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Mar 30 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Major Treefort music event underway (Boise Statesman)
Longtimme humane society leader Dee Fugit retires (Boise Statesman)
Debates over who should pay for mental health (Lewiston Tribune)
Washington considers mental health service cost (Lewiston Tribune)
Caldwell auction house sold (Nampa Press Tribune)

Oregon ACLU director Dave Fidanqur retires (Eugene Register Guard)
In-n-Out, launched in Medford, may open more in OR (Medford Tribune)
Portland Mayor Hales will seek re-election (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing state gun control plan (Salem Statesman Journal)
Help with the higher education costs (Salem Statesman Journal)

Massive storage facility being built at Lynden (Bellingham Herald)
Razor clamming season begins (Bremerton Sun)
Safety an issue at Everett transit station (Everett Herald)
State could ban powdered alcohol (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Olympian, Longview News)
State schools budget examined (Port Angeles News)
Growing numbers of applications at WA universities (Seattle Times)
Fort Vancouver West Barracks may be remade (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 29 2015

Rural funding

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

A somewhat more receptive House last week went along with (and this was partly because it was lumped in with other must-pass measures) a rural school funding measure backed by the Oregon House delegation. Ultimate passage is now a matter for the Senate, but initial appearances were that the biggest hurdle had been cleared with the House action.
The House work was led by Republican Greg Walden of the 2nd district, working the Republican leadership side, and Democrat Peter DeFazio, working with his caucus. Walden is well-positioned within the leadership structure, and DeFazio has lots of seniority, but the House has been a high nut to crack over the last number of years, and passage of something to replace federal timber money, which Congress increasingly has been disinclined to renew, has become harder and harder. It will not get easier any time soon.
The stakes are high for the many Oregon counties, especially those in the southwest (Curry, Coos, Douglas, Josephine and others) especially accustomed to getting the money in hand. Walden’s release on the payments includes a number of examples of the impacts, such as: “According to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, they would be forced to eliminate their remaining patrol deputies and 911 dispatchers by July without this funding. The Department faces worse patrol shortages than nearly two years ago when a 911 dispatcher asked a woman if she could just ask a man assaulting her to go away because there were no deputies to send on weekends.”
Up to now, the Oregon delegation has been playing a frantic game of catchup, trying to help these rural areas by keeping the traditional run of money coming.
But the time seems to be arriving when some new approach is needed. The contours of this revenue box are going to have to be re-examined, because the counties’ future will be tenuous indeed if they’re having to rely on annual strokes of good fortune such as this year’s seems to be.

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Mar 29 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Reviewing year-old Army national guard crash (Boise Statesman)
Legislature nearing its conclusion (IF Post Register)
Reviewing the Church Committee on the CIA (IF Post Register)
Little help in region on mental illness (Lewiston Tribune)
Tribes contend radioactivity is in the wind (Pocatello Journal)

Oregon snowpack diminishes greatly (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Some of Oregon’s small towns grow strongly (Eugene Register Guard)
Walden town hall features water deal (KF Herald & News)
More truckers using Highway 97 (KF Herald & News)
Conservation group looks to buy 352-acre ranch (Medford Tribune)
Prices rise high for many key drugs (Salem Statesman Journal)

Condition of Whatcom jail blasted (Bellingham Herald)
Who benefits from political spending? (Bremerton Sun)
Bremerton annexation may run afoul of state law (Bremerton Sun)
Legislators may toughen rules on oil trains (Everett Herald)
College may drop many student health policies (Kennewick Herald, Olympian)
Longview Port running into land limits (Longview News)
Democrats plan deal on class-size initiative (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
British firm buys Port Angeles composites make (Port Angeles News)
What’s the effect of sea lions on salmon? (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Companies with tax breaks still paying low (Seattle Times)

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Mar 28 2015

One less voice

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

A couple of years ago another writer and I were researching for a book on the Northwest’s newspapers (it would be called “New Editions”), which involved calling many of the proprietors one by one. One of the most memorable was Sandra Wisecaver, who would not have called herself – but who was – one of the more remarkable journalists in the region.

