[Vision2020] Three years ago today (February 27, 2013)
thansen at moscow.com
Sat Feb 27 12:35:49 PST 2016
Courtesy of the February 27, 2013 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Latah GOP votes no confidence in Steed
Bouma argues he acted against party position on Second Amendment
Latah County Republican precinct committeemen led by Gresham Bouma asked Walter Steed to resign as the party's county chairman Tuesday because of a letter to the legislature that he signed as president of the Moscow City Council.
The vote was 12-10.
The prevailing side indicated there is a perception that in signing the letter Steed had acted against the party's position on guns and the Second Amendment.
Those calling for Steed to step down were angered he - in his nonpartisan position - had voted for and signed a City Council letter to Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, who serves on the Judiciary and Rules Committee.
The letter, based on a memorandum from Police Chief David Duke, recommended ways of curbing gun violence should the Legislature take up the issue this session following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Steed, who was attending a city commission and board orientation meeting Tuesday night, said in a phone interview that he heard the news from his wife, but has not had time to react.
"It's too close to it to make a decision as to what I might or might not do," he said. "They had copies of the letter, I believe. I presume they can read English. It was a gun violence letter, not a gun control letter. As I stated in City Council, it would have no weight or bearing when it got to the state Legislature or Boise."
During debate at the meeting, GOP Vice Chairman Thomas Lawford told the audience the letter sent to the Legislature is a position, not legislation, and one that neither he nor Steed thought would garner attention.
"It was sent and died," he said. "It wasn't until we brought it up that it got any life."
Lawford reminded GOP members there are 13 months left until a reorganizational meeting where someone could be elected to replace Steed. He said Steed's actions on the City Council were not sufficient to allow the party to remove him from his position under its bylaws.
Bouma, a two-time state Senate candidate, made the motion Tuesday night and said he felt Steed has served the Latah GOP well in the past. But, he said, by approving a letter that calls for background checks to control ammunition sales and limiting access to high-capacity gun magazines, the chairman went against the party platform and encouraged more infringements on gun rights.
"The last check and balance we have is the right to bear arms," Bouma said, adding he doesn't want Steed to leave the party entirely. "We really can't have leadership that attacks that right in such a public way that occurred with this letter."
Precinctman Amos Rothstein, who is also a member of the University of Idaho chapter of the College Republicans, lauded Steed for his efforts to reach out to more college-age GOP members and his overall leadership, which he attributed to attracting the state's Republican convention to Moscow for 2014.
"If you know Walter, you know he was put in a really rough position with that letter," he said. "He's not suggesting Big Brother come to their homes and take their guns and Obama's going to come in with his Storm Troopers."
Roger Falen said he knows Steed supports the Second Amendment, and felt Steed and councilors Dan Carscallen and Wayne Krauss were "hornswoggled by the mayor," Nancy Chaney. City administration had requested Duke and his command staff draft the letter, which was modified following an Administrative Committee meeting and a separate letter approved Jan. 22.
Tom Anderson and others argued that attempting to force out Steed, plus his wife and GOP secretary, Mary, would fracture the local party and prove advantageous to the Latah Democrats.
"We are going to lose," Anderson said. "We are going to lose this party that Walter and Mary busted their humps to put together better than anyone I've seen."
No one at Tuesday's meeting denied Steed is the face of the county Republican party, but many argued he did not take a stand on the council and did not put his allegiance to the conservative principles of the party first.
"I don't see where he would be shot if he said he didn't agree with this and refused to sign it," John Embrey said.
"We shouldn't be animals," Latah County Commissioner Richard Walser said. "Is that what we're about? If somebody doesn't pass a litmus test, do we throw them under the bus."
Precinctmen insisted on conducting a secret ballot at the end where 12 members voted for Bouma's motion over 10 who were opposed. The party also voted to draft its own position statement regarding the Second Amendment.
Which was preceded, on February 9th, by . . .
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
"There's room at the top they are telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."
- John Lennon
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