it’s self. Perhaps we can look at it til Nov and clean it up then but that’s a long time to walk around a mess.

    Comment by Eric — January 4, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

  7. I know you want to be politically correct, Eric, but let’s get specific. The Mayor said the $14.2 million was it for now. Kennedy said they would not go over that budget. And now they suddenly decide to spend an additional $6.9 million for a total of $21 million. (That’s a 48% increase!) So please tell me specifically why you think folks who have had no say in the matter and who are upset about this decision are arrogant and full of hubris?

    Comment by mary — January 4, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

  8. Well you missed the point, first I didn’t say I liked what was going on so lets be clear on that. Second, specifically? Ok I’ll give you an example.
    Take your post above, assuming that “you know” I want to be politically correct and this being your blog well, that’s about as hubristic as it gets. Albeit on a different level but it does fit the definition.
    You don’t know me and I’m about as un-politically correct as it gets.
    Unfortunately someone else holds the cards and the advantage, for now, and for now isn’t forever cause forever is a long time.
    That being said, and I’ve said this before, many many perspectives we agree on and I can understand how one can only see red due to the frustration of inaction or overt action, I get that. But the actions and demeanor as a result of that consternation and occasional perception of irrationality does little to build a cause worth picking up or joining and clearly, as a result the divide and the sides get wider and wider, the trenches get deeper and deeper.
    A good example of staying engaged is Steve, Dan, and Ron, they get voted down everytime however, it seems as they can move on and work accordingly within the system. It’s not great it’s not comfortable, it’s just the way it is, for now.
    Your educated, you make some good points truly do, but your demeanor on occasion does more damage to your cause than good. I know it’s frustrating and I know you’ve fought the good fight and get kicked around too much in my opinion.
    Here, take the gentleman in the wheel chair that spoke at the meeting the other night, it was very interesting, profound in some cases but, too late.
    Your cause and your perspectives are to fragmented and not focused and instead comes from various outside sources some credible and well, some not, coupled with exasperation and time. When I say your cause I mean not you personally but over all those pro supporters of this blog. Now I get the impression your perspective is indeed focused and not fragmented and perhaps, just perhaps an actual public relations person is needed for those who feel disenfranchised so the message and desires can be presented pointedly and clearly.
    Obviously the strategy being used isn’t working and shouting the end is near in the park will be just like it was accepted during the 14th century.

    Comment by Eric — January 4, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

  9. Eric, so, other than my saying that “I know you want to be politically correct”, what did I write about those who are upset about the new McEuen spending that indicated hubris or arrogance?

    Comment by mary — January 4, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  10. OK, sheesh, I give one and it’s not to the liking so now want another. It’s out there and I’m not going to spend all day going through archives. You keep missing the whole point I’m trying to make. In your Masters pursuit you must have had a psychology class or two. The length of time that the two side have developed in this city and the supportive allies and accolades given to each by their faithful followers is the perfect recipe for the creation of individual hubris and arrogance. Don’t you see it doesn’t matter at that point who is right and who is wrong on a movable scale of public opinion.
    At this point who ever is in power has the advantage. Now this doesn’t mean one should lay down and or give up no, instead and what perhaps some are missing is a different more adjustable approach has to be taken. Otherwise the cause will be eliminated completely in the end.
    I think perhaps, I’m giving the impression of attacking you and forgive me if that is what I’ve done as it’s not my intention.

    Comment by Eric — January 5, 2013 @ 9:14 am

  11. “I almost laughed out loud when City Attorney Mike Gridley gave an incredibly flowery PR presentation on “Coeur d’Alene 2020”, and talked extensively about Bend, Oregon’s fabulous community-involved 2030 planning program. He showed a “visioning” video and suggested that CdA consider that kind of intense citizen participation project here.”

    OK, there you have it friends and neighbors. Just how deep do the LCDC tentacles go when the City Attorney is cheer leading development and “visioning” for the future look of the city?

    The City Attorney!?? Now how exactly is this tied to his job description? I call abuse of power on this one.

    Is any senior city official not deeply “vested” in the orchestrated makeover of the city to whatever flavor of the month that LCDC tasks them for?

