September 16, 2010

Trial Update, Day 4

Filed under: General — mary @ 10:14 pm

Grow Up, Gridley!

Today I was embarrassed to be a citizen of the city where Mike Gridley is Head Attorney.  He acted like a juvenile delinquent when he was called as a witness.  And you won’t believe what he said.

Starr Kelso, attorney for the Election Challenge was asking questions, and Gridley was tense and snippy with his responses.  Then Gridley did something completely unprofessional.  Grildey was sitting in the witness chair and Starr Kelso handed him some papers, then turned away for a second.  While Starr’s attention was elsewhere, Gridley picked up the papers and purposefully dropped them on the floor.  When Starr turned back, Gridley told him the papers “fell”, so Kelso bent down next to the witness chair to pick them up.

As Starr stood up, Mike Gridley said, under his breath, “If you have any more papers you can shove them up your ass!”  Mr. Kelso turned to the judge and told him, within full hearing of the audience, what Gridley had just said.  Gridley whined, “No I didn’t”, to which Starr said, “That’s a lie!”

(I was in the room but didn’t have a good view from that angle and I wasn’t close enough to hear the comment, but I have verification from two people, in addition to Starr, who heard it clearly. And I have two additional eye-witnesses who saw the intentional paper drop.)

The judge told them both to stop the bickering and continue on with the questions.  I wish he had admonished Mike Gridley for behavior unbecoming to any attorney in a courtroom, let alone the Head Legal Counsel for the City of CdA.

We pay this man more than $120,000!  The Mayor and City Council should insist that Mr. Gridley tender his resignation.

Deedie Beard, who just retired a month after the last election, was Elections Supervisor for Kootenai County for 27 years.  It’s too bad that this controversial election was her swan song, so to speak, because she’s a very nice person.

However, Deedie admits she did not keep the Report of Absentee Ballots as required by Idaho law. (see yesterday’s update if you are unclear about this)  Not only that, but Deedie seemed quite confused.  She kept saying that the Secretary of State’s Data Base is the same as the Report required by law, and that’s just not the case, according to Tim Hurst, Chief Deputy Sec. of State, who is in charge of elections.

Tim Hurst was very clear in his testimony yesterday that it was a “failure of duty” by the Clerk that the required Report of Absentee Ballots was not kept.  He said the Sec. of State’s Data Base does NOT substitute for the Report.

Deedie firmly admitted, though, that the 2051 number the city council approved was ONLY the number of papers counted by the machine.  It does not show if the ballots were valid or legally cast.

And the whole residency requirement is a mess.  Deedie said ,“We’re not the Election police!”  (then who is?)  There’s no procedure or requested information to show a person still lives at a certain address, no matter what.

(Gosh, we have to update our driver’s licenses every 4 years, why don’t we have to reaffirm our residency for voting every 4 years too?)

The final headline from Deedie was that “Every ballot that’s printed is accounted for.”  But what about the 165 absentee ballots that were sent out to people but were never returned?  Where are those ballots?  They look exactly like any other ballot, there is no difference.  Couldn’t they be slipped into a poll box along with someone’s regular ballot?  And what about the leftover unvoted ballots?  They do not destroy them or make them unusable like is done in other parts of the country.

Julie Chadderdon testified that when she went to Lakes Middle School to vote in the Fernan election, she was given the wrong ballot.  She recognized that it was wrong and gave it back to the poll worker, who then gave her the correct one.

The point is that in the “split” precincts where part is in the city, part is in the county or Fernan, it’s easy for the wrong ballot to be given. Poll workers are supposed to mark in the poll book what kind of ballot each voter was given. (it’s called the ballot code)  But for 53 people in the last election, NO ballot code was recorded.

It’s slipshod. The silver lining to this messy process will hopefully be a redesign of our election system…from the legislature all the way through.

The trial should wrap up tomorrow.  I have no idea how it will all come out.  The judge has allowed some things and blocked others; he seems willing to consider certain rational while refusing to address some big issues.  So it should be interesting.

We have now seen, up close and personal, the chaos we call our election system, and it appears to need a serious overhaul.  I think this Election Challenge has been a courageous effort and the voters of Kootenai County will be grateful when all is said and done.   Goodnight


  1. thanks again! Keep up the good work.

    Comment by benjitheman — September 16, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  2. First there’s John “Witch Hunt” Cafferty. Now we have Mike “Shove it up your ass” Gridley.

    Comment by Dan — September 17, 2010 @ 6:40 am

  3. Mary,

    I’ll comment much more fully after the trials are over, but for now I’ll just echo your ending comment that the election contest has been a courageous effort. In diligently, honestly, and courageously pursuing the election contest, Jim Brannon, Christine Brannon, and Starr Kelso have contributed more for this city, this county, and the state than our city council ever will, either collectively or individually. Standing behind and alongside them against the forces of government laziness, incompetence, and corruption in Coeur d’Alene are many extraordinary “ordinary” citizens who with their efforts and presence have given immeasurable strength and support. Their effort has focused on election integrity. They have drawn the attention of legislators and citizens alike to the woeful inadequacies and failures of both Idaho election statutes and the Kootenai County Clerk. Regardless of the outcome of the election contest, this is almost certain to end up in the Idaho Supreme Court, hopefully on a rocket docket.

    Comment by Bill — September 17, 2010 @ 6:53 am

  4. This case was inevitable. The causes were many, but what made it inevitable is the sloppiness of Idaho Code, the inattentiveness of the Legislature, and a lack of competency by our Secretary of State. If it didn’t happen in Coeur d’Alene, it would have happened elsewhere in the State.

