February 7, 1995 in Idaho

Commissioners Show Some Environmental Intelligence

By The Spokesman-Review
 

New Kootenai County commissioners have been typecast as soft on environmental issues - though they’ve done nothing official yet to earn that stereotype. (See what happens when you snub a Kootenai Environmental Alliance candidates’ forum?) In fact, the Commissioners Dick Panabaker and Dick Compton showed good environmental sense last week by rejecting a mammoth subdivision proposal, 17 miles south of Coeur d’Alene.

A California developer wanted to dump 279 homes on 251 acres, near Rockford Bay. Unh-uh, said Compton: Nice rural setting, but it’s too big and too far from infrastructure. Give the man an A for midterm grade in rural planning. Now, keep your fingers crossed that common sense like that will prevail in the commissioners’ office.

Boundary County right to go into hock

It’s a shame Boundary County has to borrow $100,000 to continue investigating the 1992 Randy Weaver standoff. But someone had to do it.

After all, three people were gunned down. Weaver and family friend Kevin Harris were found not guilty of murder. And the feds investigating this fiasco slapped a few hands but didn’t file any serious charges.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is clinging to a critical in-house report about the shootout like it was a fumble in the Super Bowl. Sheriff Greg Sprungl and Prosecutor Randy Day may be all that stands between justice and the feds sweeping this one under the carpet. They and $100,000, that is.

Tribe hits jackpot with national lottery

State Sen. Gordon Crow and state Rep. Tom Dorr share my sentiments exactly about the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe’s national lottery. The North Idaho Republicans personally oppose gambling, but they know it would be hypocritical to fight this giant cash cow. (OK. OK. I did put a 5-spot on San Francisco in the Super Bowl. But a sure-bet like that isn’t really gambling.)

A state compact allows the Coeur d’Alenes to conduct any gaming offered by the state, and Idaho participates in a multi-state lottery. Of course, that didn’t stop ex-lottery director Wally Hedrick from squawking when the tribe first proposed its lottery. Apparently, he didn’t want the competition. It’s all systems go this time, however. As state Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d’Alene, correctly observed: “Fair is fair.”

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