November 26, 2018
- Dave Bieter
- Chad Bell
- Tom Dale
- John Evans
- Brad Holton
- Debbie Kling
- Nathan Leigh
- Garret Nancolas
- Joe Stear
- Darin Taylor
Staff and Guests
- Jan Bennetts – Ada County Prosecutor
- Doug Brigham – Co-President, College of Idaho
- Jim Everett – Co-President, College of Idaho
- Rafael Gonzalez – Asst. U.S. Attorney, ID
- Alex Klempel – TV SAUSA
- Robert Simison – Chief of Staff, City of Meridian
- Bill Larsen – TVP
Welcome and Introductions
Garrett welcomed everyone to the College of Idaho campus.
Downtown Caldwell is alive and well. The recently had their tree lighting. They had one counter on one of the bridges and it counted 7,700 people. They estimated in total 10,000 attended. The ice-skating rink is successful beyond their goals. It has a capacity of 180 people at one time. They have been over capacity since it opened. In the first three days, they sold over 1,500 skating passes.
There are several restaurants coming in to down-town in association with the plaza. The movie theatre is open. If you don’t have anything to do, downtown Caldwell is worth the trip.
They just received a letter of intent for sale on their last lot in their Industrial Park. It is completely full. There are eleven buildings currently under construction in the Park with well over 1 million sq. ft. which for them is a big deal.
They do a Business Improvement Grant through the Urban Renewal Agency. Each grant applicant must submit the number of employees, wages, etc. For example, Fresca, one of the tenants averages over $28 per hour on their average wages. That is good wage and is an example of the wages they are getting at the industrial park.
This is dramatically raised the average household income in the City of Caldwell. They are now on par with Nampa on income per household.
Some of the things they have been dealing with might be something we all need to pay attention to. They have been dealing with the EPA on several issues from the treatment plant to Indian Creek. They are working on a property acquisition to do phosphorous trading. They are looking at 40 acres off of Canyon Hill. Mason Creek flows into the river just below Canyon Hill. They don’t know what the phosphorous trading program will look like, but if they can buy this piece of ground and develop a program, it will take the pressure off their treatment plant.
Their cooperation with the College is exceptional. He feels that the relationship between the College and the City is very important and it takes the excitement and enthusiasm in the city to a new level. Football added a new level of cooperation. If you look at the educational and athletic opportunities at the C of I it is a great place to come for an education.
Garret introduced co-President’s Jim Everett & Doug Brigham. He mentioned having co-presidents is a unique idea and hasn’t been done very much across the nation.
Doug Brigham reiterated how good the relationship between the City of Caldwell and the College of Idaho has been. He and Jim Everett have been on the job about 8 months and one of the first calls they received was from Garret. They meet formally with the Mayor every other month. Informally however, they and the Mayor see each other at least weekly.
They recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for some welcoming arches along Cleveland Blvd. The Mayor attended the ceremony did not leave till he had shook the hand of all the students that attended. That resonated with the students and is a big deal. They love being in Caldwell and feels that relationship is one of the College’s assets.
They have Go-Purple Friday, which the city has embraced. Every Friday, if you go around town, most of the businesses are decked in purple.
Garret said, when they first brought back football, the businesses across the street from Simplot Stadium were so concerned that fans would be taking up their parking spaces. After the first couple games, the businesses designated half their parking lots and started selling C of I gear.
Doug said they have just under 1,000 students at the C of I. There are 74 countries represented in the student population. He encouraged the members as they go through to get food, to look out into the main cafeteria to see the diversity of their student body. Over 30% of their students identify as a minority. They like to say they are the most diverse 55 acers in the State of Idaho and are very proud of that.
Jim Everett said the College of Idaho is much more affordable than people think. Every student gets a scholarship of some kind. They were second in the country on a rating of best value.
Nathan encouraged people join the $2.00 challenge at the Press Tribune. It is a program to encourage people to buy local.
