Dear Newsletter Readers,
We’re back from our trip to help bury my father-in-law and honor his memory. It was a poignant but bonding journey for our family. Thank you for all the emails and cards, we deeply appreciate your condolences.
It’s now time for some changes in my focus and in this newsletter. I’m launching into a new challenge, unrelated to community events, so the format of my newsletter will change to more of a “clearing house” concept. I will offer bullet-points on local issues with as many links as possible so you can click and get more information if a certain topic grabs your interest.
This might end up to be far better in the long run because there are always so many topics swirling around and it’s difficult to address only one at a time. So let’s get started and see how it goes (your feedback is always welcome):
In random order, here are some of the issues on my mind:
McEuen Price Tag:
I know you all realize the city has finally come up with cost estimates for the proposed McEuen park renovations. The April 15th Press touts the price as $23-39 Million in its headline. The article reads, in part, “...That package would get nearly every itemized amenity...but leaves out...the cost of replacing displaced facilities.”
How can that be acceptable? The cost of replacing the ripped up ball fields and torn out boat launch must be included in any price plan! (http://www.cdapress.com/news/political/article_9f065c61-1304-5d42-ba49-5b0fc8cd6a24.html
On that same topic, the group Friends of McEuen, along with boaters, baseball groups and Tubb’s Hill fans, are planning a gathering THIS SATURDAY
, down at the park. Here’s an excerpt from their open invitation, please help spread the word: “This rally brings many supporters of McEuen Field together.....supporters of keeping the Boat Launch open....supporters of keeping the American Legion baseball diamond...supporters of Tubbs Hill....supporters of the "Less is More" Approach! We will have handout materials showing full costs and locations of the proposed $39,000,000 Million Dollar plan. We will have a full size McEuen "sign post" for photo ops! Latest Survey results from the McEuen Friends survey are posted on the web..www.savecda.org. The NEXT MCEUEN WORKSHOP / Public Meeting is scheduled Thursday May 5th, 6 pm to 8 pm, Coeur d'Alene Library, Community room. This will be a VERY important event! Thanks and see you Saturday at the McEuen Field picnic shelter, let's help show the city what the majority really wants!”
to the County Commissioners for moving in the right direction by eliminating 10 unneeded positions. Could this be the start of improved fiscal responsibility? Hope so. My question is why these jobs were held for so long, especially those in the planning dept. when building permits dropped drastically more than two years ago? Most private businesses had to cut positions, hours and benefits way back in ’08 in order to survive. Maybe the city of CdA will follow the County’s lead...we taxpayers could use a break! (http://www.cdapress.com/news/political/article_a4db0e41-be27-5b20-a7e3-39709eb16725.html
Were They Paid?:
When Tom Luna’s Education Reform Plan was debated in the legislature, and the big crowd of teachers were protesting down in Boise, did you wonder how they could leave their classrooms in the middle of the work week? Did you question if they were getting paid? The Idaho Freedom Foundation has an interesting short article on their web site at www.idahofreedom.net
, estimating that we taxpayers were nicked about $22,000 for teacher replacements and travel costs.
The City of CdA has finally settled the legal actions over the Sander’s Beach issue. The homeowners have given up their right to build docks and, in turn, the city is allowing them to have fences between their beach properties plus the city paid them a total of $278,500. (http://coeurdalene.kxly.com/news/sanders-beach-settlement/44573
) What’s interesting to me is the story I was told by several of the homeowners about six years ago. They told me that there was a time, during Mayor Bloem’s tenure, when the city and the homeowners met and came up with a plan that involved closing off the East Lakeshore road right in front of the houses. In exchange for the street closure, the homeowners offered to make the whole beach public...but they required that it be gated and that it be closed at 10pm
each night. According to the story, they were close to a deal but the city suddenly pulled out, without explanation. Too bad. (By the way, I’m told the money came from the city’s “self-insurance fund”, which is the same fund that they used to pay Councilman Mike Kennedy’s $69,000 in private legal fees for the election challenge.)
Encore with Updates: Last month I was part of a team that gave a public presentation on Urban Renewal, focusing on LCDC here in CdA and its connections to the McEuen Park renovation project. It was a big hit and now we’re doing it again. Surprisingly, in just one month, the facts and figures have changed, so our presentation will include the latest info from the money folks at the county, as well as updates on the power connections in town. It’s free, but donations are requested to help pay for the room. Please attend if you can and spread the word:
Tuesday 4/26 from 6:00-7:30pm at the CdA Senior Center.
Finally: though I could go on and on, you might be wondering about the photos at the top of this newsletter. The one on the right is part of the sign the Friends of McEuen have made, showing the cost of each proposed feature of the new park plan. It will be at their Rally in the park this Saturday. The center photo is hard to read, but important to understand. It’s the often overlooked plaque at the base of Tubb’s Hill, right next to McEuen park and it says:
“This Land Acquired for the Benefit of the People Forever”.
Let’s all keep that in mind...it’s for the people, not for select business opportunities.
Have a great weekend. Hope to see you Tuesday! --Mary