Tuesday, May 28, 2024

EDITORIAL: Community stands at key crossroads

| May 14, 2023 1:00 AM

An anonymous and likely illegal letter boosts the campaigns of two men who say they will protect your children from pornography put on public library shelves by two women who serve as Community Library Network trustees.

Outside the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and their church congregations, the two men are virtual unknowns. The trustees, Regina McCrea and Judy Meyer, are the opposite. They are widely known and deeply respected because of their intelligence, their firm roots in the community and their distinguished records as public servants.

Other letters, bearing a Kootenai County GOP logo and signed by KCRCC precinct committeewomen, have been distributed to hundreds of homes, imploring voters to support the candidates who vow to protect your children from the incumbent trustees. Meyer and McCrea are suing because of harmful and dishonest information in the letters.

One letter’s final paragraph includes this two-word sentence: Vote Republican. Which is more than a little odd because Tuesday’s election is nonpartisan. There is no R or D attached to any candidate on the ballot because these local elections are meant to be free of party persuasion.

There's more, unfortunately. The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, comprised of and controlled by far-right libertarians, has flooded the market with its “voter guide.”

As it has for several election cycles, the “guide” misleads recipients into believing that the candidates and issue positions it endorses are conservative. Destructive is more accurate.

Over the years, what many of the committee's endorsed candidates hold in common are extreme views and sparse qualifications, dramatically limiting their ability and their willingness to fairly and effectively do the jobs voters in nonpartisan elections entrust to them.

Exhibit A is the North Idaho College Board of Trustees. The board majority, Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Mike Waggoner, were all darlings backed to the hilt by KCRCC. Look how that's worked out.

Levy requests by Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts, as well as the library network trustees, are the linchpins of this election — and the biggest targets of malicious campaigning. The outcome of these races and measures will go far in establishing what kind of community you’ll live, work and play in: one that takes away and tears down, or one that builds up and helps out.

If KCRCC succeeds in its quest to make every election partisan and every seat populated by individuals whose priorities are party over people, one of the gravest consequences is that many qualified future candidates will eventually decide it isn’t worth it to run.

You have a golden opportunity Tuesday to put qualified people in important seats, to ensure our schools have the wherewithal to do their jobs, and to encourage future candidates to confront the far right's mud, malice and misinformation.

Please support Judy Meyer and Regina McCrea for library trustee and vote in favor of Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland levies.