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Meeting Minutes
October 27, 2008

Attendees

  • Phil Bandy
  • Dave Bieter
  • Tom Dale
  • Tammy de Weerd
  • John Evans
  • David Ferdinand
  • Brad Holton
  • Vicki Thurber
  • Hal Tolmie
  • Margie Watson
  • Paul Woods

Staff and Guests

  • State Representative Carlos Bilbao
  • State Representative Darrell Bolz
  • Nicci Cleveland – Special Olympics
  • State Representative Gary Collins
  • Rafael Gonzalez – U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Mark Haws – U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • David Hensley – Idaho Governor’s Office
  • State Senator John McGee
  • Christian Nafzger – SAUSA Project
  • Bill Larsen – Staff

Tom Dale opened the meeting and welcomed the State Legislative contingent, the Governor’s Office and the representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He indicated that he looks forward to the discussion on the SAUSA Project.

Tom mentioned the growing jobless rate and referred to the news that the State of Idaho has been hit pretty hard by layoffs. He has had talks with the Dept. of Labor, there have been about 2,500 jobs lost in the last few weeks. As Cities/Counties, now is a good time to be looking at infrastructure building. He indicated that they had awarded a few bids in the last couple of weeks and those costs are about ½ of what they were a year ago. There have been 31 recessions since the turn of the century. With each one there was a recovery.

He introduced Nicci Cleveland with Special Olympics. She wanted to talk to the partnership about the Host Town program. Dave Bieter reiterated that what she has to say is very important. What we are about to take on with the Special Olympics is very important for the valley. This piece refers to the three days before the opening ceremonies. This program will enable us to get the athletes into town a little early. In addition, this will help the community to embrace the games.

Nicci referred to a handout on the 2009 Special Olympics Winter Games. The Host Town program is a very vital part of the Games. It gives the athletes and their families an opportunity to be paired with folks from the community.

Host Towns provide transportation for the athletes and staff from the airport either to the host family or the lodging where they will be put up. During their stay, they will need transportation to training facilities, and any activities the host town sets up for them. Host towns also provide lodging in homes or traditional lodging centers, as well as meals and access to community or cultural activities.

The benefits to becoming a Host Town is that delegations get a chance to meet the people and experience their hospitality and it gives them an opportunity to rest and adjust to Idaho prior to the games. In addition it provides a cultural exchange that enriches the lives of everyone involved.

The greatest need for the 2009 games from Host Towns is donated traditional lodging such as hotels and motels. There is a need to provide traditional lodging to 41 delegations for an average of three nights. This equates to 575 double occupancy rooms for three nights. Nicci indicated they are looking for the Cities/Counties to appoint someone to serve on a committee to find the donated lodging. This volunteer would also coordinate the Host Town efforts for the delegates.

David asked if they are requesting donations of hotel/motel rooms and/or money to be used for the rooms. Nicci stated that the best scenario would be to have the rooms donated and that cash would be a possibility. David asked then if they would like the different jurisdictions to provide someone to work on the committee, then they would figure out the details.

David asked if there was a 501 c designation in place for the organization setting this up? Nicci indicated she would double check and make sure she gets back him.

Tammy asked for Nicci to describe the requirements of the homes in order for homes to donate space? Nicci indicated they do have almost as many homes donated as they need and this will not be a problem. However, because of cultural differences, there are many athletes/families that cannot stay in a home.

Dave indicated he was pleased to see the list of countries and numbers being represented. Many of the delegations are small enough that a civic organization such as the Rotary could pick a country and provide aid to the whole delegation. This develops camaraderie among the athletes, their families and the organization.

Tom asked to clarify if they already had rooms for the games and this was just for the three or four days prior to the game. Nicci indicated that this is true. Do these people need transportation as well? Nicci indicated that all of the delegations are going to need transportation services. Tom added that a Civic organization could also plan to provide aid in transportation and in essence spend the full day with the delegations.

Phil asked if the Home Town program is a traditional part of the games. Nicci indicated the home stay is traditional and there was no way to gauge how many separate rooms would be required because of the differing make-up of the cultures from game to game.

Nicci thanked the partnership for the opportunity to come meet with them. She encouraged the Partnership to get in touch with her if there were any questions.

