Friday, December 20, 2013


Deputy city manager, John Engalls recently  revealed that a discussion between Idaho Transportation Department and the city of Coeur d'Alene is in progress. The issue is what to do with the Lake Shore Drive that used to be  I-90.

When the subject of hydroplane races was raised, Engalls stated that if the city annexes that stretch of old highway the seventeen year old law that prohibits Hydroplane racing would apply.

Let's look at that issue. First, the only property the city would inherit is the road bed. All property from the road to the high water level is owned and maintained by the Idaho State Parks Department.

To the east, are private homes of which none have asked to become part of the city. Another possibility would be the East Side Highway district.

Add to the  mix is grandfathered rights that the state may confer to the hydro race, the parks department interests and of course that of the hillside residents. Oh and of course the Centenial Trail.

The key reason for the city not to participate, is that excluding the lake shoulder and the uphill property owners, all that is left if the pavement, of which no tax revenue is possible. Short of making it a toll road, city ownership would only benefit the anti-race people of which after last fall we think are very few.

Perhaps the east side highway district would be interested, as they would benefit from the road taxes the state would transfer. The Eastside district is the most viable and they haven't formed a prejudice against boat racing.

Even if the city were petitioned to overturn the antiquated anti-boat racing law, there would be no guarantee the revocation wouldn't pass. Do I have an axe to grind? You betcha. No governmental body has ever passed a law prohibiting a specific sport, other than the City of Coeur d'Alene. OK, perhaps Bull Fighting, which is not really a sport but a stylized method of torturing and butchering a bull.

High School sports, Iron man, local collegiate sports have their own fan bases. No one sport would poll a majority of voters, simply because of a diversity of interests. As our constitution provides, minority interests are clearly protected on many levels. Personally, I would like to see that old law stricken from the books as outdated and archaic not to mention prejudicial.

This one-sided issue will go away just as other bad ideas have. The race will be held in the same location as last year, excepting lines to weights for buoys would be designed to disconnect immediately after use. Were there problems with the race last year? Absolutely. No local had every ran a race of the magnitude of an H-1 unlimited race. We plane on addressing the errors of last year to make this race as smooth as the Tri-Cities and Seattle venues. We had about 50,000 attendees last fall of which most were from the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area. We believe common sense and fairness to others will prevail. There will always be a few loud voices against most everything. They shouldn't rule the rest of us.

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