May 19, 2013

Dirty Tricks vs Honest Integrity

Filed under: The City's Pulse — mary @ 5:35 pm

vt_butMary Souza’s Newsletter  

The Balance North Idaho group has sent out a letter filled with twisted, manipulative information that amounts to nothing but campaign trickery.  And they’ve done it at the very end of the school board campaign, when there’s no time left to respond by mass media before the election Tuesday. 

Who is this new Balance North Idaho?  Their web site shows the small Board of Directors includes Sara Meyer and Eden Irgens, who were so active against a Public Vote on McEuen and against the Recall.  Also on their Board is Mic Armon, the former NIC Trustee who was against a public bond vote on the $10 million dollar Mill site land purchase.

Their web site says that “Issues will be evaluated based on their benefit to the community while weighing a variety of other factors, including financial impact.”  Financial impact?  For whom?  For those in line to make big money off public projects?  There’s no mention of taxpayers or protecting our quality of life.

This group touts itself as “balanced”, yet what they really are is a group to fight against a power shift away from the tight network that has been running things in our area.  The CdA School Board started to change two years ago and Balance North Idaho now wants desperately to get their people back in again.

But they obviously have no integrity, judging from their latest letter which uses the old trick of making up a possible problem—something that is not truly happening at all—then arguing against it.  (often called a “straw man” argument or fear-mongering)  The three almost-lies they use are these:

1. Should Boosters be able to control their own funds?
2. Do you want Sorensen Magnet School’s successful, creative curriculum offering to stay?
3. Should our kids learn beyond just Rote Memorization?

Notice the too-clever wording. They never say these things are happening, they imply they might happen if you don’t vote for their candidates! Here’s the truth:  Our new School Board strongly supports Sorenson and does not want it to change, they believe deeply in advanced learning /problem solving, and where in the heck did the Booster Club issue come from—of course they do, and should, control their funds!

So that’s Balance North Idaho’s version of “facts”?  I’m not impressed. I think this group will do almost anything to get and keep power for their core group

On the other side of the election are those trying to bring control of local government back to the people.  They are being attacked because they are open about their backgrounds and beliefs, but they are holding themselves above that mud-slinging and keeping it clean.  Here’s a good example from Trustee Brent Regan’s facebook comment, reused with his permission:

“I was interviewed by a reporter yesterday who was writing about the upcoming elections and the noise some are making about partisanship, a lack of diversity and the need for “balance”. I told him those arguments are self-canceling and therefore without merit. I described for him the professional occupations of five individuals; a general manager of an industrial manufacturing business, a human resource and accounting manager, a professional teacher and tutor, the owner of several retail food service businesses and an inventor-designer-entrepreneur small business owner. One thing they share is that they are all successful. I then asked him if this was a diverse group of people. He said yes, it was. I then informed him that I was describing the current Trustees on the School Board.

The ONLY way you can claim the current Board is not diverse is if you put on partisan goggles that filter out everything but political affiliations. You must have a partisan perspective in order to claim there is a POTENTIAL for partisan behavior. But where is the evidence? Where is the proof that this Board has made ANY decision that advances one political party over the other? Where is this imagined party bias?

Why would you claim the potential for partisan behavior where no proof exists? Because some people assume that others would behave as they themselves would, so the ones making the accusations are projecting their behavior onto others. It is how they would behave if they held that position. Absence any evidence, what other explanation is there?

Do I have “Republican” on my signs? Yes. Do I talk about being a “conservative” Yes, but those are simple statements of fact. Do I advocate that our schools be infused with political ideology? Absolutely not!

Lacking any evidence, what the people who complain about partisanship are really complaining about is that the people on the Board are not aligned with them politically. The ones complaining about partisanship are the only partisans in the room.”  
By Brent Regan, Trustee

And now someone has started the false rumor that Brent was a Vietnam draft dodger…another obvious lie because he wasn’t even 18 until after the war ended in 1975!  On that note, let me leave you with a quote from Socrates which says, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

So, dear Readers, it’s time for ACTION.  Please talk to your family members, your neighbors and your co-workers, and get them out to VOTE on Tuesday!  It’s up to you. If you want to help local government to return to the people, for the CdA School District please vote for:
Brent Regan-zone 1
Ann Seddon-zone 4
Bjorn Handeen-zone 5

This school board election is far more important than most people realize!

In Post Falls, please vote for:
Glorie Ward-zone 1
Carol Goodman-zone 5

My best to you,


PS– Not everyone is allowed to vote in the school board races.  The school districts are carved into “zones”, and each zone has a separate trustee.  They are not all up for election at once, it’s every other time, so only three zones can vote in CdA this Tuesday, only two zones in Post Falls.  The zones all changed last year, so you might want to double check if you can vote.

Please click here for CdA school district:  (scroll down to find election info and maps)

And here for PF school dist.:  (scroll down)

Or call the Kootenai Elections office and they will tell you:  446-1030
Mary Souza is a 26 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  Comments can be sent to  Please visit the local issues web site for more discussion.


  1. Balance North Idaho’s collusion with the Coeur d’Alene Press to unlawfully appropriate Brent Regan’s name for advertising purposes without his permission was reprehensible and indicative of both BNI’s and the Press’s lack of integrity.

