Tom Shafer

Meet My Opponent

Roger Saterfiel recently announced his re-election bid for Hayden City Council. In that press release, he stated his perceived accomplishments. Let’s go through these one-by-one and look for the truth.

  • His apparent experience having served for 16 years

Having been a councilman for so long, my opponent approved the rewriting of Hayden zoning codes, the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, and the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) which cater to developers and the Great Idaho Land Grab. No doubt you noticed the increase in density during his time in office.  

  • “I feel I am and will continue to be a steward of our great city and citizens. I have many years of experience in government.”

As the recent survey which City Hall undertook, Hayden citizens are very displeased with the rate, and character of development. A majority of respondents in the survey said the city was not managing growth and density well. How is this being a “good steward” if the majority of citizens are not happy with the city’s direction? See survey results. 

He also approved the subdivision called Stone Creek North, which has wiped out the last remaining wetland within city limits.  How is wiping out our last wetland being a steward of our city, of our environment, and of our aquifer which supplies water for over 400,000 people in Kootenai and Spokane counties?  This will affect us and our children for generations to come. 

  • “We worked on the current comprehensive plan, which actually reduced density.”

This is inaccurate. The current comprehensive plan vastly increases city density. 

My opponent says they are working on the comp plan to lower density, but what they really did was create new zoning codes that increase density.  As one example, the old code allowed a single-family residence on a minimum lot size of 8,250 sq ft, up to 5 dwellings per acre. In comparison, the new code allows a single-family residence on a minimum lot size of 5,500 sq ft, or up to 8 dwellings per acre. This is basic math. I would ask my opponent how increasing from 5 to 8 homes per acre is “actually reduced density”?

  • “I have and continue to work with many other mayors, city councilmen, senators and legislators, governors, etc.,” Saterfiel said.

To what end?  What have these conversations done to better our lives as residents of Hayden?  I have also spoken with other elected officials to get their advice on how we can all work together to better our lives, and I intend to put this collaboration into action.  

  • “We passed the levy for more law enforcement to keep our citizens safe.”

Law enforcement has not been treated seriously by the City until it became critical. The city has long pawned-off the cost of law enforcement onto the rest of the county. The Levy raised taxes by 29%. How much was done by my opponent to look into the City’s budget before dipping his hands into taxpayer’s wallets? The City’s public works budget is excessively large for its size. Could they have found the funds there first?  These days, with everything so expensive, we need to be fiscally conservative.   We need to look internally at the budget, streamline what we can, make cuts if necessary, before we go to the taxpayers and ask them to foot the bill.  

  • “we recently did a citizens survey to hear what the people of Hayden wanted from us,”

As referenced earlier, the survey results show citizens are not happy with the direction of Hayden during my opponent’s time on the council. See survey results.  

  • “We negotiated with developers for parks, the charter school, green space and EMS land for fire or law enforcement.”

Is my opponent speaking of Hayden Canyon? This is a new high-density development at the intersection of Government Way and Lancaster, which will add over 1,500 dwellings (6,000 people) into a densely packed neighborhood.  Traffic is already a problem at this intersection, let alone adding over 6000 people.  I ask again, how is this being a steward of our city?  

  • “We settled a long, ongoing lawsuit.”

This raised our sewer rates by $7 per family per billing cycle for 7 years.

  • “We are partnering with Urban Renewal for a future community center and senior center.”

My opponent stated this as fact. However, there is no guarantee it will be built unless HURA expands by 10% to get the land it needs. 

  • “We have brought many businesses to Hayden that created jobs to help serve the people of Hayden.”

Some of those businesses such as Walmart, Odom, and Consign Furniture received HURA dollars to offset the cost of their infrastructure. Consign Furniture will receive $1.6 Million from HURA. This is an example of growth not paying for itself.  All these businesses pay a large majority of their taxes to HURA and only a very small amount to the City of Hayden.  However, these businesses will still need city and county services.  Since the majority of their taxes are not going to the city or county, this shifts the burden on the citizens of Hayden who will have to shoulder the costs of these services. 

  • “I will continue to help keep taxes low.”

By approving levies? He insisted on raising taxes by another 3% this year. There is no dispute that Hayden’s costs are affected by inflation. But government is not incentivized to run a lean budget unless there are people compelling it to do so.

  • “One of his passions, he said, is to obtain the old farm house and 10 acres on Miles and Maple for a future park and for the Historical Society.”

No commitments have been made yet to purchase this parcel. The city doesn’t have the money, and is relying on HURA for the funds. HURA cannot pay for it unless it expands eastward to Miles and Maple Avenue. As HURA expands, it distorts the tax structure even more.

  • “I hope that my experience, passion and love for the city of Hayden will give the voters confidence in me for the November election,” he said, in the news release. “I would appreciate your vote as we don’t want Hayden to become a chaotic mess like NIC and the library.”

Cheap shot at the people who have legitimately worked to clean up the mess at NIC and at the voters who overwhelmingly  voted to get pseudo-porn out of children’s hands. Explain to me how protecting our children is a “chaotic mess.” 

For all of his time in office, Hayden citizens let it be known that they are not happy with the direction the City is headed under its current leadership.  Higher density, removal of wetlands, and higher taxes are just a few examples of what my opponent has actually done while in office.  

It is time for new leadership.  Vote for me, Tom Shafer, to Keep Small Town Hayden.

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