For whatever its worth, prepare for an interesting final Task Force report cooked up complete with information conveyed through the wrangling and wringing of people and words. We’ll be sure to post the original Task Force Final Report here so that everyone can compare … if there happens to be a cooked up version…. and I hope I’m wrong. [Official Version - Final Task Force Report Released ]
In November 2011, a Commission appointed Citizen Task Force was assembled and a chairman was elected with the first meeting scheduled on November 23rd, 2011. The Task Force members met weekly throughout the holidays, gathered data and finalized their conclusions in a report that has yet to be distributed widely.
We thank those who diligently served on the Task Force, and spent their personal time meeting and listening, exchanging emails.
From the start, this Task Force appeared to be a shenanigan, a smoke screen designed to take the heat off the Commissioners and their mistaken selection of the Idaho County lands that were proposed as an alternative to the Lochsa Land Exchange. The Task Force was not granted any official authority by Idaho County Commission, no ordinances were filed, and therefore whatever report is issued has little to do with the true sentiments of the citizens of Idaho County.
Commissioners originally rolled their dice on a Task Force that would present a final report to support their intent for an acre for acre exchange of land in Idaho County, and validate the report of economic harm, if their proposed alternative was not adopted. Now, the rumblings heard suggest that Commissioners are rolling their dice again and using political chicanery to gain favorable results from the Task Force final report? Time will tell.
ECONOMIC STIMULUS – OUR COMMISSIONERS GIFT TO LATAH COUNTY
The paid report produced by Professor Steve Peterson is deemed by Idaho County Commission as the authoritative report proving harm to Idaho County if an Alternative other than Alternative F is chosen. However, when a well educated IDAHO COUNTY resident and taxpaying citizen (who was paid ZERO to produce his own report), saw merit in presenting an alternative to the paid Professor Steve Peterson’s study, the Commissioners refused to consider the data and downright discredited the alternative presentation.
[Read Clarence Chapmans presentation here *pdf file].
But lets look at the facts. There is no doubt in my mind that an independent economist paid handsomely to generate an economic report on the Lochsa Land Exchange is going to produce results that are favorable to the County Commission who paid his fee. Did anyone think for a moment that the Idaho County Commission would pay thousands and thousand of dollars to an expert, whereby the results would contradict their concerns of “harm to Idaho County”. I personally do not. It certainly would not advance Professor Peterson’s popularity for lucrative opportunities in the future, if he countered the sentiments of Idaho County Commissioners in any small way.
Furthermore, not only did Idaho County Commission pay MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on one study that has now been archived and tagged by some as a possible “stretch of the imagination”, the money earned by Professor Steve Peterson WON’T BE SPENT IN IDAHO COUNTY! Latah County may thank us for our demonstrative gift of economic stimulus.
IDEAS FOR WINNING FRIENDS AND INFLUENCING PEOPLE
In the future, whenever the Idaho County Commission gets an itch to drop $12,000 to an expert who lives and works in a county 100 miles to the north, we might instead think about other forms of economic stimulation to avoid harm to Idaho County, such as….
- Engage BIG BUCKS spent on important reports by paying professionals who live and work INSIDE OF IDAHO COUNTY.
- Fund Chamber organizations to hire local professionals with skills to MARKET AND PROMOTE Idaho County as a TOURISM DESTINATION.
- Create new PERKS for businesses that RELOCATE to Idaho County.
- Use the money to generate more inspired interest in New Business Incubator Projects.
- Fund projects for Ida-Lew Economic Development Council to hire local marketing professionals to create professional marketing packages to be mailed out when businesses inquire about relocating to Idaho County.
AVOID ENGAGING IN BATTLE WITH ONE OF YOUR STAR EMPLOYERS
Idaho County Commission has jumped into the boxing ring to wage battle with important BUSINESS LEADERS, one in particular who has brought HUGE economy and 32 jobs to Idaho County, with the capabilities to expand that footprint in the future. The public lands identified for swap and proposed by the Idaho County Commission to be privatized, is counter to what brought Ray Anderson to this county and inspired the move of his business, Anderson Aeromotive, to Grangeville Idaho.
Commissioners can only blame themselves for having provoked a bitter war with the people of Idaho County. They might have done things differently, by hatching a strong collaborative Think Tank comprised of concerned taxpaying citizens. They might have used those thousands of dollars paid to a Latah County Professor to instead, embrace and tap into the rich talents and intelligent minds of the many people who choose to live in Idaho County. A more positive relationship could have been formed between Idaho County Commission and taxpaying citizens, working together to form a Citizens Panel of Experts who could survey the people, dig up economic facts on the impact of the Lochsa Land Swap, and create a respectful liason group who would interface with the Idaho County Citizens.
What we’ve ended up with in the early days of January 2012 is a continuous manipulation of the final report of the Commission elected Task Force, where lobbying for a favorable outcome is bad behavior for any politician.
WHO IS SKIP BRANDT?
I would think Commissioner Brandt, who follows the philosophy of individualism as conveyed by his fictional folk hero John Galt – will respect the individual wishes of each citizen of Idaho County and that despite the appearance of a bridled task force being influenced by an authoritarian approach to mollify and retrofit the final report to meet Commissioners favorable wishes, Commissioner Brandt would influence his fellow Commissioners that INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS RIGHTS STILL RULE.
Efforts and designs to coordinate a political outcome that Idaho County Commissioners deem as favorable to their motives is disgraceful at best.
Stop the Swap by submitting your comments to the Forest Service before February 15, 2012.
YOUR VOICE COUNTS.
This article written by mary mangold