    BNI and Patrick couldn’t even get their stories straight. In the lede to the skewspaper’s May 8 story posted online, Patrick said, “Department heads at your friendly local newspaper spent a hefty hunk of this morning debating – civilly, of course – the pros and cons of all those hyperlinks you’re seeing in political stories.” Later the same day, BNI’s apology led with, “Balance North Idaho purchased certain keywords months ago to use as hyperlinks during the current election. Words were chosen to provide the most exposure for the money and of course, candidate names were first on our list. At the time of reservation and the months that followed , the Coeur d’Alene Press never showed any resistance to the keyword choices.”

    So months before publication, BNI purchased (from the Press) keywords with candidate names first on their list to be used in political advertising months later!

    Who’s lying? It sounds to me as if Mike Patrick’s agonized department head discussion on May 8 was staged for effect if it occurred at all. That discussion should have been held months ago before the Press skewspaper staff decided it was all right to sell Brent Regan’s name for use in its advertising without his permission.

    Misappropriation of a person’s name for financial gain is at best a civil tort, and in some states it can be a crime. In Idaho, for example, Idaho Code §18-3126 reads

    18-3126. Misappropriation of personal identifying information. It is unlawful for any person to obtain or record personal identifying information of another person without the authorization of that person, with the intent that the information be used to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, money, goods or services without the consent of that person.

    If we had a county prosecutor worthy of the title, he might consider that the Press had no right to sell advertising which incorporated Brent Regan’s name without Regan’s permission, and he might also consider that BNI had no right to solicit funds using Regan’s name without his permission. But this is Kootenai County. Our prosecuting attorney goes after the low-hanging fruit but hides under the bed in cases that might have political backlash.

    Comment by Bill — May 20, 2013 @ 7:05 am

  2. Thanks to Bill, I learned something new today regarding Idaho law.

    Regarding Balance Idaho/Decline to Sign folks…their slimeball actions have not changed…

    Comment by LTR — May 20, 2013 @ 7:19 am

  3. Bill, they’re still at it. When I was writing my newsletter, I wanted to include a link to Jeff Tyler’s good Letter to the Editor, but I chose not to because it contained a hyperlink for the term “school board”. That link takes the reader to the preferred list of candidates at Balance North Idaho, of course! And it’s especially bad in the context of the sentence by Mr. Tyler because he says,

    “As a business and property owner, I strongly support our current conservative District 271 board of Trustees for their courage in trying to restrain spending and looking for ways to balance the budget while keeping the District whole.”

    Even though he’s expressing support for the current conservative board, the hyperlink purchased by the Balance group takes the reader to the candidates Mr. Tyler does NOT support. And Mr. Tyler had no knowledge or say in that process. How disingenuous that the Press has not removed that hyperlink.

    Comment by mary — May 20, 2013 @ 8:03 am

  4. Dirty tricks in politics, how odd! If they play these games now, what will they be like in office?

    Comment by Pulex — May 21, 2013 @ 6:40 am

  5. Pulex,

    Welcome to OpenCdA. Thanks for registering and commenting.

    To answer your question, I don’t believe there would be any difference at all between their official conduct and their personal and business conduct.

    Comment by Bill — May 21, 2013 @ 7:55 am

  6. Bill is correct. Current City Hall folks are no different. Shameful.

    Comment by LTR — May 21, 2013 @ 10:52 am

  7. This is gonna be fun. Thanks for the welcome.

    Comment by Pulex — May 21, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

  8. I found the BNI-CdA Press keyword thing repugnant and said so on their site. The suggested reading of I.C. §18-3126, though, seems a stretch since it pertains to “information which can be used to access a person’s financial resource” (§18-3122). Name alone is not enough unless you know some tricks I don’t (see S.B. 1357 for more about legislative intent for this law).

    Epithets of “dirty,” “twisted” and “slimeball” (a comment) are ironic in commentary seemingly upset at the indecorous claims of others. I hope anyone involved in the leadership of our children’s educations can be examples of integrity and “rational discussion.”

    Comment by Jason Abbott — May 21, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  9. Jason Abbott,

    Welcome to OpenCdA, and thanks for registering and commenting.

    It appears to me that the plain language of §18-3126 does not require going to the legislative intent for interpretation. Idaho Code §18-3122(10) defines personal identifying information as that phrase is repeated in §18-3126:

    Personal identifying information means the name, […], or any other numbers or information which can be used to access a person’s financial resources.

    In this particular case, I would probably argue that Brent Regan’s name is his own and that unless he gave the Press explicit permission to “sell” (use) it for some advertising value to BNI, he was deprived of the opportunity to negotiate its “sale” (use) and therefore deprived of that actual value. Simply, Regan’s name was not the Press’s to sell, and it was not BNI’s to buy without his explicit permission.

    However, I also think that the point you raised is a very good one. Do you think that I.C. Title 18, Chapter 24 – Theft, would be more applicable?

    I think what we’re once again faced with is some Idaho laws that have been allowed to languish without regular reexamination for updating.

    Comment by Bill — May 21, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  10. Welcome, Jason. We’re always glad to have challenging viewpoints here.

    That said, you took the words I used in my newsletter, “dirty” (tricks) and “twisted” (information) out of context. I used them to describe the inappropriate alteration of information used by the Balance Group, late in the campaign, as a mechanism to besmirch their opponents.

    Comment by mary — May 21, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

  11. Thank you for the welcome. Whether a legal line was crossed or not (closer to libel than identity theft, I would think), I agree that linking a candidate’s name to opposing views is deceptive.

    Comment by Jason Abbott — May 21, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

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