    Comment by CDAShenanigans — January 5, 2013 @ 9:20 am

  12. Aarrrgh!

    Comment by rochereau — January 5, 2013 @ 9:20 am

  13. CDAShenanigans, I was thinking the same thing the other night.
    I travel to numerous cities in the west from the Rockies to the coast including Texas every month, big and small, and I have some thoughts on what he did and said, just haven’t gathered them yet. Bend is great but far from perfect in it’s approach is all I can come up with right now.

    Comment by Eric — January 5, 2013 @ 9:32 am

  14. Eric, I’m not taking any of your comments as a personal attack, but thanks for the apology anyway. I’m trying to understand why you seem to think the taxpayers, who have zero power in the McEuen decisions, are equally arrogant and as full of hubris as the Mayor, Deanna, Mike and Woody–the voting bloc consistently pushing the project and its upgrades and spending.

    You seem to say one side is as bad as the other. Really? The citizens have asked in every possible way to have a real voice in the McEuen decision. They’ve gone to meeting after meeting with petitions and signs, asking for a vote; they’ve written letters and even organized a Recall, which believe me, no one wanted to do and it was a huge amount of work. All this to try to get some real power in the decision.

    But now you say both sides are equally part of the problem? The deck here in Idaho is stacked against the citizens, we all learned that through this process, and the only way to change the situation is to change the people on the council.

    Comment by mary — January 5, 2013 @ 9:32 am

  15. Exactly Mary, now you’re getting it. The voting bloc holds the power and until change happens that’s the way it is. Your actions and or the actions of those opposed to the perceived tyrannical situation will have great bearing on the effect of change and especially the rate of change. Look how long it took to get Adams and Gookin in and the length of that time hurt the cause exampled by the progress of the McEuen project.
    I’m of the notion that this could have been averted by the examples of the lost conflicts and how they were handled as far back as the Library. After those defeats there was no change in the approach and the Kroc fell, no change and now McEuen holds the advantage and will go through.

    Comment by Eric — January 5, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  16. Eric, what do you mean by “this could have been averted by the examples of the lost conflicts and how they were handled as far back as the Library.”?

    Comment by mary — January 5, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  17. Gosh Mary, I would have to type an epic to explain what a conversation in person would allow better, and quicker understanding.
    I’m by no means a political expert but I do meet hundreds of diverse people every year and the one commonality is that there are trends, common trends, in approaches to differing perspectives and the dig in and launch perspective “bombs” at one another is more often than not the most popular technique and that is where hubris and arrogance become equal on both sides regardless of the topic and especially when both side believe they are right.
    It seems to me, at least in what I’ve experienced, that at that point both side view each other as completely irrational.
    Ok, ok, let me try this, it may not be the best example but perhaps it’ll give the gist.
    A loving husband and wife married for many years and having raised a family and all that. They relatively successful, comfortable. OK say the wife one day is shopping around town and over hears someone tell another that they love them. No biggie just a simple moment. She sees something similar some days later, a couple her same age holding hands. Days later she hears an old song on the radio that she never really paid attention to but this time she actually listens to it and gets the lyrics and those words remind her of the “I love you” and the “hand holding” and while driving she starts to think, “why doesn’t my husband say I love you to me or hold my hand anymore?”
    Now she is on the look out for it at home and the animosity starts to grow, now she notices others, friends, acquaintances, and really looks deep at the nuances of their interaction and builds more and more a case, in her mind, against the actions, and in this case the inaction’s of her husband. The husband who loves his wife and is happy and unaware is now caught off guard when the wife finally bursts with this internal perception and says, “You never tell me that you love me” he says “but I do” while he thinks, where did that come from and they back and forth from defensive positions lobbing internal unshared thoughts (bombs) at one another. He might say well, “I can’t stand the way you chew” to which she says “you never even hold my hand” and on and on. All along they gather their friends to their side explaining their perspective on the situation and those friends generally agree and “yeah, that’s right, you’re kidding, is she/he’s crazy?, your a great husband/wife,” etc, etc. Both side do the same thing and the gap and the chance for reconciliation grows wider and wider and it’s to the point that the middle ground of understanding is lost and weapons of mass destruction are all we can use, until one side has the advantage in either power or numbers and an ugly irreconcilable separation results.
    Alright perhaps that’s not a perfect example but to me, at least, our city is in the latter throws of this example.

