Friday, September 13, 2013

WATCHDOG REPORT: The Patti Anne Lodge Situation

Watchdog Report filed by ANONYMOUS. — 

  1. Patti Anne Lodge willingly made her Sunnyslope residence unlivable before redistricting occurred by donating it. There is no record of a permit to move it though.

  2. Patti Anne Lodge claimed her Sunnyslope property as her residence to this very day, while she does have properties inside as well as outside her legislative district. She purposefully chose to live outside her legislative district. She chose not to live at the properties she has within the legislative district. She did not rent any place within her district for a residence as well.

  3. There is a lack of construction permits to demonstrate Patti Anne Lodge made a conscious effort to reclaim Sunnyslope as a residence. Furthermore, there is no proof she placed a mobile home or tent to claim those as temporary residences. Placing a mobile home on the property was only offered after the Press-Tribune exposed Senator Lodge was not living in her district.

  4. Patti Anne Lodge has lived outside her own legislative district long enough that it would put into question if she would qualify as an elector to her own legislative district. Furthermore, she is not a college student, a military person, or on an extended out-of-state mission as a state or federal employee. Patti Anne Lodge would qualify as an elector in Canyon County and the state of Idaho. But the relevant questions are "Is she a qualified elector in district 11?" and "Is she a qualified elector in precinct 32?"

  5. Article III, section 2, part 5 of the Idaho Constitution states, "The legislative districts created by the [redistricting] commission shall be in effect for all elections held after the plan is filed and until a new plan is required and filed, unless amended by court order. The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction over actions involving challenges to legislative apportionment." Article III, section 6 states, "No person shall be a senator or representative who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of the United States, and an elector of this state, nor anyone who has not been for one year next preceding his election an elector of the county or district whence he may be chosen." Idaho Code 34-107 can be justified by the State Constitution under Article VI, section 5 (Residences for voting purposes not lost or gained).

  6. Verbal complaints involving the Sunnyslope property and Patti Anne Lodge not living in her legislative district did make it to the Secretary of State's Office early on in this legislative session. Maurice Clements did not lodge those complaints.

  7. The Canyon County Assessor's Office has taken away the Homeowner's exemption away from Patti Anne Lodge for the Sunnyslope property back in March 2012. Furthermore, there is a note that states "there is no house on the property." This did not trigger any changes in the County Clerks office with respect to election status. There is photographic proof the house is actually unlivable on October 25, 2011.

  8. Senate and House leadership usually inform their respective legislators that temporarily live outside their districts to immediately move back into their districts and give them a deadline to do such. Matters of this nature sometimes occur with marital problems and discretion is needed. Patti Anne Lodge is a senior legislator and should have known better.

  9. There has been intimidation for people wishing to collect information and press the matter Patti Anne Lodge is not living within her district. Furthermore, the fear of retaliation is real. Governor Otter campaigned for Patti Anne Lodge in her last primary race; she is one of four people that have this honor. Patti Anne Lodge is married to an active well-established federal judge as well; Ed Lodge's judicial district is the entire state of Idaho.

  10. The Canyon County and the Legislative District 11 Republican Central Committees can pull Patti Anne Lodge's position as a precinct committeeman; they do not have the authority to cause Patti Anne Lodge to lose her Senate position. The Idaho Senate has that ability. In the rare case if the Senate decides to remove Patti Anne Lodge from their membership, it would be the job of the Legislative District 11 Republican Central Committee to provide three names for her potential replacement. It would be the Governor's responsibility to select from this list her replacement.

  1. Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto has a very untenable position that is not of his making. Mr. Yamamoto is the chief election officer of Canyon County Ben Ysursa is the chief election officer of the state of Idaho and would be a resource Mr. Yamamoto would rely upon in this situation. The people of Canyon County could have theoretically challenged the Sunnyslope property as Ed and Patti Anne Lodge's residence. Given political pressure and the fact Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has given his position on this matter, there would be no assurances this process could be handled in a just or fair way. Furthermore, the lack of filing for a permit to demolish a house or a permit to move a house potentially could have triggered internal county software involving election status. There are no moving or demolition permits on record to do this. With Canyon County being a very populous county, I would expect the county having these resources computerized and the Canyon County Assessor would have no reason to contact the County Clerk's Office. Therefore the County Assessor and County Clerk had no reason to be aware of the contested election status by these routes. Revoking the homeowner's exemption should have been a potential red flag though.

  2. The physical location of one's residence determines voting status. Patti Anne Lodge has used the Huston address as her mailing address; the mailing address has no bearing on the matter. If Patti Anne Lodge had moved into the Huston property and amended the record, the matter would have been moot with respect to her senate seat. She would have to give up her precinct committeeman seat in the Canyon County Republican party though, but many people would consider that a small price. For example, in a neighboring county there is a legislator with a mailing address in a nearby town just over his county's border. During redistricting, a few political insiders enjoyed when the Idaho Statesman misreported the effects of some redistricting plans when they used the mailing address instead of the physical address.

  3. The Secretary of State and Senate leadership has some major explaining to do. Protocol would be Secretary of State Ben Ysursa contacts the Senate Pro Tem (Senator Brent Hill) after being informed about the residence problem. It would then be the job of the Senate Pro Tem and the Majority Leader, Senator Bart Davis, to discuss matters with Senator Patti Anne Lodge to bring her in compliance with state laws and the state constitution as soon as possible. Did the following discussion occur and why or why not? With respect to Senator Branden Durst, it would be the responsibility of the Senate Pro Tem (Senator Brent Hill) and the Minority Leader (Senator Michelle Stennett) to inquire about his residency and what are his plans.

  4. Redistricting caused some major headaches in Bannock, Bonner, Bonneville, Twin Falls, and, most importantly, Canyon County when it came to drawing precinct and legislative district lines. With respect to the county clerks, many of them had major election-related work that overwhelmed their staff. The October 2011 photograph suggests the Lodges' Sunnyslope property is unlivable; this is more than a full year before the November 2012 general election and would suggest Patti Anne Lodge would not be eligible to be on the ballot using the Sunnyslope property as her residence when you look at the state constitution in Article III, section 6. Article III, section 2, part 5 would define the boundaries used. Furthermore, claiming this property as a residence for election purposes may also constitute a fraud. Filing deadlines for the May 2012 elections also made for some interesting politics as well. Using the house currently in district 10, Patti Anne Lodge most likely would have to run against Senator John McGee. The incumbent Senator in district 11 would be Melinda Smyser. The sexual harassment complaint for John McGee that led to the selection of Jim Rice could have come out very different. The Democrats have not won a legislative seat in Canyon County since the seventies. Did Patti Anne Lodge cost Melinda Smyser a state senate seat with an improper claiming of a residence to protect Senator John McGee?

  5. As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary & Rules committee, she would have been aware of the Bradbury case that went to the Idaho Supreme Court. The court case is only a few years old. Judge Bradbury had a primary residence in Lewiston and a secondary residence in Idaho County. Judge Bradbury wished to save the state of Idaho some money and stay in his second home when he had cases in Idaho County. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled Judge Bradbury could not do this; Judge Bradbury had to either rent a motel room and submit a bill or use his primary residence in Nez Perce County. A similar standard could be applied to Patti Anne Lodge. At this point in time, it is the purview of the Idaho Senate to determine consequences for Senator Patti Anne Lodge.

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