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Chmelik playing an elaborate shell game

Letter to the Editor

Something is rotten in “Landmark” — i.e. The Western Landmark Foundation created and promoted by Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik— an organization with no oversight or accountability. Mr. Chmelik is playing an elaborate shell game by hiding one anti-public lands organization within another: American Lands Council, Coalition of Counties, Coalition of Arizona and New Mexico Counties, Citizens for Balanced Use and Western Landmark Foundation. Does this newly mentioned Coalition of Counties even exist? Chmelik needs 50 western counties to proceed with his agenda. He has 13. At this rate it will take six years to achieve his goal. Can Idaho County afford Chmelik that long?

Does anyone in Idaho County even sorta believe there was an innocent “oversight” regarding a 2015 check for $5,000 that was never sent to ALC — and somehow “lost” for a year within the hallowed halls of the courthouse? If so, that would be a serious accounting error — except that we know the county clerk’s office is managed very efficiently. Chmelik is playing us for chumps.

In a Statement of Intent distributed during a Jan. 26, ‘16 commissioner’s meeting Mr. Chmelik writes that he is trying to offset the “unfair and unequal challenges facing Western states with respect to our sister states in the East.” Why does Chmelik keep characterizing Idaho and Idaho County as a poor relative compared to our “sister states?”  What do “they” have that we would want? Huge polluting industries? Sludge rivers?  Lead in the drinking water? Sunrise-to sunset asphalt? Long stretches of monotonous flat?  Bumper traffic?  He wants to “shine the light” and “unite with our sister counties to bring litigation against the federal government.” That’s hard to do from a dark, ideologic closet. And wait!  Didn’t Chmelik take an oath of office to uphold the state and federal constitutions? Why is he trying to undermine our laws and lifestyles? And who are all these “sisters”? Sounds a bit incestuous.

In the last election, did Chmelik supporters vote to give him a Position of Privilege to start his own special interest group and then expect the county to fund it? This isn’t a conflict of interest? This isn’t gross mismanagement of county money and a misuse of “authority?” 

PS: Do Idaho County residents know that the commissioners recently voted to pay themselves $100 for every meeting they attend — in addition to mileage/meals/lodging reimbursements?

Shelley Dumas



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