Canyon County Commissioner Craig Hanson apologizes in letter

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) - Canyon County Commissioner Craig Hanson has apologized in a letter to members of the Caldwell mayor's staff and others who "were unintentionally offended" during a May 19 incident that has been reported to the police.

Mayor Garret Nancolas asked for the apology for what the mayor describes as Hanson's red-faced and threatening outburst directed at the mayor's secretary and others.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Hanson was displeased with a Caldwell Chamber of Commerce political ad on May 18 criticizing county commissioners for relocating the Canyon County Fair.

Commissioners called the ad a "political attack" just ahead of the May 20 election.

Caldwell Police Department Chief Chris Allgood says police are investigating the events of May 19.

"Commissioner Hanson had contact with (Chamber of Commerce Executive Director) Theresa Hardin and then he came over and spoke with the mayor's secretary," Allgood said.

Nancolas heard about the event from his staff and requested in a letter that Hanson not return to City Hall unless he first apologized.

"All I know is I wouldn't act that way to another entity," Nancolas said. But he also said anybody can have a moment when they act other than they normally would. But he said an apology was warranted.

In the letter apologizing, Hanson wrote: "Although I cannot agree with the entire content of your letter, I would like to offer my apologies if any members of your staff were unintentionally offended."

The mayor said Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue also apologized.

"My apology to the mayor was that this was embarrassing, as a county official, to have another county official act in that manner in an official capacity," Donahue said.

The advertisement by the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce that appeared in the newspaper essentially said commissioners were squandering millions of dollars by relocating the fair and that it would end up competing with existing taxpayer-funded facilities.

Commissioners said the points brought up by the chamber had been discussed previously over the past five years. Commissioners also objected to the chamber's claim in the ad that "the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce stands united in opposition." However, they said, the commissioners and fair board are dues paying chamber members and neither group is in opposition.

"We did not join the Caldwell Chamber, and are sure we speak for the majority of members on this, to receive political advice or be part of paid political advertisements," the commissioners said in a statement.

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune