A response to the three Eagle City Council members’ public letter of September 16, 2023
Sept 20, 2023
I was very disturbed to read the “Statement” from Council members Baun, Gindlesperger, and Russell. They attempt to smear me, my campaign, and my supporters with unfounded innuendo and blatant falsehoods. Their Statement is designed to mislead and distract our community from a key issue, of reduced public safety services for everyone in Eagle.
Their attempt to distract you, the community, from this important public safety issue, is not surprising to me. Baun, Gindlesberger and Russell are all collaborators with Mayor Jason Pierce. Gindlesberger was appointed to the council by Pierce. Russell’s entire campaign was supported by Pierce and his donors. Baun worked for the developers of Avimor prior to being on the council, and will not answer any questions to dispute the understanding that he is going back to work for developers as a consultant after his current term in the Council ends.
These three all voted with Pierce to annex Avimor into the City of Eagle. They did this without ANY plans for the needed revenue to grow the city’s infrastructure and police force. Their grab for power and control has significant consequences both in the immediate and long-term for the city.
Over 90% of Eagle residents of those who attended the public hearings did not want Avimor to be annexed into the City of Eagle. I am certain that they represented the views of the vast majority of the community. The City of Eagle’s own Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against the annexation of Avimor into the Eagle.
Baun, Gindlesperger, Russell, and Pierce disregarded their actual constituents and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation, and voted for the annexation.
I stood alone as the only member of the council to vote against annexation.
Baun, Gindlesperger, Russell, and Pierce voted for the Avimor annexation in March 2023.
Just five months later, in August 2023, Baun, Gindlesperger, and Russell banded together to vote for a ridiculous pay raise for Mayor Pierce raising his salary to $92,795.
Just as I stood alone voting no on the Avimor annexation, I stood alone in voting NO on the Mayor’s pay raise.
I also stood alone in opposing high density housing projects in Eagle including the 400 unit project with high density off Palmer near Legacy.
Why are these collaborators actively attacking me? It’s because I am an obstacle in the way of even more of their self-serving projects. Such projects are not wanted by members of the community but are critical to their donors -- the real estate developers and others who seek to profit from projects that will destroy the character of Eagle.
I now want to address the patently false and misleading claim by Baun, Gindlesberger and Russell that the release of Police Chief Wilke’s email that was sent to all Council Members was an “unauthorized email release.”
I, myself, as an elected member of the City Council, received this email. The Police Chief’s email is, by Idaho law, a public record. It does not contain any information that falls under the narrow statutory exceptions to Idaho’s public records act, such as ongoing law enforcement investigations or juvenile records. Eagle’s other City Council Members and Mayor are counting on you, the voters, being too ignorant to realize that a City Council member who received an email from another City official is allowed to publicly release the email. There is no legal support for their absurd argument that I must submit a public records act to myself.
I have every right to copy this email sent to me by the Police Chief and make it available to you, my constituents.
You, the public, have a right to know about the business of the City Council members. That is the law. We are here to serve you.
Why are the other members of the City Council trying to suppress the Police Chief’s written concern about how their conduct has compromised public safety?
Why are the other members of the City Council trying to bury a public record?
It’s their obvious attempt to change the subject from the substance of the grave threat to public safety into one about an alleged leak of confidential information. This demonstrates desperation and is an attempt to change the subject and mislead the community into thinking that the publication of the email was illegal.
They want to keep the community in the dark about the grave threat to public safety they have created by their irresponsible votes to double the size of Eagle (by annexing Avimor) without having the resources to provide for the massive increase in size.
I believe in transparency and the community had every right to know what was going on without any filtering or manipulation of the information.
The Chief’s email has clearly struck a nerve and has elicited a defensive response from Pierce and his supporters on the Council. The accusation of serving political agendas was noted…and yet, that is exactly the reason for their letter, to serve a political agenda on behalf of Mayor Pierce.
I have another concern about their “Statement” especially as it is jointly signed by three serving Council Members.
Idaho has a strong Open Meeting Law (Idaho Code §§ 74-201 through 74-208) that prohibits City Council Members from meeting with one another to discuss city business without the public’s ability to attend the meeting. Their statement demonstrates that they met together and drafted a statement about city business – the Eagle Police Contract – without doing so openly. There is no exception to the Idaho Open Public meeting law to allow them to have such a secret meeting.
The Attorney General’s Idaho Open Meeting Law Manual specifically states, “the term ‘meeting’ extends to informal sessions or conferences of board members designed for the discussion of public business.” As the Eagle Police Contract is subject to the vote of these very same Council Members who wrote the statement, it is apparent that they discussed the contract together without doing so in an open meeting. They admit in their letter that the contract is still in negotiation, and they are waiting for the results for their presumed approval.
Their statement provides further proof of the willingness of these Council Members to meet secretly to formulate their plans and to pursue their own agenda without the transparency required by Idaho Law.
The “Statement” of the three Council Members concludes with a caution about “misinformation” on social media. Yet, they have provided a view that is misleading and framed in a way to support their political agenda. The email from Chief Wilkie is an expression of his deep and professional experience in law enforcement. Read it carefully, it is very telling about Mayor Pierce and his false statements to the public about policing in Eagle.
 The Idaho Public Records Act (Idaho Statute 74-102) provides the operative law. "(1) Every person has a right to examine and take a copy of any public record of this state and there is a presumption that all public records in Idaho are open at all reasonable times for inspection except as otherwise expressly provided by statute."