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'He Called Me a Moron' 

Washington will study climate changes; plus, the ACLU calls out Kootenai commissioners

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Feeling the Heat

Gov. Jay Inslee is celebrating this week as a climate change bill he championed makes its way to his desk. The measure, which passed the state House and Senate, will create a bipartisan working group to hire an outside consulting group, which will review Washington’s efforts to cut carbon emissions and compare them with similar efforts around the world.

By October, the consultants will report to the working group, which will then create a report for the full Legislature. House Republicans wanted to include some analysis of the viability of solar and wind power and whether hydroelectricity should be considered green under state rules, which it currently isn’t, but both attempts failed.

“We’ve seen the impacts of climate change already affecting some of Washington’s key industries with shellfish growers moving operations due to ocean acidification and the farmers in Eastern Washington seeing reduced water supplies as a result of reduced snowpack,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is our opportunity to not only make sure we protect those important industries, but also grow new jobs in the design and manufacturing of clean energy.”

Inslee, along with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, also sent letters this week urging the White House and the state Department of Ecology to examine the climate and air quality impacts of proposed coal terminals through western states for exports to Asia.

— HEIDI GROOVER

Strong Words

Criticizing the state’s overall approach to public defense, the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho has strongly condemned the Kootenai County Board of Commissioner’s firing of long-standing Chief Public Defender John Adams.

Adams, the county’s top public defender with 17 years at the office, recently received notification he would be fired. The decision comes just weeks after Adams filed a harassment claim against a commissioner and announced he would need time off for cancer treatment.

Commissioners announced Adams’ firing was the first step in a broad review of the county’s public defense system.

In an open letter, the ACLU Idaho argues the sudden termination of Adams’ contract undermines the essential independence of his office with “undue political influence.” The civil rights group cited public defense shortfalls throughout the state and urged the commissioners to reconsider.

“We encourage you to take careful pause,” the letter states. “As County Commissioners, you know that your decision is not a final one. You should swiftly and unequivocally correct it.”

— JACOB JONES

“Moron” 911

Libertarian Coeur d’Alene City Council member Steve Adams and City Attorney Mike Gridley don’t like each other very much — that has been well-established. At March 5 meeting, Adams announced that Gridley had called him an “ignorant shit” in an argument about the city’s legal strategy for a wastewater treatment facility upgrade. In response, Adams threatened to file an ethics complaint.

But last Tuesday, the feud got even worse. Adams walked over to the nearby library after the council meeting and called 911, asking an officer to respond and asking permission to place Gridley under “citizen’s arrest” because he felt threatened.

“He got within a foot of my face. He called me a moron,” Adams told the 911 dispatcher. “I’m 5-foot-8, He’s probably 6-3. He was shaking. He was leaning in towards me.” The police responded but determined no crime had been committed.

Asked by KREM on Monday if he thought calling 911 was necessary, Adams said, in retrospect, it wasn’t. “I was a little bit scared thinking about it afterwards,” Adams said. “It was probably a little excessive.”

Gridley doesn’t want to stir the pot more, but remains unapologetic.

“I’d like to move on, but I am not backing down,” Gridley says. “If he makes public attacks on me, I’ll give it right back to him.”

— DANIEL WALTERS

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