Hollingsworth vows less government, more listening

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COEUR d'ALENE - Three-time Republican representative candidate and building contractor Jim Hollingsworth is running for Coeur d'Alene City Council.

The 71-year-old, in his first attempt for a city seat, is campaigning on scaling down the role of city government, including reducing employee wages and staff positions, loosening parking and building code restrictions and supporting a public advisory vote on the McEuen Field project.

"If elected I will promise to work for a smaller, more responsive government," Hollingsworth said. "I will also listen to the will of the people."

Thrice defeated at the state level, Hollingsworth said he doesn't believe the city should have its hand in a number of areas, including having a 10-Year-Plan To End Homelessness Committee. Public art also shouldn't be a part of government at the local level, he said.

"The homeless problem, I admit, is a difficult problem to solve," he said. "But it's not the function of the government."

He said he would explore any avenue possible to end collective bargaining the city has with its three collective bargaining groups. Those groups have contracted agreements with the city that gives employees merit pay increases and cost of living increases. He would want to end that as not to increase employee compensation.

"I'd do anything I could to fight it," he said, pointing to Idaho as a Right to Work state, and adding he's convinced the city is overstaffed. "I'm not in favor of unions. I don't think unions are always the answer."

His press release quoted the Declaration of Independence and Abraham Lincoln about government being for the people.

He said the city has lost touch with its people by not supporting a public advisory vote for the McEuen Field project. That large scale plan was adopted by the City Council without putting the issue to an advisory vote.

"It would be a straw poll, it wouldn't be anything binding," he said. Not putting it to vote "was basically slapping people in the face and spitting in their eye and saying, 'listen, you elected us.'"

He said he would rarely, if ever, support raising taxes, does not support the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., and would prefer parking meters than strict personal monitoring for parking downtown.

Hollingsworth has been married for 45 years, and has seven children and 14 grandchildren.

He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Humboldt State College in California, and a master's degree in Biblical studies from Pensacola Christian College in Florida.

He is seeking Seat 1. Ron Edinger, incumbent, and Adam Graves are also vying for the seat.

Hollingsworth said he would use his City Council position to fight federal mandates, such as the strict Environmental Protection Agency regulations imposed on the wastewater plant's discharge levels, regardless of the financial fallout. He also pointed to Americans with Disabilities Act federal mandates as a financial burden, and doesn't believe cities should accept federal grants.

"The federal government is going to be soon where we have no city government," he said. "Unless cities take a stand."

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