Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: Open Letter to the Citizens of Lewiston

By • October 27, 2021

The following Op-Ed was submitted by Joseph Gish, Chairman of Lewiston SMART. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

Citizens of Lewiston, my name is Joseph Gish and I am the Chairman of Lewiston SMART.

Sadly, it appears the “cover-up” of the City of Lewiston’s staff working to affect the outcome of the Proposition One Ballot Initiative is in full swing. Don’t expect the City Manager to hold city staff accountable when they are aiding the campaign that is working to retain his $228,000 per year city manager job. Don’t expect the Lewiston City Council to hold anyone accountable when one of its members is the Chairman of Keep Lewiston and 5 of the 6 remaining members are actively campaigning for or supporting the Keep Lewiston campaign.

Don’t expect the County Prosecutor to hold anyone accountable when he won’t even enforce Idaho Open Meeting Law against the members of the Lewiston City Council in violation of Idaho State Statute. Don’t expect the Lewiston Morning Tribune to report completely or accurately on this corruption when they donated $1000 to the Keep Lewiston campaign. This could be a case study about how inappropriate friendships, group think and the lack of checks and balances in Lewiston’s council-manager form of government has eliminated all leadership and accountability, except perhaps by you the voter.

The Lewiston City Manager has already stated in a city press release that the illegal printing of Keep Lewiston campaign materials by the City Clerk (who is required by state statute to be impartial) will be treated as a “personnel issue”. This can be translated that it will be handled in a private executive session away from public view. Based on the Lewiston City Attorney’s email to me, it appears the City of Lewiston will not be relieving the City Clerk of her duties as the city’s “Election Officer” based on the premise her only remaining duty in this municipal election is in the unlikely event of a tie.

The City and the Keep Lewiston Campaign have been completely silent on Lewiston City Councilor John Bradbury’s complaint that the “City of Lewiston supervisors are soliciting monetary contributions from city employees during work hours on city premises for the Yes campaign on Proposition 1 that is on the November municipal ballot.”

Apparently the whistleblower is so afraid of retaliation that he or she approached Mr. Bradbury, who is a retired Idaho District Judge, as a way to hide their identity behind attorney client privilege. One can only imagine how toxic the work environment is at the City of Lewiston.

In violation of state statute, the Nez Perce County Prosecutor has asserted an obtuse blanket “conflict of interest” for enforcing Idaho Open Meeting law against the Lewiston City Council. He directly refers Open Meeting Law violations to the Latah County Prosecutor’s office (also a violation of state statute). Don’t expect him to suddenly begin prosecuting anyone at the City of Lewiston for any reason.

The Lewiston Morning Tribune has donated $1000 to the Keep Lewiston campaign, so don’t expect you will get much coverage of this scandal in the Tribune, and expect bias in any reporting they may elect to do.

Lewiston voters, the sad truth is that you are the only ones left to bring visibility and accountability to our public officials for the corruption within the City of Lewiston. The Proposition One ballot initiative gives you the power to hold the Lewiston City Manager and City Council accountable for the corruption we have seen in this election, and prior.

A “NO” vote on Proposition One replaces the current city manager with an elected Mayor that answers directly to you. A “NO” vote on Proposition One replaces the entire Lewiston City Council including the 6 members who are covering for this corruption and think you the voter are too stupid to pick the right Mayor to run your city.

Please SHARE this with all your Lewiston friends an hold these people accountable by voting “NO” on Proposition One.

Joseph Gish (Chairman of Lewiston SMART)

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Tags: Joseph Gish, Keep Lewiston, Lewiston, Lewiston City Manager, Op-Ed, SMART

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