Refugee Resettlement Watch

Twin Falls, Idaho: Public meeting on refugees could be ‘dog and pony show’ if not managed properly

Posted by Ann Corcoran on September 15, 2015

Citizens critical of refugee resettlement on-going in Twin Falls, Idaho were hoping to get all of their many questions answered when a panel of “experts” come together at 6:30 p.m. on September 22nd.  But, unless the meeting is fair and open to any and all questions, the opportunity to fully inform the community will be squandered by the Twin Falls Times-News.

I sure hope the organizers aren’t planning on using one of many manipulative techniques (Delphi comes to mind) that would steer the outcome to a predetermined conclusion and that is that everything is just fine and dandy, so let’s ‘welcome’ the Syrians to Idaho.

Bartlett terrorism

Larry Bartlett

For new readers, this latest round of controversy started brewing when the resettlement contractor, affiliated with the College of Southern Idaho and the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, began bragging about Syrians being on the way to Twin Falls.

By the way, Syrians have already begun arriving in Boise according to State Department data.

Here is the make-up of the panel that will answer attendees questions on the 22nd:

The panelists are:

Larry Bartlett, director of the U.S. State Department’s Office on Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

Ken Tota, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement

ZeZe Rwasama, director of the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs

Brian Pike, Twin Falls deputy city manager of public safety

Ken Tota

Ken Tota

Mike Mason, CSI’s vice president of finance

Dr. Steven Kohtz, with St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical Center

Wiley Dobbs, superintendent of the Twin Falls School District.

And, the discussion is being moderated by Times-News editor Matt Christensen who is hardly unbiased.  Readers may remember that he actually editorialized calling me a “thief” here in June when he said I snipped too many paragraphs of a news story they had published.

Here then is how this meeting should be held to allow for the free and fair flow of information

~The moderator should not be affiliated with the newspaper.  Christensen must be replaced. Perhaps find a respected former judge or someone not presumed to have a bias.

~The program must be videotaped for future use and available to those who can’t be there.

~Panelists are there to answer questions, not to give speeches or lectures (we are nation of immigrants, blah! blah!).  There is no need to hear opening statements that will only serve to drag out the meeting.  If the organizers wish, they could provide written short opening remarks by panelists to be distributed as audience members arrive.

~Everyone present who wishes to ask a question should be allowed to do so.  No one should be sending in questions for pre-screening by the moderator (as the paper is presently urging people to do). Only those present should be allowed to ask a question (or more than one question).  No advance screening of questions should be permitted even at the meeting itself.

~Questions should be permitted to be asked if the meeting goes half the night.  Everyone there who has a question, should get an answer.  Cutting it off prematurely will only appear to shortchange one side or the other.

~Perhaps to be fair and orderly everyone who wants to ask a question must put his or her name in a hat—a hat which can be added to as the evening progresses. Names would be drawn randomly to determine speaker order.

~Questioners should be permitted to ask more than one question if during the course of the evening something needs further clarification, or something said prompts a new question.

~If someone on the panel is unable to provide the needed information on that evening, they should agree to promptly supply it and the paper should agree to publish it expeditiously.

~Any attempts to name-call, or otherwise make personal attacks, should be promptly shut down by the moderator.

Those are just suggestions off the top of my head, but the point is that no one should come away from the meeting shortchanged in any way.

I feel sure that both Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Tota do not want to be associated with charges that they participated in a meeting that was somehow less than fair and open.

And, to all involved—be sure to invite your US Representatives and Senators as well as Idaho legislators to this very important opportunity to get answers about how the US State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement run the program in Idaho (along with a resettlement agency) and how they can assure you that refugees will not financially strap the community or risk its security.

By the way, Idaho legislators should be especially interested because at this time Idaho is a Wilson-Fish state which means the Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Tota and the primary contractor—the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (with another non-profit, Jannus Inc., which I forgot earlier)—call all the shots for Idaho and elected officials have virtually no say about who comes, how many and what state social services are used for refugees.

