Angry crowd shuts down meeting - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Angry crowd shuts down meeting

Hundreds show up to make comments, fire department says room over capacity

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - It was a powderkeg that darn near went off in the Kootenai County Courthouse Monday night.

Luckily, the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department was able to snuff the fuse by informing the Kootenai County Planning Commission that its meeting was over capacity, so it was canceled.

But not before a few sparks went off.

Pressure started building in 2010 after Kootenai County adopted a new comprehensive plan and decided to update its land use codes to enforce the new plan.

As the proposal was being developed, county officials met with several community groups, advisory groups and affected land owners to explain their intentions. Still, after years of meetings, it became apparent during a forum on the subject earlier this month that many county residents are still frustrated.

That all came to a head Monday night.

The first in a series of four public hearings designed to take comments on the controversial Unified Land Use Code proposal was held in the county's main floor conference room at 6 p.m.

Nearly 300 people packed themselves into the 150-capacity room and dozens more spilled out into hallways.

Tensions were high when people started showing up at 5 p.m. to get a seat. A hundred chairs filled up by 5:30 p.m., and the head count in the room was approaching 200 people.

It was standing room only, and cramped at that.

By 6 p.m. dozens of people who could no longer fit in the meeting room jammed three doorways to try and hear the meeting.

Planning commission Chairman Wes Hanson opened the meeting with a series of rules and instructions on how he expected the crowd to behave.

Judging from the grumbles in the room, they were in no mood for that.

Bret Keast, president and owner of the consulting company that wrote the new code, was introduced and he started to give a presentation on what was contained in chapters 1-3 of the new ULUC proposal.

As he tried to explain how his company tried to simplify the code and make it easier to understand, the crowd started to grumble again.

As it turns out, the crowd was in no mood for that either.

First it was a woman shouting: "You are wasting our time."

Keast recovered from that, but as he tried to go on, it just got worse.

"When is the public comment period going to start?" one woman yelled.

Then a man jammed in the very back of the crowd stopped the meeting dead with his comments. He knew he was out of order, and volunteered to leave, but not before he gave the commission a piece of his mind.

"This is typical," he yelled. "You are wearing us down with this. First there are no chairs and you aren't going to give us any time to comment."

After that, Keast quickly wrapped up his presentation and public comments began, but only six people were able to voice complaints - often to raucous applause - before the entire meeting was stopped.

Patty Shea, a spokeswoman for Avista, commented that the new proposal does not adequately deal with electric and gas utility issues. She said despite working very closely with the consultant while he developed the proposal, it still was not specific enough for Avista to be comfortable with the new code.

"There is no mention of natural gas in this document whatsoever," she said, yielding the podium to another Avista employee who started to explain the company's issues in detail.

That's when the meeting was interrupted by Coeur d'Alene Fire personnel. They handed a note to the chairman informing him the room was over capacity.

"I have been given a note that we need a recess," Hanson said.

After a short huddle with the firefighters, Hanson reconvened the meeting.

He told the audience they were going to have everyone who was not seated leave the room and they would allow people to file back in until capacity was reached. The rest of the crowd would have to wait outside the room, until space came available.

That did not go over well. The crowd erupted and refused to leave. Nervous tension hung in the air. It was a showdown.

Hanson reconvened his huddle with fellow commissioners and decided to end the hearing.

"We are going to seek an alternative space," he said, explaining that when the commission found such a place the public would be "legally noticed" of the time and place of the rescheduled hearings.

"I am sorry for this. I did not schedule this room," he said. "I apologize that this occurred and I encourage you to come back."

That was still not enough to appease the crowd.

"Will the comment deadline be extended as well?" several people started asking.

Hanson asked the commission's civil attorney, Pat Braden, if the comment period could be extended.

"I would advise an extension," he said.

Before the meeting was extended and adjourned, the crowd made sure the commission understood that the new location had better be big enough to accommodate even more people.

One man asked if the volunteer commission would make the meeting earlier so they won't run into middle of the night, and one even suggested holding the meetings on Saturdays.

Hanson said the commission would work on the details and try to get out notices as soon as possible. Once the date is selected the commission must post notice 15 days in advance of the hearing.

He assured the crowd that the testimony collected Monday night would be preserved in the record and the crowd dispersed.

As the hearing broke up, Rick Cramer of Carlin Bay said he is new to the issue, but from what he gathered Monday night, he is not a fan of the proposal.

"It's like they are trying to make the county a giant homeowners association," he said. "When Keast said if you want to give piano lessons in your own home, you have permission to do that.

