January 8, 1998 in Idaho

Speedtrap Site Really Blows Whistle On Cops’ Haunts

D.F. Oliveria Opinion Writer
 

I was skeptical when colleague Julie Titone wrote about the speedtrap.com, a World Wide Web site operated by a Vanderbilt computer science major. How could someone from Tennessee tell Idahoans where the fuzz hide? Well, this is the computer age and now I’m a believer. Speedtrap had most of CPD Blue’s favorite hideouts along Ninth, between Locust and Best; near Coeur d’Alene High; near the old Ramsey Road landfill; and along Atlas, between Arrowhead and Appaloosa. However, I was disappointed that my personal favorite wasn’t included: opposite The Spokesman-Review building on Northwest Boulevard. But then, the bears haven’t had as much luck since the city raised the speed limit along that stretch from 35 mph to 45 mph. Check out Warner’s Web site if you’re planning a trip. Of course, you won’t need to look over your shoulder or at a web site if you obey the speed limit. Hmmm. Nah.

Goodbye, ‘ordinary, necessary’ project

Current Kootenai County commissioners deserve credit for recognizing the Kidd Island Bay dredging project for what it was - a blunder from the start. And killing it. Here, we have a project launched in 1990, despite shaky support, to dredge 50 acres of the weed-choked bay. One board of commissioners opted to form a local improvement district to pay for the work and the next board made a worse decision. It quietly added $100,000 for bay design work to a request to borrow $4.6 million for unrelated landfill and 911 projects. By seeking an OK from 1st District Judge James Judd, the county skirted the need for voter approval. Incredibly, Judd declared all three projects “ordinary and necessary expenditures.” Then, in 1994, another board of commissioners earmarked $295,000 more to try to jump-start the project. Ultimately, lawyers and engineers were the only ones who benefitted from this boondoggle, er, I mean, “ordinary and necessary expenditure.”

Former trustees deserve Taters

A word was dropped Tuesday from a Hot Potato dealing with the Bonner County School Board. As a result, I didn’t distinguish between current trustees and those who left office last summer, after extending then-superintendent Max Harrell’s contract. The former board deserves the blame for trying to keep Harrell after he’d worn out his welcome - and for forcing the district to squander $222,000 to buy out his contract. Current trustees improved their chances of getting the district back on track by forcing Harrell out. Still, I wonder: How do you sign up for a quarter-million-dollar buyout?

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to daveo@spokesman.com.

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125, or by sending e-mail to daveo@spokesman.com.


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