Darin said they have been informed that the City of Middleton permit would be issued in the spring. They have their list of limits and it does include temperature. They are planning some improvements that will include a re-use program. Regarding temperature, their limit is for 19 degrees Celsius.
Debbie said the City of Nampa is going through the same thing. They are submitting a draft for their re-use permit. This is something new for the City. She asked if we as a group have had many discussions on this subject.
Garret said, many moons ago when this discussion about phosphorous started, Boise State, Micron, and the Cities went together and our engineering staffs got together. We started pushing for State Primacy and there were several different efforts that were undertaken. There was a very cooperative effort to try to work with the Feds to try to get things more reasonable.
Tom stated that AIC and the whole state got involved with the Primacy effort. The idea was that once we got Primacy, there could be consideration involved in permitting such as geologic and environmental factors that the Feds were not taking into consideration. It took six years go get Primacy through.
Brad respectfully submitted that this temperature limit hasn’t been challenged and it is junk science. When you go into a State that has an 12,600-foot-tall mountain and the water exits the State on the Snake River river at Lewiston at 750 ft. To have one temperature rating for the whole state on all water ways is insanity. He submits that all these constituents are expensive to deal with. But our ground water is illegal because it is over 19C temperature limit.
He has been through this with the EPA scientists. The ludicrous part is, for the little discharge the City of Greenleaf has, they could discharge boiling hot water at their discharge point and it would not raise the temperature of the Boise River. To have EPA come along and tell us what to do for temperature when it is going into a waterway that naturally exceeds the limit, is an expense to all our citizens.
Brad felt we need to organize together and challenge the temperature limits. He believes there is some natural temperature that we should discharge to, but it must be based on science. Let’s have a temperature that makes sense for our water ways. He added it is is going to be onerous to meet the limit of 19C.
Darin said one direction they though about going was to press to have a conversation about having temperature TMDL. They recognize the same thing; the temperature limits we all face are lower that what the Boise River is.
Garret said several years prior, they joined a group of about 15 different people and arm wrestled with FEMA and won. It cost about $250,000. This was better than the almost $10 million it would have cost Nampa and Caldwell to purchase flood insurance. For him, the only way to combat this would be to get Crapo and his office and others to come together to combat this.
Tom said, one of the ways we fought this back then, was with actual science. They showed that if we would have a flood that would wipe out Caldwell, you would have to have water coming down the NY Canal that was 2’ above the can bank. He thinks the way to combat the temperature limits is to get science to verify this 19C is unreasonable and the effects of that on Brownlee Reservoir.
Garret said they did that on the flood issue. They hired a consultant that showed that whatever Region 10 did, their hydrology was false.
Debbie said that Simpson sits on the committees that would be dealing with this. She met with their staff and the recommendation was to go the administrative route to fight it.
Brad submitted that we need to be together. We need to be careful with our message that we are concerned for our environment but want to be educated why 19C is applicable to our waterway.
Debbie said she knows of a group that would be somebody to consider hiring. The makeup of this organization is amazing and have worked on these types of issues for a long time. She will get their name as she could not remember it off hand.
She added that there has been a lot of work that has been done by some concerned citizens of Canyon County and mentioned Ron Herriman. She said she would share some of the information she has gotten from this group of citizens.
New SAUSA Meet and Greet
Garret introduced Alex Klempel, the new Treasure Valley SAUSA.
Alex said she started as the SAUSA on November 1st. She was really excited about the opportunity. She previously worked for Kootenai County for five years and had taken Tara Malek’s position when Tara took the Treasure Valley SAUSA position. She has been doing a wide variety of felony offenses and a lot of drug crimes.
She is really excited about working with the Metro Task Force and understands they really know their stuff when it comes to gun and drug crimes as well as the gangs in the area. She met with them at their briefing the previous week. They already have a couple of cases going through the grand jury and a couple are ready for next month.
Her email address is, Alex.Kempel@usdoj.gov.
