Whitecaps

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

Name:
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.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Turning Up the Heat On Coeur d'Alene's Government

It was extremely easy for the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney to use his discretionary authority to dismiss the complaint of a private citizen when Coeur d'Alene's Mayor and City Council evaded the Idaho Open Meeting Law in October 2004.

It will be much harder for him to dismiss the equally legitimate complaints from both the Coeur d'Alene Press and former state legislator Gary Ingram, the author of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. Those complaints have been chronicled by the excellent reporting of Coeur d'Alene Press staff writer Tom Greene in Press articles on December 21, 2006, December 22, 2006, and December 23, 2006. All three articles recount the involvement of various city officials in a blatant and undeniable violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. That violation occurred at a meeting of Coeur d'Alene's Lake City Development Corporation (LCDC) held a LCDC board member's home on December 6, 2006.

For those who are interested and who may believe that the LCDC is somehow independent from the government of City of Coeur d'Alene, go to the City of Coeur d'Alene website and click on Boards/Cmtes/Commissions. Then follow that link to the Lake City Development Corporation website. Finally, click on the About Us button to learn who is on the LCDC Board of Commissioners. Readers will notice that two members of the Coeur d'Alene City Council, Dixie Reid and Deanna Goodlander, sit as members of the LCDC Board. Re-reading reporter Greene's article from December 22, 2006, reveals that Mayor Sandi Bloem was also present at the December 6 LCDC meeting where Greene was asked to leave in violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. All of the officials present, Director Berns, the LCDC Board of Commissioners including two Coeur d'Alene City Council members, and the Coeur d'Alene Mayor had an absolute obligation to know and comply with the Idaho Open Meeting Law.

It is important to understand that in regard to executive sessions authorized at public meetings, "...executive sessions take place only at meetings. Before any executive session may be held, there must be a valid open meeting and a vote to hold an executive session. Every such 'meeting' must satisfy the notice and agenda requirements of section 67-2343. If the governing body of a public agency (Note: LCDC is a public agency) then wishes to consider matters which may legally be considered in a closed meeting, an executive session may be held if two-thirds (2/3) of the members vote to hold an executive session. Prior to such vote, the presiding officer must identify the authorization under the Open Meeting Law for the holding of an executive session. Then, when the vote is taken, the individual vote of each member of the governing body must be recorded in the minutes (per Idaho Code Section 67-2345(1))." This was taken verbatim from the October 2004 edition of the Idaho Open Meeting Law Manual, Answer to Question No. 19 on page 16.

The title of this Whitecaps post is "Turning Up the Heat on Coeur d'Alene's Government." The subtitle might also include, "...and the Kootenai County Prosecutor."

Correction on 12-30-2006: The correct date of the LCDC meeting was December 6, not December 20 as posted originally. The date has been corrected in the blog text as well.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Bill. Hopefully the FBI will also start looking into the illegal loans that the LCDC makes.

9:53 AM, December 23, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

Thank you. We'll have to wait and see what the outcome is from the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney's office. That seems unlikely until after the first of the year at the earliest. The issue of the legality of the LCDC's loans may be beyond the reach of our local prosecutor. That may have to go to the Idaho Attorney General. But yes, if there were violations of federal law (many people just don't realize how deeply federal laws can reach into local issues), the FBI would probably investigate. One thing is clear to me: The more our City officials insist on attracting attention to their violations of law, the more likely they are to hit a federal threshold. They really do not comprehend just how much federal feces will rain down upon them if that happens.

10:27 AM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rain of Pain they are calling down will make for many headlines. More than one local corrupt politico will soon wear orange. Wait until Gary Young starts singing! There is a connection between LCDC and the Post Falls mafia and that will start coming out soon.

10:39 AM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LCDC seems to be handing out taxpayers money like candy to children. The decions as to who gets the money and who does not appears to be personaly driven instead of procedure driven. I would like to see the applications for the grants that are being made. These grants in some cases are in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It seems too many decisions regarding the distribution of money are made on a ad hoc and verble basis and therefor not traceable. if there is no corruption here at minimum there is fertle ground for corruption to develope. This presents a trap for the honest members of the LCDC board who are not trying to serve their own interests but merely trying to serve the community. Do such board members exist. I have been told there are some. The jury is still out so to speak on the LCDC. Let us all pray that no inocent victims are trapped in a web created by thier perhaps less honorable associates.

10:47 AM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An old rule:

"Lie down with dogs, arise with fleas."

10:59 AM, December 23, 2006  
Blogger DanG said...

Awesome, Bill. I appreciate and value what you do.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall...

11:28 AM, December 23, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

If the connection you commented about develops, the snow will melt very quickly from the heat. Thanks for reading and commenting.

2:40 PM, December 23, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I can't even pretend to fully understand the financial intricacies of the LCDC, and to me that's its biggest challenge: If it expects the public like dumb ol' me to trust it, the LCDC better explain things in terms we can understand and in terms that make sense to us. I'm not convinced all the LCDC Commissioners fully understand what they're doing, either. Thanks for reading and commenting.

