The year on our calendars has changed to 2008,
and we've all had time to celebrate with family and friends, but
now it's time to turn our sights back to the important local issues
that affect our quality of life. Our city and county officials have
been busy planning and implementing changes; the holidays did not
stop the growing list of concerns we face as a community, so let's
take a look at some of what's been happening:
- The school district wants LCDC urban renewal to give money for
building upgrades to Sorenson and Winton schools. This is
a complicated subject that is really a backwards way of funding
school repairs. Meanwhile…
- The school district is planning a new building levy for 32 million
dollars, but a big portion of the levy, about $645,000, will go
to LCDC instead of the schools! How's that for crazy?
- The plans for the Educational Corridor in the Fort Grounds
area of Coeur d'Alene are advancing, despite lots of controversy
and politicking between several education groups, the state, city
of CdA and city of Post Falls. Plus, add LCDC into the mix because
they are making financial plans to spend $10 million public
dollars on a piece of property for this project. What, no one asked
you if you wanted it? I'm shocked.
- Meadow Ranch subdivision (the barn area near Fred Meyer) is a
particular issue with me because the city council overturned the
Planning commission's ruling on the development. I was on
P&Z at the time. Now, when construction is well underway,
an influential local realtor comes forward to complain, and our
city council members are realizing there might be some problems. Hmmm.
How will we all keep up on the news of these issues? With
my newsletter, of course. The column I wrote last year for the Coeur
d'Alene Press has now evolved into this newsletter. My plan
is to send out a newsletter column every week, which will contain
my viewpoint on current events in our area. But that's not all. My
newsletter will also be linked to an exciting new local website for
more in-depth information and online conversation.
The new website will allow the posting of actual documents, photos,
videos, graphs and maps, so readers can evaluate the information
and form their own opinions. It will also have a conversation
section that will encourage public discussion of the issues. And
it will be closely monitored to disallow any off-topic remarks or
The website will also links to other local issue-related
columns, articles and blogs.
It's an exciting concept and new technologies make it easier than
ever for busy citizens to access important information and participate
in the direction of our community. I will let you know as soon as
the website is up and running, which should be very soon.
I'm reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead, the celebrated anthropologist
who studied civilizations and cultures all over the world, "Never
doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change
the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
While we're not trying to change the world, we do want to safeguard
the values of our community as we grow and change. Let's embrace
our role as advocates and keep a close watch on our local issues.
If we, as citizens, can be informed and involved in the process before
the final decisions are made, we stand a much better chance of helping
direct the outcome to benefit our community and future generations.
So here's how the newsletter network is going to work: I'm
sending this newsletter to those who have requested it directly and
those that have contacted The City's Pulse column by email.
I am asking you to send a copy on to friends that might be interested
in getting the newsletter on a regular basis. They can sign
up (it's free) by simply emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
write, "please add me to the newsletter list".
Your help is very important in circulating this newsletter. Please
send it on to people in the whole Kootenai County area--they don't
have to live inside the city, all of our communities are undergoing
rapid change and share similar concerns.
On the other hand, if anyone gets the newsletter each week and
wants it to stop, an email to the above address will get you off