Tom asked where Alex grew up and where she went to law school. Alex said she was originally from Bismarck, North Dakota. She attended school at Bismarck State, Gordon College north of Boston, MA and attended law school at Gonzaga.
Darin asked if she would be available to come to a City Council meeting and describe the activity and things, we should be aware of. Alex indicated she wanted a little more time on the job to be familiar with the kinds of activities are occurring in the valley.
She indicated she met with Bryan Taylor her first day and got sworn in as a deputy prosecutor for Canyon County. She had an opportunity to talk with him then.
Darin asked what the work load looks like. Alex said the Task Force has a lot of cases lined up. It is a different kind of work than she is used to. She is used to doing a bunch of cases at once and indicated it will be a slower pace due to the complexity of the details involved in the SAUSA position.
Adding Opiates to SAUSA Mission
Rafael said he would like to thank Frank Zebari for what he has done in sixteen months. His work has been outstanding.
They have three SAUSA’s working for them now. One is the Treasure Valley SAUSA. They also have a SAUSA in Eastern Idaho. Imitation is the finest form of flattery as the Eastern Idaho program uses the same model, we have with the Treasure Valley Partnership. They also have a program with Ada County and with all of these, we have a tremendous overlap for all their programs, especially the violent crimes programs. They have benefited by the resources provided by Washington D.C. but have also benefited from the resources provided by State and local partnerships.
By developing these grass roots partnerships, they are better able to identify folks who need to be removed from the community. As there are no federal prisons in Idaho, once you remove that criminal element, they are truly out of contact with their former gang members and fellow criminals. It really has a positive effect on the community.
These folks are not in a prison south of town where they continue to maintain their criminal operation and network. The crime data clearly shows it has been a benefit to the community.
To reiterate with regards to Mayor Taylor’s previous question, if anybody has a need for any resources from their office to go to a city council or commission meeting. They are more than happy to do that.
The previous year they filed 365 cases. That was the most cases they have ever filed. This is up 16.2% from the year before. Drug filings were up 18.7%. Nationally, the increase in drug filings was only 3.4%.
With regards Opioids, he believes, locally we are ahead of the curve. In large part, due to groups like this, they are able to stay ahead of the national trends and prevent surges in certain areas from happening.
In 1900, our life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years. Two years ago, life expectancy was 78 years. However, in two successive years we have seen that the life expectancy in the U.S. has gone down. One of the reasons is, we are currently working our way through the deadliest drug scourge in our nation’s history. When you look at overdoses nationally in 2015, 64,000 people died of drug overdoses.
As you look forward you try to think what is driving the overdose increase. You can pretty much trace it back to increases in opioid availability, opioid abuse, and addiction. Of those 64,000 people that died of drug overdoses, 2/3 were tied directly to opioids. That is some 42,000 individuals.
When you look at the surge, you have to look at where the drugs are coming from. He didn’t know if anybody had read the book Dreamland. It is a telltale episode in our history regarding opioids and the availability of prescription opiates. How it started, how it developed, and how opioids were marketed, through the medical community as a panacea or cure all.
When you read the book, you can see evidence that it all started from one doctor stating in a journal that in his very small control group, opioids were not addictive. From this finding, opioids started being marketed by pharmaceutical companies to individual doctors citing this one doctor’s opinion that that opioids were not addictive drugs. The sale of prescription pain killers quadrupled between 1999 and 2000.
In 2017, almost 50% of Americans had prescribed for them, opioids. That is an alarming figure.
Here in the Treasure Valley we are seeing the prescription market dry out, but people are turning to Mexican heroin as it is widely available and cheaper. Heroin hadn’t been that widely available. Meth was. He said one take-away is that Meth is still king. It is still the most available, most seized and most used drug in the valley.
As we follow the timeline and development of prescription opioid availability nationally, you see the transition to heroin. What we are seeing now is a transition to fentanyl. The issue with fentanyl is it is far more lethal. It is 50 times more powerful than heroin. If we had a salt shaker and shook it once on the table, that amount of fentanyl could kill you.
