Smoke out the hate - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Smoke out the hate

Bruce Reed delivers keynote address at human relations banquet

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Bruce Reed recalled a time years ago when his dad - Coeur d'Alene attorney Scott Reed - couldn't get some lingering guests to leave his home one winter night.

So Scott Reed climbed on the roof of the family home on Fernan Hill, put a piece of plywood over the top of the chimney, and smoked the long-lingering guests out of the house.

Bruce Reed said his dad, now 86, has never shied away from a tough fight.

"He proves you don't have to be the tallest man in town to have the most backbone," he said Monday night, as the keynote speaker of the annual banquet hosted by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.

The banquet, at the Best Western Plus Coeur d'Alene Inn, had 476 guests, the second-largest attendance number in the event's 17 years.

Bruce Reed's mother, Mary Lou Reed - a former state senator - was a force for good, too, he said.

"She led the successful fight for Idaho to finally recognize Martin Luther King Day," he said. "She persuaded Republicans to expand Medicaid to cover hospice care."

Mary Lou and Scott Reed were inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame at the banquet.

Bruce Reed said he grew up watching his parents stand up for principle against all odds.

"My parents taught me that there's no such thing as a lost cause, just battles you haven't won yet," he said.

When the Aryan Nations and Richard Butler "turned up in your midst" in North Idaho, residents here had a hard choice to make, Bruce Reed said.

The presence of the hate group and its leader could have been played down, and residents could have just hoped the problem went away.

"The way I look at it, the entire community of North Idaho pulled a Scott Reed," he said. "So you climbed up on the roof, put plywood on the chimney, and smoked the Neo-Nazis out of your house, never to return."

Bruce Reed, a native of Coeur d'Alene, is a former speech writer for Al Gore, a former special assistant to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.

Bruce Reed currently is president of The Broad Education Foundation in Los Angeles.

He said the nation still has a ways to go, but progress has been made.

"When I was born, states still used poll taxes to deny African-Americans the right to vote," he said. "A half century later, we've elected and re-elected an African-American president."

Historic steps have been made toward marriage equality, he said.

"When I started in national politics 30 years ago, the only voices on gay rights were against them," he said.

Now, the military has done away with "Don't-ask, don't tell," one-third of states allow same-sex couples to marry, "and the dwindling number of politicians who still oppose marriage equality are the ones who keep their mouths shut."

Also Monday night, former Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, former Councilman Mike Kennedy, former Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander and current Councilmen Woody McEvers, Ron Edinger and Dan Gookin received the 2013 Task Force on Human Relations civil rights award for passage of the anti-discrimination ordinance last summer.

Bruce Reed said immigration reform will one day bring millions "out of the shadows."

"Sooner or later, we will help young people in Indian country grow up with a fair shake," he said.

Finally, he said the greatest civil rights issue of the time is education.

"If there's one idea all of us across the spectrum can agree upon, it's that education is the ticket to a better life," he said.

There has been positive news on that front, as more low-income students are graduating from high school and more minorities are going on to college.

"But our schools aren't getting better fast enough, the gap isn't closing fast enough, and far too many young people are still trapped in low-performing schools where they'll never catch up in time to be ready for a college or career," he said.

In the meantime, a gap is growing between the U.S. educational system and the systems of global competitors, he said.

The U.S. used to be first in the world in graduating kids from college. Now the U.S. is 16th, he said.

"On math and science, compared to the rest of the world, our students are in the middle of the pack," he said. "The future of our society depends on closing both those gaps, because from now on, they're going to matter more than ever."

It's why he left Washington, D.C., after 28 years, for southern California.

"As president of The Broad Foundation, I get to spend every day trying to improve the public schools and expand opportunity for the kids who need it most," he said. "I know every child in America can learn, if we just give them the chance."

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  • babydriver posted at 1:41 pm on Wed, Apr 30, 2014.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Hi Captain,
    The education subject really gets my goat sometimes. I'm retired
    I managed commercial real estate facilities. I don't qualify for that now because I don't have a college degree.
    Go figure.
    One needs to be 'certified' to stand by the side of the road holding a stop/slow sign. Go figure.

  • wheels1 posted at 7:01 am on Wed, Apr 30, 2014.

    wheels1 Posts: 488

    If you had a life you might be ......

  • greyhound2 posted at 4:46 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    greyhound2 Posts: 897

    Myth No l All races are not created equal.
    Myth No 2 If you tell a lie often enough people will belive it. .
    Myth No 3 If you are "policallly correct" it will become a fact.
    Myth No 4 If you can't pass standard tests, then lower the bar and everyone will be smarter.

