The City's Pulse Newsletter
A One Ton Gorilla



A commencement speech by Texas lawyer Neal Boortz has been circulating through the internet world.  It's bold, thought provoking and controversial.  He advises graduates to become informed about their world and prepare for their new life-long work partner...the government.  

Neal describes the government as " wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive..."  telling the grads, " you will be awed by the unimaginable power... Power that you do not have. A power that no individual has, or will have."  He goes on to warn that the government is not cheap and will take a big slice of their earnings. "You have no choice here... Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla. It will sleep anywhere it wants to."

Locally, we in the CdA area have been trying to shed some light on our own big, weighty issues.  Issues like the responsible use of LCDC urban renewal funds, open information about an Education Corridor and, most recently, the CdA School District Levy.  We may have no choice about paying our taxes but we do have a voice and a vote on the level of our taxation.  And we have the choice to demand accountability in our government.

That's what voters did this week.  We demanded the CdA School District revamp their levy process to create a logical, transparent matrix of research, detailed estimates, open bidding, full documentation, and public involvement...before the next levy is brought to a vote.  We also expect the ballot language to clearly reflect the purpose of the levy and that any approved funds be kept in specified accounts, used only for the stated project.  Ours are the actions of responsible citizens who, when we see a problem, realize we should not turn away, that we must be part of the solution.

In his commencement speech, Neal Boortz implies a love/hate relationship with government when he says "It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Yes...a necessary evil, but dangerous nonetheless... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal."

I don't despise the government or think it inherently evil, but it is run by human beings and we all have our failings; we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  As we prepare for next Tuesday's primary elections, I have been asked about my views on many of the local candidates.  While I don't wish to tell anyone how they should vote, I will share a few of the strengths and weaknesses I see in some of the candidates.  Take it for what it's worth, it's just my opinion, and on these I am not the most researched source:

County Commissioner, district 2:  

Rick Currie, incumbent:  Rick's a nice guy. His resume is not diverse but he's a hard worker who cares deeply about his job and the people.  He's too much of a micro-manager and not clear enough on a long term vision. That need is now.  I like the way he stands up to some of the big guns in town and does not seem to be in any one's pocket.  

Tom Cronin:  Tom's a fun guy to chat with, easy, back-slapping and cordial.  He's 
too "big picture" and would probably not do well with the tough, tedious, daily stuff.  What really scares me about Tom is the huge money war chest he has for this campaign.  His list of donors are all the power players in town; the "stakeholders". Not only has Tom broken all fundraising records, but there's a Political Action Committee called Citizens to Inform Voters, organized by ousted  County Commissioner Katie Brodie, and they are giving big money to Tom. Tom also supports  LCDC.  He told me it doesn't really affect the County. (urban renewal raises everyone's county taxes by 5%, and more in CdA)  Tom also says the Educational Corridor isn't a County issue either. (Kootenai County taxpayers will foot the bill)  So, either Tom's not prepared with basic information or he doesn't want to be open about the political realities of these subjects.

Jai Nelson:  I've been surprised at Jai.  She's not very well known, but she's bright, orgainized, articulate and prepared.  She seems very dedicated to the County and appears to be quite focused in her work.  Jai's views seem balanced between everyday issues and long term planning.  I've heard she can be stubborn and don't know if that would be good or bad, but she does not have the name recognition of the other candidates.  She also is not beholden to any big power players.  So, would a vote for Jai split out Rick Currie's support or Tom Cronin's?  I don't know.  A three way race is always dangerous.


County Commissioner, district 1:

Todd Tondee, incumbent: Todd has been doing a good job.  He's a quick study 
and led the much needed charge for county impact fees to help offset the burden of growth on current residents. Todd also sees the need for more long range planning.

Tim Herzog:  Tim's a nice guy and he'll learn a lot by his candidacy.  It's not an
easy process. Tim's not ready yet, and I think he realizes it, but I applaud his efforts. 

State Representative, District 3:

Phil Hart, incumbent:  Phil is a very smart guy.  His background and education are impressive and he works hard for his district.  But he's quiet and kind of shy. He's not one to boast of his credentials or accomplishments.  Phil has taken a tough stand on cleaning up the state's urban renewal law and closing some of the loop holes.  He plans to continue that effort in his next term.

David Rawls:  David was the school superintendent until 2002 here in CdA.  He
was well-liked in that capacity, but seems out of his element in this race.  His connections run deep and he is very supportive of LCDC and anything the school district or local stakeholders want to do. He has recently married the incoming superintendent of CdA schools. He was known as a Democrat but was told he should run as a Republican in order to win a seat in the state house.

There are more races, but these are the most contended in the primaries and, again, these are simply my opinions. 

As his commencement speech concludes, Neil Boortz admonishes the new graduates to register to vote and "use wisely your power of choice"  We also have that power of choice.  We will choose which candidates will become part of our government.  Please wisely make the time to read, research and think about each candidate, then vote on Tuesday, May 27th in the primary elections.  Your vote will help determine the attitude and behavior of that one ton gorilla we call government.

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Primary elections are at your usual non-school voting location. You may call 446-1000 or go online to www.co.kootenai.id.us/elections for more info.  Polls are open from 7am-8pm.