Opinion: Election season starts tonight - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Opinion: Election season starts tonight

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Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 9:42 am

The last Coeur d’Alene City Council election was, to many people, a referendum on McEuen Park.

That will be the case again this November, when the four incumbents — Mayor Sandi Bloem and council members Mike Kennedy, Deanna Goodlander and Woody McEvers — will be judged more on what’s happened with McEuen than any other issue.

Those four happen to comprise the voting bloc that has moved McEuen forward after 15 years of civic inertia. In addition to the millions of dollars in urban renewal funds they’ve dedicated to the project, they’ve invested every nickel of personal political capital they possessed. So it should not be surprising if tonight they remain true to their vision of what McEuen should become and they OK the commitment of several million dollars more to the park.

A positive vote would put several amenities back into the plans that were stripped from the initially approved park concept that carried an estimated price tag of $27 million. In the long process of compromising with concerned citizens, amenities like an information center with restrooms, a pavilion, an expanded grand plaza near the boat launch, and new basketball and tennis courts all fell by the wayside. City leaders have recognized that when the snow melts and spring flowers bloom, the McEuen Park that will fill the space between the public library and the Third Street boat launch will bear little resemblance to the grand gathering place envisioned by Team McEuen two years ago and approved by vote of the City Council.

Technically, these additions aren’t additions at all. They’re consistent with the council-approved plan. They would be funded by existing dollars within the mission and the wherewithal of the city of Coeur d’Alene and the city’s urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp. The park that could be completed by year’s end would still fall far short of the vision that included an ice rink, sledding hill, fountain and much more, but it would be closer to the earlier concept that many citizens wanted. And critics would still have won their greatest prize of preventing the boat launch from being moved.

Tonight marks the unofficial commencement of the 2013 City Council campaign season, with more than the political futures of four individuals at stake. The survival of LCDC could very well hang in the balance of a council vote just over a year from now; conceivably, the agency is being kept alive by the same 4-3 majority that has answered every McEuen question.

That could explain why there’s a sense of urgency to make McEuen remarkable. Come November, voters will decide if “remarkable” is good or bad.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Brent Regan posted at 4:55 pm on Thu, Jan 3, 2013.

    Brent Regan Posts: 635

    Oblivious? Hardly. Troy was making the technical (and legal) distinction between a capital fee and an impact fee. While there is a distinction between the two from the administration side, from the taxpayer side it is a difference without consequence. Troy and I had a conversation during the break and he agreed with me that the business model of amortizing capital improvements over the entire base was more effective at encouraging growth than the impact or capital fee model with the net result being improved general prosperity of the municipality. The amortized costs are more than offset by the general economic benefits derived from growth.

    I hope this clears up your misunderstanding.

  • SamuelStanding posted at 7:45 am on Thu, Jan 3, 2013.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 572

    ConcernedCitizen - Locals losing their jobs in this area should be a concern to this council. SD271 is more likely than not, going to remove all of the employees associated with transportation in this district. Bottom line, the district will not have to pay more than 10% on dollars earned -to the public retirement system (the employers share) nor will they have to shell out the cost of medical/dental coverage on these folks (a large portion is paid on their behalf). These dollars are sizeable and without these individuals working, no pay check contributes to mortgages not met, gasoline, groceries and clothing purchased. Our tax dollars collected and (what little) disposable income will no longer be a part of LCDC's collection. Sizeable loss...but then all of the tourists will surely come to CDA just for this park, right?!

  • Timeless posted at 10:11 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Timeless Posts: 480

    Concerned Citizen
    Posts 1271

  • Timeless posted at 10:10 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Timeless Posts: 480

    CC: As evidenced... The City Council meeting is underway as I write this, I don't see Mike tapping out a newspaper blog during the meeting, do you?

  • Timeless posted at 10:07 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Timeless Posts: 480

    CC: My name is not Mikey. Nice try, but you are way off.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 10:03 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1387

    I''m watching the council meeting on McEuen as I type. I'm still stunned that the most valuable piece of real estate and green space in the state of Idaho is being "developed" at all and that the financial aspects are still being argued before the citizens of our community. The community does not want this project nor does the community want their tax dollars funding it in any way shape or form.....