    If you want a cup of coffee one day I’d be pleased to sit and chat, thanks.

    Comment by Eric — January 5, 2013 @ 10:56 am

  18. Arrogance and hubris does not equate “vision” or “opinion”. They do equate to the “vision” being implemented in spite of financial feasibility and citizen input. Also the totally false, nay duplicitous, machinations of a small group who will profit (hugely) by this implementation. Arrogance and hubris consists of patronizing the collective intelligence. It is not paying courteous attention to the public comments. It is Bloem looking at her desk when her constituents are speaking to her. It is the constant falsehood upon falsehood routinely fed to those who must pay the piper. And the most egregious example being the statement that (in this case) no taxes will be used.

    “arrogance”…a feeling of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims.

    “hubris”…exaggerated pride or self confidence.

    Marys claims are not presumptious. They are backed by fact.

    Bloem is the quintessential example of arrogance and hubris.

    Comment by rochereau — January 5, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  19. Thanks for the effort, Eric, but your example doesn’t work for me. We’re talking about citizen RIGHTS, publicly elected officials and government spending of taxpayer dollars for optional community projects. Not a family or social inter-personal relationship.

    Comment by mary — January 5, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  20. Rochereau–well said!

    Comment by mary — January 5, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  21. Listen, once again you’re missing the point. I’m by no means discrediting your position, citizens rights, taxpayers dollars, I’m on that page, I agree.
    But, if you brush of familial, in this case the community family of the City of Coeur dAlene, and the social inter-personal relationships that is innate in all of us as humans then, your cause is lost.
    The other side can tout the same citizenry backing, the same as the friends of the husband and wife in the example. Your discrediting your own emotion, your own concern and passion for the rights of “citizens” is totally familial you see, that in itself is an admirable social inter-personal relationship.
    The trick is managing that, half the cause won is realizing that this aspect exists. The other half is gaining that balanced unity.
    Fact, unfortunately, standing alone doesn’t always win. Quixotic idealism is often stronger than practicality, why? Because we feel as humans. We stand behind and watch the Man Of La Mancha even though we see him as crazy and shake our heads but sometimes, we admire him and are jealous as we turn away but because of his actions we never really embrace him or take up his cause.
    rochereau, you may be right, but right or wrong you’ve thrown another bomb at the other side and what good will come of it? Perhaps galvanize them and assist in recruitment to their way of thinking, who knows. I may not agree with the Mayor on many things but I don’t believe there is a sinister intent or an anti-christ mentality. Sure wish I could talk to her one on one though.
    Anyway, thanks for the dialog, we’re going sledding 🙂

    Comment by Eric — January 5, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

  22. “To dream the impossible dream…” Expecting government to be honest, responsive and accountable is not an impossible dream. We are not tilting at windmills. And no one is standing alone in this quest. There are thousands of CdA voters and taxpayers who are standing together, and thousands more from the greater community. We may not be able to affect change right now, but it is our mission to keep the public involved and aware of the actions of this city government, which we do with letters to the editor, newsletters and the conversations we are having here on this blog.

    Comment by mary — January 5, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  23. I repeat…aarrrgh! Anti christ??? Where did that come from? Yes, Mary has a passion for the truth, as do I. I make no accusations, I state facts, proven facts that are a matter of record. I am not lobbing grenades, although not a bad idea. I have given the received definition of the words arrogance and hubris. Followed by examples of said behavior. Nobody said Bloem is evil, simply self aggrandizing and loosey goosey with the truth, at the expense of those whom she has disinfranchised. You are tossing out psycho-babble that simply doesn’t compute. Possibly my last word as I am not a fan of beating my head against the cement wall.

    Comment by rochereau — January 5, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

  24. Eric, As to Mary’s post #22 above. There are hundreds of thousands from all walks of life across all of America that are tired of the way all of government is run. We need to stick together to get things accomplished instead of picking each other apart. Some of us display more passion and more emotion than others which I admit that I am guilty of as well. None the less, the end result we are looking for is the same, accountability, transparency and honesty.

    Comment by concerned citizen — January 5, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

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