Apparent public meeting in Boise canceled when reporters arrive

From KBCI-TV Local 2 News

By Scott Logan, Local 2 News

The table was ready and waiting at Boise’s exclusively private Arid Club for a meeting Wednesday of political and civic leaders to discuss funding for a proposed public detox center at the Ada County jail.

Sheriff Gary Raney is seeking support for a $3 million detox center addition to the already approved $7 million county jail’s medical unit expansion.

“I’ve taken that to city council, members of the community, commissioners and asked what do you think, so far everybody has thought it’s a viable idea,” Raney told Local 2 news.

Although they say they didn’t call the meeting, Ada County Commissioners placed it on their public agenda. But when reporters and concerned citizens showed up, there were second thoughts and the meeting was cancelled.

Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre said maybe the private Arid Club was not the best location, due to “the fact that it was private and by invitation, ” he said.

Yzaguirre said given previous criticisms of the commission for alleged open meeting violations, the commissioners only intended to send an emissary to the Arid Club and late in the day, the notice of the meeting disappeared from the public agenda.

The Idaho Attorney General has ruled the Open Meeting Law should not be evaded by holding smaller meetings with less than a quorum or by having a go-between contact governing body members.

Sheriff Raney left the Arid Club without comment although he spoke with Local 2 News later in the day.

Some citizens who wanted to attend were suspicious.

“When the public and media find out about a meeting of hospital CEOs, the sheriff, mayors, county commissioners and simply with presence of people who want to know what’s going on, they cancel the meeting, what do they have to hide?” asked Sharon Ullman, former Ada County commissioner.

Yzaguirre said the county has no secret agenda.

From KBCI-TV Local 2 News

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