NIC, Crony Capitalists, and the “Education Corridor”
By North Idaho Slow Growth Research
The drama playing out at recent NIC Board meetings appears to be a typical liberal-conservative fracas. But that is a diversion. What is really going on behind the scenes is far more nefarious, and it is mostly about CRONY CAPITALISM, OUT-OF-CONTROL GROWTH, and UNACCOUNTABLE “REDEVELOPMENT” AGENCIES; not left-right politics.
If you do not see the connections, or do not understand how the globalist-socialist crony-capitalist network operates in North Idaho, then listen up.
The conflict between “conservatives” who have “taken over the NIC Board of Trustees”, and “Liberal Activists” is a mere charade. The real, underlying conflict is between democratically elected trustees who are not beholden to “the-powers-that-be,” and a self-appointed group of wealthy “donors” who have been running NIC for decades.
The manufactured hysteria is just a distraction. No “left-right” issues have even been discussed. The real issue at stake is a plan for “redevelopment” of NIC property that is favored by regional stakeholders and is threatened by an “independent” board of Trustees.
THE EDUCATION CORRIDOR
What are these plans for NIC “redevelopment” that are so dear to NIC “stakeholders?” The Master Plan for an “Education Corridor” was produced almost fifteen years ago by MIG, a globalist consulting firm, and can be viewed on the CDA city website. At first glance, it seems attractive and not terribly controversial. But the first phase of this type of tax-payer-financed redevelopment is always attractive: Tree-lined roads, round-abouts, walkways, parks, bikelanes and infrastructure come first.
The next phase will be Massive Overdevelopment by private investors (also known as “smart growth”) and it will continue until NIC is an unrecognizable ocean of corporate-controlled “mixed use” apartments, education complexes, parking garages, and professionally landscaped “gathering areas.” And the “densification” phase of the “Education Corridor” Redevelopment Plan is sure to offer plenty of lucrative “public-private partnerships” for well-connected donors.
The current NIC “leadership crisis” is caused by the fact that a majority of the newly-elected Board of Trustees are suspicious of crony-capitalist deal-making, and are therefore a threat to the stakeholders’ long-planned, “investment opportunity” in prime, NIC owned, river-front Real Estate.
There are millions of dollars at stake, but the “Friends of NIC” cannot admit that their real objectives are money and control. So they manufacture outrage, hysteria, and “credentialization” crises out of thin air, with the help of the lapdog CDA Press, hysterical liberal rent-a-mobs, and well-connected cronies.
NIC FOUNDATION “INSIDERS”
So, the question is, who exactly are these “Crony-Capitalists” who are allegedly running NIC? They are not difficult to identify once you understand the way in which wealthy donors often use “Foundations” to exert influence over public institutions. Both the NIC Foundation—a privately controlled non-profit that manages all monies donated to NIC, —and the Kootenai Health Foundation—which is currently absorbing all the assets of Kootenai Hospital—, were created for this purpose.
Unfortunately, most of the wealthy investors and developers who control the NIC Foundation are aligned with a Globalist-Socialist Agenda that is repugnant to your typical Kootenai resident. Their plan for NIC corresponds to a particular type of monotonous, impersonal, high-density vision for “smart growth” promoted by globalist planning agencies worldwide. What most of us value as a spacious open campus, and scenic public property, globalists see as “underutilized” land, that they aim to put to “productive” use.
How do we know this? It isn’t speculation. Let’s look at the current board of the NIC foundation and see what we find. In the following chart, the professional and civic affiliations of board members are listed. And low and behold, it appears that almost two thirds of the members are investors, bankers, or developers, and 19 out of the 28 are members of the INTERNATIONAL Rotary Club. What a COINCIDENCE!!!
But there is more. It seems that President Swayne as well as the last three NIC Presidents were also ROTARIANS. And so were Judy Meyer and Christie Wood, two long serving Trustees. And so were two of three “appointed” trustees who selected the new Rotarian President. And so was the wife of the NIC attorney, Marc Lyons. Wow. That’s a lot of Coincidences.
We’ll consider what exactly the Rotary International organization is, and why it is the glue than holds this crony capitalist network together, in a later section. For now, let’s keep looking for Coincidences!!!
BOARD OF TRUSTEES GOES ROGUE
For over three decades, the NIC Foundation has had enormous influence over the selection of Board Trustees and College Presidents. But in November of 2020, a majority of “conservatives” who were not backed or endorsed by the Foundation, gained a majority on the NIC board of trustees.
This created difficulties, but the crisis did not reach a fever pitch until the board fired NIC President, Rotarian Rick MacLennan. Loss of their puppet president was intolerable, and the NIC Foundation “insiders” took immediate measures to recover control.
This is a list of the group of Plaintiffs who threatened to file a lawsuit against one of the “conservative” members of the NIC Board of Trustees, thus forcing his resignation. Notice almost all the original plaintiffs are NIC “insiders” related to Rotarian Steve Meyer of Parkwood Business Properties. Meyer is one of the largest property owners in CDA and he and his wife are self-confessed “Global Citizens.” The Meyer Health Science Building is named for them.
But getting rid of Trustee Barnes was just the beginning. The NIC Foundation backers of the “Education Corridor” needed to control the NIC Presidency, with only two agents on the board of trustees, they could not force the selection of a pliable College president. They therefore arranged with their compatriots in Boise to appoint three trustees, two of whom were Rotarians. And the state-appointed board of Trustees made it their top priority to a hire Rotarian Nick Swayne as the new college President. What a Coincidence!!!
