This man is 74 years old. Why the heck does he need a to build 44,870 square foot house?
Boy, when one of northern Idaho's own goes out into the world to make a splash, I sure wish it wasn't Duane Hagadone. All those Californians (who we love to hate) are finding out just what a sterling individual Mr. Hagadone is with his shenanigans in Palm Desert. I dare say Californians probably don't have much good to say about we Idaho folk at this point either. He even had the audacity, as he was seeking additional favors for his monster mansion, to say, "When you're my age, you don't want to miss another winter in the desert." Heck, for what this spread is costing he could buy the desert and bring it to northern Idaho!
Of course this flap has generated a huge amount of discussion here at home. In thinking about it I think I'm beginning to understand that Coeur d'Alene is truly a city in transition. The culture of a town run by a man with the ethics of Duane Hagadone is fading. Those who rose to prominence and power in his culture are finding that as his stature is being diluted, so is theirs. They don't like it and are fighting tooth and nail to stop it.
They will not succeed. At the moment it is painful. Many of his people are still in places of influence and power, but slowly and surely new blood is coming in. They may not be as astute and knowledgeable as those of us who have lived elsewhere would like, but I honestly believe basic integrity is on the increase.
I look at the recent ugliness in the local blogosphere and the press over the Kroc Center and the LCDC. I think a lot of it is a result of this transitioning. I know the City Council is a mix of old blood and new. I don't know all the players, but it's apparent who is who. The one's I have met love this town and are trying to do what is right. However, enough of the old ways remain which allows a lack of oversight and due diligence in proceedings that is less then comfortable. Elected and appointed officials need to be more vigilant at the outset of undertakings. We newcomers could care less about what Duane and his minions want and we are not afraid to speak our minds. His culture is not used to it. And again, they do not like it.
The past few weeks I've witnessed a dark side of our community run wild. People's integrity has been impuned because they dare to ask questions, truths have become so muddied it's hard to decipher what actually is truth. There are those trying to take advantage of the situation and are getting roundly trounced - but too often in a destructive rather than a constructive manner. I can make my own judgement when the person speaking is a known entity to me, or I can check credentials and statistics - but demeaning, mean spirited argument for the sake of ego is useless and counter productive.
These are the dregs of what this area has been used to for so long. Trust is not easily achieved when methods are suspect. When leaders are suspect.
There will always be good guys and bad and those who try to take advantage, but the people are for the most part good. If they're informed and care they ask questions. Ask a civil question instead of accusing. Answer it honestly and with backup - not just what you want to believe.
We're all in this community together. People who are employed at the resort and the CDA Press and any other of Hagadone's enterprises aren't the enemy just because of where they work. Like all of us, they take the jobs available. The fault lies with an almost maniacal need to control - from the top.
We can be great you know. We can read both newspapers. We can control growth. We can bid contracts and move dirt and build community centers. We can pay the faculty at NIC living wages rather then bolstering administrative bureaucracy. We can better our schools and maybe even share our beaches. We can do wonderfully well without the likes of Duane Hagadone pulling the strings. We can discuss community problems with friends without malice. We just have to have vigilance, faith in those we elect and really, just like and respect each other.