Sunday, December 10, 2023

Post Falls council doesn't represent the people

by JIM COOK/Guest Opinion
| July 24, 2021 12:00 AM

The lack of representation of the citizens of Post Falls by the elected representatives has got to come to an end. It is my opinion this has gone beyond simple lack of representing or of being “tone deaf” to the interests and wishes of the citizens to outright disdain and contempt. Any suggestion to control or slow the out-of-control growth we are experiencing, all encouraged by the elected officials, is immediately dismissed as not legal, not doable, not workable and on and on. A never-ending litany of what our elected “representatives” CAN’T do. It makes one wonder about their motivations but any suggestion of impropriety, nonfeasance or incompetence is met by righteous indignation and threats regarding a “slanderous” accusation. Slanderous. A legal term. Which brought to mind another legal term I learned of a long time ago, the “Reasonable Person” standard, defined by Websters as follows: “A fictional person with an ordinary degree of reason, prudence, care, foresight, or intelligence whose conduct, conclusion, or expectation in relation to a particular circumstance or fact is used as an objective standard by which to measure or determine something (as the existence of negligence).”

Here is just one example of the city putting developers and people who do not live in Post Falls before the citizens of Post Falls. During a three-hour Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on the NorthShore District Planned Unit Development in which several citizens spoke against this development, which the commission unanimously approved using a new zoning classification, according to the CDA Press, (“Rubber Stamp of Approval”) Rubber stamp of approval | Coeur d'Alene Press ( ) it was stated by commission vice chairman Ray Kimball “We have to give (the applicant) a path toward approval. THAT IS A REQUIREMENT BY CODE” (emphasis mine). If this is an accurate statement, who wrote the code? Getting a project approved should be incumbent upon people on the payroll of the applicant, not a city planning and zoning committee who, according to the above mentioned CDA Press article, modified some existing requirements to get this approved. Is zoning not law? Why is it a developer is never told “our hands are tied” “It’s not legal” “We might get sued”? What might a “reasonable person” determine?

Compounding this negative perception, at least in my opinion, is the fact the mayor is senior vice president at bankcda in Coeur d’Alene (mayor – Post Falls Idaho) while the chairman of the Planning and Zoning commission is a business development officer at the same financial institution (Movers and Shakers) | Coeur d'Alene Press ( Very few people I have asked are aware of these facts. Do any developers operating in Post Falls have a business relationship with bankcda? I don’t know the answer but it is a reasonable and relevant question. Again, I have to ask. What would a “reasonable person” determine? The Post Falls council president works for the very entity requesting a zoning change and there is no conflict? Is that the conclusion of a “reasonable person”? One city council member made the best argument possible for slowing growth without realizing he was doing it when he said the following to a local group of citizens. "I've asked the same question — Who in the hell approved that? I've been on planning and zoning and the county for 15 years, and I never approved that," the councilman said.

(Fighting the ghosts of decisions past) | Coeur d'Alene Press ( He’s been there 15 years and has no idea how it happened? What might a “reasonable person” conclude?

If the city council or even a single member wanted to change anything they could. The only thing stopping the members of the city council is the members of the city council. We would quite literally be better off with empty chairs, at least that way there wouldn’t be anyone there to approve development after development, and waive zoning requirements to do so. I personally provided the council with a copy of the ordinance which was VOTED in by the people of Boulder City, Nev., forty years ago and suggested it be used as a template but suggesting to the city council we actually be allowed to VOTE on such an important issue is tantamount to showing Dracula a cross. Not a single member of the council responded, nor have any of them put forward any ideas of their own to mitigate the situation. A “reasonable person” might conclude they have no ideas of their own and are capable only of following instructions. There is a working example of controlled growth with a 40-year track record and all they have to do is get on a plane to Las Vegas, rent a car and make the 25-minute drive to see for themselves. I’ll meet them there and point out what it took 40 years to build, which has taken Post Falls about five, and introduce them to some people who have lived there the entire time. Or better still, they can walk around and ask. They COULD craft an ordinance for the citizens to VOTE on but choose not to. Other communities have restricted their growth and these could be used as templates as well but our current “representatives” are not interested. I ask again, what would a “reasonable person” determine? Take note I have made no accusations but have expressed an opinion. An opinion to which I am entitled, as well as the free expression thereof, and asked questions based upon easily verifiable facts. Facts of which the voters should be aware before going to the polls. Please keep this in mind in November when we VOTE. If you like and agree with the direction in which Post Falls is going, keep the current occupants in office. As for myself, I will vote for a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi before I vote for an incumbent in Post Falls.

• • •

Jim Cook is a resident of Post Falls.

Recent Headlines