Click here for everything we have ever written on Twin Falls.  Go here for more on Lawrence Bartlett, and here for Ken Tota.

10 Responses to “Twin Falls, Idaho: Public meeting on refugees could be ‘dog and pony show’ if not managed properly”

  1. […] brewing for months about the refugee resettlement program on-going in the Magic Valley of Idaho.  See our post last week where we outlined a public meeting format that would be fair to all sides in the controversy (so it […]


  2. […] Source link Source link […]


  3. Reblogged this on The Grey Enigma.


    • misterpaul5a said

      Although not specifically related to your comments I was wondering if you could answer me a question regarding the voting system in the USA. I have tried to ‘look it up’ but have ended up more confused than ever.
      There are I know some countries who regard voting as mandatory – is there a nationwide requirement for every American to vote? To me it is a ‘no-brainier’ to coin a current phrase, and I believe that EVERY citizen should be required to cast a vote in a General election.
      I also believe that, despite my fears of a 1984 scenario, every person should be required to have an Identity Card. In fact to my mind it is becoming more and more essential due to the spread of ‘moles’ ‘cuckoos’ ‘Fifth Columnists’ Illegals’ and fellow travellers. Sure, this will not stop these criminals, but ANY deterrent would contribute to our safety in some small way. We in the UK do not have ID cards, but I do not know of any of my friends or acquaintances who would object to this being compulsory. The usual reason not to have them is the ‘cost’ of such a system. But if ID cards were to only deter ONE disaster then it would surely be worth the ‘cost’.


      • momodoom said

        Americans are NOT Required to vote. Originally, voting was restricted to American land owners, but the pool of eligible voters has been periodically broadened over time. (Black men got the right to vote years before it was given to women.)

        Voting is often seen as a “right”, but it is also a privilege (felons lose the right to vote for 10 years, and must petition for reinstatement) and a responsibility. When people view only the ‘right’ to vote, without any sense of responsibility, elections turn into popularity contests which ignore the outcome – choosing policies that will govern our country’s decisions for the next four years (in the Presidential case.)

        It is time to return to the emphasis on voting as a big responsibility. Fifty years ago, many “low-information voters” would not even register to vote, leaving the decision up to people they felt were more knowledgeable about the elections.

        But since the ’90’s, the Motor Voter act increased access to voting registration to many low-information voters, who then have no barriers to casting a ‘popularity’ vote devoid of policy considerations. I do not think this is helping our country, and having a ‘requirement’ to vote would be an even worse policy for us.

        Liked by 1 person

        • misterpaul5a said

          Thank you so much for your comprehensive and informative response.Truly appreciated.
          We speak of freedom and we hear many thousands pontificating about Government policies, yet many of those thousands do not vote. I believe there ought to be a concerted effort in both of our free countries to urge ‘the people’ to vote. The question in this country is currently being debated around the question of Union Votes and the validity of low turn-outs. Unless we get more people out to vote we will find that vested interests will govern more and more of our Policies, whilst the problem in the UK crops up after every election – what was the Parth Manifesto, and how much of it was put into practice! David Cameron declared, indeed PROMISED, that he would reduce our immigration totals to ‘tens of thousands’ rather than hundreds of thousands, yet 2014 saw immigration totals at the highest ever of OVER 350,000. This while we are short of affordable housing, healthcare deficiencies and the lack of school places – and there is ALWAYS an excuse for the failures to carry out the promises they make in Manifestos. On a slightly different note, but equally as important, the European Union has still not posted audited accounts for 19, (Yes, nineteen) years. What would your IRS have to say about a person or Corporation who carried on their business in this fashion? Thanks again for your comments.


  4. Brittius said

    Reblogged this on Brittius.


  5. misterpaul5a said

    It looks like Larry Bartlett has mutated into Jeremy Corbyn – ?


  6. sturandot13 said

    Excellent ideas Ann! I hope those who plan on attending take your suggestions to heart – especially getting an un-biased (if that is at all possible) moderator!


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