    Comment by Dan — September 17, 2010 @ 7:11 am

  5. I have an idea for a new reality show “Growing up Gridley” Use your imagination everyone.

    Comment by WannaBe JD — September 17, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  6. When I was little and made a face by crossing my eyes, my mother told me not to do that because my eyes might remain that way. Living here, I firmly believe that my morning incredulous head shaking may result in my becoming a human bobble head doll. Gridleys comment stands alone as appalingly typical hubris for the public officials here. What really set me off this morning was the testimony of the couple who “couldn’t remember”. How can I put this nicely…if they planned to go to heaven, this testimony dashed their hopes. They didn’t understand the residency rule. Uhhh, it is on the card, can you not read. Neither one could “remember” for whom they voted…riiight! They were only interested in KC items. Here is a bulletin people, if you live in KC, items that concern you are on your ballot no matter which city you reside in. To swear an oath and then testify that your memory (conveniently) let you down, patronises the collective intellect.

    All of this being said, I am concerned about the burden of proof being met by Starr Kelsos’ case. I have not been in the courtroom, so hopefully what I’m missing is pertinent. If Jim loses, I don’t think anything here will change. The perception by Mikey et al will be that they “got away” with it (again) and back to business as usual. As for the public, short memory, flat line brain power. Yes, I’m a cynic.

    To Jim and Starr…good luck, thank you and God bless!!

    Comment by rochereau — September 17, 2010 @ 9:12 am

  7. And, I do look forward to Bills commentary.

    Comment by rochereau — September 17, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  8. Please oh please tell me that this post from the other blog is not true. Because if it is a few national watchdog blogs will get it very soon. Please clue us in.

    From the Spokesman-Review – Huckelberry Blog

    3:58 p.m. Hosack is struggling w/Dobslaf status. She’s legal federally. But he isn’t sure she’s legal as far as a state voter goes. Ultimately, he rules that Dobslaf is a legal voter and that her vote will not be stricken

    Comment by Stebbijo — September 17, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

  9. Stebbijo,

    That was his ruling even though she moved from CdA in 1988 and has become a permanent resident (known as a “landed immigrant”) of Canada. Canadian permanent residents are entitled to live and work anywhere in Canada. They enjoy most of the privileges of Canadian citizenship. She expressed a very strong desire to continue to vote in US presidential elections. As a landed immigrant she is required to reside in Canada and may leave Canada for only a very few weeks per year. Her stated objective is to have dual US-Canada citizenship and continue to live in Canada. She stated she considers her permanent residence and place of abode to be Canada. She is approximately 44, and said that she wants to move to the US when she and her husband retire, but he’s evidently not wildly enthusiastic about that.

    Comment by Bill — September 17, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  10. Well, I am floored. I will have to take some time to digest this “intent”. My brother lives in Japan. He used to live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I believe he might be considered dual citizenship. Can he vote in this next city election? How can I get the county clerk to send him an absentee ballot. Also SKYPE is free or at least it used to be. What happened to the others from Canada who did not appear like Alan Friend? No big costs there to show up to court. Does he intend to gain dual citizenship as well and move back to his old address that used to be a place of business by the previous judge’s wife?

    …then destroying government records with the admitted testimony of the prosecuter? OMG!

    Comment by Stebbijo — September 17, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  11. Its so nice to see such engaged voters who have lived in Canada for 22 years. Please send all former Coeur d’Alene residents an absentee ballot after they’ve requested their first one. That way we’ll stay engaged and up to date on the city’s issues.

    Comment by Ancientemplar — September 18, 2010 @ 7:52 am

  12. Stebbijo,

    The idea to use Skype in this court case to take distant testimony from reluctant witnesses was Matt Kelso’s. Matt is Starr’s son. He is smart and innovative and reliable. It was a last-minute idea after the Court decided it would not even issue an order to compel distant voters to return to CdA to testify. Some of the witnesses refused to be “found” and some who were found refused to testify even from the security and comfort of their own home (their real one, not their “home address for purposes of voting” in CdA).

    At the end of Denise Dobslaff’s online testimony, Starr thanked her sincerely and profusely on behalf of the Court and opposing counsel for her willingness to testify. Among all of those sought witnesses in Canada and California, she was the only one who testified. She did so willingly and responsively. I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that she did anything other than what she had been told to do by the US consulate insofar as voting is concerned. She made a greater effort to testify than several people who really do live in Coeur d’Alene.

    Another woman, Rahana Zellars, testified via Skype from her home in Oregon.

    I was not in the courtroom when McHugh testified about the computer records being deleted, so I don’t know the details.

    Comment by Bill — September 18, 2010 @ 8:02 am

  13. Matt Kelso is… smart, innovative, and reliable? Dang Bill, are you sure that you are talking about the right person? Ha, thanks for the kind words.

    Comment by M.Kelso — September 23, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  14. Matt,

    Thanks for registering and commenting. Hmmm, I guess it could have been your smart, innovative, and reliable twin?

    Your audio/visual efforts added a great deal of comprehension among the spectators. The last thing the defense team wanted was for people including the judge to “get it.” Also, I was told that this was the first civil trial in Idaho ever to have sworn testimony taken via the Internet. Though he properly didn’t really show it, I think even Judge Hosack had to be just a little impressed. Good job!

    Comment by Bill — September 24, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  15. Matt, I agree with Bill. Thank you for your efforts.

    Comment by Susie Snedaker — September 24, 2010 @ 7:54 am

  16. I echo the compliments, Matt, you did a great job of setting up the internet testimony. And you kept your cool when the technology didn’t cooperate and a courtroom full of people were watching your every move. You stayed calm and made it work. Now you’re part of judicial history in Idaho…way to go!

    Comment by mary — September 24, 2010 @ 8:46 am

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