Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gifts That Keep On Giving

One of our most vocal community activists has resurfaced. Mary Souza. Former planning commissioner and Coeur d'Alene Press columnist. She was dismissed by both just after the fall elections because she dared not to be politic in questioning certain activities undertaken by the CDA city council and it's urban renewal agency, the LCDC.

I will admit I occasionally took her to task on this blog for not giving thorough backup for her statements. She did, however, provide a valuable service to the community by pointing out discrepancies. She got hammered for it from the powers that be and those aligned with them. It always made me think she was hitting pretty close to home from the strong reaction.

Now she is back. She will be sending out an e-mail newsletter to anyone who would like one. It will be in conjunction with a web site where, hopefully, civil and factual discussion from all sides of the political spectrum will occur. The jury is out on that one.

Ms. Souza is a polarizing figure. Criticism or questions are not particularly welcome. She has a knack for making council members and former council members show their best side. Take for instance what newly retired council woman Dixie Reid said about her, "She just doesn't get it. I feel sorry for her. I think she's kind of a lost soul that desperately, desperately needs attention."

Maybe; though such a statement by Ms. Reid makes me wonder just who it is in desperate need of attention.

Here is why Ms. Souza's efforts are so valuable. She stated in her newsletter that the LCDC is "making financial plans to spend 10 million public dollars on a piece of property for the proposed education corridor."

Tony Berns, executive director of the LCDC, refuted her statement by stating, "I don't have any plans, LCDC doesn't have any plans..."  Then he added that he expects LCDC will have partners in the project.

If there are no plans, why would the LCDC be anticipating partners? That indicates a plan to me. Which is it Mr. Berns?

Thanks Mary.


Camellia Underhill said...

And you have hit the nail squarely on the head.

stebbijo said...

Great post.

Souza has been portrayed in every negative way she can be presented -but she carries on. She is a modern day 'Joan of Arc'. While I applaud her efforts to carry the message forward, I question the ultimatum. Sometimes the 'bastards' are not worth self-sacrifice. These people do like to burn folks at the stake - so to speak - and they enjoy it.

I will never forget when a progressive developer hit Sandpoint, Idaho and ticked off the local political power structure. He was harrassed right into the nut house without a choice in Coeur d'alene - it was all 'they' could do to destroy his credibility - and this guy was very wealthy. He was attacked with bogus sex scandal lawsuits and ran out of town.

Then I watched a movie last night -where a writer was used for political reasons and he was in the end - the pawn - scapegoat.

It's not like this stuff does not happen in 'real life.' If she is exposing the corruption and it is illegal, then I hope investigating authorities are backing her efforts AND I hope she makes folks party to the LCDC all jump like cats on a hot tin roof. Berns, Reid, et al are probably all scurrying to the clean-up as we speak.