October 29, 2014

Cleared for Departure…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:14 pm

COEThis morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper story headlined Destination Unknown and the editorial board’s commentary entitled Press Opinion:  Looks like a plane crash from here appeared to us to be clearly slanted toward supporting the recently canned airport manager, Greg Delavan.  Speculation abounded in the online comments about why Delavan was cleared for immediate departure.

We don’t know any more than anyone else, however we do have a couple of observations.

The longest runway available at Coeur d’Alene International Dirtstrip (COE) is Runway 6/24 with a length of 7400 feet.

According to the Idaho Airport System Plan, Chapter 3, Facility Requirements, “.. a 9,170 foot runway would accommodate 100 percent of large airplanes at 90 percent of their useful load.  A 9,170 foot runway would likely enable large airplanes to reach cities in the continental US from COE without having to stop and refuel enroute.  Without sufficient runway length, aircraft have to reduce their load to take-off safely, which is undesirable for aircraft operators.”  (See Section 3.2.2 on page 3-6 of the Coeur d’Alene Airport Master Plan July 2012)  Note that as used in this section, the term “large airplanes” is one in a class of aircraft weighing 60,000 pounds or less.

We wonder if some aircraft operators who regularly fly their biz jets in-n-out of COE may not be exerting some influence on the Kootenai County BOCC to try and get them to spend public money to enlarge COE for their own convenience?  We wonder if any of those aircraft operators have any connections with the Coeur d’Alene Press?

Airport expansion is a touchy issue.  Far too often snake oil salesmen tout the huge potential profitability of making small local airports larger or acquiring closed military airfields.  The profitability and overall social and economic harm or benefit of such projects on communities demands very careful study based on actual local conditions, not pie-in-the-sky fields of dreams.

We hope that all the interested parties in the region will pay close attention to whatever plans are in the works for COE.

October 28, 2014

Who Is Paying for This?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:05 am

nuisancesignLast Friday’s Coeur d’Alene Press  (see:  Homeless to be ousted from camp near Target) and today’s The Spokesman-Review (see:  Upcoming property sale forces CdA homeless to go elsewhere) skewspapers are reporting that the homeless encampment which the City of Coeur d’Alene has allowed to exist for years on property owned by Spokane developer Douglass Properties will be dismantled and the trespassers evicted.  Both skewspapers’ stories suggest that the City of Coeur d’Alene will be using city police and possibly other city services to carry out Douglass’s demand.  Neither story mentions who will pay for it.

The question is, will the City demand that Douglass Properties reimburse the City for all its costs associated with the dismantling the encampment and evicting the trespassers?  Or will the City of Coeur d’Alene simply and quietly pass along abatement costs to its residents?

Idaho Code allows municipalities to pass ordinances regarding nuisance abatement.  The City of Coeur d’Alene has nuisance abatement ordinances in effect, and those ordinances allow the City to recover its abatement costs from any non-compliant property owner.

In light of the Press article quoting St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho’s executive director Jeff Conroy’s saying, “… we’ve known they’ve been back there for nine years,” and, “We … totally understand the danger that can happen back there,” we wonder if in those nine years the mayors and council members of the City of Coeur d’Alene ever sought to declare Spokane developer Harlan Douglass’s property to be a nuisance?

It’s not as if the City didn’t know the encampment was there; the police and fire departments were well aware of it based on calls for services.  There is little question that the encampment qualified to be declared a health and safety nuisance by the Coeur d’Alene City Council.

If our past and present mayors and council members had fulfilled their duties to the public, declaring Douglass’s property to be a nuisance would have allowed the City to order Douglass to abate the nuisance at his expense.  If he refused, the City could bill him for the costs of abatement.

We hope its not too late for that.

October 27, 2014

Magistrate Judge Finalist Interviews Scheduled

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 2:04 pm

Judge copyThe six finalists have been announced for the First Judicial Magistrate Judge position being vacated by Magistrate Judge Barry Watson in December.  The finalists are:

James Combo, Attorney, Law Offices of Charles F. Bean, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

James Craig, Assistant Chief Counsel, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Orlando, Florida

Barbara Ann Duggan, Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Boise, Idaho

Paul Szott, Kootenai County Deputy Public Defender, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Brian Thie, Attorney, Magyar Rauch & Thie Law Firm, Moscow, Idaho

Timothy Van Valin, Rathdrum City Prosecutor, Rathdrum, Idaho

According to the press release just received from First Judicial Trial Court Administrator Karlene Behringer:

The applicants will be interviewed on Thursday, October 30, 2014, beginning at 9:00 a.m.  in Room 1A and 1B of the Kootenai County Administration Building, 451 Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 83814. The interviews will be open to the public. However, the deliberations will not be open to the public.