"That's what homeowners associations do," he added. "It sounds like they are trying to micro-manage what people can do with their own property."

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  • concernedcitizen posted at 4:50 pm on Thu, Jun 20, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    Right on the money! The city of CdA also try's to use the Delphi Technique to control council and other meetings as does SD 271 and other government agencies to achieve THEIR desired outcome.

  • thepointis posted at 1:05 pm on Wed, Jun 19, 2013.

    thepointis Posts: 107

    They're right, we do need to be better educated. Research Delphi method or technique and you will see how this method is used to control outcomes of public " input". They are trying to use this template on us. Educate yourself.

  • lone wolf posted at 7:50 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    lone wolf Posts: 245

    Seems the newly created nwpoa org., has a wealth of information regarding Environmentalism-, in fact there is a profile system for us to use to recognize an environmentalist level.
    Such as: Environmentalist- (big E)
    "They are not yet willing to to embrace environmental terrorism. They have started to buy some organic items at the grocery store."

    Last line in the long dribble is,
    " Radical environmentalism took over the Comprehensive Plan process in Kootenai County and they were quite successful in marginalizing property owner's rights."

  • will-- posted at 7:03 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    will-- Posts: 1093

    "Planning commission Chairman Wes Hanson opened the meeting..."

    Is this the same Wes Hanson that's with Kootenai Environmental Alliance?

  • lone wolf posted at 6:51 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    lone wolf Posts: 245

    Bob-Athol, i sure don't trust your site nor this info obtained from your site saying that the ULUC is a conspiracy, based on UN Agenda 21 and ICLEI from your website via

    Also off of your website
    "Kootenai County Citizens for Property Rights - ( ) a Kootenai County property rights organization designed to inform Kootenai County Property owners about regulations detrimental to their interests.
    NOTE- and are working jointly on several issues pertaining to KC property owners. "

    It seems to me that the far right is going after the ULUC to use it for ammunition (to feed misinformation and cause hysteria) to hopefully gain votes to take over and control our local government. Same as they just did with our school boards.

  • milly06 posted at 6:42 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    milly06 Posts: 22

    Poor planning by the "Planners".

  • Moderator 99 posted at 5:57 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Moderator 99 Posts: 7

    K fourth and last.

    NOBODY got Todd Tondee's log in and password. It was a fake account, notice the under score.

    We can do a hundred things to ID people, for every one of those there are a hundred ways around them.

    Please be assured that the post was not from Todd Tondee.

    Lets talk about the issue. Seems to be a good and passionate topic.

    Your accounts are secure.

    Let this lay please.

  • bob-athol posted at 5:20 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 192

    Nope, yer saying that!

    ..... I'm saying if yer gonna go fish'n, make sure ya bring the right bait fer da fish ya try'n 2 catch.

    I'll go fish'n ... "do you completely trust your government, federal, state, and local governments?"

  • 3gpf posted at 4:51 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    3gpf Posts: 4

    As some one who has been working against this insanity for 2 years now, and spent more hours than I care to count in trying to work with the BOCC and the planning commission, I left last nights meeting feeling like we are finally getting some traction, not because they are listening but because the push back is now becoming a tidal wave. The only exception I take with the above article is the "powder-keg" presumption. There was no powder keg, there was not going to be any violence, even if they had emptied the room, even the sheriff that came with the fire department left after a few minutes, its just that after attending a few of these meetings many of the people now know that the deck is stacked against them and the only way to be heard and understood is to be loud, and let the powers that be know we are not going to accept there "rules of order" any longer. A prime example was the PC letting Bret Keast have 30 plus minutes of our public comment time to drone on about how this is "for our own good".
    I have read and tracked all of the Comp Plan and the ULUCs through all there changes and evolution. Although I will accept the fact that the pulled comments were not really from Mr Tondee, the impostor did a good job of capturing his and others in the processes thoughts and feelings, because a review of the transcripts from many of the not so well attended meetings has more than a few comments very much along those same lines.
    I was not able to speak last night but was on the list, but let me answer a question to the planning commissioners ( the four that haven't decided to scrap this monster) . In a 45 minute conversation with Linda last year (I have witnesses on this forum) I was told repeatedly, more times than I can count, that I "didn't have all the data" and "you don't understand" what was really happening, and then asked repeatedly "what is it that you people are so afraid of"? Linda (and company), I ask you to look at your own comments from the Kroc center meeting and I say, THIS ULUC is what we are afraid of.