    Fact No l Lies eventually crumble under their own weight.
    Fact No 2 If you put plywood on the chimney the only ones leaving are illegal aliens who snuck in..
    Fact No 3 The Human Rights Commission has more cheap medals than Hollywood.
    Fact No 4 If you don't have rule of law, you have anarchy.

  • It Is Not My Fault posted at 4:37 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    It Is Not My Fault Posts: 60

    GED+trade school= 50000 a year and skills I can take anywhere in the world no degree for me and I live a very happy life.

  • cool captain posted at 4:14 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    cool captain Posts: 594

    Not even being sarcastic in this comment; our educational system needs to quit emphasizing that a four-year college degree is the holy grail for each and every student. NIC has done much to develop two-year technical programs which can often be higher paying than many jobs requiring bachelor's degrees. College is not for every student, but every person DOES need training in some sort of field if they value a "career" over a "job." I have no idea when associates degrees or certifications became passé, but it's time we start reemphasizing them.

  • XRGRSF posted at 3:19 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    XRGRSF Posts: 168

    Ah, yes, the sacred cow of education once again. Could it be that the reason the US is falling farther, and farther behind, in most aspects of education, is because everyone, ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE, MUST BE EQUAL? The only way to make everyone equal is to lower the educational standards to the lowest common denominator. Once every student can pass every subject then every student will be equal; equally ignorant. Here we have (surprise, surprise) another do gooder who sees the light at the endless tunnel of equal results for every student, regardless of intellectual ability, and if we just throw enough money at the darkness he will lead us to the light. In the mean time Mr. Reed will feed at the bottomless trough of funds, harvested by his non-profit, for the children. Humm..........

  • Oh MY posted at 3:12 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Oh MY Posts: 576

    Isn’t nice being schooled by the party of the KKK, assassins of two presidents, inventors of tribal reservations, and the intercity projects, both of which, represent the land of the living dead. The party that gave us Woodrow Wilson, which help create people with the likes of Richard Butler and the rest of the perennial crop of fruit, nuts and flakes that continue to show up and murder, maim, (Frazier Glenn Cross) and choke the life out of freedom loving people everywhere.

    Not only are they not satisfied destroying America, they now feel compelled to force Israel into submission, by boycott, for some delusional reason called apartheid which does not exist.

    There is smoke here; it’s called, communism, socialism and fascism, manufactured to look like human rights.

  • Righty-O posted at 2:54 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Righty-O Posts: 501

    LOL no

  • Righty-O posted at 2:54 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Righty-O Posts: 501

    I bet if you just wish it all away everything gets better Rogue. Good luck with that... keep your hope alive. Love the scab comment though, it was like race bating and you didn't even know it.

  • wwrd posted at 1:03 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    wwrd Posts: 243

    So Bruce was a speechwriter and Joe Biden's Chief of Staff. Does that mean he wrote Joe's great one liners ? He will fit nicely in Cali.

  • Miketeague posted at 12:36 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Miketeague Posts: 2631

    Here's a scab, anyone want to talk Basketball?

  • Rogue Cop posted at 12:01 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    Well, you're sure about a lot of things...none of which you know anything about!

  • babydriver posted at 11:55 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Oh Barf!

  • Righty-O posted at 11:18 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Righty-O Posts: 501

    When racism is no longer around, there will be no scab to pick. I am sure someone as enlightened as rogue cop can see that it is there and "picked" everyday from every aspect of society. I am sure the term racial profiling is lost on you as you have never done that... (doubtful)

  • Righty-O posted at 11:13 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Righty-O Posts: 501

    Your key word Dan was "Think". Some fail at that all the time or simply can't read the content and look between the lines. Welcome back to Bruce Reed.

  • Rogue Cop posted at 10:21 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    Boy, the race hustlers just can't quit picking the scab, can they.

  • Ziggy posted at 9:57 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Ziggy Posts: 1296

    I remember Bruce well. He was the greatest kid. Looks like he is just the same. Welcome home, Bruce. Idaho sure needs someone like you.

  • wheels1 posted at 8:44 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    wheels1 Posts: 488

    l 208, Bye....Good advice for you.Learn to read and think.

  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:19 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 761

    What makes you think Mr. Reed didn't mention that?

  • cd1013 posted at 7:23 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    cd1013 Posts: 249

    Bruce Reed we need you in Boise to follow in your parents footsteps who have done and continue to do so much for our great state.

  • lapua208 posted at 5:43 am on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    lapua208 Posts: 238

    Sounds like you have some work to do in your "LA backyard" with the Clippers owner? Bye.

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