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Posts tagged: kootenai county commissioners

Commish Does About Face On Adams

Sounds as though the Kootenai County commissioners have changed their minds re: firing respected Public Defender John Adams. A news release sent to Huckleberries moments ago reads in part:

Concerning the current public defender, John Adams, it has been brought to the attention of the Board as a whole that Mr. Adams is undergoing serious health issues.  Mr. Adams told Commissioner Tondee certain facts concerning his health but specifically requested that Commissioner Tondee not reveal that conversation to Commissioners Green or Nelson.  Since learning of these facts, the Board as a whole has decided that it is in the best interests of all concerned, including the County and Mr. Adams, that the previously passed Resolution be superseded to eliminate the reference to expiration of the term of the public defender. 

Question: The news release backs into the key subject — the retention of Public Defender John Adams. I think I'm reading between the lines correctly — that the commissioners have reversed themselves on firing Adams. Thoughts?

Public Defender Stunned By Firing

Kootenai County commissioners voted to end a contract with longtime public defender John Adams three weeks after he made a harassment claim against a commissioner and two weeks after telling the board he’ll need a day off each week for cancer treatment. Adams has run the public defender office for 17 years and earned broad respect from the region’s legal community. During his tenure, he was the lead attorney on 26 murder cases and seven death-penalty cases, including the state trial of child killer Joseph Duncan. Adams, 59, said he was stunned by the decision, but the reaction of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho was even more forceful. The organization complained his firing comes at a time when Idaho’s overall system of public defense has been deemed deficient, lacking resources and in some counties falls short of its constitutional obligations/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Do you think the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners botched the firing of long-time Public Defender John Adams?

Idaho ACLU Decries Firing Of Adams

Kootenai County Commissioners last week voted to terminate the Public Defender contract with John Adams, the county’s longstanding public defender who has served as the public defender for the last 17 years.  The news reached the ACLU of Idaho over the weekend. In a letter sent to Kootenai County Commissioners today the ACLU expressed dismay with the decision by the county to terminate the contract with Mr. John Adams, who is one of the best public defenders in the entire state. “We are not surprised that the press described the legal community’s reaction condemning your decision as “swift and loud” said the joint letter of the ACLU of Idaho and the ACLU’s National Office in New York City.  “Coming, as it does, almost exactly 50 years after the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, guaranteeing all Americans’ right to be defended against their government, your effective termination of one of Idaho’s best public defenders will serve as an especially ominous illustration of the grave failures of this state’s unconstitutional indigent defense system”/spokesman Leo Morales in Idaho ACLU press release. More here. (2006 SR file photo: Public Defender John Adams speaks to then Prosecutor Bill Douglas during the murder trial of Joseph Duncan)

Thoughts?

Commissioners Clarify Garage Plan

The Board of County Commissioners has received several calls regarding an article in the Cd’A Press on Tuesday regarding the development of our Facilities Master Plan.  There appears to be some confusion as to the development of the Plan and the eventual implementation of the Plan. The Plan is a work in progress.  The Board is working with NAC Architecture and the plan is only about 50% complete.  The plan’s emphasis is to streamline our operations and consolidate County facilities as much as possible.  Currently, county facilities are very fractured in nature.  For example, we have court rooms in four separate locations with two of those locations being off the main campus.  The manpower required to service these sites is a substantial drain on county resources/Kootenai County commissioners news release. More here.

Question: The county goes on to say that the master plan includes a $27 million plan to build a new Justice Building and garage. What do you think of that idea?

Herzog, 5 Others Take On Tondee

Tim Herzog says he has the broad experience necessary to fill the District 1 seat for Kootenai County commissioner. The Post Falls Realtor who filed for candidacy last week said his history as a business owner, lobbyist and member of various community groups sets him apart from the seat's several other candidates. “Besides the experience that comes with my age, I have wisdom,” the 64-year-old said. Herzog ran for the same seat four years ago, and lost the primary to Todd Tondee/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

  • Also running for the Commissioner District 1 seat are Gerald Arno, Marc Eberlein, Bruce Noble, Steven Peter Benner, and Greg Wells.
  • Complete list of candidates for Kootenai County commissioner, sheriff, and prosecutor here.

Question: Who is incumbent Tondee's biggest competitor in this race?

Tondee, Holmes File For Commish

Incumbent Republican Commissioner Todd Tondee has filed for re-election against four other candidates in the GOP primary for his District 1 commission seat this spring, according to Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes. Also, Vic Holmes has filed to take on incumbent Republican Dan Green for the District 3 commission seat. Only Republican incumbent Barry McHugh has filed for prosecutor. Four (Republicans Keith Hutcheson, Ben Wolfinger and John Green, and Independent Joe Bodman) have filed for sheriff. Below is a chart of individuals who have announced their candidacies.

Kootenai County Commissioner District 1 2
Gerald Arno R  
Marc Eberlein R  
Bruce Noble R  
Tim Herzog R  
Todd Tondee (I) R  
     
Kootenai County Commissioner District 3 4
Dan Green (I) R  
Vic Holmes R  

Wannabes Square Off Over Jail

Kootenai County Commissioner Todd Tondee and challenger Marc Eberlein revealed diverging opinions on county policy Thursday, when they squared off at a forum hosted by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Responding to questions from group founder Jeff Ward, Eberlein criticized the county's past attempts to fund a jail with a bond measure. “This has already been put out two times for a vote, and each time voters said no,” said Eberlein, Post Falls resident and owner of a cabinet business. He would rather see more effort invested in programs like work-release to free up space, he said/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: You know what's going to happen, right? Someday, sooner than later, a judge will rule that the jail is too crowded — and the county has to build another one. Happened to the old jail back when. Can you see any other way a new jail will be built?

Koot Co commissioners deny contract

COEUR d'ALENE - More concerns of conflict, or at least perceived conflict, have arisen over a criminal case involving a Post Falls couple indicted for abusing their foster child.

The Kootenai County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to not approve a separate contract for attorney Sean Walsh to act as public defender for Jeremy and Amber Clark, whose foster daughter, Karina Moore, died of head injuries following injuries they allegedly inflicted.

The commissioners' decision was based on the recent discovery that Walsh's wife, Mayli Walsh, is an attorney with the county public defender's office. Walsh's partner, Daniel Sheckler, is also married to Lisa Sheckler, a civil deputy prosecuting attorney in the county prosecutor's office. Story here. Alecia Warren, Cda Press

Thoughts?

Kootenai County offers 2012 budget

Green

Kootenai County commissioners are proposing a 2012 budget almost $3 million higher than this year’s, but they say property taxes won’t increase because $4 million will be used from reserve funds.

Several county reserve funds have risen to levels well beyond what is needed, said Commissioner Dan Green, who took office in January. “We are going to draw them down to prudent levels,” Green said. “Right now we have extra money.” Full story. Alison Boggs, SR

Reaction?

Nelson, Currie Spar To The End

Item: Commissioner race heats up with write-in: Currie, loser in Idaho primary, fighting back/Alison Boggs, SR

More Info: Nelson labeled it “sad” that Currie has chosen to “go down this road. I think it speaks for itself.” Via e-mail, Nelson said the supporter in question (Larry Spencer) has not been involved in her campaign since the middle of the primary. She said at that time “confusion arose” about the placement of a campaign sign and she “asked him to conclude his efforts.” “Since that time,” she said, “he has not been involved in my campaign effort.”

DFO: I found it strange that Nelson elected to answer questions from the Spokesman-Review via e-mail; yet found time to come to the SR office to be interviewed on camera by KHQ.

HBO Poll: County’s Stand Wrong

  • Wednesday Poll: Overwhelmingly, you Huckleberries oppose the move by Kootenai County commissioners to challenge the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s request to put 143 acres in trust land status (a move that would cost the county $9900 in lost taxes). 107 of 130 respondents (82.3%) said they oppose the commissioners’ action. 20 of 130 (15.4%) said they support the decision. And 3 of 130 (2.3%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Poll (in honor of the Bonner County Republicans protest of the county fair’s fiesta theme): Are you full or part Hispanic? Is there Hispanic blood in your extended family?

Commish Offer Bailouts To Developers?

We were alerted Tuesday to a stunning new draft “Emergency Ordinance” scheduled to be introduced by the Kootenai County Commissioners which would allow developers to escape their obligations under existing land use approvals and financial guarantees for up to two years by simply sending a written request. The draft bill says that the Board of County Commissioners may consider such a request at any regular meeting. But the legislation does not provide any standard for a decision by the Board, nor does the legislation require any findings of fact or law prior to granting an approval. Indeed, other than a “written request” that contains “reasons why good cause exists (minimally including an economic hardship),” these requests may evidently be granted by the Board on a whim/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here.

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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