    I have read this monster and it will be far easier to under line the good, than the bad and the contradictions. Let's press the reset button instead of pouring good money after bad. We have the local talent and expertise to write our own comp plan and zoning. Why have we allowed the special interests and outside money and people that have given us this current cyclops, to take away our property and our rights?
    Lets get something we can all live with, other wise when we get 2 new commissioners next year, they will vote to repeal the whole current plan (IC 67-65xx), and start the whole process over. What a political legacy that will be!

  • lone wolf posted at 4:02 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    lone wolf Posts: 245

    Bob-athol, you are saying that the ULUC is a conspiracy, based on UN Agenda 21 and ICLEI as stated on your website .

    Do you really believe that Smart Growth and Sustainability are things to fear?

  • Moderator 99 posted at 3:47 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Moderator 99 Posts: 7

    Three times in one day this has got to be some kind of record...........

    I would like to assure you that this is a secure site. Nobody stole somebody elses user name and password. I can not even see your password as it is encrypted upon creation.

    I am not sure where this concern came from, but trust me that it is a non-issue.

  • Jullee posted at 3:11 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Jullee Posts: 563

    This is interesting because if true anyone can steal my password and post something ?
    I thought this was a secure site.

  • Miketeague posted at 3:10 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Miketeague Posts: 2398

    Thank you, Moderator 99 for clearing up something that was going to get nasty, since that was not the real Tondee can you please remove my earlier comment.

  • angryNIdaho posted at 2:57 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    angryNIdaho Posts: 81


  • bob-athol posted at 2:27 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 192

    I will confirm what the moderator posted, I emailed Todd and he replied ......
    ..... the post was NOT from him.

    While Todd and I disagree on many aspects of the ULUC, I do not think he would flat out lie to me about the post. (call me trusting)

    So while the malinger did a good job of making the post sound like Todd, it was not. We all need to be aware, someone can fake or steal our identity. Our property rights organization ( has also suffered some web attacks which is quite typical from the radial left. Point-dirty players come on all sides.

    As rural property owners, I want everyone to know, we are and will fight the ULUC straight up, Todd, Jai, and Dan will make the decision and as elected leaders bear the consequences or reap the rewards for their decisions.

  • Moderator 99 posted at 2:12 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Moderator 99 Posts: 7

    OK, let's try this one more time.

    The person who posted as Todd Tondee was not the real Todd Tondee.

    It is unfair of any of you to give any credence to a post that was created to do nothing but stir hate and discontent.

    I will pull all posts referencing that post and then if it keeps going I will shut down the comments on this thread.

    Those of you that have been here a while know how rare it is for me to make an appearance on the threads. I am very serious this needs to stop now.

  • CDGE posted at 1:37 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    CDGE Posts: 23

    We don't need the ULUC to take care of the nuisances and infringements you mention.

  • CDGE posted at 1:28 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    CDGE Posts: 23

    The BOCC and Scott Clark have gone out of their way to inconvenience those who don't agree with them. They KNOW there will be large turnouts, yet they still act like no one cares by the rooms being too small, not making sure the speakers work, giving away public testimony time at all the public meetings.

    We know that there are individuals HERE in Kootenai County that can write a land use code that follows Idaho Statute and preserves real property rights and encourages good stewardship without micromanaging.

    Has there been a problem with home taught piano lessons? Or are we creating a problem that doesn't exist??? Seriously. Go home Bret

  • CDGE posted at 1:22 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    CDGE Posts: 23

    "It was a powderkeg that darn near went off in the Kootenai County Courthouse Monday night.

    Luckily, the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department was able to snuff the fuse by informing the Kootenai County Planning Commission that its meeting was over capacity, so it was canceled."

    False statement. Yes there were strong feelings, but NO ONE was out of control. Sparks started flying only after the chairman started telling the public that only those in the chairs could stay. The fire department did not have to snuff any fires, nor did the county sherrif's dept who was also on hand.

    The hearings were typical of every public speaking forum proponents of the ULUC provide. Why would the consultant need 40 minutes of time, the public testimony time, to say what he's been pushing for two years??? We know what he is saying. We have attended 100s of hours collectively, of advisory, technical and bocc meetings where public comments are limited. We have studied the 'simple' document and we don't want it. We have submitted suggestions, line-by-line comments, questions over the course of the ULUC project and we don't like/want it.

  • Moderator 99 posted at 1:00 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Moderator 99 Posts: 7

    Hello Readers.

    Please do not respond to the Todd_Tondee posts. This is not the real Todd Tondee.

    The posts have been removed and the poster has been banned.

    Guys just so you know there are serious legal issue's that can arise when you post as somebody else. Especially in this fashion. Keep in mind that nobody is truly anonymous on the web.