She was owner and operator of the Buhl Herald, a paper with a heritage going back more than a century. The area around Twin Falls sprang up like magic, as its valley name would attest, just after the tun of the twentieth century, and Buhl’s downtown was platted in 1906. In the manner of the day, the town’s newspaper set up shop (having moved several miles over from Filer) a few months later.

Through the decades since it has published consistently, running very much as it did at the beginning. It was never bought by a larger organization, but was run for decades by the Bailey family. In 2005 Sandra Wisecaver, who had worked there for some years, bought it.

It had not been, and she didn’t try to turn it into, a paper with lofty pretensions. It didn’t join the parade of many papers to the Internet, even to Facebook. (Today, there is a modest Facebook page for the Buhl Herald, evidently started last year.) And she seemed almost a little apologetic about the paper’s brand of journalism: It wasn’t a regular breaker of gee-wow news stories, of scandal or spectacle.

It was, rather, a small town community newspaper: “Business is a little slower, but we have advertisements every week and people read them. It’s probably because you’re not going to find the stories that we print somewhere else. The daily is not going to carry the applause for somebody who’s done something good in the community, or been a great volunteer. I think its important to have the kids in.”

She was exactly right, and the Herald’s kind of journalism helps provide the glue in a community. With all the disaster and catastrophe we’re daily exposed to, even on Facebook and Twitter much less cable TV, we need the reminders that the world around us is not all aflame. The Herald did that. The children got in the newspaper through the years, and many of them probably felt themselves part of the community in a way children in many larger communities never quite do.

(I should add: The Buhl Herald also did run this column for some years back in the 90s.) Continue Reading »

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Mar 28 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Meridian tries to plan substantial downtown (Boise Statesman)
Legislature approves $1.8b for schools (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
ER schedules at Pomeroy cut (Lewiston Tribune)
House passes fed lands control bill (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Another run at Craters of the Moon park status (IF Post Register)
Analysis: Tax plan would help wealthiest most (Nampa Press Tribune)
Feds announce Oregon sage grouse deal (Nampa Press Tribune)
House may vote next week on road tax (TF Times News)

Gearhart mayor not recalled (Astorian)
State data hacked, Brown seeks review (Astorian)
Amanda Knox case ends in Italy (Eugene Register Guard)
State pot director fired (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
Legislators meet with locals on state issues (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Sage grouse deal reached by ranchers, feds (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Possible tradeoff over road repair, software (Salem Statesman Journal)

WA Democrats may try for capital gains tax (Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Longview News)
Marysville school may seek $5 for cafeteria (Everett Herald)
KapStone deal still hands on health plan (Longview News)
Possible prison for mentally ill (Olympian)
Olympia will add officers to night patrol (Olympian)
Amanda Knox case ends in Italy (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribunne, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
WSU medical school plan still moving (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacomans sue to stop new government building (Tacoma News Tribune)
Inslee considers interchange for Mill Plain (Vancouver Columbian)
Union possible for Yakima clerks office (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 27 2015

Natives explore the next 10,000

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

What will Alaska look like in 10,000 years? Who will be here? What will they do? And, most important, what will preserved from the past kilennium?

These are not easy questions. Even thinking about the next decade, let alone thousands of years, is interrupted by every crisis that requires attention. There is business to transact. Cell phones buzz. Unanswered emails compound. And, so, we think about the now, not the next.

What if we step back and only think about the future? We turn off our phones, don’t answer email, and ignore interruption.

The First Alaskans Institute recently gathered a group of people together for a week in Bethel to have that very conversation. Elizabeth Medicine Crow said that very idea is a part of the institute’s vision and came from the founding board members. “I think intuitively it makes a lot of sense for Native people. But I also think for most people it’s really hard to wrap their arms around, ‘what does that mean? For 10,000 years.’ It’s really not so much of a mystery for us because we can actually turn around and look directly at our past because we’ve been here for longer than that. We know that as stewards of our time, on behalf of our people, that we have at minimum a trajectory of that much time to look forward to.”

