February 28, 2010 in Idaho Voices

Comments on Benewah sheriff brought Payne to surface

By The Spokesman-Review

Prosecutor Doug Payne didn’t appreciate the criticism leveled at Sheriff Bob Kirts and Benewah County by outsiders including me recently. In a Handle Extra comment, I said the issue of giving tribal police the authority to arrest nontribal members has exposed white animosity toward the tribe. This, after Kirts had called Coeur d’Alene police spokesman Christie Wood “stupid” and dismissed concerns of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations as a bunch of “fecal” matter. Quoth Payne: “Unlike Dave Oliveria or Christie Woods (sic), I live on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation and in Benewah County and I personally know many of the people he has insulted, and I know Bob Kirts. They are rural people; less impressed by money or power than by hard work, humility and loyalty to principle. They are not so easily offended by the inartfulness of words used as by the ill intent of the one who uses them.” In a Coeur d’Alene Press online comment, Payne said trouble with cross-deputization began when the U.S. Supreme Court awarded the eastern third of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the tribe. And tribal police tried to enforce the law on the waterway. Seems to me the problem began and continues with Benewah County residents who refuse to acknowledge the tribe owns the lake and should have the right to enforce the rules on its property.

More on Brannon

Civil Deputy Prosecutor John Cafferty estimates conservatively that it’ll cost $30,000 (and six months work) for elections officials to provide all the documentation sought by attorney Starr Kelso. Kelso represents Jim Brannon in Brannon’s lawsuit to overturn his five-vote loss to Mike Kennedy. Earlier this month, Brannon asked for 48 different types of documentation. No wonder Cafferty termed the request made by Kelso as a “witch hunt” in a recent written response. And asked the judge to boost the plaintiff’s bond way beyond the current $500, if the request is granted. Cafferty claims the broad request for documentation, which one official believes could include any comments made on Huckleberries Online about the election, “can be of no purpose other than to embarrass, harass, and annoy Kootenai County.” I’m certainly annoyed. If not for Brannon, we voters would have had some respite from the seemingly 24/7 political electioneering.


Editorializing for the University of Idaho Argonaut student newspaper, Jeffrey Reznicek had this to say when Gov. Butch Otter declared he was bluffing re: cutting Idaho Public TV funding: “When the governor uses the press to pressure state agencies, it looks like the state is run by a headless group of bureaucrats who use the press to tattle to the people about each other.” Out of the mouth of undergraduates … Oopsy (from Feb. 21 column): Rudy Brandvold, not Ralph Brandvold, reacted angrily to my criticism of Sheriff Kirts and Benewah County officials by telling me to go back where I came from … Yes, Sgt. Christie Wood brought a flat full of cupcakes to Blogfest ’10 (celebrating the sixth anniversary of Huckleberries Online, Feb. 20) to poke fun at critics who once referred to her dismissively as “Sgt. Cupcake.” They were darn good, too … UI grads might not be surprised that the Princeton Review lists UI dorms as the 13th most dungeon-like in the nation … Scanner Traffic: “A Post Falls mother reports that her son mooned a bus driver and is concerned what will happen to the boy if the driver reports the incident.”

Parting shot

Christie Wood, by the way, had this to say re: Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne’s denial that racism might be a factor in his county’s squabble with the tribe: “In Mr. Payne’s letter he continually condemned DFO insisting he called Benewah County residents ‘racists.’ He has apparently forgotten his own words quoted in the Cda Press July 24th 2008: ‘As it stands now, our law enforcement is divided on the basis of race.’ It seems at one point he believed race was a factor in this issue in Benewah County.” Wonder how Payne likes his crow served?

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