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 30, 2006

Where's the Outrage?

As Whitecaps noted in a post on December 23, 2006, Coeur d'Alene Press staff writer Tom Greene was asked to leave a December 6, 2006, meeting of the City of Coeur d'Alene's urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corporation (LCDC). Greene was told he needed to leave because the LCDC Board was going into executive session. That reason was, he learned, not true. Had it been true, had an executive session been approved by a vote of the Board, all members of the public would have been excluded, not just reporter Tom Greene.

But as the online minutes of the LCDC 2007 Planning Retreat clearly show, at least three citizens not on the LCDC Board were invited to remain and participate actively in the meeting. Those invited to remain were Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, Coeur d'Alene City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, and former Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce president Bryan Ogle.

Thus it seems clear that not all the "public" was illegally excluded from the meeting. In fact, the only person excluded appears to have been the one member of the working press in attendance.

First and foremost, where's the outrage from the public that its representative, respected and credible local newspaper reporter Tom Greene, was ordered out of a public meeting with a deceptive claim that the meeting was continuing in executive session? We, the People, are the ones who were deprived of our right to have a news reporter present at the public meeting of the LCDC Board of Directors, the Coeur d'Alene Mayor, and the Coeur d'Alene City Administrator. We should be screaming loudest, but ours should not be the only voices.

Where's the outrage from Coeur d'Alene Press Publisher Jim Thompson and Managing Editor Mike Patrick? Where's their editorial condemning this very flagrant denial of the public's right to have its representative of the free press (their own employee no less!) report on this meeting limited to influential insiders including one whose job is to represent "...affluent clients and corporations who are looking for sophisticated solutions to their needs?"

Where's the outrage from other local news media leaders such as Steve Smith, Editor of The Spokesman-Review, our regional newspaper with its North Idaho Bureau in Coeur d'Alene? Where's the outrage from the news director at KVNI-AM, our local radio station? Where's the outrage from news directors at KREM-TV, KXLY-TV, and KHQ-TV? No, they didn't have reporters at the meeting, but they should stand for the principle that access denied to one reporter is access denied to all reporters.

Where's the outrage from the Idaho Press Club? According to its webpage, "The Idaho Press Club lobbies for and defends open records, open meetings, cameras in the courtroom and other issues important to working reporters and the public. With more than 200 members in chapters throughout Idaho, the Idaho Press Club serves as a unified voice for Idaho’s media professionals." So where's that unified voice?

The Lake City Development Corporation, with the knowing participation of Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and City Administrator Wendy Gabriel, conducted the public's business in private at LCDC Chairman Charlie Nipp's residence on December 6, 2006, in clear violation of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Douglas refused to enforce the law in court, though, instead choosing to send a meaningless letter of "stern warning" to the offenders.

Where's the outrage?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expecting anything from Steve Smith is expecting more than will happen. He is leading the charge to lynch another Spokane City official, he hasn't time for news in North Idaho.

12:00 PM, December 31, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Thank you for reading and commenting.

It is very clear that Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Douglas has no interest in doing his duty to prosecute IOML violations.

I keep holding out hope that our news media, all of them, will begin to shine the light of public scrutiny on the shenanigans being pulled in Coeur d'Alene by elected and appointed officials. It seemed to me that while Tom Greene "owned" the story of the illegal December 6 LCDC meeting, the rest of the press should have been outraged that the only "public" to be excluded was a newspaper reporter while other members of the "public" were invited to stay and participate.

If we can't rely on elected and appointed officials to be honest and open, if we can't rely on Kootenai County's criminal justice system to enforce the laws consistently rather than preferentially, and if we can't rely on the press to report factually and comment editorially about governmental misconduct, then the honest citizens might as well move out. In Kootenai County and Coeur d'Alene City government, it's looking more and more like money talks and integrity walks.

2:39 PM, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SR wants SEX, emails with SEX get attention. Serious stuff is left to the real reporters.

9:35 PM, January 04, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I'm glad the S-R is continuing to watchdog the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, but I also have to admit questioning the newsworthiness of yesterday's story identifying the Baughman investigator. I was one of the SS's EEO investigators. We were trained extensively by OPM. The investigator is not the adjudicator. The identification of the investigator would have been more newsworthy had the story revealed either the presence or absence of a biasing factor.

Initially, Douglas's reason for deciding to use an investigator of his choice was he felt it would expedite a decision. I wonder if it really would have taken longer had the entire incident been turned over to the appropriate state agency, the Idaho Human Rights Commission, from the get-go.

7:09 AM, January 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SR is NOT 'investigating' the Prosecutor, they are being fed information and manipulated into reporting on marginal sex stories. The feeder is a very sophisticated county employee. The question is, what are they trying to distract the press from finding?

7:07 AM, January 06, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

I can't disagree or agree with your statement, because what you're talking about is called a "disinformation operation." A DO is an intelligence or counterintelligence operation. One of a DO's functions is to divert or distract.

However, a DO is very difficult to successfully pull off, because it requires extensive "backstopping", using and when necessary, planting verifiable accurate information which supports the sliver of disinformation and makes it more believable. In other words, a well-run DO is about 98 percent verifiable truth that supports about 2 percent deception.

What makes your assertion more plausible is that according to Bill Douglas's online bio, he did have some contact with military intelligence from 1973-1976. During his MI training (if he had an MI MOS), he would have at least been made aware of DOs, but his bio does not reveal if he was ever operationally involved with them. Merely receiving introductory training in DOs would not even come close to preparing someone to execute one that would withstand hostile counterintelligence scrutiny. Then again, the press/Press/Spokesman-Review is not exactly hostile counterintelligence. Since Douglas was JAG, though, he may just have been assigned as an attorney to an MI unit for training, briefings, counsel, etc. Attorney-type duties, not operational MI or MI/CI.

If you have specific information supporting your assertion, I'd like to discuss it with you.

7:55 AM, January 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running a DO against experienced grownups takes huge effort, running it against gullible, small town reporters takes less.

Item: RB is vulnerable - he has a history of prosecutorial abuse that is known througout the local bar and has been clearly documented in court records. He also has a record of staff friction and of stupidity with emails.

Item: His supervisor is fighting a sex related email suit by the SR.

Item: A records request for his emails is answered that included a folder called "deleted items" that contained a clearly screened and sorted group of 50 salacious emails from RB.

Item: It appears that 100% of the info leaked was accurate, but was it 100% of what could have been released?

Questions: Who prepared that CD? Who reviewed that CD prior to release to the young and demoralized reporters at the SR? Given the proximity of the request to both the elections and the ongoing corruption investigations, what might have been released had the reporters not chosen to concentrate on the sex related story?

1:39 PM, January 06, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

Anonymous,

If I understand you correctly, you believe Baughman is being handed up by someone. The release of the CD with the deleted files would support that. I won't disagree with your conclusion.

However, I don't see how attracting attention to Baughman did anything except attract even more attention to the office. That would hardly work as a diversion. If anything, it would seem to intensify and justify more Idaho Public Records Law requests for more information.

If I'm missing something, please fill me in. Your questions are reasonable and need to be answered, but it's the answers and not the questions that might support your belief.

5:23 PM, January 06, 2007  

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