Where is the fentanyl coming from? Most of the fentanyl that is imported in the U.S. is coming through the mail. It is pretty much all coming from China. The heroin we see pretty much all comes from Mexico. The Meth we see is manufactured in Mexico. But the relationships between China and Mexico drug traffickers that have developed through the distribution of Meth are now being used for fentanyl.
Also we are now seeing counterfeit opioids. Drug traffickers are using pill presses and binders to make their product look like oxycodone. But the active ingredient is fentanyl. It has turned into a game of Russian Roulette. Is the buyer getting legitimate pills or one of these counterfeits? Remembering that fentanyl is so fine and potent, that one or two granules can make the difference and turn one pill into an overdose.
Rafael feels we have been spared the brunt of the opioid crisis. Even though we have had significant increases in opioid deaths here in Idaho, it is not to the extent they are seeing nationally, especially the Midwest. He thinks what is shocking is the rate at first responders visit the same house for an overdose.
On their civil side, they have been given authority to hire another attorney. This will improve their ability to use civil penalties as well as criminal penalties to address this epidemic. One of the things they have looked at and have started to do is use technology to be forward thinking. They run the numbers on opioid prescriptions to see the outliers. Which doctors or pharmacies are filling the most and taking that information to see if it adds up.
It has broadened their ability to go after either rogue or negligent providers.
They really rely on their local partners to handle heroin cases. The mandatory minimums in Idaho for heroin cases are at least 10% more than what is required for a federal case. The tool they use on the Federal side is good for meth cases. Federally, the mandatory minimums for Meth are longer than they are for Idaho.
Tom alluded to the lawsuit that is going forward that he believes is out of Ohio that is aimed at the pharmaceutical manufacturers. He asked if this would have an impact on the opioid problem. Rafael said he believes it will, as the cover has been blown. There was a precursor lawsuit to that by a U.S. Attorney’s office. It did not end up with the resolution they wanted.
Bill said our SAUSA is tied to gang related crimes that involve either guns or drugs. The question the Partnership had a couple of months ago is, would it be of benefit to utilize some of our SAUSA time to battle opioids. Rafael said he doesn’t view the charter for the Treasure Valley SAUSA to prevent that person from pursuing an opioid related case. With the Treasure Valley SAUSA and the Hyda Program with Ada County and the other resources of their office, their net gets spread wide.
Justice Reinvestment Act
Garret introduced Jan Bennetts, the Ada County Prosecutor. She said JRI is a big topic. She will focus on a little bit of history and then talk about where we are at and what the future might hold.
In around 2012-13, the Council for State Government along with the Pew research folks came to Idaho and looked at Idaho’s criminal justice laws and what they termed mass incarceration. She said, it is her opinion that is the national soundbite, mass incarceration with incarcerating non-violent drug offenders is a subheading.
Since then, she has been trying to debunk the myth that we have mass incarceration or incarcerating the wrong people. She thinks this is a simplistic way to look at it. It is her sense that you can only look at individual offenders. Whether they are drug offenders, robbers, rapists, you must look individually at the offender and their history rather than look globally. She thinks that something like Justice Reinvestment is only a sound bite that only looks at categories of crimes rather than the individual characteristics of an offender.
In her opinion, Idaho judges are getting it right when they are sending people to prison. Generally, each individual offender has an opportunity at rehabilitation. Idaho’s law by statute is presumptive probation. Under Idaho Statutes, a judge must overcome the presumption of putting someone on probation in order to send that person to prison.
The other mistake of Justice Reinvestment was not having a runway before releasing people back into the community. We need reentry programs and need to utilize the savings from Justice Reinvestment it back into prison programs and P&P programs and those things that will help people be successful in either parole or probation.
One of the things Justice Reinvestment did right from the get-go was it had a 9180-sanction component to the Statute. We knew it was going to be an issue that people get stuck in this sanction, this circle of; you’re on parole, you get a sanction you go to jail then you go back out in the community.