    I was also some what amused that Troy Tymesen had to explain to a very "serious" but oblivious Brent Regan why the city does what it does regarding impact fees. Regan's explanation about "sharing" the impact fee load sounded very much like he was a socialist "capitalist" ....another example of "investing" with someone else's money to help defray cost and ....risk.....

  • local res posted at 8:56 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Will the tourist continue to come if the local people make them feel not welcomed?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:41 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    "Timeless posted at 1:03 pm on Sun, Dec 30, 2012.
    Posts: 279
    What in the world do improvements to the park, have to do with people losing their jobs and homes?
    Get used to it. The days of logging and lumber mill jobs in CDA are loooong gone and never coming back, thanks to you Liberal tree huggers.
    CDA is tourist town now. Find a way to capitalize on that or move. I don't know what else to say.
    Time to watch the Seahawks."

    Now we know what our council members think of the locals. Thanks mikey

  • mister d posted at 5:28 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    We shall see tonight if the mayor and her council follow the will of the majority of voters and say no to all of the extra money or if they will continue to push ahead their grand scheme to bring in more tourists downtown to support their business interests. This park is a financial disaster for the majority of CDA residents.

  • LTRLTR posted at 3:48 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Just a reminde of the Recall effort:

    "The four incumbents who voted in favor of moving the McEuen Field project forward (and against issuing a public vote on the project) were targeted in a recall effort by a group of citizens, called Recall Cda. Recall Cda needed 4,311 signatures from valid Coeur d'Alene voters to prompt the election, and from April through June petitioners could be spotted soliciting signatures, while yards throughout town had signs stating stances on the issue. The effort came up between 185 and 251 certified signatures short of the 4,311 mark on each incumbent, so no vote occurred."

    The recall effort was a very big deal. Mayor Bloem, Council Members Kennedy, Goodlander and McEvers only retained their seats by 185 to 251 votes. They squeaked by making promises to the community that they would not spend more than $14M. Lets see if they keep their promises to their supporters.

  • Mary Souza posted at 1:29 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Mary Souza Posts: 798

    Gary, this Press editorial today seems to push the council to approve the extra spending; the newspaper’s view is pretty clear. Here’s a false statement from this editorial:

    “They (the extras) would be funded by existing dollars within the mission and the wherewithal of the city of Coeur d’Alene and the city’s urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp.”

    No. The city wants to take from FUTURE BUDGETS, which are not “existing dollars”, as well as the Rainy Day Fund, which is comprised of tax dollars as well and will have to be replaced. And remember that LCDC’s dollars for this project have been BORROWED, from a bank, against future taxpayer money. Interest charges are accruing.

    It’s just what we thought all along–a big shell game.

  • Gary Ingram posted at 12:22 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Gary Ingram Posts: 90

    The Press Editorial says, "In the long process of compromising with concerned citizens amenities"..."all fell by the wayside." Really? What did the concerned citizens get in return for the so called compromise if the city has reneged?

  • DeNiles posted at 12:03 pm on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    What this really says? These smarmy 'public servants' cannot even define 4 new political toadies willing to toe the LCDC line. They gotta get it inked up now or not at all. There was 'no' last election and there was no 'recall'. The processes looked to be more massaged than above board. Wait and see how many related documents unofficially evaporate as 2013 proceeds to elections. "We were supposed to save those, how were we to know?"

  • voxpop posted at 11:47 am on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Wow! Can't imagine anything better than the demise of LCDC as well as the group of city council members which are nothing more than shills for downtown business. I'm all for keeping downtown Cda vital but let them pay for it. They're the only ones who'll benefit. Taxes should be used for taxpayers, not greedy business owners between 1st and 7th.

  • Timeless posted at 10:06 am on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Timeless Posts: 480

    We are looking forward to our fantastically remarkable, beautiful new park!

  • Candor posted at 9:49 am on Wed, Jan 2, 2013.

    Candor Posts: 35

    "Election season starts tonight"

    Or the beginning of the end of election season.

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