Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Cheers to Twin Falls County commissioners for backing out of sponsorship for the Transportation Committee for the Greater Twin Falls Area.

The group includes representatives from highway districts, the county and its cities, the trucking industry and law enforcement. The group’s purpose is to recommend transportation policy to state officials.

But the committee has been plagued by problems for years. Most recently in 2015, the group was castigated by Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs, who learned the committee had been violating open meetings rules for years, thanks to a tip from county resident Jill Skeem.

The group’s members are also supposed to pay dues. No one is.

It’s time for a clean break.

The county should continue to listen to the committee and study its recommendations, but the committee should no longer speak on behalf of the county, or appear to.

Disentangling is a good decision for the county.

Jeer

Jeers to Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, who is running for governor, and members of the Idaho Legislature who’ve signed a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Justice Department to back off prosecuting Idaho residents involved in the Bunkerville standoff.

The showdown with federal authorities in Nevada triggered the movement that led to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation in Oregon. One of the Idahoans charged in the case, Eric Parker from Hailey, was photographed pointing a high-powered rifle at federal authorities attempting to seize the cattle of Cliven Bundy.

Parker and Scott Drexler of Challis have twice been tried for their roles in the standoff, and both times juries either deadlocked or acquitted the men of most charges. But federal prosecutors say justice still has not been served for Parker and Drexler, who prosecutors say committed assault and threatened Bureau of Land Management agents.

A new trial is slated to begin Oct. 10.

These men deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, not given a pass. Legislators attempting to intervene in the case are giving a wink and nod to other anti-government extremists that Idaho will have their back in the state’s never-ending grudge against the federal government. A sense of legitimacy is the last thing Idaho needs to give to the heavily armed militia fighters who believe it’s their mission to protect us from the United States government.

We have real concerns that Magic Valley legislators who signed the letter aren’t fully aware of what went down in Nevada in April 2014, when militia men were recorded on video pointing loaded weapons at federal agents. Or, at the very least, they’re tone deaf to the symbolism their signatures carry.

Magic Valley lawmakers who signed include Rep. Lance Clow, Sen. Kelly Anthon and Sen. Bert Brackett.

Cheer

Cheers to a witness in Caldwell, who suspected Chad L. McLean might be driving the same car spotted Sept. 18 cruising near Harrison Elementary School. Parents in Twin Falls reported to police that a man in a gray car with tinted windows was offering rides to young girls.

Police say McLean is, indeed, the driver of that car. He was arrested last weekend in Caldwell and charged with the Twin Falls crimes after detectives here interviewed him.

The witness tip, solid police work and great communication between agencies led to the arrest.

“(The Caldwell Police Department’s) outstanding police work helped our detective close out a significant case with an arrest that will make our community a safer place to live,” said Twin Falls Lt. Terry Thueson.

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