Still, the NIC Foundation insiders did not have firm control of the NIC board, and their best chance to solidify their influence was to install reliable henchmen during the 2022 election. And since the NIC Stakeholders could not openly advocate for themselves, they needed proxies to make it appear that there was substantial and widespread support for their puppet candidates. This is where the genius of the Rotary Club comes in. It will soon be apparent why so many NIC Foundation “insiders” are members.
THE ROTARIAN CRUSADE
“One Profits Most Who Serves Best” —Rotarian Motto
The CDA Chapter of Rotary International is composed of several hundred prominent citizens. It is an exclusive club:
— You must be invited to join, “vetted” by a membership committee, and preference is given to those from influential families or professions.
Rotarians meet weekly and are expected to contribute to charitable causes, demonstrate “service” to the community, and be loyal to other club members. Members represent a variety of political and religious affiliations so that the Rotary Club can claim to be “inclusive” and to represent a “cross-section of the community.” This is key to its ability to do what it does best: appear to be a service organization while it promotes the agenda of an exclusive coterie of globalists, crony-capitalists, and “stakeholders.”
There is much more to say about the Rotary Club, but for now we will focus on its extremely well-honed ASTROTURFING operations.
No organization in Kootenai county can hold a candle to the Rotarians in terms of orchestrated marketing of political causes. Their ability to pretend to represent the “voice of the community” while holding all power in the hands of just a few well-connected operators is phenomenal.
For example, the Rotarian-RINO group CEQEC, recently endorsed the NIC Establishment candidates. Lots of familiar names!!
But no group better demonstrates they systematic lies, hypocrisy, and projection of the Rotarian-RINO Cartel, like the North Idaho Republicans,—another influential group of “community leaders” that supports the establishment puppets.
NIR was formed by a group of RINOS who once controlled the KCRCC, but lost power. Their campaign to promote the Establishment Candidates was billed as “Trustees You Can Trust,” but was entirely based on deception and fraud. The notorious “counterfeit” NIR sample ballot is an excellent example of their perfidy.
Another group of notorious CDA RINOs is the Chamber of Commerce. As you may recall, the KCRCC candidates for NIC Trustee failed to show up for the Chamber of Chamber sponsored debate and were soundly criticized by the Rotarian-controlled CDA Press for this omission.
But it seems the KCRCC Trustees had a hunch that they might not be treated fairly. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that the Chamber of Commerce is merely another front for RINO-Rotarian intriguers?
CEQEC, NIR and the Chamber of Commerce are only a few of dozens of Kootenai County commissions, boards, and non-profits that are dominated by a small group of Rotarians. And NIC is only one of their fields of influence. To see a fuller scope of the problem, this article outlines dozens more of these unelected, unaccountable “community based” organizations that are dominated by RINO-Rotarians.
THE NON-PARTISAN FRONTS
And its not just the RINO factions that the Rotary Club has influence over. They do not have a great many Democrat operatives among their members, but Rotarians hold KEY positions of leadership in several influential liberal organizations such as the CDA Press (Clint Shroeder), HREI (Jeanette Laster, Heidi Cochran), and KCTFHR (Christie Wood, Michelle Fink).
They are also at the forefront of a number of “Non-Partisan” groups such as DART (Democrats and Republicans Together). These connections are invaluable, when hysterical mobs of angry activists are needed to foment outrage and pose for photo-ops of “angry crowds”.
In addition to controlling leading members of “Socially liberal” and “Non-partisan” political groups, the Rotarians include several dozen Education professionals among their ranks, —almost all well-placed administrators rather than teachers.
Connections among University administrators has made it easy to organize what appears to be grass-roots resistance to the democratically elected Board of Trustees. The following lists of “Letters to the Editor” published in the CDA press during the fall of 2022 demonstrates ROTARIAN ASTROTURFING at its finest.
THE ENEMIES OF NIC
The real problem that must be faced is that the “Friends of NIC,” and the globalist stakeholders they represent are actually the worst Enemies of NIC. NIC Foundation “insiders” were content to allow for “local control” of the college when the Board of Trustees were their own proxies. But now that Kootenai residents have a meaningful say in college governance, the ENEMIES OF NIC will continue to manufacture resistance to the trustees they cannot control, until the college becomes entirely ungovernable.
The ENEMIES OF NIC are happy to destroy NIC’s reputation, threaten its accreditation, remove its insurance, destroy legal records, encourage resignations, and drive down enrollment in order to get what they want: the chance to “redevelop” NIC’s riverfront Campus on their terms, under their control.
They would prefer to see NIC eliminated altogether as an independent, locally controlled institution, than to allow it to thrive under the control of Kootenai residents.
It is not a coincidence that Joel Hazel, the husband of Rotarian Christa Hazel (leader of “Friends of NIC”), is the lawyer supervising the conversion of Kootenai Health from a publicly controlled hospital to a private Non-profit, under the Control of the KH Foundation. What is happening to Kootenai Health will happen to NIC, but in a different manner.
If the elected board of trustees doesn’t “play ball,” NIC Foundation “insiders” will almost certainly attempt to dismantle NIC altogether, and fold its assets into a state-run educational institute they can more easily control.
There will be NO PEACE for NIC trustees until puppet administrators acceptable to the NIC Foundation “insiders,” have been securely placed in positions where they can green-light real estate deals with powerful stakeholders and crony capitalists. The FAKE Philanthropists of the NIC Foundation, and the FAKE “Friends of NIC” will see that NORTH IDAHO COLLEGE is destroyed before they will willingly give up control.
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