October 22, 2016

Turn Your Radio On?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 4:27 pm

2015WindstormHead1Remember Windstorm 2015?  It was just a little less than a year ago.

One of the major concerns expressed by officials and citizens in Windstorm 2015’s aftermath was the complete inadequacy of timely, consistent, verified information being put out by the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management before, during, and even after the event.

If this recent blurb on the City of Coeur d’Alene’s website is any indication, little has changed for the better.  Apparently the City has decided that “social media” will be the method of choice for reaching out to the public.

So, what’s wrong with “social media?”

  • They are internet dependent.  Fortunately the internet is absolutely reliable.  Nothing ever could happen to it, right?  Except this and this.
  • It requires users to have expensive internet devices, service, and access.  What about people who do not have smart phones or other internet-capable portable devices?  And what about people who have the devices but they use rechargeable but not replaceable batteries? What do they do when the electricity goes out for days and their whizbang communications device goes dead?  A discharged battery that cannot be replaced or recharged is useless for emergency telephone communications as well as for receiving timely, verified information from officials on “social media.”
  • Which “social medium” will be the official source of official information?  We don’t know, because neither the City nor the County have told us.  Will it be FaceRash, Snappity-Doo-Dah, Twitterpation?
  • If the “social media” allow public input, each medium must be monitored continuously by EOC personnel.  People will use these media to report information that would more appropriately be called in to a trained call-taker at 9-1-1.

Our preceding Windstorm 2015 posts advocated the County and City working with one or more terrestrial commercial broadcast AM and FM radio stations to allow the Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center to provide an audio feed to the station(s).

The type of feed we envisioned would provide short duration, as-warranted or several times per hour reports at regular invervals.  They would be similar to traffic reports currently broadcast.  Here’s an audio example recorded January 4, 2016.  It was aired by KXLY radio.  The on-air announcer, Bob Lutz, works for Metro Traffic which provides traffic report audio feeds to several stations.

Why use old-fashioned radio?

  • It is not internet dependent.
  • Some radio stations in our area include nearly all of Kootenai County in their primary coverage area.
  • Radio stations’ studios and transmitter sites are designed to operate during emergencies, even long-term power outages.  They have been used for decades to deliver timely, essential information to many people.  Radio is reliable, and it has proven itself.
  • A battery-powered portable AM/FM radio receiver costs less than $25.  The commonly used, inexpensive alkaline batteries have a shelf-life of ten years, so spares can easily be stored with other emergency supplies.
  • Most cars, pickups, trucks, and motor homes come with AM/FM radios.  Even visitors in the area and people passing through would have access to emergency information.  No keyboard operations required while driving in adverse conditions.
  • In many emergencies (think Firestorm, Mt. St. Helens eruption, Ice Storm) radio stations already interrupt regular programming to provide information from the National Weather Service and other emergency entities.  They already have a plan and could work with the Kootenai County OEM to plan and prepare in advance.
  • The OEM/EOC has absolute control over the timing and completeness of the information being disseminated through its audio feed to its radio partners.  It can assure that only timely, accurate information is sent on its feed.
  • The announcer in the EOC needs only two skills:  Be able to read copy clearly and be able to tell time.  Others in the EOC need to be able to write the clear, succinct, accurate copy for the on-air announcer to read.

What would the OEM/EOC have to do?

  • Commit to using terrestrial commercial AM and FM stations (if the stations are willing) as the primary method of delivering emergency information to the public.
  • Identify radio stations with adequate area coverage around the clock.   Some radio stations, mainly AM stations,  reduce power or change their antenna pattern at night to reduce interference with other stations.  Contact the station management to dicsuss the idea.
  • Assuming suitable stations agree to participate, work with their personnel to establish the technical links from the EOC to the stations.  It’s not as complicated as it might seem.  It will cost some money, though.
  • Train OEM/EOC persons to gather the information from others in the EOC, then write and read the copy.

In an emergency, getting timely, verified accurate, complete information out to the public is essential.  Using commercial AM and FM terrestrial radio achieves that.  If people know where to tune in an emergency, and if they tune there and hear what they need to hear, they are less likely to tie up emergency phone numbers such as 9-1-1 asking for information.  They are also less likely to use “social media” to report emergency information that should be called in to 9-1-1 where trained call-takers can process it more quickly and accurately and route it to appropriate responders.

September 15, 2016

Medical Intelligence

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 12:39 pm

medintelSince Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton started coughing and recently appeared to collapse as she was approaching her van, the Trump campaign and the public, including many in the skews media, have been calling for  to release her medical records.  Naturally, the Clinton campaign wants to see Trump’s medical records as well.

“The voters are entitled to know about the health of the next President of the United States!” the bombasters of radio and television infotainment, skews, and political spin have decreed.