Medicine Crow, who’s president of the institute, said it was a chance to convene a diverse gathering of people who were eager to think deeply about “where we’re going.”

“So it’s not just corporations, it’s not just tribes, it’s not just non-profits, it’s also artists, it’s elders, it’s young people, mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles, storytellers, performers, it was a real mix” she said. “It’s non-hierarchical. So it’s not just people who have a title. Leadership to us is our Native people who are stepping up to help our communities and to help our people.”

Medicine Crow is Tlingit and Haida from Kake. She told a story about a lesson she learned from Polynesian navigators. “The traditional practice of sailing by the stars requires that they set their bow looking forward but they are navigating from the stars behind them because from that they can know the direction their bow is going. I think that is such a powerful analogy about the way our ancestors think about time. And the way we should think about it, too.”

The long story that reflects the Alaska Native experience — or Native America’s for that matter — is mostly about the interruptions from the past century or two. So the current challenges are not the norm, certainly not over a 10,000 year history, but nonetheless require our attention to get back on course.

And some of this course correction requires immediate action. In less than fifteen years, for example, Alaska will have a higher percentage of Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics and African Americans than white people. “The state is already super-diverse. It may not look or feel that way depending on where you’re from in the state but as a whole the state is really diverse. As we continue to march through time, especially for Alaska Native populations, most of our population is under the age of 25 and that birth rate is only increasing. So if you apply that to all the other populations, the same thing is happening, plus we’re having so many more people move up. What Alaska will look like on its face is going to be a lot different by the year 2040 than it does today.” Continue Reading »

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Mar 27 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho luring international food processing (Boise Statesman)
Legislature repeals allowance of instant racing (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune)
State gets bad ethics report (IF Post Register)
State Senate approved teacher pay raise (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Looking further at Bergdahl case (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Fewer accidents on Moscow-Pullman road (Moscow News)
A couple of highway bills clear committee (Nampa Press Tribune)

Warrenton dam to be knocked out (Astorian)
New gun background check bill surfaces at Salem (Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Debate ensues over whether UO worker was fired (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath still pursuing local air service (KF Herald & News)
New area Bureau of Reclamation manager sought (KF Herald & News)
Budget panel approves schools budget (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon pot agency director Burns fired (Portland Oregonian)

Night market proposed for downtown Bellingham (Bellingham Herald)
Backlog on park updates in Kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Marysville fire chief retiring (Everett Herald)
Deal may be set for KapStone labor talks (Longview News)
Longview traffic cams bring in $1 million a year (Longview News)
State auditor inquiry may date to 2013 (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Tumwater looks at road repair tax increase (Olympian)
Cost of measles control could hit $200k (Port Angeles News)
High prices sending people from King to Pierce (Seattle Times)
Clark Co enrolls 42k in health exchanges (Vanvouver Columbian)

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Mar 26 2015

Good-bye, Dad

by under Bond.

Bond DAVID
BOND

 
Rant

My father, Richard Milton Bond, slipped the hook this morning. Had he lived another month he would have been 94 but given his failing health, I would not have wished that on him.

The whole family, even we kids, called him Dickie and he never minded. He had a raucous laugh, an even greater sense of humour and greater than that, a spirit for adventure and a disdain for bullshite.

He had a pilot’s heart and a disdain for common thinking. Linus Pauling taught him freshman chemistry at Cal-Tech, whence he transferred with the V-12 program to Berkeley, where he met my late mother, Patty, while both were on the student council.

Our family started in Santa Barbara, where Dickie got his advanced flying tickets on the GI Bill, then moved to Philadelphia where he worked for Ingersoll, the company that made Mickey Mouse watches (amongst many more important things), then to Great Falls, then Spokane, where he built our house, then back to San Francisco.

He found himself unwillingly embroiled in the California politics of Edmund G. Brown (Jerry’s dad) at the Calor Gas Co. and took his fledgling family to the unknown town of Nanaimo, British Columbia, where he assumed the manager’s job of the Vancouver Island Gas Company at a severe cut in pay and opportunity. This, all by the time I was six years old.

