Friday, July 12, 2024

EDITORIAL: Plenty of opinions to go around

| March 8, 2023 1:00 AM

Three bites, not one, from today’s Opinions pie.

HERE COMES THE JUDGE: Some will say she is simply following the law, which is what judges are supposed to do.

Regardless, Cynthia K.C. Meyer is suddenly one of the most appreciated people in North Idaho.

Meyer was appointed to the First District Court bench in May 2015 by former Gov. Butch Otter. At the time she was a partner with the Coeur d’Alene law firm James, Vernon and Weeks. Meyer became the first woman to hold the judicial position in Kootenai County.

While she has served with distinction in the ensuing years, Meyer’s order that North Idaho College trustees immediately reinstate President Nick Swayne made her a local household name — one no doubt cursed by those hopeful that NIC loses accreditation and crumbles as an institution of higher education and job training.

But Judge Meyer’s ruling came with a tongue lashing for the irresponsible actions of the board majority — Greg McKenzie, Mike Waggoner and Todd Banducci — which was broadly appreciated by the students, staff and faculty who have repeatedly voted no confidence in the destructive trustee trio.

Thank you, Judge Meyer, for doing what’s right for the entire community.

SHERIFF IS A POLITICAL OFFICE: And Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris plays the political game well.

Norris issued a “news release” titled, “Is Idaho Inching Towards California, Oregon and Washington?” The release is an attack on Senate Bill 1081, which the Idaho Sheriffs Association opposed unanimously.

Norris’s release is not news; it’s opinion. And while many in Kootenai County will agree with our sheriff, others will wish that the whiff of political persuasion was less overwhelming than the pursuit of public safety, which Norris generally excels at.

SB 1081, which has almost no chance of becoming law, would provide a way for undocumented Idahoans to become licensed drivers if they paid a $50 charge and passed written and driving tests.

In urging residents to tell their legislators to oppose the bill, Norris and other opponents do not note that these undocumented Idahoans are already driving on our roads — but without having been tested or insured.

If public safety really is the chief concern of law enforcement officials, SB 1081 would be a step in the right direction.


The NIC board majority has piled up embarrassing, destructive decisions in a hurry, but one of the worst is putting the college in the hands of legal counsel that’s both unqualified and vindictive.

McKenzie, Banducci and Waggoner did it — illegally, as it turned out — by hiring an attorney whose only apparent attribute was mirroring their misguided values. Rather than admit the mistake and stanch the bleeding, the three continue to pay Macomber a king’s ransom for advice that includes a two-headed president, putting Swayne on paid leave while bringing on Greg South.

This is what happens when you hire advisers who tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to know to make good decisions. If the trustees have any real desire to save accreditation, replacing Macomber with qualified counsel would help.