Lt. Levity: The Denney Keeps Lawyers Flush

Lawyers must hold a special place in the heart of former House Speaker Lawerence Denney. His legislative work seems to benefit lawyers far more than other Idahoans. Now, that’s not a criticism of lawyers. It’s just that we’d like to see economic policies that don’t just lift one boat in the harbor and lets all the other ones sink.

A few highlights of Denney’s “economic stimulus plan for lawyers” include:

1) Championing the highly litigated move by the Idaho GOP to close primary elections.
2) In 2012, he created a $200,000 slush fund for lawyers (to pay for second opinions when the Idaho Attorney General’s Office tells GOP leaders that wacky ideas like nullification are wacky ideas).
3) he kept lawyers flush when he tried to fire Republicans on the 2011 Redistricting Commission (they angered him by refusing to engage in hyper-partisan gerrymandering).

Oh, and we all might keep this in mind if Denney prevails in his attempt to win the GOP primary contest to be the next Idaho Secretary of State.

Lt. Levity, a rough-hewn Idahoan from deep in the heart of Idaho’s rugged mountains, noticed another instance where The Denney is showing a special affinity towards keeping lawyers well-cared for and over-looking everyone else. …

On Cabins and The Denney

What price will Idahoans pay if the state gets control of federal lands? Perhaps there’s some evidence that will give us a clue.

Rep. Lawrence Denney (R-Midvale) says Idaho manages its land much better than the Forest Service, and he believes a state takeover of federal lands would benefit Idahoans. For proof, Denney points to what he calls the Gem State’s sterling track record of land management.

“I think we have an example of what we’re capable of doing,” he said.

The same day he said those words, state land managers booted Jan Nunamaker from a Priest Lake cabin her grandfather built in 1933. Okay, technically she wasn’t booted; instead, the state auctioned the land from underneath her. The cabin, as well as the remains of five of her family members, sits on that land, which was being leased to her at a reduced rate.

But that’s not legal. According to the Idaho Constitution, the state must extract maximum profit from its land. Ergo, Nunamaker got kicked to the curb – or in this case, the lake.

But before you feel sorry for her, buck up. And start thinking like The Denney. Understand that it’s her own fault. She had every opportunity to outbid a wealthy attorney from Colorado. But she didn’t. She claimed she couldn’t afford it.

Don’t think for a second that makes The Denney sad. If Nunamaker wanted to keep the land her relatives are buried on, then she should have gotten a better job. Boo hoo, you don’t see The Denney asking for freebies – except during election season.

Besides, the Colorado attorney who outbid Nunamker is required to pay her $38,500 for the cabin she did not want to sell. Also, he must pay the first year’s rent of $22,880 upfront, which is only $7,800 more than the annual earnings of Idaho’s minimum wage workers.

Clearly the Gem State is looking out for its citizens. Plopping down $22,880 is well within the average Idahoan’s budget.

The whole mess has the disaster rating of a Paul Walker driving school. In a single story, The Denney’s argument that state land management will benefit Idahoans goes down in flames.

But if you think that dissuades The Denney from this ill-fated mission, you don’t know The Denney. He doesn’t care that the Nunamaker family was displaced. If it made him a quick buck, The Denney would open a business that specialized in displacing families.

The upshot to the Priest Lake imbroglio is a rat’s nest of litigation thicker than The Denney’s toupee. As it turns out, the only people benefiting from the mess are attorneys. Which is appropriate considering an attorney now has Nunamaker’s cabin – and her family’s remains.

But it’s also odd because The Denney claimed state land management would curtail litigation.

Apparently, The Denney is wrong about that too.

Lieutenant Levity
South Fork Station, Idaho

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