Sunday, August 02, 2015

Cape Horn Fire Pictures



The first three pictures show the total destruction of several houses near the shoreline. I have seen burned homes before. Never have I seen such total destruction. No charred wood or plumbing, chimneys ... Nothing. Just what looks like concrete rubble.

What I found remarkable though, was when I drove out to the end of the Cape. Not one house was damaged on the uphill side. Where the fire burned all the way down to the road, and knocked on the back doors of some homes, all were saved except the 6 that were grouped on the same access road on Lake Front. I hear one home owner rented a float home while waiting for insurance issues to work through. I think I can speak for all of us that live or recreate here, that one we feel for the people that were burned out, and two, the heroic efforts of the fire fighters saving most of the homes that were at risk.

While on the cruise Thursday, we saw a spot fire up the mountain and in an area that hadn't burned. There was a thunderstorm 3 days previous, which was most likely the cause. The wind was dead calm and the smoke was vertical. Friday we were out all day and not even a wisp of smoke. 

The last picture shows the only place a shipwrecked couple could have got out of the water. Both sides for quite a distance were sheer rock walls clear down to the water. This would explain why the panicked firing of flares, given the rough water conditions then. Lacking training that might have made them understand what happens to a flare that is fired into the wind and an up angle it is no wonder why it curved back over their heads and started the fire.

We can second guess them and many will. But untrained and in distress, the chose to use the only life saving means at their disposal. That they had flares, required on all boats, was to their credit. Unfortunately they should have fired them at a shallow angle. Even then, using a hand held radio and calling for help would have been safer for all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Community Organizations

There are three public entities in Bayview. Bayview Water & Sewer, The Community Center Foundation and the so called Chamber of Commerce.

The Water & Sewer issues have been well aired and need not be repeated here. Of the other two, the dba Bayview Chamber of Commerce, is not a Chamber of Commerce, but a dba. It is not affiliated with either the Idaho Chamber or the U.S. Chamber. I doubt that the official Chambers of Commerce have given Bayview permission to represent themselves as such. Many members of this community, having experienced the wake-up call that all three groups tend to be incestuous, insofar as they are controlled by a small group of insiders that do not particularly want other in the community to participate.

If I recall, there is a rule that Foundation board members must be members of the dba Bayview Chamber of Commerce. This is very questionable as to it's legality. But then many practices have been questionable in the past. It would be desirable for the Foundation to publicize their charter, so that the residents can understand the basis it was formed and for what purpose.

I challenge both groups to publicize their election processes, board members and scheduled elections in the near future. This will allow enough knowledge for members of the community to participate if they wish. It is obvious that the community at large have demanded transparency. We can do it the hard way, or the easy way. Refusing Stephen May's paid ad in the Chamber news letter was not appropriate. Neutrality should have been observed.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Slander

I am addressing this issue today because my computer froze up Friday and I couldn't get it fised until today.

An e-mail widely circulated came back to be as they always do. It was written by Norma Jean Knowles and was about the Water & Sewer Board election and installation. In it she accused me of doing the bidding of Chan Karupiah.

That she would make such a wild accusation about Chan, who she hates, and now me astounds me. Anyone who knows me would tell you that Chan neither before or during a new post. I'm sure he agrees with some and not with others, but we seldom compare notes, or discuss Bayview politics.

For an individual to start a fund raiser to stop Karupiah from investing in Bayview Properties is ludicrous and makes one wonder what logic was used there. Norma Jean has the right to speak about any subject she wants, but there are penalties for naming a person with inaccurate accusations.

Slander is a false accusation that is both inaccurate and made with malice. It does not include asking a question, only a statement about a specific person. The old guard has run Bayview's activities without challenge for a long times.

The recent election wasn't about either of the incumbents. It was about cleaning house and making ways to assure accountability.

It would behoove the holdovers to quit playing defense and cooperate with this town. Times are a changing and people must also change.

***Additional comments that were e-mailed to me anonymously. It is well written and makes great points:

I do not understand the statement regarding the new Board members being very adversarial and bent on destruction, not working as part of a Board to make things better or work cooperatively. From what I saw, they participated in the meeting, made motions and were complaint with the process of going through the agenda. Since there was an agenda, there was not an opportunity to give the current Board and the employees any credibility of the things they have accomplished or are trying to work on, not wanting to learn or listen to why things have been done the way they have been.

Certainly the community attendees were vocal because they thought that an appointment had been made during a secretly held meeting that excluded the new Board members. And, actually, that was the case, and that’s why people seem to think all the Board members have been acting illegally, unethically and secretly. In addition, that was why the Press was apparently interested. It’s news when people’s access to their elected officials is interrupted.

Similarly, the accusation that Sharon Meyer and Steve May were meeting secretly themselves amongst other members of the community and that this is somehow wrong is ludicrous. Because they were all appointed, the veteran Board members all seem confused about the fact that they represent constituents. The bizarre acknowledgments that all the Board members were expected to sign, promising that they would not discuss Water Business outside of the Water Board group, totally defeats their ability to represent the members of the community. However, speaking with constituents is seen as “creating havoc”.

Likewise, there seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the Idaho Statutes and what is required of the Board. Actually, I think the statutes that are applicable are IC 42-51 not IC 42-32 as some have referenced. Regardless, I can assure you there is no stipulation in the Idaho Code regarding community members’ not being able to speak to the Board about concerns. 

As for continually attacking policy, procedures and character integrity of the others that hold a seat I do not see that happening. What I do see is an organization that was never properly set up to handle a half million dollar budget; with unwritten Policy and Procedures; apparently no By Laws and a history of “because I said so, we’ve always done it that way”.

And that, like it or not, makes them look arbitrary and poorly managed. There are no personal accusations needed. It is not personal, it is business. It is what it is and it is fixable with some hard focused teamwork.
There should be no need for WW III Bayview style. There are probably talented people in the community who would assist with policy and by law development. People do care and are helpful, but nothing gets done when everyone has a pile of chips on their shoulders and go around all butt-hurt.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cape Horn Aftermath

These two pictures are of a peek-a-boo look at the luxury home and the lot next to the house where the fire reached the road.

The third and fourth pictures show where the fire crowned and crossed down to the water.

That the fire only got away once was either a miracle or a very highly trained and dedicated group of expert fire fighters, or perhaps both.

Charts, statistics and press releases just do not tell the story of this fire. I drove out this afternoon expecting to see massive damage. Certainly, up hill where the fire really took off was harder to control and even harder to get pictures.

After driving to the end of the road, except the gated community, of which I did not want to intrude, one thing stood out all the way to the end.

With only one crown fire that crossed the road and would have caused all of the homes that were consumed to burn, all along the road there were burn patches where they held it from crossing Cape Horn Road.

Time after time the fire would creep up to the uphill side where some very nice homes sit. They are all still there. In one case, a luxury home on a large tract with a blacktop driveway curving up to the house was framed by trees along the way. It appeared from the road the the fire had knocked on their back door, only to be refused by the firefighters.

The lot just to the west burned all the way to the road, where once again it was turned back.The one place I referred to as having  crossed the road and burned down to the lake, is just a block or two east of the slide area.

With nice homes lining Cape Horn Road, not one of the uphill homes were sacrificed. The pictures  I took are not spectacular, because they show where the fire wasn't allowed to spread.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bayview Citizens Angered By Board

An angry crowd of at least fifty citizens of Bayview, and also Water & Sewer customers greeted a very defensive board of directors yesterday, July 21. In addition to the two new board members, there was a third that was hastily appointed just 5 days after the president, Chuck Waller, died.

The board, claiming an emergency, had quickly appointed one of the two losing candidates from the spring election. Two things were obvious. One was to maintain the old guard majority of 3-2, which would have negated any effect the two new members might have had. The second is they forgot that a 24 hour legal notice must precede any sudden unscheduled meeting.

I walked out after a loud mouth board member referred to us as Persona Non Grata. This type of attitude unfortunately, was what led to the contested election this spring. The first such open contest in my memory, and I've been here 20 years.

After the meeting I learned that the unlawful appointment at an illegal meeting was reversed. At some point in the near future, a proper appointment will be made. The law requires a replacement within 30 days of the vacancy occurring. The open solicitation for applicants apparently will take place. At this time, with only four voting members participating. This will prove interesting since it tends to show the old guard vs the newly elected reformers as a 2-2 standoff. If the chairperson cannot vote except to break a tie then the decision would fall to the new comers.

Some great comments, all in objection to the sitting board, were shown in the Coeur d'Alene Press Wednesday am. Although holding onto a big frog/small pond attitude, the greatest service the incumbents could give the community would be to resign, allowing a makeover long over due. The employees do a fine job, although the manager probably should refrain from volunteering as a bouncer, since he may be answering to new bosses that actually respect the public.

Interestingly, while shouting down those that wished to speak occurred for some, others were allowed to speak freely. There was a young man from JUB Engineers, who though not recognized by the chair interjected comments at will. Another, a woman rose to a point of order and was allowed to speak. The majority of the rulings came not from the chair, but from board member Gardner who visibly sneered at the public gathering.

Somehow, I sense a recall election may take place to cleanse the board of arrogance.

Monday, July 20, 2015

SMELL TEST

The Bayview Water and Sewer board, consisting of two incumbents and two expired terms met July 8 to appoint a successor to Chuck Waller who died 5 days prior. Faced with losing their majority, the surviving two held a rump meeting  without notice and without inviting their secretary.

Both Waller's death and the meeting at which the illegal board met were after July first, the date the new members were official. That they weren't sworn in is immaterial. If the president of the united states dies, the vice-president is immediately president regardless of when the swearing in happens.

Faced with a two-two tie, the incumbents acted quickly, and I believe illegally to cement a 3-2 majority, appointing one of the two losers in the recent election, Chuck Murray. This isn't about people, it's about legal acts, honesty and transparency. The obvious correct way to have handled this is for both factions to agree on one outsider that doesn't have an ax to grind. Also, electing a new president after the two losers were already out of office is disgusting, and also probably illegal.

They just don't get it. This kind of weaselly behavior is what got new members elected. This district and it's members have long been kept in the dark as to accounting for expenditures. At a meeting which many community members attended, an audit was still 2 years late, when legally required to be annual. Now, two years later, the audit is four years in arrears.

The second act and where the smell test applies, is the Bayview Water & Sewer board invested in a brand new large capacity paper shredder. This in anticipation of an audit?  Stay tuned. A court of law can take over, lock, stock and barrel in these situations, and damn well should.

This is, unless the board gets their act together quickly, will probably end up in a law suit. It will be interesting when auditors, Magnuson-McHugh are subpoenaed to testify as to why they rejected the audit. Is it possible that the district  wouldn't supply the auditors with the material needed for the audit?

So then,  we have a new/old board member who along with the other former member, voted for one of them to replace Waller, AFTER their terms expired. If all else fails, these incumbents will fall in the next election.The public strikes back after being sucker punched too many times. I would encourage the citizens of Bayview to take up a collection for the hiring of an attorney that can then file a suit, demand disclosure  and discover where the rats are eating the cheese.

Does someone have something to hide? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bayview Still Deserted

While the permanent residents of Bayview are home, the summer people are not. Float home owners, boat owners and RV people are missing in droves. In talking to one marina owner, it is the over hyped television media that is misrepresenting the Cape Horn fire status.

The "50% contained" mantra is said over and over. The truth of the matter is that the skies are blue, no smoke in the air, in short, a normal summer day. What isn't normal is the enduring silence that exists as the streets are empty and for no legitimate reason.

The portion of the Cape Horn Fire that is not controlled is miles north of Scenic Bay. The rugged mountains north of Cape Horn are difficult to access, but very few homes are anywhere near the head of the fire which is traveling even further north as the prevailing winds dictate. There is absolutely no fire burning on the south slope of Cape Horn. That fire is completely out.

The mountains between Cape Horn and the naval research establishment are still in danger, but the fire is moving very slowly.

In the mean time, our restaurants and marinas are close to empty as television viewers are led astray. It is past time that KHQ, KREM and KXLY stop sensationalizing routine recovery. They are killing Bayview. "If it bleeds it leads," is a true description of the wolf pack mentality of the broadcast media.

Get a sense of responsibility people, or you next story will be the mysterious decay of a once thriving tourist destination.