2:45 PM, December 23, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

DanG,

Thank you. Maybe between your team's scrutiny, the newspaper's revelations, and the prosecutor's investigation the elected and appointed officials will heed the wake-up call telling them they are accountable. If they don't, then maybe some of them need to be replaced before the next scheduled election. All they have to do is be honest.

2:49 PM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See http://www.cdapress.com/articles/2006/12/23/news/news03.txt

Watch for more!

3:13 PM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, did you notice that Denny Davis, LCDC board member is also a lawyer who represents the Spokesman Review. Expect patty cake treatment by Mr. double standard Oliveria on this one.
Funny, the SR's lawyer who espoused openness on behalf of the SR in court action, is now hypocritically party to closing this meeting. Anything for a buck I guess. You surely won't find this criticism n the HBO blog either.
Nice, job, Bill

11:15 PM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the Boise lawyer named as LCDC's lawyer the same one who was reprimanded for his conflict of interest in the failed University Place fiasco?

11:19 PM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jorel, commenting on the CDA Press site, says:

"Speaking of transparency Mr. Green and Mr. Ingram might want to explore relationships between a local mortgage broker( who owned the parcel of land that was going nowhere that now is the site of the new library )the process that led to its purchase, the facilitators, and the twice market value paid for that parcel. Talk about COZY!"

http://cdapress.com/articles/2006/12/23/news/news02.txt

Half a million dollars (the 'premium' paid) is getting into the realm of 'real money'. Merry Christmas FBI, another easy case to prosecute, wrapped up in real property records.

11:45 PM, December 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am puzzled as to why the Spokesman-Review has done so little on the LCDC story. I have been told by persons outside the paper that the paper does not want to stand further criticism or comparison arising from the River Park Square situation in Spokane which they allegedly failed to address because of their financial entanglements with that project.

I do not understand the River Park Square issue very well. Maybe someone who has been following events a little closer in Spokane will be able to tell us why they are not covering the LCDC story in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Spokesman-Review has excellent reporters and it would seem they could focus on a few more issues which are important to North Idaho. Maybe they will. I think their new editor Scott Maben is a good person. Perhaps they just need some time.

8:42 PM, December 24, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I'm not a journalist and not connected with The Spokesman-Review except as a subscriber and occasional mouth-shooter-offer, but I'll speculate that to this point, the S-R isn't ready to go with a story or series of stories on LCDC. I would not assume at all that the S-R is disinterested or even intentionally avoiding the story. Until December 20, the only story was that a group of interested, well-informed, and qualified citizens had begun to review and question some of LCDC's practices. That's good citizenship but without concrete, verifiable facts that somehow significantly differ from what LCDC's people say, it's not exactly a news story. The final report from that group may very well prove to be news, particularly whan that's coupled with the LCDC's illegally excluding the public (Tom Greene from the Press)from what should have been an open meeting. Tom's stories were definitely news, however all the S-R could have done was to comment on the Press's reporting. I sincerely hope that now the S-R will pick up the story and aggressively report on the Prosecutor's investigation (assuming he actually does one). The S-R could also work backwards and get copies of previous LCDC meeting minutes and determine if there were any other unlawfully closed meetings. There may be stories there, but we won't see them in print until the S-R (or the Press) is ready.

As for learning more about the River Park Square fiasco, Camas Magazine chronicled that story very completely. I believe that Coeur d'Alene's Mayor and City Council have failed to heed the lessons of River Park Square. The Spokane Mayor and Council at the time of River Park Square were significantly smarter and more experienced than Coeur d'Alene's present gang, yet the Spokanites succumbed to the deceptive promise of eternal prosperity. Our officials' Waterloo is going to be the buy-now-tax-later plan.

7:44 AM, December 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to you, Bill, to give the SR another free pass. You've ignored the issue of the SR's conflict in any reporting the LCDC story by its own attorney sitting on the LCDC board.

10:34 PM, December 26, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I'd rather call it a deferred payment pass, but you're right: For now, it is a pass for reasons I've explained earlier and will summarize again.

Until the S-R digs ups something new beyond what Tom Greene already reported in his Press stories, I don't expect the S-R to report.

I don't see why S-R Publisher Cowles or Editor Smith would care that Davis sits on the LCDC board. It's Davis's office, not the S-R, that has the conflict. I suspect that when the S-R develops its own story based on verifiable facts of the LCDC Board's wrongdoing or Davis's misconduct, it will print the story. The LCDC's blatant and knowing violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law was news, but the S-R wasn't there to cover the story; the Press was. That's why the Press got the story first and reported it best.

If you have verifiable proof that the S-R is intentionally soft-pedaling Davis's involvement with LCDC and withholding news from the public, contact Tom Greene at the Press. I imagine his paper's owner, publisher, and editor would report proven and independently verifiable journalistically unprofessional conduct by the S-R.

By the way, if you or anyone else has verifiable proof that attorney Davis knew of Tom Greene's illegal exclusion from the LCDC meeting and went along with it, it would be appropriate to file a complaint with the Idaho Bar Association.

7:36 AM, December 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Douglas throws a spitball. LCDC gets a pass. Sad. Really.

http://cdapress.com/articles/2006/12/28/news/news05.txt

7:24 AM, December 28, 2006  

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