OpenCDA

February 20, 2015

Now Just A Minute

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:01 pm

Whoa Nelly!!This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper reported that Kootenai County officials are concerned about the volume of public records requests submitted by Frank Davis of Allied Bail Bonds.  In his article headlined Kootenai County officials seek to hone information delivery to  public, skewswriter David Cole included this line, “Davis, who has a history with the county involving past lawsuits, didn’t return a message left by The Press Thursday seeking comment.”

OpenCdA has filed a fair number of requests for information under the Idaho Public Records Act.  We also agree that requests should be both concise and precise in order to get the most timely response.   But quite often “concise and precise” becomes synonymous with “foundational.”  The information pried out of the locked files of reticent officials often then points toward more information that must be part of yet another request from citizens trying to get a clear and complete picture of official conduct.

And as a result of his persistence and analysis of the information he had to often pry out of Kootenai county officials, Frank Davis has laid a substantial foundation.   Or at least the Idaho Attorney General apparently thought so.

OpenCdA has learned that on November 13, 2014, Idaho Deputy Attorney General/Special Prosecuting Attorney Brenda M. Bauges, on behalf of Paul R. Panther, DAG/Chief, Criminal Law Division, and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden issued a subpoena duces tecum to Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon directing him to produce some specific information and documents pursuant to Idaho Code § 31-2002(3).

So we go back to this morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper article.   Instead of writing an article which certainly appears to us to have portrayed Frank Davis in a bad light, we wonder why skewswriter David Cole didn’t make a more diligent effort to examine and understand the documentary data Mr. Davis was finally able to piece together.  Why is the Press so intent on attacking the citizen watchdog rather than looking at the information he has wrung out of reluctant county officials?

Why wasn’t Cole more patient and willing to set up an interview with Mr. Davis at a mutually convenient time?  Why was it so important to Cole, his editor Mike Patrick, and publisher Jim Thompson to hurriedly publish an article that says the county’s solution to requests for public information is to develop a process and hire someone to further separate the citizens from access to public information?

The answer appears to us to be typical Kootenai County:   If you can’t refute the evidence, attack the person who presents it.  If the evidence of wrongdoing by public officials and prominent citizens is persuasive and possibly conclusive, vilify those who, like Frank Davis, are trying to present the evidence.

OpenCdA has seen some of Mr. Davis’s evidence.  It deserves to have an objective review by professionally qualified and responsible officials in the state and federal criminal justice systems.  That review excludes almost everyone in Kootenai County’s criminal justice system.   Some past and present criminal justice officials have done their part to increase the lumpiness of the Kootenai County rug under which official wrongdoing has been swept to keep Kootenai County’s citizens from seeing the wrongdoing.  That has to stop.

We hope that when Idaho Code § 31-2002 took effect on July 1, 2014, the Idaho Attorney General was given a new set of stones.  We hope that his investigations into allegations of public corruption will not be particularly influenced by letters from prominent citizens who urge him to forget his obligation to uphold the Constitution and laws of the state.

Frank Davis has been referred to by some Kootenai County officials as a pain in the ass.  OpenCdA reminds them that pain is a valid and useful indicator.    It takes objective examination by qualified practitioners to distinguish between hemorrhoids and colorectal cancer.  The longer the pain is ignored and treatment is delayed, the harder it is to cure the disease.

2 Comments

  1. Bill, thank you for not letting this get past you and sharing your perspectives. I recall an article last year when a press reporter was looking into settlement and severance payments made to County employees and they weren’t happy when they were made to wait until the 10th working day allowable under the public records act to receive one or two pages of information.

    In fact wasn’t it the Cda Press who took the County to court a few years ago to obtain emails that were wrongly denied them? You would think that if anyone was interested in making sure that they reported the whole story and the other side this newspaper would especially given the subject here but I guess not.

    Comment by Appalled — February 21, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  2. I am not aware of the CdA Press trying to obtain emails, but I remember the landmark case with Cowles Publishing Co.,suing for the release of the Douglas/Kalani emails back in 2005. I feel kind of bad about that because while I was for the release of the emails, later, the smear became evident to me, in that the publisher wanted Douglas gone. However, that entire fiasco, also exposed the exchange of pornography on the county computers of which was handed to Taryn Hecker at the time on a CD when she was a reporter for the S-R as well as a breach in the S-R network around the same time with more porn on it. Shortly after, their editor Ken Sands leaves the building. The release of the emails were pretty bad but fairly harmless, just very unprofessional … why anyone would write personal information on a government network is beyond me.

    Comment by Stebbijo — February 22, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

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