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In brief: Ethics complaints dismissed by panel

Thu., March 7, 2013, midnight

The Spokane Ethics Commission on Wednesday dismissed complaints against two City Council members who were accused of improperly using city resources to promote their positions on ballot measures in last month’s special election.

Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilwoman Amber Waldref acknowledged that they sent an email newsletter advocating their positions on election issues that appeared to have been sent from their city email accounts. But both said that their newsletters were actually sent from a different address through an online newsletter service.

Commissioners unanimously dismissed the complaints, filed by real estate agent Ken Garceau. The commission ruled that even if the council members’ actions technically violated rules, the violations were so minor that they didn’t violate the ethics ordinance.

Commissioners also noted that they reported the problem themselves and apologized, and some said it appeared that neither intended for their emails to have been labeled as coming from their city email accounts.

Jonathan Brunt

Online boyfriend’s mom helped girl to California

A 14-year-old Coeur d’Alene girl reported as a runaway earlier this week took a train with the help of her 15-year-old boyfriend’s mother, according to police.

Jaidyn Bendocchi was found in Bakersfield, Calif., on Tuesday. FBI agents have confirmed Bendocchi was in contact with a 45-year-old woman before she ran away, Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood said in a news release.

Agents believe Bendocchi met the woman’s son online and the woman wanted to help them be together. She purchased a train ticket to Spokane, rented a car and drove to Coeur d’Alene, parking a block from Bendocchi’s house, the release said.

A short while later, the woman and Bendocchi stayed for a short time at the Red Lion Inn in Spokane before getting on the train to California, the release said.

Wood said the unidentified woman has not yet been charged with a crime. Authorities are working with jurisdiction guidelines to determine the appropriate charges.

Bendocchi will be returned to her parents, the release said.

Lisa Leinberger


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