Monday, September 20, 2021

Steve Johnson

| October 2, 2020 1:00 AM
  1. I believe the current commissioner has wasted taxpayer money and created divisiveness in Bonner County. He voted to use $100,000 of taxpayer money to file a frivolous lawsuit against the city of Sandpoint and the Festival at Sandpoint. The judge in the lawsuit ruled in the city's favor and now the county taxpayers may very well face an additional $100,000 of wasted money to pay for the city of Sandpoint’s legal fees to defend itself against this lawsuit. The current commissioner also voted to put an asphalt plant in a rural residential area. He has also proposed land use changes that would allow industry in rural areas and bypass public input.
  2. I have over 40 years experience working with diverse groups finding solutions to difficult problems and bringing people together. As a resident of Bonner County for over 60 years I am well acquainted with the history, the needs and the challenges of our community. I am very proud of the time I spent as a trustee for the East Bonner County Library board when the new libraries were built in Sandpoint and Clark Fork. I was also honored to serve as the director of education for the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce where the economic and cultural value of education was consistently acknowledged and appreciated.
  3. The most important issue in our Bonner County community is the divisiveness. The current commissioner has demonstrated a lack of respect for taxpayer dollars and for public input. My solution is to establish ongoing meaningful communication with all the communities and groups in Bonner County. Every city and group deserves respect and an opportunity to present information. No more frivolous taxpayer funded lawsuits.

Another very important issue in our community is land use codes and possible changes. Any and all land use discussions need significant public input. Industry should not be put in rural, agricultural or residential areas.

A third very important issue in our community is the importance of respecting and following the guidance of our local healthcare professionals in regards COVID-19 and all other health-related concerns. Related to the health and safety of our Bonner County community is the respect we need to have for our local law enforcement. They are trained and accountable and able to handle any disturbances there may be in our area. We do not need any other armed groups.

  1. I was raised on our family farm in Sagle and have been around guns my entire life. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible people. I do not see gun control issues being a part of the County Commissioners agenda.
  2. The frivolous lawsuit regarding The Festival at Sandpoint should never have been filed. Two of the three current County Commissioners voted to file this ridiculous and divisive lawsuit using $100,000 of taxpayer money that was critically needed for Road and Bridge maintenance and many other urgent needs. This waste of taxpayer money may wind up costing another $100,000 since the judge ruled in the city's favor and the county is required to pay the city's legal defense costs.
  3. The issue of divisiveness is not getting enough exposure in our community. These are difficult times with the COVID-19 virus, the downturn in the economy, the wildfires, etc. It is hard enough to make it through these times when everyone is working together. It makes it so much harder when we have two current county commissioners who are not respecting public input and wasting taxpayer money.
  4. The one thing I would like to emphasize more than any other is the Need for Action! We oftentimes feel helpless about the economy and the wildfires and the Pandemic. But We can turn that helpless feeling into action in the case of our elected County Commissioners. We can do the research on candidate positions, we can vote in person or absentee starting October 19, and we can make the positive change I feel is necessary in the office of the County Commissioners.
  5. The most critical environmental issue in Bonner County is land use. I grew up here on our family farm in Sagle and for 60 years Bonner County has maintained mostly it's rural character. We need to remain vigilant and proactive regarding all proposed land use changes and demand the absolute requirement that public input is valued and respected. Two of the current commissioners have indicated a willingness to bypass public input and to allow industry in rural areas.
  6. Local law enforcement is already operating on a tight budget. There is a definite need for social and community-based programs but the money should not be taken from law enforcement.
  7. Preserving Social Security is not within the purview of the county commissioners. However, my personal belief is Social Security is a critical component of our society's safety net for orphans, widows, the disabled and the elderly.
  8. I support the taxes for our libraries, our schools, our County Roads and Bridges, our law enforcement and first responders and all the County services we rely on. I do NOT support the waste of taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits.
  9. The question every candidate needs to answer is: “ How will you bring people together and demonstrate that we are all in this together?” My answer is consistent and continuous communication with all individuals and groups in a respectful and meaningful manner.

13, Two of the three current county commissioners have voted for Issues that waste taxpayer money, disrespect public input, and jeopardize the rural character of our Bonner County community. I believe we need to change direction and create an environment that respects everyone, uses communication instead of lawsuits and demonstrates the belief in a vision of Bonner County as a united and positive community. I believe I can help create that environment.

  1. Education is an investment in our future. In a few short years our students will become our leaders. Quality education is a major factor in the decision of where businesses will locate. In 2020, and in the Future, quality education and economic health will be even more interconnected. Money is not the only measure of quality education, but money is certainly a significant factor. Bonner County and Idaho cannot afford to continue being 50th out of 50 states in per capita spending for education.
  2. I believe in science and I believe healthcare professionals when they issue guidelines and recommendations and the results of research. Yes, if these healthcare professionals tell us that masks and social distancing will protect vulnerable people and save lives then I believe it is necessary for government to support them.