    Thanks in advance for your understanding.

  • Spikey posted at 12:38 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Spikey Posts: 378

    Admittedly I have not really paid attention to this subject. Will have very little if any effect on where I live. However, Tondees arrogant commentary has inspired me to comment. Mr. Tondee, the uneducated, at least in class, is you. How dare you call the citizens you are to represent thugs. Are you kidding me. And what makes you think they are not educated? Yes, apparently they were loaded for bear. Also, apparently with very good reason in that the room was too small (on purpose?) and the comments left until very late on a work night (also on purpose, an old ploy). That doesn't immediately translate to undereducated thugs. I cannot believe your hubris. I take that back, hubris and arrogance are in large supply with many who sit on councils and commissions in this area. Your hubris will not be forgotten by me at your next run for office. Now Todd, a lesson in manners. You might have said that in your opinion, some of the people attending might have been not well informed on the subject. Or, possibly unclear. But 300 uneducated thugs...... Ah Todd, having rung the bell, you'll find it cannot be un-rung,( if you will.)

  • Jullee posted at 12:27 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Jullee Posts: 563

    Todd Tondee,
    We are neither insignificant nor under educated. Time for you to look in the mirror.
    Shame on you and the commission. You were elected by us, the voting public.
    You receive a pay check from us, the voting pubic.
    You came knocking on our doors begging for us to elect you to represent us.
    Shame on you.

  • CHSdad posted at 12:24 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    CHSdad Posts: 380

    voxpop, what you say is all fine, but it doesn't address what the commissioners are pushing. The new code is meant to be simplified and clear, and is instead written to keep the lawyers and county planning happy. These are not one (or two) and the same thing.

  • spudman1 posted at 12:00 pm on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    spudman1 Posts: 486

    Nothing new about Todd Tondee's attitude. He has been consistent with his "I know better than you"all along. He gets it from the pot lot and pawn shop background.
    If there ever was a good reason to dump this guy from office you can read it here. Next Dan Green.
    300 thugs? Now you know what he thinks of the voting public. He has threatened to clear the room before when he didn't like the conversation.

  • Randy Myers posted at 11:58 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    3 cheers for 3Cheers.

  • VetsForLiberty posted at 11:48 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    VetsForLiberty Posts: 1

    As a longtime resident, vet, and attorney with a focus in property law, I saw nothing but concerned citizens last night. That others dismiss the intentions and education of the crowd because they were/are angry betray their true motivation: that is, that they do not mind treading on the property rights and liberties of property owners for their own selfish and subjective benefit. Indeed, such treading rightfully demands an angry response (not reckless but angry).

    Furthermore, far too often strawman arguments are being made by the other side (e.g., what about quarries or pig farms or nuclear power plants). Those issues are exceptions that prove the rule--the rule that most people want to peaceable live on their land and develop it in a common manner or preserve it in a common manner as they see fit. The county gov't, if such is really their concern, can specifically address those issues of exceptions without a burdensome comprehensive plan.

    As for the individuals that want to "preserve" the rurality of North Idaho by regulation and litigation, there is nothing prohibiting them from creating a land trust and buying land to place into that trust so that they can effectuate their desires. I believe the county could do so as well. That is, both said individuals and the county need to put their money where their mouths are. They then can leave the rest of us alone.

  • imanewt posted at 11:22 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    imanewt Posts: 15

    WOW! Really Todd. Not only are we thugs, insignificant and uneducated we should just bow to your superior intellect and let you lead us around by the nose. I have no idea how you have remained in office with an attitude that is more suited to the Couer d' Alene City Council. There has been a large amount of input to this plan with very little of it adopted, because, you know better than us. As 3Cheers alludes to below, maybe your time as a council member needs to come to an end.

    I would plan on at least 3,000 insignificant individuals for the next meeting, if I were you. With your comments, I would not expect them to be in a very good mood.

  • 3Cheers posted at 11:05 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    3Cheers Posts: 435

    Perhaps the rural thugs should focus their anger in calling for a recall election.

  • Not4sale posted at 10:51 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Not4sale Posts: 174

    This may be the first time voxpop and I agree.
    I was told that one of the outspoken dissenters of the ULUC is a home business that conducts meat cutting, mobile butchering, etc. If you recall, a couple years back there was a property owner in Athol that conducted a riding and roping contest every weekend starting in the springtime, that was attended by hundreds of folks with trailers, overnight camping, dust, etc. It made the neighbors lives a nightmare. I believe that a business that was started and had been run long before the new homes and neighbors came in, should maintain certain rights., ie. grandfathered. Folks that want to start a new home run business that generates a defined amount of traffic, noise, or smells are a nuisance and should be prevented from impacting their neighbors rights to a peaceful existence--the very reason they choose to live rurally! There is an Idaho Statute that states: "anything which is injurious to health or morals, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property" that "action may be brought by any person whose property is injuriously affected, or whose personal enjoyment is lessened by the nuisance; and by the judgment the nuisance may be enjoined or abated, as well as damages recovered."