There was an incident where a person released on JR committed a bunch of crimes including killing and wounding a police officer. From that incident they went back to the legislature and asked them to take those 9180-sanctions out and they did. They also asked the legislature to take a hard look at justice reinvestment.
The JRI Oversight Legislative committee met throughout the summer. Henry Atencio presented some numbers to them in June and she wanted to talk about those numbers.
Henry indicated to the committee that we had 6,754 total term sentenced prisoners in prison. These are people who are actually serving a prison term and are not doing riders or otherwise parole violators that are in jail.
Of these, 1,245 of these were drug offenders serving term sentences. His indication to the committee was that we have a lot of drug offenders in prison and maybe not all of those belong there. So, they asked him for the names of all 1,245 offenders and they (all the prosecutors in the State) looked at each and every one of those. Of the total, 742 had prior felonies. Only 177 of the remaining 503 were drug traffickers, where there are mandatory minimums. 33 had charges of delivery, 43 had possession with intent to deliver and 5 were for manufacturing. That is 258 serious drug offenders that are in prison and she argued, they belong there.
This leaves us 245, they were calling first-time drug offenders. They found that 97 of those have additional felony convictions that were not reflected in the data that was presented to Justice Reinvestment Committee. Taking that 97 off the top, left us with 148 so-called first-time drug offenders. She showed a large volume which was the case summaries broken out by county for all of the 148. They looked at each individual offender and the reason’s a judge decided to send those 148 to prison. As an aside, this 148 people only represent 2.2% of the term population.
Of the 148, all of them except 6 had prior rehabilitation opportunities. Only six were sent to prison on their first offense without a prior rehabilitation opportunity. 2 were INS holds and 2 had lengthy misdemeanor histories.
This tells you right there, how judges are looking at this issue. As you know we have drug courts, we have a mental health court, we have a DUI court and multiple problem-solving courts throughout the State that look at these issues and try to funnel people into rehab programs as much as possible before looking at a prison sentence.
Garret asked how the commission received this information when Jan presented it. Did it have an impact? Jan said she suspects that mandatory drug minimums are going to be repealed based on everything she is seeing. Then they will be looking to the U.S. Attorney’s office on what that means because they won’t have the mandatory minimum on heroin cases.
Her thought is this does put our communities at risk. Right now, mandatory minimums are a deterrent to drug cartels. We have drug cartels on wires and under cover saying, “don’t go to Idaho because they have mandatory minimums”. To her that is a deterrent. Going to Rafael’s discussion, this is one of the things that has kept Idaho under the curve, compared to the nation on opioid and other drug crimes.
Tom said this is something that we need to be involved with in speaking to the members of this committee. He asked that Jan inform us of who this committee is. Note: the following are the members of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee:
Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, Co-chair
Sen. Jim Rice
Sen. Jeff Agenbroad
Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb
Sen. Mark Nye
Rep. Lynn M. Luker, Co-chair
Rep. James Holtzclaw
Rep. Bryan Zollinger
Rep. John McCrostie
Rep. Melissa Wintrow
Tom said we need to be unified on a message on JRI, and Brad asked if Jan had a cheat sheet or talking points, we could have so we can talk intelligently on the subject. Jan indicated she would develop something and send it over to Bill.
Darin asked who is sponsoring legislation on this. Jan said she believes Rep. Wintrow is one of the sponsors.
Darin moved to approve the minutes and financial report. Joe seconded. Motion carried.
Bill handed out a draft of the 2019 meeting dates and asked the members to check their calendars to make sure we didn’t need to change the date of a meeting.
Bill mentioned that the City of Boise asked for a copy of our old logo to use for the Opioid program. When they got our logo, they found it hard to work with and asked if we would mind them taking a shot at redesigning it. The reason is, the logo was designed around a 3-D type look which is not very clean looking and is hard to reproduce. The sent the following logo to us for our consideration.
The members all agreed to change the logo of the Partnership to: