We need strong leadership in Kootenai County. Our beautiful area has been discovered and has grown rapidly over the last number of years. The problem is that we weren’t ready for that growth and now we’re trying to play catch up, with the economic downturn making matters even worse.
The job of County Commissioner is complex. We need leaders who are ready and able to balance the many needs of the county but are also willing to be accountable for their decisions.
Look at the new County Comprehensive Plan, for example. This plan sets the groundwork for land use in our county. It lets individuals, builders and developers know what stipulations they can expect when building on their property. It took Planning and Zoning two years to write the new plan, which involved many public meetings with citizen input and even a professional consultant’s survey of public concerns and priorities.
The plan was then sent to the County Commissioners for their review and approval. The Commissioners have had it for one full year now but very little has been accomplished. Their review process has dragged on and on until just last week when, finally, they made a decision. But it was not a leadership decision, it was a move to postpone the controversial choices! Here’s what happened:
Last week, the Commissioners, in a vote of two against one, surprised everyone by pulling all the density designations out of the new Comp Plan. The density ranges were were unpopular with the some in the development community but strongly supported by citizen surveys. It was a political hot potato and two of the Commissioners are in highly competitive races to retain their seats. So what did they do? They punted. They pulled all the density designations out of Comp Plan and said the decisions would be made later, when the ordinances are written.
Let me explain. The Comp Plan is a vision document. It has very little legal weight but it gives guidelines that are used to write the ordinances, which are the actual laws. The county intends to have a professional company write the ordinances, and my bet is that the Commissioners will use these consultants as scapegoats for any backlash about density decisions later on.
The two Commissioners up for re-election are the two who voted to postpone the decisions on densities.
We need strong leaders for Kootenai County! That’s why I’m supporting Dan Green and Chris Fillios for the two Commissioner seats up for election.
Chris Fillios and I have worked together on several community issues and I can tell you that Chris is a man of integrity. He has a good business background, is well-versed in budgets and money management and has organizational strengths as well. But the most important thing to know about Chris is that, if push came to shove, he would stand up for the rights of Kootenai County, no matter the cost to his job or his personal situation.
Dan Green and I have talked on several occasions. We have discussed local issues at length, from property rights to LCDC and everything in between. I can say that Dan seems like a fair person. He’s willing to honestly listen and make the best decision he can for the people of this County. Dan is very smart and has been highly successful in business, now retired at age 52. He is his own person; he does not worry about what others think of him and he does not need the money. Dan has a heart, a conscience and excellent business sense. That’s a rare combination and I think we’re lucky to have him as a choice for County Commissioner.
Because our county is predominantly Republican, the Primary Election, which is tomorrow, is extremely important. There are no Democrats signed up to run for Commissioner in the General Election this November, so whoever wins this Primary basically gets the job. It’s up to us, people! Please get out and exercise your most important freedom, your right to vote, tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25th.