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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

Kootenai County Commissioners Business Meeting Recap 10/4

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

Note: This email should have come out yesterday but I was having such technical difficulties I walked away. :) I'm working around the difficulties today to get you the recap.

The hot topic at this week’s commissioner business meeting is a look at the polling locations; a follow up to last week’s meeting regarding the complaints against Candlelight Christian Fellowship as a polling location. For background, I have included the clip of last week’s complaints and discussion about moving polling locations below. I am also including the images and clips that main complainer, Alicia Abbott, gave to the commissioners on a thumb drive because these images are at the focal point of her complaint, and the reason she put out a call to action on her Idaho 0.97 Project page. View the contents of the thumb drive here.

It was concerning to hear about the 35 people who complained against Candlelight, saying that it was not safe, too full of supremacy iconology in the parking lot, and the pastor was too politically active throughout the rest of the year to have the location be considered a valid polling location.

Here’s the problem: the Idaho code that was at the heart of this discussion was §34-302 which said that a poling location should stay at the same place as it was during the primary as much as possible.

Chris Fillios was ready to change the location immediately, Bill Brooks was silent on his thoughts, and Leslie Duncan was out of town and not present at the meeting. Last week’s meeting ended with Asa Gray from the Clerk’s office asking for Legal’s opinion on the statute so the Clerk’s office does not get in trouble if the commissioners decided to move locations. Bill Brooks agreed and the conversation was tabled until this week’s business meeting.

Fast forward to yesterday’s meeting. The polling location discussion was one of the first topics discussed; one could feel the expectancy in the air. The commissioners rehashed last week’s discussion; Clerk Jim Brannon stood up and said he didn’t wait for the county’s attorney to give them a legal opinion, Brannon went straight to the Secretary of State’s office for an opinion which stated the same thing that Brannon had said the week prior: there is not a legal reason to change polling locations between the general and primary, and hurt feelings of the few don’t count as a legal reason.

Full discussion below.

I am also including the public comments section here as they all pertained to the polling location change.

The rest of the business was pretty standard, grants awarded, contracts awarded, etc. There were 2 other points of interest in the meeting:

  1. Hire outside counsel/Prosecuting Attorney conflict.

    1. The commissioners did not need to go into executive session to discuss this as they all knew what it was regarding. They voted to hire outside counsel due to a prosecuting attorney conflict with no cap on price until they get a quote. That was the whole discussion. Erin’s Thoughts: I believe this has to do with the lawsuit from Bela Kovacs towards the commissioners but it was not mentioned in the meeting. I also believe that before they can put a price cap on the outside counsel they needed to vote to hire counsel, who will then give them a quote and then the commissioners can come back and vote on paying this outside attorney and *hopefully* put a price cap on it. This is all speculation so we’ll see.

  2. KCSO Helicopter Program Information Discussion

    1. Private company out of Whitefish, MT has been supplying air resources to the local law enforcement for any search and rescue. Spokane County Sheriff’s office has also been supplying aerial support but “they are in a high degree of transition and their reliability is not all that great right now.” – Sheriff Norris

    2. Over 10 years the KCSO has used this private company over 50 times to help with search and rescue. This private team consists of 3 volunteer pilots and a crew of sheriff deputies that are tactical fly officers. It takes the helicopter 3 hours to get to Kootenai County.

    3. Last year the sheriff’s office came to the commissioners letting them know of their plans to start a Kootenai County Regional Air Support Unit as a non-profit. Today they come back letting them know that private donors have raised $700,000 to put towards purchasing a helicopter for this program.

    4. It will be an all-volunteer unit of sheriff pilots who will be trained by a chief pilot and need at least 1,000 hours in the helicopter before certified as proficient.

    5. This is a program that Sheriff Norris wants to try with no cost to the taxpayers during its 2-year run. KCSO wants to remove the MOU between Kootenai County and Spokane County air support so they can put the $10,000 earmarked for Spokane towards this program, along with asset forfeiture funds gathered by KCSO.

    6. Chris Fillios is against this program stating that he believes that this program will end up costing the taxpayers a lot more money.

    7. The discussion ended with Sheriff Norris yelling at Fillios saying, “I think you should put public safety over politics.” Discussion ended after that.

    8. Clip below.


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