COEUR d'ALENE - Kiki Miller, Noel Adam and Gary Herfurth, who are running for City Council seat No. 6, touched on a variety of issues, and they clearly differ on most of them.
They were asked by the Coeur Group, which sponsored a candidate forum at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library Wednesday night, to explain when public votes are appropriate.
"I believe in the representative government we have," Miller said. "I believe that each person has elected their officials and they are charged with doing the due diligence to make those decisions for them."
Faced with a decision on something that would have "monumental impact on the community," Miller said she would not be opposed to a public vote as long as it was within the law. She said those cases would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Adam said he would seek the public input if the matter involves a large amount of money. He said $5 million would be a good threshold to go by.
Herfurth said he would also support more public votes on the issues, and he would like to explore ways to deal with voter apathy to ensure good voter input in those cases.
"Anything that is really, really important, like $20 million or $15 million, people should have some kind of say in what is going on there," Herfurth said.
Candidates were asked if they support the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.
Herfurth said he supports the ordinance, but thinks it needs to be carefully put together.
"We need to make sure we are honoring religious belief because they come into play too," he said
Adam said he is for total non-discrimination. He was part of the founding group of the Kootenai County Task Force for Human Relations and helped to pass discrimination laws at the state level, but he said the city's new ordinance favors certain people.
"I would want to take a look at that and rescind it possibly," he said.
Miller doubted that Adam was around when the Aryan Nations bombed Coeur d'Alene in the 1980s.
"I was evacuated from a building I was working in because of an Aryan Nations backed bomb threat," she said, adding she would hate to see the community viewed as intolerant at the national level ever again.
When asked if they would vote to repeal it, Miller and Herfurth said no. Adam said he would.
When asked what the role of Lake City Development Corp. should be in the city, Miller took the first stab at it.
"I think that urban renewal is the only economic development tool we have," she said. "Until there is another option that comes along that a municipality has to help grow their town, its role should be to invest wisely with all of the citizen's input."
Herfurth said the LCDC has its place, but we need an entity that could look at the city as a whole - not just the downtown areas.
Adam said he is concerned that LCDC hires lobbyists, at taxpayer expense, to keep themselves viable.
"I find that somewhat offensive as a taxpayer," he said. "There is purpose for (LCDC), but at the same time it needs more monitoring and oversight."
The entire debate was broadcast live of Coeur d'Alene Cable Channel 19, and it will re-run periodically until the election on Nov. 5.