Vi-Gas, as it was known, was a marvel. It took barged-in natural gas from the Vancouver mainland, re-compressed it and shot it out through the local pipelines. One of Dickie’s goals had been to build a gas pipeline from the mainland to the island, but the B.C. government, socialist at the time, wasn’t having any of it unless one of its cronies could come up with an alternative. Nobody did.

But watching that gas plant with its giant turbines and pumps was a great joy to a little kid – plus there was a blackberry patch outside to die for in late summers.

Dickie taught me my love of flying. He had grown up on Stearmans and had access to, at various times, a Cessna 170, Cessna 180, Piper Comanche, and later, a Lake LA-4 amphibian, and he would always let me drive. Needless to say I dashed to flight school at a certain legal age. He also taught us how to drive boats and water ski at high speeds.

He was a stern son-of-a-gun, too, Marine that he was. Discipline was no further away than his fraternity paddle – which endured an untimely death when younger-brother Marc and I found where he hid it, and took it down to the beach over an open fire.

He laughed like crazy over our stunt, but promptly cut another one, used it, and it remains hidden to this day. Continue Reading »

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Mar 26 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Bergdahl charged with desertion (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Low snow having effects on Idaho (Boise Statesman)
Statewide common core tests arrive (IF Post Register)
Legislators consider new tax, spending package (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
UW med school exclusivity dropped by legislature (Moscow News)
Moscow-Pullman airport prepares for new runway (Moscow News)
St Lukes plans expansion at Nampa into hospital (Nampa Press Tribune)
New concealed carry bill progresses (Pocatello Journal)

Army Corps moves to limit birds (Astorian)
UO archivists fired after their data release (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon bill considers sex assault privacy (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Co ranks low in health study (KF Herald & News)
Klamath named to participate in Blue Zone project (KF Herald & News)
Fire starting in warm winter (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Bergdahl charged with desertion (Portland Oregonian)

Bellingham buys 21 acres for park (Bellingham Herald)
Cantwell hits safety on oil cars, offers bill (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbiann, Bellingham Herald, Olympian)
Kitsap transit hits financial trouble (Bremerton Sun)
Cowlitz health stats improve (Longview News)
Bergdahl charged with desertion (Spokesman Review, Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Few notes to track schedule of Auditor Kelley (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Kilmer calls on Canada to help with sewage (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles council goes to work on budget (Port Angeles News)
$15 minimum wage at Seattle may not apply to UW (Seattle Times)
UW med school exclusivity dropped by legislature (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Clark Co grows faster than Portland area (Vancouver Columbian)
Dispute over voting attorney fees continues (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 25 2015

So what

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Ted Cruz is running for president. I’ve got to get the gutters cleaned this week. At most American homes, I’m happy to say, the latter is far more important than the former.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) said it best on a weekend talk show the other day. “Ted Cruz is unfit to run for president,” was the quote. Note he didn’t comment on whether Cruz was fit to be president. Didn’t have to.

So, we’ve got the Cruz “missile” and about 15 politico’s of various intellect making noises about wanting to live in the White House. Any of ‘em qualified for the job? Any of ‘em strike your fancy? Any make you want to run to the polls today?

Or this. Any of ‘em running – or likely to – seem like a person of honesty, intelligence, compassion, sincerity, common sense or experience that you’d turn to for help if you had a problem? Either party? Any one?

We’ll be bombarded with presidential candidate B.S. for more than a year before we get to the first national political convention. Primary after primary will prove nearly nothing. Various names will surface as “flavor-of-the-month” signifying nearly nothing. The names Cain or Paul or Bachman or Santorum from 2012 mean anything these days? National media will coronate one after the other as “front runner.” Again, meaning nothing.

Unless Hillary Clinton hits some sort of unexpected wall between now and July, 2016, Democrats will meet in Philadelphia simply to kiss the ring and spend five days partying and singing “Kumbaya.”