But there are other considerations arguing for confidentiality.  National security is at the top of the list.

It shouldn’t shock anyone to learn that the intelligence services of the world spend a great deal of time and money trying to gather medical intelligence about world leaders in government, military, and business.  They are also intensely interested in the emotional and psychological makeup of their adversaries.

The physical health of an individual influences his or her ability to comprehend information and make decisions.   From an intelligence perspective, knowledge of a leader’s physical and mental conditions adds to the information an adversary needs to influence an opponent’s decisions whether in diplomacy or warfare.

Would Nikita Khrushchev’s urinalysis results have been helpful to the CIA to aid President Eisenhower in dealing with the shootdown of our U-2 spy plane?

If the President was wearing a wireless Holter monitor to track an irregular heartbeat, would it be helpful to an adversary to know what that monitor indicated?

Or if the President was hospitalized with a traumatic injury, would the bandages, containers, and instruments bearing the President’s bodily fluids yield DNA results of intelligence value?  What about laboratory tissue samples?

Would detailed and accurate knowledge of the President’s ailments and medications be useful to another government whose leader might be interested in disabling but not killing the President to cause the 25th Amendment to be invoked?

OpenCdA does not agree with those who demand that all presidential candidates must release medical information.   The information may salve our curiosity, but that same information in the wrong hands will have serious adverse consequences in both diplomacy and warfare.

The medical conditions of the next President of the United States are indisputably a national security issue.

September 13, 2016

‘Forensic’ Misunderstanding

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 1:18 pm

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA Post


On Monday, September 12, ,2016, the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously agreed to engage the nationally-recognized CPA firm of Eide Bailly to conduct a forensic audit of the North Idaho State Fair Board’s financial records.  Eide Bailly specifically lists Forensic Accounting and Valuation among of its services.

BOCC Commissioner Green and a member of the Fair Board expressed their concern that the term ‘forensic audit’ implies criminal misconduct.  Their concern is understandable given the focus of ‘Forensic This-and-That’ programming on television to exploit the entertainment value of criminal investigation and prosecution.  But ‘forensic’ is not exclusively the dominion of criminal law. (more…)

September 11, 2016

Deep Throat, Ver. 2.0?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 1:45 pm

comeyWill present FBI Director James Comey be revealed in the footnotes of history as ‘Deep Throat, Ver. 2.0?’

OpenCdA certainly hopes so.  It would help explain Comey’s contradictory conduct in the Clinton email and Foundation investigations.  Out of one side of his mouth, Comey has laid out sufficient evidence for the criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton on numerous violations of national security and criminal law.  Yet out of the other side, he has said no reasonable prosecutor would even consider such a filing.

We cling to one last very weak straw of hope that Comey and the FBI have not succumbed to Beltway Toxicity and subordinated the country’s foundational principle of the rule of law to the rule of man (or woman).

Comey knows that the decision to charge or not charge Hillary Clinton with the crimes she has allegedly committed rests exclusively with the US Attorney General and her headnodders on Mahogany Row at Main Justice.

OpenCdA readers will recall, however, that after what Attorney General Loretta Lynch said was a purely spontaneous meeting between her and Slick Willy in late June on the tarmac at Sky Harbor Aiport, Lynch promptly said she would not make the decision to charge or not charge, leaving it up to her subordinates at Main Justice.

Our hope is that Comey is doing publicly what former FBI Deputy Director W. Mark Felt did sub rosa during Watergate:  Turn whistle-blower to get evidence of Hillary Clinton’s culpability into the voters’ hands.   For years Felt was identified only by the pseudonym ‘Deep Throat’ in connection with the Watergate scandal.

Unlike Mark Felt who astutely played on the Washington Post owner Katharine Graham’s disdain for Nixon, Comey has chosen to neuter the Clinton-worshipping skews media by going directly to the people.  With his initial public statement on July 5, 2016, and then with the FBI’s release of its summary of the investigation in a bury-it-deep news dump the Friday before Labor Day, Comey has laid out the evidence showing more than enough to support criminal indictments of Clinton and some of her close associates.  The skews media had to report Comey’s releases even though the facts undermined Clinton’s and the media’s assertions of innocence.

Of course, we have acknowledged being wrong about Loretta Lynch’s judgment and integrity, so we must also consider that this Wall Street Journal editorial and this Breitbart exposé may have been more on the mark about FBI Director James Comey.

September 10, 2016

Exceptional Police Work

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 12:13 pm

irvine-pd-patchAt a time when citizens throughout the United States are being propagandized by various media including the skews media to ridicule and deride law enforcement officers, it was not only refreshing but also inspiring to see the Los Angeles Times newspaper run its six-part series entitled ‘FRAMED – She was the PTA mom everybody knew.  Who would want to harm her?

