The other day, someone sent an email revealing something shocking: Greg Bower, Roger Simmons, Dave Logan, Jim Tibbs, Larry Maneely and Dave Case were seen a few weeks ago having lunch at the Red Robin Restaurant at the same table. No telling what they might of been discussing, or perhaps plotting.
Bower is the prosecuting attorney for Ada County; Simmons is a former commissioner; Logan is the county operations director; Tibbs had not yet taken the oath as a new commissioner; Maneely had not yet been hired to do public relations as chief of staff; Case has been a commissioner since May. No telling what kind of burgers they ordered. Wed have a real scandal if somebody ordered a salad.
A group going to lunch wouldnt gain much attention anywhere else, but its big news in Ada County which is part of a large metropolitan area and operates with the largest county budget in the state. Yet, Ada County plays small-town politics as well as any rural county in Idaho. Think of Ada County as Mayberry on steroids.
In Ada County politics, its not a matter of what you know. Its a matter of who you like, or dont like. We remember the epic battles between former Commissioners Simmons and Sharon Ullman a decade ago. Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre has spent part of his 10 years in the commission in the majority, and now may become the minority with Case and Tibbs aboard.
The commissioners are promising a new era in transparency, communication and attitude similar to the new era that surfaced the first time Ullman was bounced from office in 2003. The commissioners want openness and transparency, and hired Maneely to help with that effort. We can assume this new era means that commissioners will not be implicating one another in murders, which in itself would be an improvement. We hope the new era will mean steering away from projects such as Dynamis.
Openness is nothing new for Ada commissioners. The last group was fairly open until pesky reporters started asking tough questions about Dynamis. Phone messages and emails stopped being returned after that.
Yes, it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during that violated-no-open-meetings-laws Red Robin lunch. But commissioners deserve a chance to make good on their intentions. The test will be how they act when the next tough-questions crisis comes along, not what they say on swearing-in day.
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