Time to take a stand? - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Time to take a stand?

City Councilman plans to remain neutral on recall

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Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A Coeur d'Alene City Councilman defended his neutral position Tuesday, despite believing some in City Hall want him to take a stand on the recall issue.

The city said that's not the case.

Any city employee or committee member may become involved in the recall effort - or its counter movement - so long as it's done on their personal time, City Administrator Wendy Gabriel said.

And that includes criticizing council members publicly.

"If they want to be involved, they have a right to," Gabriel said Tuesday. "As long as they're not interfering with city business or using city resources."

The issue stems from a Press letter to the editor from the city's Arts Commission chair, Eden Irgens, published April 13, that described Councilman Dan Gookin's relationship to some people tied to the recall group, RecallCdA.

The letter points out that Gookin - who has said he wants to remain neutral during the recall - was a founder of Opencda.com. The website "tends to oppose the current administration" in Gookin's words, and its other founders are actively involved in the recall effort.

"This is evidence he is clearly taking sides," Irgens wrote in her letter about Gookin. "After reading this, I ask you, citizens of Coeur d'Alene, do you trust him? I personally cannot trust him now."

After reading the letter, Gookin emailed Gabriel asking what the policy was on city representatives publicly criticizing council members.

"While I do not believe we have the authority to dictate that position to our volunteers, I also believe it reflects badly on the City to have someone in a prominent volunteer position publicly criticize a Council member," he wrote.

Gabriel responded that it wouldn't be prudent for the city to crack down on people's opinions.

Jeff Connaway, she pointed out, is on the city's sign board, yet was one of the original 20 signatures on the recall petitions to oust City Council members Mike Kennedy, Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander.

"Nobody, at least to my knowledge, challenged his right to do that," she said Tuesday.

Gookin said he was disappointed in the response, which he classified as "the other side does it, so we're going to too."

He said if committee members were vocal about supporting the recall, "you'd see a policy in 20 seconds."

He was upset that his email exchange with Gabriel was posted on an online blog Tuesday morning, though unaware how, which he felt was done to make him look bad.

"I believe I was set up," he said. "The anti-recall crowd wants to drive a wedge in this community."

The city, and its council, have fractured over the McEuen Field debate and the recall effort.

Recall supporters are circulating signs and seeking signatures on petitions, while opponents have created signs of their own while mailing fliers outlining why people shouldn't sign.

Computer animated videos about McEuen Field and the recall effort have been posted on YouTube.

Irgens said she was "stunned" about Gookin's reaction, which goes "against the very idea of transparency."

"Basically, I have no right to speak," she said of Gookin's stance.

Meanwhile, Gookin said he hasn't been a contributor to Opencda.com since he became a councilman. He said he stopped posting comments on any website, including Opencda.com, since the emotionally charged recall effort took foot two weeks ago.

The comments Irgens included in her Press letter to the editor that associated Gookin with the recall group were taken from Gookin's post on Opencda.com from March 24.

"If you want the LCDC gone, then elect me a mayor or two other conservative councilmen and I'd be happy to kill it," Gookin posted about Lake City Development Corp., the city's urban renewal agency that has pledged $11.5 million to pay for McEuen Field's reconstruction.

It was posted before the recall effort launched, but sounded tied to the effort to some because if the targeted incumbents are recalled, the remaining council members would eventually appoint a mayor who would then fill the rest of the vacated seats.

Gookin said the comment was about the relationship of the city and its urban renewal agency, and the scenario was hypothetical - not about a recall. He said it was an attempt to drag him into the recall.

"It's just the sideshow," he said. "All in all, I wish there were some adults in City Hall, because it doesn't look like there are."

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  • Ziggy posted at 8:18 am on Thu, Apr 19, 2012.

    Ziggy Posts: 1208

    What someone did BEFORE they were elected to a public office has nothing to do with them now. It is still a free country. But Mr. Gookin did the correct and ethical thing, that is, to leave off his previous activities and concentrate on the job for which he was elected. He is allowed to be neutral as he should be. He took the high road.

  • kimknerl posted at 8:12 am on Thu, Apr 19, 2012.

    kimknerl Posts: 286

    Yes indeed, there is a sharp contrast between Huckleberries Online and the comment section with the CDA Press. One noticeable difference is over at Hucks you can be sent to the cooler, as they call it, if they don’t like what you are posting. The cooler is a soft term for losing your comment privileges.

