Friday, October 13, 2006

Gadfly?s e-mail finishing just commonplace harassment

Will the real Laird Maxwell, political gadfly and peripatetic champion of tax cuts, please stand up?

He seems confused about his missions.

As the one-man operator of Boise-based Idahoans for Tax Reform, Maxwell would have us believe he's taken a blood oath to transform Idaho into "the lowest taxed ... state in the nation."

But then there is Laird Maxwell wearing another of his hats, as the brains of "This House is My Home," demanding the Blaine County School District spend upwards of $70,000 in personnel time, equipment and supplies looking for and providing any e-mails for the past two years that might—repeat, might—mention two November ballot propositions.

So, miser Maxwell, who assails taxes, is demanding that taxpayers frivolously fund spendthrift Maxwell's eccentric fishing expedition for e-mails that may not exist.

The school district has every right and responsibility to reject Maxwell's harassment at taxpayer expense. This is far from the customary and reasonable open-records request. The district should ask Maxwell for a substantial deposit of funds toward its costs.

If he refuses, then let Maxwell go to court and try finding a judge to force the school district to spend imprudently on a harebrained records search.

Maxwell does not come to this issue with pure intentions.

His new group, "This House is My Home," is the Idaho front group for campaigns with various names in 12 states, funded with millions of dollars from New York real estate magnate Howard Rich, to cripple local planning and zoning powers. The Idaho device is Proposition 2, flying under false colors of merely controlling eminent domain condemnation powers. It is, in fact, a resurrected old "property takings" gambit with clever new wording to penalize public boards for property rezoning.

Maxwell also is concerned about Proposition 1, which would increase school funding through a sales tax.

The demand for the e-mails is being sent to other Idaho counties in hopes someone will buckle. The objective: to show that public officials may have conducted organized stealth campaigns to defeat his Prop 2 and support Prop 1.

Maxwell's evidence? Not a shred. Hence the demand that taxpayers finance rummaging of the electronic files in hopes of finding proof to support his suspicions.

Let Maxwell and his moneyed millionaire New York partner in the Prop 2 scheme shoulder the costs of a wild goose chase for e-mails.

Frugal Blaine County schools need their limited funds for education, not pampering the ego of a gadfly.

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