Crazy things are going on around here these days, and people in authority are trying to pull the wool over our eyes by using dramatic words to up-sell miniscule changes, omitting key words to send a false message or keeping a worrisome silence. In all cases it’s to the detriment of the taxpayers.
Let’s start with the proposed new CdA School District teacher’s contract. This is the first contract that had to be negotiated in public. Thank you, State Superintendent Luna, for including open contract negotiations in your school reform legislation! But that might be as far as the good news goes.
The Press reported that by “slashing” 2% off the district’s contribution to medical insurance for teachers’ families, they will save just over $150,000 on next year’s projected $2.3 Million dollar shortfall. (can you say drop in the bucket?)
Slashing? The district currently pays 75% of the families’ coverage which they will reduce to 73% next year. Not nearly enough to qualify as a “slash”!
But the district will still cover the teacher’s own medical at a full 100%!
I can’t tell you how out of line this is with the real business world. We, in small business, are having a hard time just paying for our employees. Almost no businesses cover their medical at 100%. Most employees have to pay 30-40% of their premiums. And almost no small businesses pay any amount toward family coverage, the employee has the option to add them and pay for them.
This is why I am so glad that we elected two new school board members who have extensive business backgrounds, Terri Seymore and Tom Hamilton. It’s time to get real.
Speaking of getting real, I’m having a hard time choosing polite words for this next subject. Councilman Mike Kennedy chirped up at the end of May 24th’s big meeting on McEuen, saying that a public vote on the park plan would be illegal. But what the public had been requesting, over and over again that night, was a public ADVISORY vote. Mike dropped the important middle word and obviously thought folks would be too stupid to notice.
Then yesterday, in his opinion piece in the Press, Mike Kennedy’s close friend & attorney, Scott Reed, laid out why a public vote is not allowable on the McEuen plan. Scott obviously took his cue from Mike because he also ignored the concept of a public ADVISORY vote.
We all know that if the mayor and city council want a public vote, advisory or not, they will find a way to get it. Likewise, if they want to avoid it at all costs, they will...and they are.
The next PUBLIC VOTE may be to elect new city council members on November 8th. And that one won’t be “advisory”.
And lastly, let’s talk about silence. There’s a disturbing silence coming from our Kootenai County
Prosecutor’s office after State Rep. Kathy Sims hand-delivered a copy of her letter regarding possible conflicts of interest on the McEuen park decision. (you can read more here: http://opencda.com/?p=8924
Kathy took a copy of her letter to Prosecutor Barry McHugh on May 23rd, the same day she sent it to the Idaho Attorney General. She has heard back from the AG’s office twice since then, and they have assured her they will look into the matter. But there’s been no contact from the Prosecutor. He should be the first line of investigation.
Let’s hope that Barry’s vision on this subject will not be clouded by the $100,000 art grant given to his wife last year by the CdA City Council for the sculpture installed at Sherman and 22nd.
If you are concerned, you can let Barry know your thoughts by contacting him at 446-1800 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, to wrap up the topic of Words, here’s a cute quote from Dr. Seuss:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Have a great weekend! --Mary