SAUSA Project

Tom welcomed Senator John McGee, Representative Carlos Bilbao, Representative Darrell Bolz, and Representative Darrell Collins to the October Treasure Valley Partnership Meeting.

Tom pointed to the reports that have been coming out on the SAUSA Project and that from the very beginning; the Project was piling up numbers greater than was anticipated. As we look back on all of the Partnership efforts, this is one Project that has made a great difference. We are here today to talk about the future of the program. The best scenario would be to move toward this position as an established position and one that is not funded from year-to-year. We have a commitment from members of the Partnership to continue the project. Ultimately however, the best scenario would be that some State Program takes over the Project.

Tom introduced Mark Haws, Christian Nafzger and Rafael Gonzales from the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as David Hensley from the Governor’s Office.

Christian gave an update on the Project. He talked about the latest updated report on the SAUSA Project. Roughly the total prison time sentenced under the Project is up to 65 years.

Christian indicated he has taken a position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney to begin in the first part of December. However, he will continue to work on the SAUSA cases for the short term. He mentioned that the FBI has gotten more involved and there is some exciting stuff this entity is doing in this regard.

Representative Bolz pointed out there have been a couple of people that received a very short sentence and asked Christian to talk about these. Christian indicated there are a few individuals that cooperated in an investigation and there are a couple that are on supervised release for three years. These individuals are not violating probation.

David Bieter mentioned that his Police Department was very complimentary of both Christian and the SAUSA Program. One of the advantages of the program is that the king-pens have become known and Police then target these people and the members tend to disperse.

John asked Christian to run through the logistics of his employment with the SAUSA Program and then the AUSA position. Mark stated that Christian may begin as an AUSA around December 8. He indicated that it will take about 3-4 weeks to advertise and then 3-4 weeks to select the individual and then about 6 weeks for the federal background check to be completed. They figure that around the first of February we would be able to have a new SAUSA position on board.

Mark added that the switch from Owyhee County to potentially Canyon County would have an effect. A MOU has to be in place and that it appears this transition will take place when John Lujac comes on board with Canyon County Prosecutors. A new MOU has to be developed and signed by all parties by the time of the new start date.

Mark indicated that John Lujak and Tim Flemming are not in a position to participate on the hiring process. However, they are comfortable with the hiring process continuing with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Partnership conducting the interviews and making the selection. Mark mentioned that he would be in contact with Bill and Margie and make sure all goes well when it comes to making a selection of candidates.

Margie asked if maybe we could invite the Ada County Prosecutor to participate in the selection committee, as we had a county representative involved in the last hiring. Mark indicated he would be fine with the Ada County Prosecutor participating. Paul Woods added that he has had discussions with Greg Bower about this and he would follow up with him.

Mark added that Tim Flemming who is the elected Gem County Prosecutor is going to the Chief Deputy in Canyon County, so he would not be averse to sitting in as a defacto representative from this group, the Treasure Valley Partnership.

Paul asked if the model of local entities funding a U.S. Prosecutor is the model we want to go forward with. Mark stated that the U.S. Attorney’s office has a tremendous number of priorities. Therefore, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is spread pretty thin and this model adds to the manpower of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute gang cases. The SAUSA Program adds capacity for prosecuting gang cases that they would not have otherwise.

He added that Christian has had some big cases that will go to sentencing in the next six to eight weeks. Right now he is sitting on approximately 65 years of sentenced time. This could well be over 100 years of sentenced time in the next few weeks thus greatly increasing the savings to the State.

Tom asked, where we go from here in with regard to funding. Currently the project is funded at $100,000 and the State is participating with $25,000 coming in from ISP. There is a tremendous savings being realized through the State penal system. He feels that saving $3-4 million with just a $100,000 expenditure is a pretty good return on investment.

Mark Haws injected that if the SAUSA program were to go completely to the State, the entity would have to be the State’s Attorney General’s office because of prosecutorial authority needs.

Senator McGee clarified that the goal was to continue the SAUSA Program as it has been with just the State picking up the tab. He asked if this project was in the Governor’s budget. David Hensley indicated that they are currently in the process of preparing the Governor’s budget. ISP’s budget was coming up in the next week or so and he had to make sure that Colonel Russell, the Director at ISP is comfortable with the SAUSA Project being under his program.

