I am so disgusted as I write this I'm having to reign in my anger. The photo is of a section of land not too far south of Coeur d'Alene. It is filled with gently rolling hills coupled with forest land and farm fields. It is here, at the cross roads, a developer wants to build 141 storage units on ten acres. It would require a conditional use permit because the area is rural.
Area residents turned out in significant numbers when the County Commissioners held a hearing. They were against the project. Why? According to The Mica Kidd Island Property Owners Association the facility was opposed because they didn't want a precedent set for possible commercial sprawl, it would infringe on the visual tone of the community, create traffic hazards and would be incompatible with the historical atmosphere of century old farms, barns and Grange Hall. Among others.
The argument that the facility would have a barn like appearance to fit in with it's surroundings and there was a need for boat storage in the area was not enough to outweigh the objections of the area residents. The Commissioners, in my opinion, to their credit, turned it down.
Sounds like run of the mill procedure doesn't it? Right. Wrong. Today, the Coeur d'Alene Press headlined the fact that the developer, one Haitham Joudeh, has filed a discrimination suit against the commissioners and the Mica Kidd Island Fire District claiming religious and racial discrimination.
Please. This is the most preposterous allegation imaginable. I really don't believe the area residents nor the commissioners care one iota that the man is of Middle Eastern descent nor that he follows the Islamic faith. I doubt anyone gave it a thought until this came up!
I do not know if the claim that Grange members and the Fire District held an anti-Joudeh rally or not. If they did I should like to think it was to drum up support for denying his project and had nothing to with him as an individual.
We live in an area where the vestiges of the neo-Nazi's still haunt us. I find it highly unlikely that the Commissioners would partake in any action that even smacked of that kind of racial discord.
Steve Tucker, a Spokane attorney who would do well to stay in his own state and city, tells us Mr. Joudeh was born in Idaho and graduated from the University of Idaho. If true, he well knows the attitudes in this town about that kind of simmering suggestiveness and he should be ashamed of himself.
A $25 million lawsuit this day and age, in a community of this size where the majority of the wealthy only vacation here and the less then privileged well outweigh the privileged, is a slap in our collective faces in the name of prejudice of the worst kind.
I could be wrong in my assumptions. I have only the news report and the comments from the Owners Association web site to draw from, but I just can't get my head around malacious intent of such intensity. I should think Mr. Joudeh might want to consider moving on. I doubt he'll be welcome around here and it will have nothing to with his race nor faith except for the way he's using them to drive a wedge.
Maybe Spokane would welcome him. They have a higher level of tolerance. They have Steve Tucker.