Guardian Top Stories

Ada Treas Files Criminal Complaint Against Commishes Over Reorganization Of Trash Authority

The criminal division of the Idaho Attorney General’s office has declined to prosecute Ada County’s three Commissioners following a criminal complaint filed by Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre claiming a conflict of interest over trash billing and other issues with Republic Services, the county contracted trash collector.

During one interview with AG investigators over an eight month period, McIntyre said her criminal complaint was “in retaliation” for actions taken by the commissioners who rehired her chief deputy after McIntyre had fired her. Also included in the bundle of issues was a reorganization which took responsibility for oversight and liaison with the trash collector away from the treasurer and created a new office headed up by the previously fired ex-chief deputy treasurer.

The basis for McIntyre’s allegations stem from campaign contributions to the Commishes totaling $7,300 between October 2004 and July 2012. Yzaguirre got $3,800, Tibbs took in $1,500, and Case accepted $2,000 from Republic Services in the form of campaign contributions.

All three Commishes told the AG investigator there was no “quid pro quo” for the contributions and all payments were made to election committees and duly reported.

The AG report and related documents reveal a power struggle in the county administration and an acrimonious atmosphere between the Commishes and the Treasurer. They simply changed the law and took away her staff and McIntyre filed a criminal complaint with the AG.

In the letter declining to prosecute under a fairly new statute giving the AG authority to investigate crooked county government, Chief Deputy Paul Panther said:

“The actions which form the basis of the complaint are that the Ada County Commissioners awarded contracts and continued to award annual rate increases to a vendor who had recently contributed to each commissioner’s campaign. Our investigation revealed that though the vendor in question did contribute to each commissioner’s campaign, such contributions did not violate Idaho Code.”

The documents in the report paint a picture of major feuding between the Commishes and the Treasurer.

We offer some excerpted documents from the report…

INVESTIGATOR SUMMARY– IAR #03-TJF-McIntyre meeting RETALIAT

LETTER DECLINING TO PROSECUTE– Decline letter (pdf).D59F9A4FE3F1B985

How Do You Get Help At City Hall?

The following is a message we receive all too often from GUARDIAN readers who are at wit’s end
when it comes to help from City Hall where the standard line is “You have to file a written complaint.” What ever happened to enforcing the law?

DEAR GUARDIAN–
Please direct me to someone I can talk to about my neighbors multiple code violations. I have already contacted code, and they seem unwilling to help. Neighbor will not mow his lawn,the front of his home is atrocious! He just completed an 8 month home improvement which involved chopping down multiple mature trees, adding a 4×8 structure to the side of his house, a 500 square foot concrete pad to his backyard and all this to drive his behemoth mobile home over grass to park less than 3 ft from our property line. Setbacks on the property are 5ft. side & 15 ft. rear. Also has Multiple out buildings that are in violation of code. The kicker here is he works for ACHD!!! Is there anthing that can be done…Shame Shame on this #$%^&*.

If there is an official out there who will help, we will put the reader in contact with him/her.

HERE IS THE RESPONSE!

I just read the article from someone who claims they had a problem with weeds on a property. If you would please give them my name and contact information I will be happy to set up a code enforcement case and send one of our code enforcement officers out to take care of the concern. And I will be happy to contact this person who has the concern.

Pam pengelhardt@cityofboise.org

A thank-you from the GUARDIAN as well.

Ombudsman Office Cut In Half After 2 year Vacancy

The office of the Community Ombudsman that did so much to restore community faith and pride in the police department has been reduced to a part-time position, it was announced today. No official word, but it is probably the only city department to have its staff cut in half in recent years.
Natalie Camacho Mendoza
The new person in the renamed “office of police oversight” is Natalie Camacho Mendoza, an attorney. Mayor Dave Bieter said the position, which has been without a permanent employee for more than two years, was made part-time because the number of complaints about police misconduct has dropped.

The GUARDIAN sees the position much like that of a fire department. If the city had fewer fires, you wouldn’t see a reduction in the number of firefighters. The ombudsman office served as an insurance policy to promote good law enforcement.

Here is the official announcement:
Mayor David Bieter today named Natalie Camacho Mendoza, a Boise attorney with 26 years of broad legal experience, including civil rights, as director of the City of Boise’s Office of Police Oversight.

In her new role, Camacho Mendoza will take a central place in the City of Boise’s continuing success in building public confidence in the professionalism and accountability of the Boise Police Department and its employees. She will serve as the part-time lead of the city office, which includes a full-time staff member, responsible for investigating critical incidents and complaints of misconduct brought against police and law enforcement officers.