But Republicans – ah, Republicans. Only people who’ll make bet on who comes out of that convention at this point are those 1-800-California psychics. We’ve got about 20 GOP primaries to suffer through before convention and, in the end, most of those will signify- again – nothing, But there is something to watch on that side of the rabbit run.

For many elections, Republicans have used a divide-and-conquer strategy. From courthouse to White House, they put up more than one candidate of their choosing. If you go back a number of elections, you’ll find that’s how we got Bachman, Gohmert, Issa, Paul and the rest won. Multiple candidates in their own races so they never had to reach 51-percent to be elected. Some won with way less than 30 percent.

At the moment, we’ve got at least 10 GOP names out there. Statistically, the one getting 11 percent wins. Not 51 percent. Not 40 or 30 or 25. Just 11. So, what about the 89 percent who voted for somebody else? If the minority crazies can get just a few other, similarly inclined minority voters to join the cause, you’ve got another minority winner. Playing the numbers just like Vegas. Now, add to that several hundred millions dollars from ambitious billionaires who want to own one or more officeholders and you can win all sorts of elections without a majority. Marco Rubio’s already signed one up. Or, has been “signed up” would be more like it. Santorum, too.

Then, there’s the “binding” and “non-binding” primaries that may – or may not – mean anything at convention. A state containing rational Republican voters may elect a rational GOP candidate. But that same state may also have a “non-binding” clause that allows delegates to go to other, less rational candidates at the national convention. Happens every four years.

And this. Conventions are mostly controlled by party officers who’ve worked their way up. The current Republican bosses no more represent the rank-and-file Republican voter than Mickey Mouse. (With apologies to Walt.) Even if a candidate comes into convention with the most states “won,” the crazies at the top can nullify that with one barroom deal. So, winning some primaries before convention is important. To a point. Unless sanity suddenly comes to Priebus and his hand-picked loons, they’ll go on their merry way to the edge of their flat earth and nominate a member of the loser Paul family while loudly pledging “purity-over-winning.” Again. Continue Reading »

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Mar 25 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho gets low score on ethics report (Boise Statesman)
Report says Idaho wasted $61m on school management (IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
Washington asked to alter salmon fishing rules (Lewiston Tribune)
What’s happening with WA auditor scandal? (Moscow News)
New Nampa library beset by weak budgets (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon liquor sales keep rising (Nampa Press Tribune)
Highway bill stalled again in House (Nampa Press Tribune)
House passes new concealed carry bill (TF Times News)

House agreed to county timber payments (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Klamath college considers bonding plan (KF Herald & News)
Medford considers change in rules on bees (Medford Tribune)
School funding bill for $7.3b advances (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Gay teacher sues local school district (Salem Statesman Journal)

Cold storage warehouse starts business in Lynden (Bellingham Herald)
Auditor inquiry focuses on employee (Tacoma News Tribune, Bremerton Sun, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Sheldon returns to lead Tulalip board (Everett Herald)
Former Marysville mayor Kendall dies (Everett Herald)
DOE take new look at Hanford waste removal (Kennewick Herald)
Two leading Franklin co managers departing (Kennewick Herald)
State considers changing retirement benefits (Olympian)
Most Olympia voters support $15 minimum wage (Olympian)
Interest grows in Port Angeles air service (Port Angeles News)
Amazon taking over huge chunk of Seattle downtown (Seattle Times)
Grain elevator may become superfund site (Spokane Spokesman)
Report says Idaho wasted $61m on Schoolnet (Spokane Spokesman)
Fife won’t let Tacoma use jail (Tacoma News Tribune)
Bill would allow state-tribal deals on pot (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 24 2015

On the House budget

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

The House Budget Committee unveiled its budget Tuesday — and the details are not good news for Indian Country.

First: The budget calls for more spending cuts than any previous Republican budget, some $5.5 trillion over the next decade. The pay off would be a balanced budget. But most of those cuts fall into “domestic” spending and that’s the source of most of the federal dollars for Indian Country.

Second: The budget repeals the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. “Obamacare is not working for America’s families, doctors or employers. It is imperative that the President’s health care law be repealed so that we can start over and make targeted, common sense reforms that will improve access to affordable health care choices,” the House Budget committee said.

