Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's a Start...

Abductions and homicides associated with crimes of sexual violence attract widespread attention. Less sensational but equally disconcerting is having community residents uncover an unusually high number of registered sex offenders living in de facto rooming houses in Coeur d'Alene neighborhoods zoned only for single-family homes.

In response to reasonable public concern in May 2004 when convicted felons on probation or parole were living together in a Coeur d'Alene Place single-family residence, the Coeur d'Alene city council asked City Attorney Mike Gridley to determine if our city ordinances could be improved to be enforceable. That effort was expedited one year later after neighborhood residents near 8th and Hastings identified several single-family residences being used as rooming houses for registered sex offenders.

On August 8, 2005, the City Attorney presented his findings to the council's General Services Committee meeting attended by council members Goodlander and Hassell and by several involved citizens. The August 16, 2005, Coeur d'Alene Press article written by Tom Greene and headlined Sex-crime laws hard to fortify presented only part of what was discussed in the General Services meeting. The City Attorney wisely recommended that the city not pass additional city ordinances specifically restricting the locations where convicted and registered sex offenders could live in Coeur d'Alene. Such ordinances would very likely be unenforceable and unconstitutional. However, the City Attorney did recommend some zoning ordinance changes that would enhance the protections offered by those ordinances.

His recommendations should receive a prompt public hearing before the Coeur d'Alene Planning Commission. The recommendations are sensible and should make it much more difficult for Coeur d'Alene landlords to use single-family residences as transient rooming houses and criminal transitional facilities. Landlords seeking to offer transient rooming houses and criminal transition housing will still be able to do it, but they will have to locate the house in a commercial zone or seek a special use permit (public hearing required) from the City.

ADDENDUM at 11:45 a.m.: Well, the good start may be sputtering. I've just been told that our Mayor and some city council members are in no hurry to get this reasonable ordinance clarification in front of the Planning Commission. Why not? It is an opportunity for the City to demonstrate a measured yet progressive approach to solving a problem that was first identified over a year ago in Coeur d'Alene Place and has now reappeared in other sections of Coeur d'Alene. Perhaps the Mayor and Council are afraid this issue may awaken the general public to the clear and present need for more aggressive, consistent, full time code enforcement in Coeur d'Alene. The codes (zoning, land use, etc.) exist to protect all Coeur d'Alene citizens, not just to benefit elected officials' friends who are developers and builders.


Blogger Mike said...

Bill - great post. I posted a link to it on my blog.

6:31 PM, August 17, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

My blog here, Bill: Idaho Kennedys

6:35 PM, August 17, 2005  
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All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such.
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not statements of historical fact and may be "forward, looking
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Forward,|ooking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Se'ction 17. {b), we disclose the holding of EGTY shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward,looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to
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1:33 AM, August 19, 2005  

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