The Office of Police Oversight was formerly known as the Office of the Community Ombudsman. The Boise City Council approved the name change earlier this month to better reflect its purpose and duties. Camacho Mendoza’s appointment will be considered by city council members at their noon meeting on July 28.

“This office has played an important role in improving the transparency of our police operations and building strong community trust between the police department and the public,” said Mayor Bieter. “Natalie’s experience and perspective will help us build on that success by deepening accountability and establishing herself as a robust partner in our law enforcement effort.”

Mayor Bieter pointed to the deep decline in complaints and inquiries into police actions since the office’s creation as evidence of the success of city’s policing strategy. In 2014, the office conducted just six inquiries into complaints about police actions compared to 76 when the office was opened in 2000. In that time, complaints about police actions consistently dropped from year to year.

“Building trust and accountability in the important work of our police officers has never been more important,” said Camacho Mendoza. “I hope to build upon Boise’s progressive and successful community policing efforts and further deepen the strong ties between the department and the community.”

Camacho Mendoza, the founder and owner of Camacho Mendoza Law in Boise, has deep experience as a litigator in the areas of worker’s compensation defense and civil litigation, as well as experience in governmental relations and policy analysis. She also has deep experience as a leader and manager communicating and interacting across different communities of color, ethnic origins, cultures religions and socio-economic status.

Camacho Mendoza earned her law degree in 1989 from the Washburn School of Law in Kansas and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Idaho State University. She has been an attorney and partner at law firms in Texas and Idaho, including work related to tribal law, migrant farm workers, immigration, insurance defense, business law, employee relations and criminal justice handling criminal defense and Tribal prosecution cases.

Camacho Mendoza’s appointment process included interviews with Mayor Bieter, Boise City Council members, community members and city staff. Because of the position’s law enforcement role, the process also included an extensive background check.

Where Are Boise Council, Mayor Candidates

Unlike the Republican presidential race which is 15 months away, no one seems interested in running for office in the city of trees.

Dave Bieter is already calling around begging for campaign donations, grabbing air time during the recent soccer match promotion and not a single person has even offered so much as a hint of running against him.

Three council seats are up for grabs, but there is so little interest most folks–including the GUARDIAN–didn’t even realize we have a city election November 3.

Councilor Lauren McLean has served on the Boise City Council since January 2011 and we hear she is the lone candidate who has announced she will run for re-election.

Scot M. Ludwig is a local developer and lawyer who was appointed in the past year when Dave Eberle moved to Garden City. Even though he left town, Eberle still sits on the CCDC urban renewal board.

Elaine Clegg was elected to the Boise City Council in 2003 and re-elected in 2007 and 2011. With no opposition, she is likely to run again.

No doubt the incumbents will claim there is so much approval of their actions, no one has announced. The filing window at City Hall opens August 24 through September 4. If a candidate for public office runs unopposed, it is little different than sham elections in places with a single dictator or communist party.

Intellectually, we probably have one of the smarter councils on record. Now, if we could just get them some corrective lenses to improve their view of certain issues we could have “the most livable city in America” and not just be, “the most remote city of its size.”

CWI Appraisal Tops Purchase Price

CWI_Logo_FacebookCollege of Western Idaho has the results of the property appraisal for the old Bob Rice Ford property near 30th and Fairview and to the surprise of no one, the appraisal came back just above the purchase price.

Here is the press release from CWI.

Ada County Campus – Due Diligence on Boise Property Update

The College of Western Idaho has received the completed appraisal on the property at Main and Whitewater Park Boulevard in Boise, which the College has entered an agreement to purchase. The CWI Board of Trustees reviewed the appraisal that valued the property at $8.975 Million which supports the Purchase and Sale Agreement amount of $8.8 Million.

“The appraised value of the land reaffirms our confidence that this site is the best location for CWI to develop a campus to better serve the community college district based on its location, size, access, and cost” said CWI Board Chair Mary Niland. “We are still in the midst of our 180-day feasibility period, and cost is one of the factors we are assessing prior to a final decision. We respect and appreciate the interest of the community in our campus development plans, and value the conversations this process has inspired and that we continue to have. The Trustees and the College pledge to involve the community and keep you informed as we move forward through the feasibility period and with planning the future development of CWI’s Nampa, Boise, and online campuses to better meet the needs of our students and the community.”

In addition to the appraisal review, the Board of Trustees reviewed the Request for Qualifications results for a conceptual plan on the property. The Board provided approval for the College to enter into contract with CTA Architects for preliminary work for the proposed Ada County Campus in Boise to allow time to involve governing agencies and the public in the process. The College is in the process of conducting additional due diligence including environmental tests, land surveys, audits, and conversations with various city officials and agencies.

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