Hiding the Public Record ... In Plain Sight
The Coeur d'Alene City Council's secret action deprived the public of an opportunity raise timely objection to the use of explosives on school grounds in close proximity to private residences in Coeur d'Alene Place. This kind of secret deliberation and voting is what the Idaho Open Meeting Law was designed to prevent.
The method the City Council used to ratify its illegal action at a later Council meeting should also be scrutinized. The ratification vote was not a separate agenda item. It was included in the Council's Consent Calendar. The agenda for the Council meeting contains this preamble before the Consent Calendar items to be considered:
CONSENT CALENDAR: Being considered routine by the City Council, these items will be enacted by one motion unless requested by a Councilman or a citizen that one or more items be removed for later discussion.Perhaps the Council considered ratifying an illegal action to be "routine," but I didn't. At the November 7, 2006, Council meeting I requested the proposed permit ratification be removed from the Consent Calendar and considered at a later meeting. As noted in the indented preamble above, that was my right. Note, too, that any one of the Council members present could also have made the request. I was not at all surprised when the Council unanimously (with Councilman Edinger absent) chose to ignore my request. Having been caught violating the Idaho Open Meeting Law, they would hardly want their actions to be publicly scrutinized at another Council meeting.