Here is some information about the First Judicial District Magistrate’s commissioners who will be conducting the interviews.  TCA Behringer stated:  “Please note that Judge Mitchell will be filling in for Judge Haynes.”

October 26, 2014

Manipulation 101: “Forced Teaming”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 1:10 pm

hellotagForced teaming is a tactic used by manipulators to make them appear to have as much as possible in common with their intended victims to gain their confidence.  Manipulators intent on deception and exploitation will try to ingratiate themselves with their intended victims by falsely appearing to have much in common with them and appearing to have the intended victim’s best interests at heart.

Repeatedly using “we” or other words and phrases indicating affinity or close association when interacting with intended victims is a strong indicator of forced teaming, particularly when contrasting terms such as “they” and terms of derision such “outsiders” are used to characterize those who might recognize and oppose manipulation.

With that explanation in mind, read the editorial headlined All Together Now in the Sunday, October 26 Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper.  See how many examples of forced teaming you can find.

Several times each year we refer people to an excellent book entitled The Gift of Fear authored by Gavin de Becker. His book focuses on helping people recognize and respond appropriately to the signals that people often overlook or intentionally ignore with the result that the person becomes a victim of a predator.   Pay particular attention to the major heading labeled “Forced Teaming”  in Chapter 4 – Survival Signals.  Although de Becker wrote the book primarily to help people avoid becoming victims of violence at the hands of stalkers and unwanted pursers,  his observations and recommendations are useful to help readers recognize when they are being manipulated for other purposes as well.

October 22, 2014

Good Grief, Mike Patrick

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:22 am

Investigations-FactsIt’s no secret that OpenCdA has complete disdain for the Coeur d’Alene Press.   That’s why we regularly refer to it as a skewspaper.  A newspaper reports facts; the Press — not so much.

The latest example of the Press’s indifference to factual reporting can be found in today’s story headlined Arfee owner sues city over dog’s death.  The article by Keith Cousins states, “A Washington-based attorney for Craig Jones, owner of the dog shot and killed by Officer Dave Kelley, has filed a lawsuit seeking at least $350,000 from the city of Coeur d’Alene.

Really?  In which court has this “lawsuit” been filed?

We ask, because in contrast to the Press’s “close enough for Coeur d’Alene” version of facts, The Spokesman-Review is reporting in its story headlined Owner files $350,000 claim in police shooting of dog Arfee that Arfee’s owner Craig Jones has filed a claim, not a lawsuit.  There is a difference.  Here is a copy of the Notice of Claim filed with the City.  If the City denies or otherwise disputes Mr. Jones’ claim and if they cannot reach an agreeable settlement, then a lawsuit may be filed.

The Spokesman-Review article reported that if and when a lawsuit is filed against the City, it will likely be in federal court.  A check of PACER reveals no federal lawsuit filing by Mr. Jones, but that would be a smart move by Mr. Jones.  Our guess, however, is that the City and Mr. Jones will reach a claim settlement acceptable to both.  It will be fascinating to see if and how the Coeur d’Alene Press reports it.

October 20, 2014

Why Only Now?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 2:19 pm

Ebola_virus_emOn Wednesday, October 15, President Obama  “ordered the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a ‘SWAT team’ to be ready to deploy anywhere in the country to help local healthcare systems respond to any Ebola cases.”  This according to the Los Angeles Times article headlined Obama tells CDC he wants Ebola “SWAT team” ready to go anywhere.

Then on Sunday, October 19, the Defense Department announced it “…will create a 30-person team of medical experts that could quickly leap into a region if new Ebola cases emerge in the United States, providing support for civilian doctors who lack proficiency in fighting the deadly virus.”  This was reported in the Washington Post article headlined Pentagon plans Ebola domestic response team of medical experts to aid doctors.

