The City's Pulse Newsletter

A Question of Sheep

Coeur d'Alene's Mayor Bloem spoke about the Education Corridor today... but just a little bit. It was in a tiny, crowded room in Post Falls. She didn't give an explanation of the Ed. Corridor, she merely answered the question that both PF Mayor Larkin and I posed: Why has the public been left out of the decision making process on this important issue?  There have been no public meetings.

Mayor Bloem's answer was that the public knows about the Ed.Corridor because she has mentioned it in her speeches over the past few years.  She went on to emotionally describe how she is 4th generation from Coeur d'Alene, as are several others on the CdA City Council, she said, and they are determined to build the Education Corridor in CdA because it will be like the next Tubb's Hill.  That was it.  That was her answer to bringing the public into the process.

Perhaps our Mayor and Council don't trust the public.  Perhaps they don't think we can understand all the factors involved in this big decision.  The Education Corridor will change the look and flow of Coeur d'Alene forever.  It will cost countless millions of taxpayer dollars over the years.  And within the next few months, irreversible decisions will be made that will commit the taxpayers of Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County and the State of Idaho to this project for the long term.  All we, the people, are asking for is a seat at the table.  We want public meetings.  We want information.  We want our vote to count.

When speaking about decision making by the people, Thomas Jefferson said: "...if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education."  This quote should be on a plaque, permanently set in the new CdA City Council Chambers.

Open government has been the goal of generations of Americans, with varying levels of success in communities large and small across our country.  We are struggling with this ideal right now in Coeur d'Alene. That's why a small group of citizens, of which I am one, have started a new web site for open and honest information about local issues.  

OpenCdA.com is in it's second week of action and has attracted hundreds of readers.  People are hungry for information about what's happening in our area, and many want to engage in discussion of the topics as well.  But the discussions are not gossip, not juvenile attacks, not subversive plots or plans.  The conversations are an honest exchange of information and opinion, where no one is absolutely right or wrong, and free expression is kept within the boundaries of good manners. Does this sound interesting to you? Just visit http://opencda.com  and give it a try. It's free. Everyone can read the information posted on the web site and, if you want to comment, you need only a valid email address to register.  You can use your real name or a made-up pen name, but your ideas will add color and texture to the community discussion.  Are you ready to become part of the solution?

The immortal journalist, Edward R. Murrow, famous for his tenacious pursuit of honesty in government, had this observation: "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."  Let's not just follow along, let's stand up for our right to be involved in important local decisions.  CdA City Council, NIC Board, we want public meetings about the Education Corridor. We want to see maps. We want you to explain the plan, the options and the costs.  And we want to be involved before the decisions are made.   Please don't worry, invite us in, educate us, we have a lot to contribute.