Spencer seeks commissioner seat

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Kootenai County commissioner candidate Larry Spencer doesn't believe the county needs a parking garage built at the administration complex.

"Voters want a lean government, and there is nothing lean about planning to spend $7.8 million on a county parking garage," said Spencer, running for the District 1 seat currently held by Dan Green.

He also disagrees with the current commissioners' ballot initiative to restructure county government. If approved by voters, the initiative would allow for a county administrator, and would also make several county officials appointed, instead of elected as they are now.

"Positions that are elected are held accountable by the voters," said Spencer, who attributes the contents of the initiative to Green. "If those positions become hired as Commissioner Green advocates, they will become permanent positions. Voters will replace a clerk or other official doing a lackluster job, but unless they mess up big time, an administrator won't."

Spencer said he isn't buying the argument that restructuring county government potentially increases efficiency.

"Restructuring will vest more power with the commissioners," he said in a press release. "I want to serve as a commissioner, not rule as a king."

Spencer said the existing structure of county government has an intricate system of checks and balances, and changing the structure would remove those safeguards.

Calling the ballot initiative "Dan's plan," though all three current commissioners worked together on the measure's language, Spencer said any two commissioners working together would have "nearly unbridled power" if it passes.

"We all want government to be efficient, but the most efficient form of government is a dictatorship," he said. "I would rather deal with a few headaches as a commissioner than move in that direction."

Spencer has lived within 30 miles of Hayden all his life, and he moved back into Hayden so his children could attend a Christian school.

He said his reasons for running are about issues and direction, not personalities.

"I like Dan, but I feel his vision for the county focuses on making government bigger and stronger," Spencer said. "I believe government needs to look at doing less, and become smaller. I grew up here, and I have seen our local government become more intrusive as it grows. That isn't what Idaho is about."

He said his top priority would be land use and protecting private property rights.

The draft version of the Unified Land Use Code is skewed toward government control, he said.

He stated that if the land use code is approved, costs involved in obtaining a building permit would escalate, and some property owners won't be able to obtain a permit at all.

"The Unified Land Use Code that the commissioners are paying over $300,000 to have written will transfer most control of property from the landowner to the planning department," he said.

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