    It is good to visit both sites, see what the chatter is and stay informed. We just have to tread lightly in Oliveria’s turf, or risk getting the boot.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:41 am on Thu, Apr 19, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Bent is a regular over at the Spokesman Review on the Hucks site. Remember, our Mayor and Council Members Kennedy, Goodlander and City Clerk Susan Weathers all use that site to spread their criticisms.

    It's interesting that I have found the thought process between the Cda. Press and Spokesman Review Hucks commenters to be very different.

  • milburnschmidt posted at 10:11 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Hats off to Mr Gookin for doing the right thing. To enter the mudhole as Mr Bent encourages him to do would be a stupid act . He has to work with the mayor and other councilmen and to enter the discourse would poison his effectiveness. So he wants to stop LCDC so What he is open about it and that has nothing to do with the recall. He is not responsible to correct anyones statements except his own. To fall into Mr Bents mudhole would fall under the dont get in the mud and wrestle with pigs. They love it and you get all muddy. To Mr Bent stay on the topic and the only folks who bring up side issues like his are those who have no arguments or facts. Those who oppose a recall as not needed might feel different under another administration. So much fuss over a legal remedy if the signatures arent enough there is no problem the city is obviously divided and this will tell us if it has wide spread support. If not then the antis can crow and relax

  • kimknerl posted at 6:07 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    kimknerl Posts: 286

    I do know that under public records rules the communication between Dan Gookin and Wendy Gabriel is available and Dave Oliveria made a request for the information so he could post it on Huckleberries Online. Were Dave’s intentions to stir things up? Of course, but we all have a hand in that.

    It doesn’t change the fact that Dan Gookin is doing his best to represent the majority of citizens that voted him into office. I know, it may sound like an unorthodox behavior for an elected representative to actually represent, but change in political attitudes might be refreshing.

    This whole he said, she said can go on and on, but Mary is right, a signature on the petition is needed. Sign if legally you are able to, and support the effort however you can.

    So, since we are all trying to guess identities, anyone want to take a stab at mine? Also I expect an invite to a BBQ.

  • CClavin posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    Actually Cookie I don't even know Jack Riggs other than calling people unamerican because you don't agree with him.

  • CClavin posted at 2:35 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    Yeah, I guess I was right Cookie, but remember what your boss said, "Not on the City's time". Other than that fire away. I worked for Jack Riggs

  • Justin Cottrell posted at 2:15 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Justin Cottrell Posts: 157

    Bent you should stick to BBQ, of which I humbly hold you as my superior. The point is, guilt by association is never a valid motive for publicly lynching anyone. If so, why didn't we drag out Reagan after his good friend Hinkley's son shot him?

    Gookin has done an admirable job by stepping away from both sides, and should be commended for checking the legality of city volunteers smearing councilmen. Now that he knows it's perfectly legal, I'm sure he'll never touch on the issue again. Part of the learning curve.

    Now on another note, I'm craving BBQ now, despite having cooked one mean Texas styled chuck roast Sunday. Dang!

  • DeNiles posted at 12:38 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    My, my... so much vitriol from the anti-recall camp. Why all the sweat and the worry? If indeed the Mayor on her council minions are serving the majority of the voters then why worry about some hair brained recall effort? Or is there need to worry? Mebbe that is the trouble, hmmmmm?

    Never expected to called on the bet, did ya? Well you are..... and you can bob and weave and lie, but it is too late. The die is cast - the bell is rung. To quote Doris Day 'whatever will be, will be'.

  • Bent posted at 12:31 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Bent Posts: 2

    oops... The people of Coeur d'Alene *DON'T* deserve the deception that he is all too willing to perpetuate.

  • Bent posted at 12:21 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Bent Posts: 2

    Gookin doesn't have the luxury of remaining neutral on this issue. He has publicly stated his agenda is to eliminate LCDC and his past actions have been laser focused on unsuccessfully opposing and trying to disrupt anything having to do with urban renewal. He is a founding member (along with many other failed city council and mayorial candidates) of OpenCda.com which was designed for the sole purpose of criticizing the elected officials who support urban renewal.

    Now as an elected representative for the citizens of Coeur d'Alene he is being called on to clarify the obvious misinformation that is being spun by his washed up cronies at OpenCda which launched this recall effort. As a councilman he is OBLIGATED to clarify the city council's position on the park, and he is refusing to do so. That is both pathetic and true to form for this man... At one point I actually thought Gookin was going to man up and represent the people who elected him, but obviously he chosen to represent and handful of bitter and hateful has-beens at OpenCda. Let's hope the voters send him back to OpenCda next time he's on the ballot. The people of Coeur d'Alene deserve the deception that he is all too willing to perpetuate.

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive...

