Commercial broadcast radio may be old fashioned, but it is still an effective way to communicate timely, accurate information to many people in an emergency.
Widespread power outages lasting from hours to days were a significant challenge resulting from the November 17, 2015, region-wide windstorm. We doubt that Avista Utilities, Kootenai Electric Cooperative, Northern Lights Electric Cooperative, and Inland Power & Light would voice much disagreement. Neither would their customers.
The event, Windstorm 2015, was a civil emergency which required multijurisdictional, interagency response.
At the Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on December 15, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White clearly identified a critical challenge faced by emergency services: In an emergency, the emergency services need to be able to communicate timely, accurate information to the people affected. Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Kenny Gabriel’s and Chief White’s comments can be viewed and heard here beginning at time mark 0:12:07. Chief White’s comments about the identified need to communicate information better to the public begins at time mark 0:17:47.
Councilman Dan Gookin asked the two Chiefs if they had considered using local commercial radio broadcasting stations to deliver timely, accurate, and regular information to all of Kootenai County. The Chiefs indicated they had not but they would certainly be willing to explore it.
OpenCdA appreciates both Councilman Gookin’s question and the Chiefs’ response. OpenCdA thinks that to communicate timely, verified information in an emergency affecting many people in a larger geographical area, commercial broadcast radio is more than just viable — it is superior. (more…)
OpenCdA hopes that everyone who has either Time Warner Cable or internet access watched the Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 15th. Specifically, we hope that everyone paid very close attention to the Windstorm 2015 after-action report to the Council by Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Gabriel and Police Chief White.
If you missed it, the replay is available here on the City’s website. The Chiefs’ wrapup begins at 0:12:07 and concludes at 0:31:52.
We’ve watched it twice and learned something new each time. (more…)
The meeting agenda posted online last Friday for the Tuesday, December 15 Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting includes this presentation: “Windstorm Update – Police Chief White and Fire Chief Gabriel.”
Monday’s Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper article headlined Police chief to speak on wind storm response suggests that unlike the usual self-congratulation Coeur d’Alene officials like to heap upon themselves, tonight’s comments from two competent and professional public safety leaders will offer objective evaluation and constructive recommendations for improving our community’s responses in an emergency.
We hope that Mayor Widmyer and the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners watch and listen. Intently and humbly. (more…)
Within the past 30 days both our region and the nation have experienced events that should cause each of us to ask “Am I ready?”
On November 17, 2015, our region was hammered by a windstorm that did millions of dollars in damages and left well over 100,000 people without power, some for over a week. It was a natural disaster and a civil emergency.
Then on December 2, 2015, a training session and luncheon of county employees in San Bernardino, California, was attacked by two active shooters who were at least influenced if not controlled by ISIS. When the shooting at San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center finally stopped, there were 14 attendees dead and 22 wounded. About four hours later, the two shooters were killed after firing shots and throwing pipe bombs from their vehicle at pursuing law enforcement officers. That, too, was a civil emergency.
In both instances, some people were ready, some were not. (more…)
Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has been widely maligned and excoriated by his fellow Republican,Democrat, and Socialist candidates for suggesting that if he were elected President, he would close the US borders to Muslims until our government gets its … stuff … together to protect the country.
“Illegal! Unconstitutional! Betrays American values! He can’t do that! ” they proclaim loudly and authoritatively.
Actually, he probably could.
The law which appears to allow it is the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952. It appears in the United States Code as 8 USC 1182. It was invoked by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 in response to Iran’s seizing the US embassy in Tehran and taking American hostages.
According to the December 5, 2015, Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper article headlined Storm emergency center analyzed, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Sandy Von Behren and Kootenai County Commissoner Dan Green gave the OEM’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) a “B” grade for its performance during the November 17, 2015, windstorm.
Based on the information in the Press article, OpenCdA thinks the letter grade “B” is meaningless. The best we can do is suggest a narrative grade of “Needs Improvement.” (more…)
Back in January 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded a lengthy public corruption investigation with the arrest of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Information about his corruption and his betrayal of those who elected him were in this press release issued on January 22, 2015, by Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The slimy, grimy details of how Sheldon Silver, this purportedly highly respected pillar of the community, abused his elected position and profited by exploiting it are in the 35-page complaint on January 21, 2015, seeking a warrant for his arrest.
Yesterday, US Attorney Preet Bharara issued another statement, this one announcing the conviction of the aforementioned slimeball on all corruption charges. Bharara’s press release was elegant in its one-sentence simplicity.
The New York Times article about Silver’s conviction had more information, but it added little to Bharara’s comment.
It seems to us that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara gets New York’s corrupt public officials convicted because he and the FBI’s investigators look for it, and Bharara doesn’t dismiss evidence of it as “miscommunications“. Thanks to their dedication and professional persistence, “Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York.” (more…)
Downed trees were a very common sight in Coeur d’Alene after the prolonged intense winds on November 17. Some effects remain. Even today a few homes are still without power in our region. The outline of fallen trees still imprint home and car roofs. And many of those home’s roofs still intact show the paper underlayment of shingles blown to the ground.
So what’s next? Get ready for the next one. (more…)
OpenCdA’s earlier posts about the death of Council rancher Jack Yantis after his encounter with two Adams County deputy sheriffs on November 1 tried to explain that thorough investigations take time.
Here is a press release issued today by the Idaho State Police concerning an unrelated officer-involved incident in Middleton in March. It gives readers some insight into just how long officer-involved death investigations can take.
Thoroughness and clarity trumps speed.
Addendum on 11-12-2015 at 12:26 p.m.: Here is the Idaho Statesman’s reporting on the press conference. It includes a segment of the video and audio from the deputy’s body-worn camera/mic.
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OpenCdA thinks that Idaho’s Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman deserves a sincere thank you from the 300 or so people who attended a town hall meeting in Council on Tuesday night — even if they strongly disagreed with him.
The purpose of the town hall meeting was to let the public directly and personally question Sheriff Zollman about the incident involving two of his deputies and Council rancher Jack Yantis on November 1. During that incident, Mr. Yantis was killed.
The investigation of the incident is being conducted by the Idaho State Police. The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has agreed to serve as a special prosecutor at the request of the Adams County Prosecuting Attorney. (more…)