“This budget repeals Obamacare in its entirety – including all of the tax increases, regulations, subsidies, and mandates” the House Budget committee said. That includes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

The proposal would also transform Medicaid into a block grant program, giving the money directly to states. Medicaid now represents some 20 percent of the Indian health system funding.

In a language that’s not English, the report said, “the budget repeals Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion so the program is able to focus on its core mission of serving those in our communities most in need of assistance.” Translation: We’re cutting insurance for those who can least afford insurance. This is nuts. The Medicaid expansion has been the key to making health insurance more available. Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act there has been a 35 percent decline in the uninsured, according to new data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 17 million people have insurance coverage under the law. The House budget offers no replacement provisions for those who would lose their health insurance coverage.

This report is full of Orwellian language. Another of my favorites is this line: “We do not invite the across-the-board sequestration cut that would occur if we were to simply budget or appropriate a defense spending level that is above the existing cap mandated under current law.” In other words, the sequester applies to every other part of government, but not Defense. As I mentioned in my last post, this is an attempt to balance the interests of those in Congress who want deep spending cuts with those who want more money for defense.

The budget does not actually appropriate dollars. That is still the job of appropriations committees. But this document would be an overall limit to spending and would force the folks writing budgets to keep their numbers below the caps. This budget is similar to Paul Ryan’s recent approaches to spending and House Democrats said that would mean a cut of at least $375 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a $637 million reduction for the Indian Health Service. But that’s just in direct appropriations. If you reduce Medicaid that could trim as much as a billion dollars from Indian health programs.

The Senate will unveil its budget later this week as well. The goal is to have a budget enacted before April 15. The Senate’s budget will not require a supermajority, by rule it cannot be filibustered. So this budget will reflect the will of the Republican majority in both Houses. The budget still will face a likely veto, especially since it includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Mark Trahant holds the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the freeTrahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

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Mar 24 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Legislature considers statewide Uber bill (Boise Statesman)
Instant racing bill could kill Les Bois track (Boise Statesman)
House clears teacher pay bill (Lewiston Tribune)
Lewiston district evaluates high school renovation (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow continues single-stream recycling (Moscow News)
College students warn of fair rental housing issues (Moscow News)
Feds will reconsider their Lake Lowell use rules (Nampa Press Tribune)
Has Add words backlash event drawn threats? (Nampa Press Tribune)
Tuition raise okayed at CSI (TF Times News)
Burley and Cassia police agreement still tense (TF Times News)

Springfield hospital ranks one of OR’s priciest (Eugene Register Guard)
Pushing again for Klamath passenger air service (KF Herald & News)
Snow about to drop on Cascades (KF Herald & News)
Jackson joins drought counties (Medford Tribune)
Oregon’s wildfire insurance may be dropped (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon Supreme Court: animals not crime victims (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Researching possible gluten-free wheat (Portland Oregonian)
Lobby day brings school spending advocates (Salem Statesman Journal)

Anticipating lower dairy food prices (Bellingham Herald)
Arlington airport issues shown in report (Everett Herald)
WSU hopes for funds to expand at Everett (Everett Herald)
Gatherings around state will focus on Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
State auditor says he’s complying with fed inquest (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian, Longview News)
Clallam Commissioner Chapman opts out in ’16 (Port Angeles News)
Some debt still applies to destroyed Oso homes (Seattle Times)
Clark auditor cleared of GOP charges (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 23 2015

The $900 million ask

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Washington

Some people will probably be calling it the billion-dollar tax proposal – a proposal that taxpayers will be asked to impose on themselves – which may be a small exaggeration but will certainly highlight why the correct number is $900 million.

“Oh, it’s not a billion? Excuse me – you’re right, it’s a mere $900 million . . .”

The ask is for the city of Seattle, whose leading officials including the mayor are the people doing the asking, and which is large and wealthy enough to make it not beyond the pale. And it’s not that transportation needs in the city aren’t great: They surely are.

