March 23, 2016

Even Later to the Party …

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 12:15 pm

EDITBOARDOur post entitled Late to the Party on October 27, 2015, pointed out that even back then, Coeur d’Alene Press Publisher Jim Thompson (left in photo) and Editor Mike Patrick were waaaaay late to the urban renewal agency examination party.

Well, again today Frick and Frack demonstrated their remarkable ability to editorialize in arrears. This morning’s editorial was headlined You can’t blame ’em for asking.

The editorial finally and we suspect begrudgingly acknowledged that for years Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, ignite cda (née Lake City Development Corporation), had been engaging in “… the practice of lining friendly pockets under the guise of resurrecting worn-down parts of town.”

Honest and diligent citizens like Mary Souza, Dan Gookin, Kathy Sims, Sharon Culbreth, Frank Orzell, and others have been delivering the evidence of that practice for years.    The Press chose not to investigate and then report it as news.

But today’s editorial contained a real whopper. (more…)

September 5, 2015

What’s in a Name?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 7:32 am

diversionignitecdaIn her online newsletter dated September 3, 2015, State Senator Mary Souza offered some advice to the Coeur d’Alene Urban Renewal Agency.

Sen. Souza advised, “Ditch the new name and logo, cancel the PR contract, return to the original name of Coeur d’Alene Urban Renewal Agency. Get rid of the paid consultants, lobbyists and the overpaid executive director position. Hire a manager and a clerical assistant and let’s have the board members stand for public election. We can even pay them a small fee for their time, which would place them under a higher level of the Idaho Ethics law.”

OpenCdA agrees with Senator Souza. (more…)

August 19, 2015

Berns Doesn’t Act Alone!

Berns for OpenCdaIn this morning’s editorial titled ignite cda:  Transparent as black tape,  the Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper lamented that it has yet again watched LCDC Schlockmeister Tony Berns reprise the role of the Governor in the musical Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

But Tony Berns does not act alone.  He has been empowered to be arrogant, evasive, and deceptive by the willful or ignorant actions or inactions of past and present members of the LCDC Board of Commissioners.  Here are the current Commissioners.

Berns’ sidestep dance experienced by the Press and recounted in today’s editorial sounds very similar to his response to us as detailed in our May 2007 Whitecaps blog post titled Official Ignorance.

It’s not the first time Berns has pulled the wool over the Press’s eyes.  In December 2006 Berns booted Press reporter Tom Greene from an LCDC Board meeting being held at one of the LCDC Commissioners’ homes.  Berns told Greene he had to leave the meeting because the LCDC was going into executive session.  It wasn’t.  Although the Press reported the deception in articles on December 21, 22, and 23,  an honest and competent editor and publisher would have been screaming for Berns’ head and the resignation in shame of every LCDC Commissioner who went along with it.  Patrick and Thompson didn’t scream; they whimpered.

The LCDC Board of Commissioners (or ignite cda Board of Commissioners if you prefer) have the authority to remove Berns. In our October 11, 2011, OpenCdA post titled Berns Must Go (And He Shouldn’t Go Alone)!, we called for Berns and some Commissioners to leave.  Of course, they didn’t.

In part because of the persistence of some Coeur d’Alene community watchdogs who became elected officials, notably Senator Mary Souza, Councilman Dan Gookin, and Representative Kathy Sims, the antics of Tony Berns and the inattentive cast of clowns at the LCDC/ignite cda have come to the attention of other officials in the state.  What some state officials in the past have dismissed as “just a Coeur d’Alene problem” is now being recognized as symptomatic of larger statewide issues.  In its 2015 session, the Legislature approved the formation of the Urban Renewal Interim Committee, its charge being “To undertake and complete a study of urban renewal plans and issues.”

Regardless of what the Legislature’s Urban Renewal Interim Committee recommends, we hope that Tony Berns and several Commissioners of the LCDC/ignite cda will soon be gone.  They are “underperforming“.

January 15, 2012

Call to Action!

(Click on image to enlarge.)


January 14, 2012

Urban Renewal – Are Changes On The Way?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 4:12 pm

(click to enlarge)

Within a few days every Idaho state legislator will receive a copy of “Taxation Without Representation – LCDC,” a revealing look at how Idaho’s urban renewal laws have been misused in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  (This hyperlink is the low-resolution version because of limitations on file sizes we can upload.) The 16-page brochure was professionally designed and printed.  Printing costs were paid by private donations from concerned citizens of Coeur d’Alene, many of them private businesspeople.

Citizens in several Idaho cities, not just Coeur d’Alene, have been asking, “Just exactly how has our community benefited from the tax increment skimming our urban renewal agencies have been doing?”.  A news article titled New Eagle City Council champing at the bit for change in today’s Idaho Statesman raises the same question.

Rather than trying to “kill” urban renewal laws, Idaho’s citizens are trying to encourage legislators to modify them so they can achieve their intended purposes while at the same time making them less susceptible to predatory exploitation.

December 3, 2011

Killing a Monster

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:06 am

As the people of Idaho are learning, once a monster has been created, it’s not easy to kill it.  It’s even more difficult when the state legislature doesn’t really want it to die.

In a November 27, 2011, article headlined Urban renewal options, the Coeur d’Alene Press reminded its readers that Idaho’s urban renewal agencies are a creation of the Idaho legislature, not the municipalities which host them.  The urban renewal agencies are a separate political subdivision of the state, not a department of their host municipality.  (more…)

April 27, 2011

Urban Renewal Town Hall Meeting

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 9:03 am


The Lake City Senior Center meeting room was nearly full for last night’s town hall meeting to inform the public about Idaho’s urban renewal law application by the City’s urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corporation.

The meeting was reported in this morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press article headlined Citizens talk urban renewal.

Here are some photos from last night’s meeting.  (Mouse click on each photo to enlarge it.) (more…)

April 26, 2011

Town Hall Meeting Tonight!

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 7:14 am


There is a town hall meeting tonight beginning at 6 p.m. at the Lake City Senior Center, 1916 North Lakewood Drive, Coeur d’Alene. The purpose of the meeting is to better inform the public about Idaho’s urban renewal efforts.  (Mouse-click on the image to enlarge it.)

Today’s Coeur d’Alene Press ran an article in which Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency executive director Tony Berns said he opposed mandatory voter approval for LCDC debt obligations. Berns’ reason for opposing voter involvement? “He predicted that there would be low voter turnout and that most voters would be ill-informed,” according to the article.

LCDC Executive Director Tony Berns’ low opinion of local voters is not shared by the speakers on the schedule for tonight’s meeting.  The speakers’ goal is to inform the public so we can decide for ourselves if and how urban renewal programs can best benefit our state and community.

April 24, 2011

Police Presence?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 7:19 am

It was such a beautiful day Saturday that on our way home from the Save McEuen Field from Sandi rally, we stopped at City Park. The nearby parking lots were full or nearly so, the basketball courts were full, there were people walking and biking and also sunning on the beach. And Boopsie’s Bunker, the $55,000 public safety building purchased with your dollars to create a “police presence” for increased public safety on a day like this was …  (more…)

April 23, 2011

Photos From Today’s “Save McEuen Field” Event

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 8:33 pm


Today was the day for folks to gather at McEuen Field, eat some hot dogs, and sign petitions to stop the City’s effort to change McEuen Field to McRuined Field.

Lots of people, lots of fun, and a beautiful day at McEuen Field.

Here are a few photos from the event.  There are no photos of the ballfields and boat launch being “underutilized” as the City claims, because they were all full of ballplayers, spectators, and boaters!  (more…)

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