  • arius1 posted at 9:57 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    arius1 Posts: 893

    Gotta say Bob, I like the name and play on words, and the show it comes from - Arrested Development. Kinda reminds me of our city and county govt., dysfunctional to the point of being comical.

  • mike123 posted at 9:39 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    mike123 Posts: 1

    Well these people surely did not understand the term "NOTICE" . I was amazed by the number of people that were so angry about not even hearing about this rezoning ULUC commission. Clearly the entire deal was attempted to be no transparent. As for the crowd's behavior, they were ready for anything. You couldn't hear anyone speaking, it was hot, crowded one spark powder keg! In my opinion there was nothing accomplished last night or in the last 2 years regarding this plan. Regardless I'm sure glad that big guy in the back talking to the sheriffs called the fire department...the room was an unsafe place to be.
    A bigger venue is necessary to have this public hearing. There were at lease 300 people there and at the next meeting there will be at least 500. These commission people are fools.

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 8:32 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    This is so typical - having the "public input" meeting during the week, at night, and waiting until very late to hear comments. They don't WANT any public input! This is a done deal, folks. These decisions are made well in advance of any public "input". All that is happening now is a dog-and-pony show. But sometimes they will back off when the Barbarians are at the gates with pitchforks. Well done, citizens!

  • 986crazy posted at 8:09 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    986crazy Posts: 432

    Voxpop: Well said.

  • ancientemplar posted at 8:07 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1268

    It appears that there is as little rational thinking and leadership in the county government and staff as there is in Coeur d'Alene's council and staff.

  • brentandrews posted at 6:34 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    brentandrews Posts: 94

    Definitely more commie socialism from the government and its consultants, OTGN!

  • estatetracker posted at 6:12 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    estatetracker Posts: 348

    Pretty sad observation that Staff can't even "plan" on providing a space large enough to hold a hearing. Says alot about their lack of insight into the pulse of the county. But more frightening is that the current draft is so far over the heads of staff, the code could never be followed short of litigation.

    If the main purpose of the draft code was to simplify and streamline land use regulations--the document is a complete failure already. Looks like a rewrite is in the making.

  • voxpop posted at 5:48 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    I can understand how any plan that affects homeowners could be perceived as usurping their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of whatever they want to do. First and foremost however is people need to understand that all rights have responsibilities and Person A's rights stop where Person B's rights begin. Is it justifiable that a property owner opens a rock quarry on his rural 5 acres just because he happens to own the property? Or someone does the same with a shooting range? People have proven over and over again that after them everyone else comes first.

  • Randy Myers posted at 5:31 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    That is really well said bob-athol. I'm afraid, given the current leadership, there will be an attempt to implement this plan. Hiring the outsiders to do this rankles. Bret Keast got a taste of that it sounds.

    The real work will be to develop a plan that addresses all the stakeholder concerns. Seems like even Avista has some very real concerns (how could natural gas not be addressed!).

    Kudos to Jeff Selle on the well written article I think I have a feel for what happened and the mood as well as some of the issues that are bubbling.

  • bob-athol posted at 4:53 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    bob-athol Posts: 192

    I for one am saddened at what the county leadership refuses to see, ...... they passed a bogus and dogmatic Comp Plan claiming it came from the people, but it didn't. Then building on that fallacy they try to pass a Comp Plan based ULUC saying it too represents the will of the people. They loaded up the process with dogmatic environmental special interests and called it representative of the people.

    When you build one lie upon another at some point the charade is exposed and the truth makes itself known. Property owners are awakening, we do not like what is being done to us. Every time we are marginalized, it only fuels the fire.

    The neat thing about what is going on, is we are uniting at a grassroots level. We are not using the media, we are meeting and connecting face to face, over the phone and emailing one another. Rural mom & pop property owners, rural business owners who are learning about this monster set of rural regulations being force fed to us, and we do not like the taste. We've done nothing wrong to deserve this.

    Will County leadership get the message and start over or will they try to force this all the more down our throats? We'll see over the coming months, I know one thing .... the people I meet are not going away, this affects their lands, their families, their way of life, and their businesses.

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