Why does President Obama think it is necessary to reinvent the concept of a tactical response team?  If he had competent cabinet members, he would know that it was done long ago in response to both nuclear and biological emergencies.  He already has all the tools and teams he needs. (more…)

October 19, 2014

Idaho AG Uses Lobbyists as “Conduit” for Official Directives

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:35 pm

AG WasdenOur October 8 post entitled On Direction From … Whom? revealed that Idaho’s elected county clerks do not always receive direction and guidance on implementing significant and time-sensitive legal decisions directly from Idaho’s Attorney General or Secretary of State.  It may come from a lobbying corporation, the Idaho Association of Counties, Inc.

The information prompting that post concerned us so much that we did an Idaho Public Records Law request to Kootenai County for “copies of all writings … between the Kootenai County Clerk and the Idaho Association of Counties … on the dates of October 6, 7, and 8, 2014, relating to guidance for implementing recent federal court decisions relating to same-sex marriage.”

This October 8 email from IAC Executive Director (and registered lobbyist) Dan Chadwick to Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon was among the many we received in response to our request.  This paragraph from the email is very revealing:

“The Attorney General uses IAC as a conduit for this information.  Your point about a formal document is well taken.  Therefore, we have asked the Attorney General to create a formal document advising the counties of the status of the issue once the stay is resolved.  Once that is done, we will share the document with the counties including the clerks and prosecuting attorneys  It will then be up to the count elected officials how to best address the issue.” (more…)

October 15, 2014

The “Split-Second Decision” Defense

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 7:42 am

WrongWayWhen a law enforcement officer is involved in a shooting, some citizens will leap to the officer’s defense even before the incident has been objectively and completely investigated and the relevant facts reported.

In their uninformed zeal to publicly and loudly declare their “support” for law enforcement, those citizens will go on autopilot and invoke the sometimes-valid “split-second decision” defense.  The citizens will magnanimously proclaim, “Well, we have to cut law enforcement officers some slack, because after all, we expect them to make split-second, life-and-death decisions.  Sometimes they will make a mistake.”

Unquestionably there are times when the “split-second decision” to use lethal force is unavoidable, times when it is the only decision reasonably available to law enforcement officers.

However, chief executive law enforcement officers must have both the political courage and the leadership skills to ensure that the “split-second decision” defense is not abused, that it does not become the universal excuse.  It must never become an acceptable rationalization for encouraging or requiring their officers to take actions which may save time but are more likely to place the officers in situations requiring split-second decisions.  (more…)

October 12, 2014

Press Pads Own Story Pseudonymously

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 3:34 pm

jmowreader1Take a look at the user comment area attached to today’s Press article headlined Teen worker dies in accident at Hauser corn maze.   The screen capture above is one of the “user comments”.

Is it appropriate for a Press staff member to post pseudonymously on one of the skewspaper’s own news articles?

It immediately raises very reasonable questions:  How many other “users” are also Press staff members who comment pseudonymously to push the skewspaper’s agenda on its own news stories?   If a Press staff member wants to answer a “user” comment or clarify something in a news story, why not use his or her true name above the staff identifier?  How accepted is this practice among our region’s news media who allow online users to post comments on news stories?

October 9, 2014

Well, Well, Well …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:55 pm

BO & JoeOur October 5 post entitled First Steps in Rehab … opined that if some watchdog is going to take a seriously close look at the US Secret Service’s recent failures, “…it must objectively and critically review the interaction with and influence on Presidential protection from others who are involved in the day-to-day scheduling, travel, and living arrangements for those receiving USSS protection.   Broadly, those “others” include the White House senior and advance staff, the US military, and other federal government agencies.”

Yesterday’s Washington Post article headlined Aides knew of possible White House link to Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal is a good baby step in the right direction.

The alleged conduct of White House straphanger Jonathan Dach in Cartagena in no way mitigates the seriousness of the conduct of the US Secret Service employees.  At the same time, anyone with any familiarity with human intelligence source spotting and assessing would look at Dach’s alleged conduct and, if it is verified, question whether Dach was suitable to hold any kind of position with the US government.  That could include Jonathan Dach’s present job,  “working full time in the Obama administration on a federal contract as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department.”

And as the Washington Post’s article yesterday makes very clear, while the USSS and the military conducted very detailed investigations of the allegations against their respective employees, the investigation of the White House’s own advance staff, including the straphangers like Dach, could fairly be characterized as superficial and intended to deflect any embarrassing attention away from the White House.  That deflection allegedly included ordering the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General investigator “…to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

Well, well, well.  It is our guess that Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and David Nakamura may not get Presidential Christmas cards this year.

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