  • Cookie posted at 12:04 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Cookie Posts: 90

    Oh, CClavin, I just KNOW you're a downtown business owner in disguise, just trying to pull a fast one. Don't lie, you're not fooling anybody. But really, I only give you a C+ for your charade, since you make it so obvious who you really are.

    PS, you are full of it. I'm not about to post my real identity on here, but if I did I think you might notice that I have nothing to do with the city of CdA in an employment capacity or any other way whatsoever. Other parts of the area though, that's a slightly different story...Anyway, even if I did work for the city, SO WHAT? Those employed in city government should refrain from posting their opinions anonymously on a public forum simply because their opinions differ from yours? Pfffft.

  • CClavin posted at 11:35 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    Come on Cookie, you are not fooling anybody. I will give you a A plus for the Chardes you give out, nice well played. The recall will actually save money from what I have gathered from the Recall CDA folks. Even if and I say even if there was one shread of truth of the $20,000 cost vs the 14 million 1ST Phase followed by another 25 million for the additional phases, money well spent. Now here is the wrench I think McEeun should be revamped and get rid of the blacktop, but where & when will the parking garage go in. Let the people have some say and not through a Mayor-Handpicked committee. LET THE PEOPLE VOTE, don't shout them down, fingerpoint, and rule like the Queen. Here is the truth the Mayor and the three council members went about it all wrong

  • Cookie posted at 10:44 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Cookie Posts: 90

    "There is no doubt that Cookie is a City employee (My guess Press Information Officer)"

    Haha, I wish! As I've stated several times, I am currently a job seeker. If I worked for the city, from what I've gathered, I'd be pretty well off, eh? I've never claimed that I agree with the high pay level for many city employees. But do I think a costly and divisive recall is the way to go about fixing that issue? Absolutely not! How about waiting until the next election cycle and VOTE in more crotchety anti-everything types like Gookin and Adams and then let them put their promises to lower city wages into action. DECLINE TO SIGN.

  • Ziggy posted at 10:42 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Ziggy Posts: 1208

    I am just fine, thank you. It looks like the GOBs are runnin' scared. Mr. Gookin has the right to remain neutral which IS the high ground. Whatever the above was about, it was certainly a lame attempt to embarrass Mr. Gookin.

  • Timeless posted at 9:37 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Timeless Posts: 480

    ZIGGY: You may want to move to higher ground then.

  • Ziggy posted at 9:14 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Ziggy Posts: 1208

    From my view, Gookin has acted with integrity in all matters and that will probably continue.

  • CClavin posted at 9:09 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    I think Wendy Gabriel is in fear for her job, she too has failed and has been riding the "good times bus" for to long. That is the reason why she is being mean & vindictive. Like I said before once the veil is taken off the citizens of Coeur d'Alene will be amazed what the City & the City Council has been doing with our tax dollars and all the rule bending that has been allowed. (Let me marry the fire chief, I will be his boss and we will knock down $300,000 yearly) There is no doubt that Cookie is a City employee (My guess Press Information Officer)

    Justinain, while I generally like your posts please come up with something new other that the same cut & paste from the past four days.

  • JonnyQPubic posted at 9:08 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    JonnyQPubic Posts: 325

    Gookin says: "The anti-recall crowd wants to drive a wedge in this community."

    But the recall folks aren't? That's about the stupidest remark I've ever heard Mr. Gookin. Look in a mirror.

    So if the recall is successful we'll end up with appointed council members? (Hello Mary Souza.) A council all focused on one issue, how exciting/scary to think they will try to grasp everything else entailed with running a city. Will Edinger become mayor, again, as he nears FIFTY YEARS on Council. Where's the petition for term limits?

  • apathoid posted at 9:02 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    Eden is admonishing those who don't agree with her politics by saying we must all be unbiased while she clearly demonstrates that she is utterly incapable of acting without a nauseating political bias. She's doing the same thing to the county commissioners regarding the school board trustee appointment by the way, including spreading false information about a conversation she had with one of them on the subject.

    I encourage all of you, including you Mr. Gookin, to treat her for EXACTLY as she is...a complete and utter joke. Clowns like her go away when no one takes them seriously anymore.

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:43 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    It's Wednesday and Cookie signs in at 8:15 a.m. Good Morning Cookie!

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:31 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 807

    Dan is a good guy but we all need to ignore the distractions of those people opposing the citizens' right to Recall. This Recall will not be done on the blogs or in the newspapers; we all know where and why they are slanted against the Recall.

    The Recall effort will be only accomplished by getting out of our chairs and away from computers, and gathering the signatures of those who want the opportunity to VOTE. Nothing else matters right now. Everything else is a distraction.

