While announcing her run for mayor of Coeur d’Alene, Id., Friday morning, businesswoman Mary Souza called for, among other things, a return to civility in city government and an end to the divisiveness that has come about because of issues like the McEuen Field project.
“Wouldn’t it have been great to have a vote on this massive project that will cost more than $20 million and has radically changed an important part of Coeur d’Alene’s history?” she asked. “If we all had had a vote, we would feel part of the process; we’d have a sense of ownership, of skin-in-the-game, of connection with the project. Instead it is a seriously divisive issue, separating regular people from the small group of power players making the decisions.”
Speaking at the Third Street boat launch — also in need of repair — Souza said she’s running for mayor to “include everyone.”
“Let’s start to heal the divides. We can bridge the gaps and work together. And when there are major issues that will cost a great deal of money or change something sacred to our history, we’ll have a public vote,” she said.
She also promised to hold city council meetings that are respectful and professional.
“We won’t allow name-calling or juvenile behavior, and we’ll listen to citizens when they speak, and they’ll be treated well,” she said. “We’ll act like what we are—an $80 million dollar public entity with 400 employees to serve all the people of Coeur d’Alene.”
In March, City Councilman Steve Adams demanded an apology from City Attorney Mike Gridley for calling him a “moron.” Adams called 911, saying he felt threatened by Gridley’s position and imposing size. Gridley admitted using profanity at two different meetings, KREM reported.
Adams also complained about unprofessional treatment from the current mayor, Sandi Bloem.
“She then said not only would she not be disciplining Mr. Gridley but, raising her fist at me, she said she had half a mind to ‘punch my nose off of my face,'” he said in a press release.
Souza said she hopes to build trust in the city government, and promised to treat citizens with respect.
“Hopefully,” she said, “citizens will begin to trust city officials to do the right thing in the daily operation of this town.”
Souza has worked as a political columnist for the Coeur d’Alene Press and currently writes a local email newsletter. She also served as the Planning and Zoning Commissioner and head of the city’s first Open Space Committee.
She and her husband run Design Events in Coeur d’Alene.
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