The series highlights the exceptional and insightful work of the Irvine, California, Police Department.  It is worth noting that the Irvine officer who was first assigned the call was an experienced police officer, not a rookie.  The article rightly raises the question:  Would the outcome of this case have been different if a less experienced and less patient patrol officer had been the first to respond?

The series was written by LA Times staff writer Christopher Goffard.  Goffard’s bio states, “He shared in the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s Bell coverage …”  Attentive readers may recall the Kootenai County connection to the Bell scandal which the LA Times reported and for which it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The entire six-part series can easily be read in half an hour.  It’s worth the time.

September 9, 2016

Report: ‘Bringing Calm to Chaos’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:17 pm

farook-malik-copyOn December 2, 2015, Islamic terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, attacked Farook’s office holiday party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and wounding 22. Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with area law enforcement on the same day.

Now the US Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Police Foundation have released a 162-page critical incident report entitled ‘Bringing Calm to Chaos — A critical incident review of the San Bernardino public safety response to the December 2, 2015 terrorist shooting incident at the Inland Regional Center.’

It is a ‘lessons learned’ report that focuses specifically on the San Bernardino incident.  However, it has much broader applications to the range of active shooter and hostile events generally.  The report discusses leadership; command and control; planning and response; investigations; community engagements, relationships, and public information; and responder and victim welfare and mental health.

September 8, 2016

So … Did You Get the Message?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 3:00 pm


After Windstorm 2015, the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management was justifiably criticized for its failure to timely and uniformly notify county residents of relevant storm-related information.  One county notification system, HipLink, was supposed to provide text messages via landline and cell phone to subscribers.

HipLink didn’t work, but our whizbang Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said they’d fix it.  We didn’t hold our breath.

According to this Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper article online dated September 4, 2016, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office was supposed to send a test message of the “fixed” text and cell phone messaging system.

Since Windstorm 2015 we have subscribed to the County’s HipLink notification and the City’s NIXLE notification system.

We’re curious.  Did anyone receive the Wednesday 10 a.m. test message promised by the Sheriff’s Office?

We’ve received no test messages from either system.  Ever.

September 2, 2016

North Idaho Fair General Manager Resigns

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:37 pm

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA PostOpenCdA has been told that on September 1, 2016, Dane Dugan, the General Manager of the North Idaho Fair submitted his resignation to the Fair’s Board of Directors.  Dugan has reportedly left to pursue other opportunities.

If Dugan has in fact resigned, then the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners should quickly agree to seek a forensic audit of the North Idaho Fair’s financial records.

Apparent conflicts between the Fair’s annual external audit and Kootenai County’s own internal audit had prompted Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon to recommend the forensic audit be conducted after this year’s Fair ended.

With Dugan’s apparent departure, OpenCdA urges the Fair Board to join in the request for a forensic audit.  Because Dugan had also been receiving an income from the Fair Foundation, we hope that the Fair Board Foundation will also voluntarily submit all its financial records for inspection during the same forensic audit.

This is an opportunity for the Fair Board and the Fair Foundation to ensure their financial records are truly squeaky clean.  It will allow the North Idaho State Fair to proceed with a clean record toward improving next year’s North Idaho State Fair.

September 1, 2016

The ‘Co-equal’ Remedy

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 1:51 pm

HillaryFSBMany months ago I was discussing with a friend the unlikely success of Donald Trump’s and Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential runs.   Neither appeared likely to be even close to becoming his respective party’s nominee out of the conventions.

At the time however, I commented that if either Donald Trump or Senator Sanders would be his respective party’s nominee in the 2016 presidential election, my hope was that the other would also be his own party’s nominee.   Goofy as that sounds, I was serious.

My rationale was that if either Trump or Sanders was destined to be elected and inaugurated President of the United States, it would force our bicameral Congress to sober up, set aside partisan differences,  and take seriously for a change its duties to the country.   That would include using all of its various Constitutionally enumerated powers to minimize the damage either President Trump or President Sanders could do if unchecked.  That was precisely what the framers of the Constitution sought in creating three co-equal branches of government. (more…)

August 25, 2016

A Reasonable Recommendation

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:16 am

KC Int Audit Cover for OCdA Post[


On July 29, 2016, Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon recommended that the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners authorize and fund a forensic audit of the Fair Board’s financial records.  His recommendation was that the audit should be done after this year’s North Idaho Fair has concluded.

His recommendation was both reasonable and appropriate given the findings reported in the Kootenai County Internal Audit Final Report, June & July, 2016, concerning the North Idaho Fair processes.  OpenCdA endorses that recommendation wholeheartedly. (more…)

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