It wasn't too hard to figure out why Steve Adams won election to the Coeur d'Alene City Council. He barreled into office on a mighty wave powered by anti-McEuen Park voters galvanized by Kootenai County Reagan Republicans.
But even some onlookers who questioned Adams' aptitude for such a big job rationalized that all in all, he would be good for the community precisely because he was a political outsider. He would ask tough questions and perhaps address issues from a fresh perspective - one that wasn't in lockstep with the existing council.
After almost a year and a half of on-the-job training, the Adams saga just gets weirder. It reached a low-water mark last week in yet another heated debate over the city's wastewater treatment plan, this time a post-meeting whizzing match first with City Attorney Mike Gridley and then with Mayor Sandi Bloem.
Bad words, pointy fingers and clenched fists all reportedly were wielded. Feelings ended up being the only articles that were actually bruised in the final act of this particular high schoolish drama, but some very real concerns are emerging among the electorate. When it comes to ideology vs. policy, is Adams just playing devil's advocate, or is he actually the devil?
We do not mean that literally, of course. But when Adams agrees to support the city's approach to a daunting and frighteningly expensive federal mandate to clean up its water, and at the last minute, standing before a judge, runs the opposite direction, what are citizens to think? Time and time again, Adams has made it clear that he will reject anything with a District of Columbia return address on it. Unfortunately, it's therefore clear that he will oppose it even if it's in his constituents' best interests to accept it.
We encourage Councilman Adams to ask tough questions and to be willing to take unpopular stances on matters where he has demonstrable expertise. But we respectfully ask that on issues involving federal or state interaction, he remember that he's representing 45,000 Coeur d'Alene citizens, not a handful of bitter ideologues who feed him their agenda because they don't have the clout to conquer the city themselves.