    WE need your signature and your help! Please come to the Recall CdA Headquarters to sign the petitions. We're open EVERY DAY. Hours are 10-6 on weekdays and 10-4 on Sat. & Sunday. We are located in the Sunset Mall, at Hwy 95 and Bosanko, just south of Kathleen Ave. (it's near Coin Nuts, AAA and the Las Chavelas restaurant)

    Don't wait. The clock is ticking and we need your help NOW. If you can't sign yourself, you can still help us by getting other people in to sign. Come in a volunteer to help.

  • Cookie posted at 8:15 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Cookie Posts: 90

    Gookin is not representing the will of the people with this kind of whiny attitude and lack of transparency! Recall Gookin!

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:02 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    The City of Cda. can be very vindictive as we have witnessed over the years. Mayor Bloem, Council Member Kennedy, Goodlander and McEvers not only has divided this community but will continue to fracture those behind city hall walls.

    We can clearly see that people who stand to profit from downtown development will use others to do their dirty work. Using the Spokesman Review Blogs is just one of their sources to help their personal agendas.

    Fear has driven them to put on the boxing gloves, smear tactics on the table, intimidation on a larger scale, and commenting that Recall Supporters are disgraceful, disrespectful and un-American.

    David Gray Adler, director of the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho, said "Questioning government isn't treasonous, he added, rather a show of patriotism."

  • Justin Cottrell posted at 7:58 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Justin Cottrell Posts: 157

    Guilt by association doesn't work on this issue Eden, if it did, most of the anti-recallers would be indited based off similar relationships. There are people on both sides that work or worship together, and even a few families that are split down the middle. Your original letter was nothing more than a smoke and fire technique attempting to draw Mr. Gookin out to take a side. I commend him for checking the laws, any reasonable person in his position would have done the same. However, shame, shame again on the local socialist think tank run by Dave Oliveria known as HBO (Hobbled Bitter Oafs) for publishing the letter, then letting his sycophants rail against Dan.

  • lexacon posted at 7:46 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    lexacon Posts: 80


    The city clerk is good at sending things like this to Mr.Oliveria!

  • cdasfuture posted at 7:41 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    cdasfuture Posts: 123

    And speaking of professionalism, how is it that our City Administrator's personal emails are now being found on a blog?

  • milburnschmidt posted at 7:38 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Eden is shocked and stunned and doesnt try Dan anymore. The phoney outrage some of these people come up with is a little nauseous at times. I suppose she thinks that makes us feel like we ought to do something to make her feel good again. She forgot to say it makes her sad also maybe she is saving that for the next round as for myself Eden I really dont give a D--M

  • mister d posted at 7:37 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    There is no need for Gookin to come out publically now on this toppic - if you can't guess his position you haven't been paying attention. I think Gooking is being prudent at this time and the cards will fall where they do.

  • cdasfuture posted at 7:08 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    cdasfuture Posts: 123

    Eden, it comes as no surprise to any of us that Dan supports the recall efforts. So do Ron Edinger and Steve Adams. They have supported us countless times, requesting an advisory vote regarding McEuen's/ CdA's future. Dan and Steve were elected because they stood with us, people of all political persuasions. Of course they are for the recall vote, the vote they pledged to support. They also have all chosen to stay out of the recall effort because it is the professional thing to do.

  • DeNiles posted at 6:52 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    'That darned Gookin!' Why he even refused to sign his - CdA City Councilman's Standards and Norms - loyalty oath. That's not the oath of office. That's a -special- oath where the council folks are asked to reassign their loyalties away from the voters who elected them and to the purposes of the council. It is an honor based allegiance oath like some elite club. All the council people and the Mayor have signed this oath except for Gookin and Adams.

    This -oath- has 24 separate -requirements-. Most are get-along harmless enough, but some of them are very troubling. Take line item #23 as an example:

    -- "We will celebrate our successes by acknowledging those who made us successful." --

    So who made Kennedy successful? Was it the voters or his developers employers? Yeah you get the idea. Gookin and Adams refused to sign this 24 point oath. Gookin and Adams took their oath of office and they represent the people who elected them for the good of those people. The others? Well their loyalty apparently sits with whomever made them SUCCESSFUL. And it shows, doesn't it?

  • Taxing posted at 6:41 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

    Taxing Posts: 44

    If the mayor and the council members are all recalled, the governor will appoint a new council member. The four council members will then choose a mayor and two more council members. We will, in fact, be getting rid of four ELECTED officials, and replace them with four APPOINTED officials.

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