Mr. Brown, I read with interest your comments in the article in the Idaho State Journal, by Jeff Papworth on August 24, 2019. I am writing in reference to specific statements you made in that article.
According to Papworth, “Brown said he knows there’s “a lot of frustration and anger about the reassessments but there’s also been a lot of misinformation spread about the subject.”
I agree with you that there is frustration and anger about the reassessments, but not for the reasons you think. The anger and frustration comes from the helplessness people feel as a result of the fact that they have been deprived of their right to due process.
This disenfranchisement is a direct result of the decisions and actions taken by the Assessor, Sheri Davies, you, and Commissioners Tovey and Moser. I further agree with you that there has been a lot of misinformation spread about the subject. That too, is a direct result of the lack of candor on the part of the Assessor and Commissioners regarding this debacle. You, Moser and Tovey along with the Assessor, have continually deflected and shifted the responsibility of this mess to others; you all blamed the State Tax Commission, a computer issue, and a printer issue. You sent letters to certain homeowners in which you instructed them to file an appeal to the State Tax Appeal Board or with a county judge. This misinformation is glaring since the only way to appeal to a judge is to file a lawsuit against the county ( incurring filing fees, court costs and legal fees). So, you are correct; there has been a lot of misinformation about the subject, but it has all come from your office and/or the assessor’s office.
According to the same article in the ISJ, “Brown said many of the people signing the recall petitions believe that recalling the current county commissioners will result in lower property taxes.” I disagree with that statement. I and my team of volunteers have spoken to thousands of property owners during the past month. Not one of them believes that recalling you, the other commissioners and the assessor would result in a lowering of the taxes. You should actually give the residents of the county you purportedly serve more credit. They all understand that what is done is done, but they want to remove from office the elected officials who either through incompetence or design caused this debacle in the first place. We need a change in our elected officials. We need elected officials who are more fiscally responsible and concerned about the welfare and well-being of the residents. While our valuations are already set, officials with more common sense will act in a way to protect those whom they have been elected to serve.
Papworth quotes you as stating “Another very personal issue is that I should be recalled because I wanted the (assessed) valuations to go up, so that as an insurance agent my [clients’] premiums would go up and I would make money on the back end. That’s extremely concerning to me that people No. 1 would believe that and No. 2 that’s not even true." Let me reiterate that I and my team of volunteers have spoken to thousands of people and we have not heard nor have we alleged anything regarding your previous job as an insurance agent or insurance fees. You see, we only state things that we have evidence of and are true and accurate . . . we don’t repeat gossip or hearsay.
Papworth also quotes you as saying “If you get rid of the commissioners, the next set of commissioners, who don’t know anything about county government probably, still have to follow the rules from the state and the state statutes. Nothing changes.” This statement is beyond arrogant. You were appointed to your commission seat, not elected. A small committee of politically like-minded people with influence in our county submitted your name to the governor. You forget yourself, sir. You are correct, the next set of commissioners may not know anything about county government, but if they are honest, ethical, fair, transparent, and fiscally conservative, we (the residents) may see some changes in our county. That would be a great start.
In conclusion, I would like to address your Facebook video in which you plead for people to give you ideas on how to convey information to the public. How about you just do it . . . there is no magic to it, you talk to a variety of people, you listen, and then act in their best interest. That’s my advice to you.