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EDITORIAL: NIC: Look out below!

| January 24, 2024 1:00 AM

Picture several single-engine airplanes circling high above Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Just for the heck of it, we’ll name these planes Banducci, McKenzie, Waggoner.

The planes are running out of gas, but the pilots are so caught up in congratulating themselves for not running into each other that they fail to notice the low-fuel warning lights. Or maybe they just believe themselves invincible.

Problem is, when they plummet — and you know they will — boats below are in danger. So mentally untethered from reality are the pilots that an entire college campus shining on the lake shore is in serious jeopardy of reaping the fiery brunt of their incompetence.

Based on their frightfully flawed flight plans filed with the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, mayhem is less a matter of if but when. A meeting scheduled today, where the pilots are expected to attend by Zoom if they can find their smartphones under all the candy wrappers and yellow-stained copies of The People's Pen, could further reveal how far off course our aerial zealots might find themselves.

Last week’s ruling by First District Judge Barry McHugh found the pilots guilty of withholding an investigation’s findings from the person accused — NIC President Nick Swayne — and ordered the pilots to hand the info over to the president, whom they have mistaken for the Bloody Red Baron.

Further, the judge said the pilots will have to pay for their erroneous decision — albeit with money that doesn’t belong to them. Cash-strapped students, as well as overburdened county and state taxpayers, will foot the bill for the pilots’ massive miscalculations.

So blatant is this aerial abomination that it can be seen clearly from as far away as Boise. There an opinion writer for the Idaho Statesman, Bryan Clark, tallied Press reporter Kaye Thornbrugh’s documentation of precious public fuel wasted recently by the pilots. Clark cleverly labeled the $1.2 million unwisely and unnecessarily spent as an “incompetence tax” created by the pilots and thrust upon taxpayers.

That $1.2 million was before Judge McHugh’s latest ruling, in which NIC will again have to foot much of the bill for the winner’s legal side. 

With three pilots completely out of control — did nobody check their licenses before handing them the keys? — the incompetence tax created by alleged fiscal conservatives continues to go up.

Until the planes come crashing down, one way or another.