It’s just that the number is so large it may cause a lot of taxpayers to blanch and decide against it before they’ve even had a chance to look at the large number of things it would do.

Which raises another problem. The list is extensive all right (see the local section in this edition), but so much so that your eyes tend to glaze over.

Then there’s the matter of what it doesn’t include, but will be an overarching consideration during the campaign ahead: Bertha. The mega-machine, that is, still sort of stuck in the ground and falling ever further behind in its effort to create a revised Alaskan Way viaduct.

Anyone seeking to blow the new tax plan out of the water will have only to recite that one name – “Bertha” – to punch the air out of any grand new transportation plans.
Optimism in that whole arena of Seattle transportation is in short supply this year, as it was last. The timing for this thing may be less than ideal, even if the need is demonstrably, yes, quite real.

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Mar 23 2015

In the Briefings

Boise reserve
hoto from the cover of the Boise Reserves Management Plan, released for public review in March. (photo/via Boise Parks & Recreation Department)

 
Spring kicks in with sadly diminished snowpack, and the legislature comes to grips with budget issues.

Transportation funding and school budgets (and especially the sub-component of teacher pay) are on deck this week at the Idaho Legislature.

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Mar 23 2015

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

More gun legislation at Idaho legislature (Boise Statesman)
More wolves in Washington state (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Pullman looks at priorities (Moscow News)
State juvenile agency sued on abuse charges (Nampa Press Tribune)
Teacher speak on career ladder plan (TF Times News)
Concerns arise over wilderness gold mine plan (TF Times News)

Some snow expected in Cascades (Eugene Register Guard)
Overhaul planned at Howard Prairie near Ashland (Medford Tribune)
Saltzman missing lots of Portland Council meetings (Portland Oregonian)
Salem plans talks on Uber and land use (Salem Statesman Journal)

Tribes take opposing views on coal shipments (Bellingham Herald)
Looking at grocery conversions to Haggen (Bremerton Sun)
Army Corps hold Toutle River plan approval (Longview News)
Wolves doing well in eastern Washington (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Hargrove works on recidivist legislation (Port Angeles News)
REI stores prospering this year (Seattle Times)
Possible help for Seattle streetcars, fewer car lanes (Seattle Times)
Seattle ends race messages on cups (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Millennial trends push transit policy (Spokane Spokesman)
Click cable faces higher station costs, again (Tacoma News Tribune)
Rivers medical pot plan draws debate (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 22 2015

When horses kick

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

It was probably inevitable that a clash between Idaho’s Second District Congressman, Mike Simpson, and Idaho’s First District Congressman, Raul Labrador, would develop.

For the record of course and when with their senatorial colleagues they try to maintain the appearance of comity, that it is all one happy gang of Republicans working together for Idaho. Don’t be fooled, folks. There is growing evidence the two men hardly tolerate each other.

Last week’s not so subtle “tit for tat” columns revealed much even to the untrained observer. It’s not just the canyon-wide differences on political and policy matters. It is that their style is different, which reflects real differences in their approach to public service.

Mike Simpson is a true “work horse.” The veteran congressman believes he is there to solve problems which often means to compromise and even to work together with Democrats. Simpson has paid his dues. He has worked within the seniority system, paid attention to details, displayed respect for all members but especially the seniors.

Simpson is a good legislator. He learned his craft while a member of the Idaho House where he quickly rose to become the Speaker. In Congress he has become a confidant of House Speaker John Boehner and is considered to be a key member of the Speaker’s Leadership team.

He is also known as one of the “Cardinals,” the rare achievers who chair agency appropriation subcommittees. As such, Simpson has much to say about the tax dollars that go to the major cabinet agencies of Interior, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Labrador comes across to veteran observers as a “show horse.” He is adept, almost gifted at attracting media coverage for himself. For a member only in his third term he has had an unusal number of appearances on television’s Sunday talk shows. He obviously likes publicity.

