Monday, June 17, 2024

EDITORIAL: Voter alert: Political peril dead ahead

| May 5, 2023 1:00 AM

There’s always something interesting in your local fishwrap.

Once in a while, though, there’s something so important that it should be required reading.

The op-ed column a week ago by Christa Hazel is an excellent example. If you missed it, we’ll take a 3-minute breather so you can read it now:

Hazel, a former Coeur d’Alene School Board member and exemplary Republican who has seen the local party hijacked by extremists, supplied an important puzzle piece that helps explain why Kootenai County is tilting further and further toward anarchy.

Now, there’s no question that some people are going to believe what they want to believe, abundant evidence to the contrary be damned. But there are also many looking for credible information that will guide wise decision-making at the polls.

Sadly, this latter group is routinely fed corrupt information from what should be a far more reliable source: the local GOP. That’s why two starkly different Republican parties have emerged, one constructive and the other destructive.

Hazel’s op-ed column zeroes in on division, and we don’t mean the great divide between Rs and Ds. We mean the gulf between Rs and Rs.

While nobody should whine if the local Republican Party pushes hard for Republicans in partisan races — that is, after all, just common sense — legitimate concern is escalating because of local party officials’ insatiable hunger to wipe out the Republicans with whom they disagree.

And the Republicans with whom they tend to disagree are the ones who swear an oath to the people, not the party.

Applying extensive research and Idaho Controller Brandon Woolf’s powerful website, Hazel has painted an accurate picture of how misleading or outright bogus information is impacting local elections, and who specifically is taking advantage of this malicious strategy.

On May 16, voters will decide which camp, constructive or destructive, will control our public library network. The election will also have a tremendous impact on Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school district budgets. While the misinformation campaigns are kicking into high gear, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. May 16 is only a preview of what’s headed your way in November.

Two of the extremists’ biggest targets, again in what’s supposed to be nonpartisan races, are the Coeur d’Alene City Council and the Coeur d’Alene School Board. Control of both will be up for grabs this fall, and if you want to imagine what’s at stake here, just look at what’s happened with North Idaho College. Local Republican officials worked hard to take control of that board, and now NIC’s very survival is in doubt.

Please scrutinize with healthy skepticism every political text message your phone receives, every fever-pitched mailer that arrives at your home, and yes, every opinion piece you read in your newspaper. Determine for yourself who’s working to build this great community into something even better and reward them with your vote.