My Top Priorities
- Slow down the development of Hayden that is leading to traffic congestion and is destroying Hayden’s “small-town” character. The high-density housing complexes are changing our town and can bring an increase in crime. Zoning changes compromise existing neighborhoods. We cannot stop growth, but we can manage it to complement our small-town charm, that it pays for itself, and that the growth encourages home ownership.
- I believe Hayden citizens are losing trust in their city government. They see the city granting rapid approval of too many development projects without prioritizing citizen involvement. Zoning changes and the Future Land Use Map favor businesses, multi-use, multi-story construction over single-family homes. Increasingly, people tell me of their frustrations with this trend. They feel powerless to stop it because City Hall is not listening. This needs to change.
- Hayden Urban Renewal Agency (HURA) is an entity which siphons off a large percentage of our taxes that could otherwise be used for city services. For example, Walmart pays close to $80,000 in taxes to HURA but only $874 to the City of Hayden. According to the Kootenai County Treasurer’s office, businesses pay between 55-75% of their taxes to HURA and 3% or less to the city of Hayden. That tax revenue should be going to the city and benefiting all citizens of Hayden.
Do we want Hayden to be a densely-packed business center, or do we want it to be a bedroom community where neighbors know each other Vote for me to Keep Small Town Hayden.
Why I'm Running
I am concerned about the direction Hayden is heading. Having fled from an progressive metropolis years ago, I’m well aware of what awaits Hayden if it stays on its current path of approving one high density project after another. The problems Hayden faces aren’t simple to solve. Having been an engineer for nearly 30 years, I’m confident I’ll help the city council solve complex challenges and balance the interests of all members of our community.
The debacle of the Stone Creek North subdivision is one of the reasons that motivated me to run for Hayden City Council. Starting in early 2021, a citizen of Hayden with vast experience in planning and zoning and environmental regulations, pointed out to the city staff, Council, and mayor the significant shortcomings of the development plans. They should have embraced this citizen’s professional expertise, and his hard work in digging into the history of the Stone Creek North development and associated environmental concerns. This citizen utilized city codes to point out many flaws in the approval process and problems with subsequent engineering plans and drawings, that went through nine revisions. Yes, I am sure that from the city staff’s perspective, he was a thorn in their sides. But that is what we should expect from an active citizenry which is supposed to be a watchdog of our elected representatives. The facts are however, that the mayor blackballed him from speaking to staff and Council. His voice was silenced because it didn’t fit their narrative. Developers broke ground Summer of 2023, and wiped out Hayden’s last remaining wetland, which is essential to the protection and health of Hayden’s natural environment and the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. This is just the final confirmation of how ineffective this current government has become.
Vote Nov 7th!
Your Vote Matters!
Born and raised in Connecticut, Tom Shafer holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. After college, he joined the US Air Force, and served for four years, attaining a Captain’s rank. Tom has been married to his wife Sherry since 1991. They have a daughter Paige who is 27, and a 23-year-old son Alexei, whom they adopted from Russia.
After the USAF, Tom worked for the Boeing Co in Seattle, but quickly moved into the tech start-up world, where he established a career designing high-frequency radios for
telecom, consumer electronics, aviation, and biomedical applications.
Holding fast to conservative, Judeo-Christian values, Tom and Sherry felt like fish out of water in Western Washington. The events of 2020 especially put their lifestyles into stark contrast with their home city. They could find no common ground with Seattle politics, nor were they willing to allow their taxes to fund policies in direct opposition to their values.
In November 2020, they left Washington to become citizens of Hayden, Idaho. It did not take long for either Tom or Sherry to realize North Idaho is also encountering the same socio-political trends that have led to the demise of so many coastal cities.
This insight spurred Tom to action. Quickly, he and Sherry immersed themselves in political activism, fighting the “big-government/small-citizen” trends invading our Heartland.
All of this has led Tom to run for the Hayden City Council. His goals are to keep Hayden a bedroom community, provide balance against high-density growth policies which are spoiling Hayden’s character, and to help empower citizens’ voices in our city government.
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