Senator McGee indicated that it is very important that this program be in the budget coming down from the Governor’s Office. He added as we all know these are trying economic times and there will be resistance to any new programs being added. Representative Bolz agreed with Senator McGee. When you take a look a typical budget for this next year, if any program is not recognized in the Governor’s budget it will have a difficult time making it into the States budget for the year.

Representative Bolz wondered if there could be a cost sharing of entities being affected in this project. Paul answered that basically as it sits now, there is a cost share, as 75% of the projects costs are being carried by the Partnership. At a minimum, he felt that there should be an at least 50-50 split on these costs. Recognizing in a lean budget year, it will be difficult to completely shift the funding of this program to the State, maybe we should look for the State to at least match dollar for dollar the contribution of the Partnership.

Tammy indicated that there is no doubt that the Cities and Counties feel that this is a top priority. Because of the ramifications this has to our law enforcement, we made a commitment to be a partner. We must look also at the savings this project has, not just financial impacts of corrections budgets, but the quality of life impacts to local communities are huge. She felt frustration with when the legislature is in session; everyone points fingers at property taxes and how irresponsible local governments are with budgets. It seems like more and more of the enforcement burden comes to local entities. We cannot continue to take on the burdens that the State is not willing to participate in.

David mentioned that this project is not in the current ISP budget. This was presented as a one-time expenditure last year. And one-time items were not carried forward this year because of the 1% hold back. He thinks it is important to let this process move forward and this partnership has been of value to the State as well as the individuals in this room.

Senator McGee indicated he carried this legislation originally to JFAC. It is not that they do not know this project is important, they are just in the process of logistically figuring how to deal with this, this year.

Tammy asked if there was a way we could help our legislators get behind this program. Representative Bolz indicated, a need to push this as not a treasure valley issue. There are a couple of people that we need to get some legitimization of this project. They are Representative Jim Clark and Senator Denton Darrington. They are the Chairmen of the Jud and Rules Committee’s for the House and Senate. Also the co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee would be important people to have on board with this project.

Senator McGee stated that the thing that helped the most during the first go round with this project was a letter signed by the members of the Treasure Valley Partnership in support of the legislation for State match.

Dave indicated that we should just ask for ½ of the project cost and stay there. This program is a large part of the Partnership budget. What we should do is continue to make it a partnership between the State and members and commit a regular part of our annual budget to continued funding of the SAUSA Project. So the Partnership needs to come to grips with how we are going to continue with this program.

Representative Bilbao mentioned, the Partnership members need to be active in convincing legislators from districts representative of the Partnership membership to support this project. There are certainly more legislators from the valley than the four here from Canyon County.

Margie asked how we get the Governor on board? David Hensley indicated that right now it is not just the merits of the program. They just need to go through the internal budgeting process.

Margie moved to ask for $50,000 from the Governor’s Office this year. Motion seconded by John. Motion carried.

Tammy reiterated that this SAUSA Program has been a great example of a partnership between State, County and local jurisdictions.

Margie asked for a round of applause for Christian and his fine work.

Paul mentioned that while we have the State legislators in the room, he wanted to bring up the Covered Load Ordinance. There has been some division with various legal opinions from different entities on whether the Treasure Valley Partnership has the legal jurisdiction to institute such an ordinance. We have been trying to work with the AGC and their thought is this State is the only one with the authority to do this. There are only two State troopers that have jurisdiction over the State’s Covered load law.

He was hoping that the State Legislature could take a look at this issue. Tom added that there is a State Statue on covered loads but there are only two troopers that are enabled to enforce this. What we are after is for our local police to have the authority to enforce this requirement.

Tom mentioned that there was a Water Summit meeting and that Paul Woods represented our interests very well. Margie concurred. Paul added that they put on the table to meet regularly with water users and irrigation districts. The format of the Water Summit was not conducive to productive conversations.

Bill indicated that Margie and him had finished up the proposed budget for this fiscal year and it was included in the packet.

Margie moved to approve the minutes and financial report. John seconded. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned.