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David: Unless your wife's attorney is a blithering idiot, I assume he's told you to stay off the forum and stop your often idiotic comments until your wife's case is resolved. I suggest you take that advise. I'm sure you love Ms. Bantle. But, like many loved ones who are too close to their spouses's case, you are not helping her cause. As someone who hopes your wife gets justice and has been involved in the representation of hundreds of plaintiffs, let me share some advise: Shut Up!
This article states: "...Nuanes found evidence that one of the employees who was the subject of the investigation conducted outside business WHILE ON DUTY." (emphasis added)
In every jurisdiction where I've conducted investigations over the last 30+ years that is a crime and falls under the classification of public corruption.
Has there been a referral for prosecution?
Has the Steamboat Pilot & Today sought more information on this obvious violation of the public trust that was the worst kept secret in the city well before the Kleiber letter? A letter that has proven accurate in spite of the attempts by the city government and the District Attorney to smear Dave Kleiber. Attempts that continue to this day.
Or, are we still operating under a good old boys system here in Routt County and Steamboat Springs where who you know on the council and in the upper levels of the criminal justice system outweighs illegal behavior that was so public - so well known within our community - that the perpetrator himself openly joked about it within the police department?
Conduct that was so outrageously blatant that one council member told me when this scandal first broke into the public eye that he/she had never even met the police official in question and had never seen him at a public function or in the council chambers in spite of his high rank in the department.
Meanwhile, to this day, we now have two city councils who've shirked their oversight responsibilities to the citizens who elected them by not reading the investigative reports and a newspaper that is so timid and afraid of losing the few advertising dollars it still receives that it has devolved to nothing more than a cheerleader for the Chamber instead of an institution that seeks the truth behind the facade of the city government when it comes to this putrid mess and other matters of import that go unaddressed.
One wonders how a rank and file member of the police department - or any department within the city - can feel things have changed to a degree that they should believe that they can come forward to report blatant criminality, much less policy violations, when they can see the obvious writing on the wall.
That writing - the legacy of this tragic and sordid series of events in Steamboat's history - is a declaration that if you climb high enough in local government (including city manager and city attorney) you will not only avoid meaningful investigation and scrutiny of your actions - including criminal scrutiny - you'll get paid to go away while our elected officials and others in positions of responsibility pretend they've done their jobs.
If it is true that Horn is blocking the commissioners and other appropriate county officials from seeing the county's financial accounts, then it is the commissioners who should be taking legal action against Horn.
Perhaps if Horn spent more time fulfilling her obligation to the residents of Routt County and fewer weekdays and nights on the Front Range politicking and schmoozing for the next office she clearly has in mind - almost weekly trips to the Front Range according to her very public and prolific political postings - she'd know and follow her proper responsibilities as county treasurer.
Frankly, as indicated by Barkey's legal assessment, Horn's actions don't even pass the laugh test. In fact, her actions smack of an ill-conceived political stunt cooked up in a putrid political echo chamber where extreme partisans believe that criminally charging other elected officials is good politics.
Unquestionably, Horn's attempt to find a dupe in the criminal justice system to criminally charge three good public servants is beyond any sense of decency and political fair play.
Brita Horn is a local example of all that is wrong in American politics today.
If she had any sense of decency she'd resign her office today.
These checks are meaningless in combating the biggest threat - drunken violence - fueled by alcohol in Steamboat. Underage drinkers will always be able to obtain alcohol with little trouble. Usually from Mommy and Daddy's liquor cabinet. The biggest problem in Steamboat, as with many communities, is the number of bars that knowingly overserve patrons. Put undercover officers in a number of the popular bars on Lincoln Avenue or Yampa Street and they'd see what we all observe - clearly intoxicated patrons being repeatedly served on a nightly basis. The former police chief acknowledged this fact to me on several occasions. Let's see if the new chief takes meaningful action against the handful of bars that knowingly overserve before another patron is killed in a drunken fight on Lincoln Avenue, or gets "curbed" in the alley between Lincoln and Yampa, as has happened in the not too distant past.
"If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." --Will Rogers
Congratulations, Mr. Barkey. That may be the most tone-deaf post-verdict statement issued in the history of American jurisprudence.
It's hard to put in words just how badly the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Steamboat Pilot & Today have failed the residents of Steamboat Springs when it comes to the investigation of the Steamboat Springs Police Department. When elected and appointed officials intentionally block meaningful disclosure of official malfeasance, and the press fails to properly investigate that malfeasance or litigate on behalf of the public for disclosure of official documents and reports, the constitutional safeguards required for the proper functioning of republican government are useless and tyranny prevails. One thing is clear, city employees and residents who come across information of official wrongdoing would be well advised to remain silent. The lesson of this sordid chapter in the history of Steamboat is that neither the city council or our local newspaper will fight for meaningful disclosure of that wrongdoing so that the public can trust that appropriate changes in public policy have been enacted to prevent further abuses. Finally, and most tragically in a community that should be a model in seeking transparent and honest government, it is clear that whistleblowers will be persecuted by the very people and institutions who should be protecting them. It's a god awful shame that four members of the council couldn't summon even a fraction of the integrity and courage that Dave Kleiber and Kristin Bantle demonstrated by coming forward in the way that they did.
The police investigation report has not been released to the public.
The Steamboat Springs City Council has failed to exercise its oversight responsibility by failing to read and release the report.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today has completely failed the citizens of Steamboat by not conducting an independent investigation of the allegations against the police department and refusing to litigate for disclosure of the secret investigative report that resulted in the resignation or termination of the command staff of the police department, the city manager and the city attorney.
But hey, let's all pretend that nothing ever happened.
Meanwhile, the city, under the leadership of Walter Magill, will demand that the residents of Steamboat tax themselves at an even higher rate to pay for a new police station. This when the city currently has more than enough money and assets to pay for the new station.
Why on earth would any resident of the city, much less the county, vote to increase taxes in order to fund a city and police department that refuses to inform those residents what happened that resulted in the destruction of the careers of the police chief, the deputy chief, the city attorney, and the city manager while at the same time the District Attorney is persecuting and prosecuting the whistleblowers who dared to expose the malfeasance of those so-called leaders.
I guess we're all supposed to pretend nothing happened. Sadly, that's the reality of the of the way the Steamboat Pilot & Today is now behaving after failing to pursue its unique constitutional authority and responsibility. And, given that surrender, it's unlikely that the public will ever know what happened if the new city council shirks its responsibility to our community in the same way the previous council shirked its duty.
Given that the current council never exercised due diligence by doing even a rudimentary background investigation of now forcibly removed City Manager Deb Hinsvark - an investigation that almost certainly would have revealed problems in Kansas City predictive of the damage she inflicted here - the best course of action is for the current council to leave all hiring process decisions for the next council. Hopefully, the next council will take its responsibility seriously in a way that the Hinsvark council was never capable of mustering.
Unfortunately, until just two years ago, despite the BLM policies the horses were being sent to slaughterhouses according to a report in the Denver Post this weekend. See: Federal report: Colorado wild horse buyer sold mustangs for slaughter (http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29014000/federal-report-colorado-wild-horse-buyer-sold-mustangs)
"The nation's largest buyer of wild horses repeatedly lied to federal officials and sent roughly 1,700 mustangs to the slaughterhouse, according to a scathing federal report issued Friday finding significant oversight lapses within a Bureau of Land Management program that is supposed to provide the horses with good homes.
"Between 2008 and 2012, La Jara rancher and livestock hauler Tom Davis bought 1,794 horses from the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program, which manages tens of thousands of mustangs that roam across the West and are, to many, potent symbols of the land's unbridled majesty. The next-largest buyer purchased 325.
"When investigators from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General confronted Davis about the purchases and asked him how many of those horses had been resold for slaughter, he told them, 'Probably close to all of them.' ...
"Federal and state authorities in Colorado declined to prosecute Davis for his actions, according to the inspector general report." (See the linked article for more details)
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