He is a darling of the Tea Party faction of the Party precisely because he is a young man in a hurry who has little use for protocal and traditional procedure. Two years ago he challenged his own Speaker because he and a large contingent of the Republican caucus are ideologues who prefer confrontation to compromise. Many of his Tea Party supporters applauded him. This January, when he voted for his Speaker, these same folks were angered.

Simpson and his staff were not pleased last year when Labrador did not endorse his Republican colleague. While he did not formally endorse Simpson’s challenger either, there were questions in the minds of some as to whether Labrador encouraged and even advised the challenger. Labrador denies having done anything to assist the challenger.

Labrador compounded his suspect behavior, however, by voting against the funding garnered by Simpson for the Idaho National Laboratory.

It came as no surprise then to see Labrador take a couple of not so subtle “potshots” in a column that ran in several Idaho dailies on March 9th. Labrador was part of a group of conservatives who sought to undue President Obama’s excutive orders on immigraion reform by tying up the budget for Homeland Security and making it a hostage. The goup not only threatened to cut off funding for Homeland Security, it threatened to once again stop all government spending except for Defense.

Labrador was critical of Boehner (and his leadership team) in compromising, saying he capitulated to the Democrats, and accusing the Speaker of weakening the Constitution. He ridiculed the so-called “adults’ of the Republican caucus. You can bet Simpson took every one of those shots personsally.

Within three days Simpson’s column with its not so subtle shots aimed obviously at Labrador appeared. Simpson excoriated those in the Republican caucus who practiced the politics of confrontation, who would use shutdown of an agency or the entire government as a tactic. He termed these types as obstructionits, pointing out that the Republicans had been given a chance to show America they could govern, but were fumbling it away. Continue Reading »

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WASHINGTON-OREGON-IDAHO Our acclaimed weekly e-pubs: 35-45 pages Monday mornings getting you on top of your state. Samples available. Contact us by email or by phone at (208)484-0460.

 

 
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This will be one of the most talked-about Idaho books in Idaho this season: 14 years after its last edition, Ridenbaugh Press has released a list of 100 influential Idahoans. Randy Stapilus, the editor and publisher of the Idaho Weekly Briefing and author of four earlier similar lists, has based this one on levels of overall influence in the state – and freedom of action and ability to influence development of the state – as of the start of 2015.
 
100 Influential Idahoans 2015. By Randy Stapilus; published by Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 202 pages. Softcover. List price $16.95.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015 page.

100 Influential Idahoans 2015
Idaho
 
 
"Essentially, I write in the margins of motherhood—and everything else—then I work these notes into a monthly column about what it’s like raising my two young boys. Are my columns funny? Are they serious? They don’t fit into any one box neatly. ... I’ve won awards for “best humorous column” though I actually write about subjects as light as bulimia, bullying, birthing plans and breastfeeding. But also bon-bons. And barf, and birthdays." Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons. by Nathalie Hardy; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 238 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
Raising the Hardy Boys page.

 

Hardy

 
"Not a day passes that I don’t think about Vietnam. Sometimes its an aroma or just hearing the Vietnamese accent of a store clerk that triggers a memory. Unlike all too many soldiers, I never had to fire a weapon in anger. Return to civilian life was easy, but even after all these years away from the Army and Vietnam I find the experience – and knowledge – continue to shape my life daily."
 
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Drafted
 
Many critics said it could not be done - and it often almost came undone. Now the Snake River Basin Adjudication is done, and that improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it - judges, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others in the room when the decisions were made.
Through the Waters: An Oral History of the Snake River Basin Adjudication. edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 300 pages. Softcover. $16.95.
See the THROUGH THE WATERS page.


 
Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh died on July 20, 2014; he was widely praised for steady leadership in difficult years. Writer Scott Jorgensen talks with Atiyeh and traces his background, and what others said about him.
Conversations with Atiyeh. by W. Scott Jorgensen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 140 pages. Softcover. $14.95.
The CONVERSATIONS WITH ATIYEH page.

Atiyeh
 
"Salvation through public service and the purging of awful sights seen during 1500 Vietnam War helicopter rescue missions before an untimely death, as told by a devoted brother, leaves a reader pondering life's unfairness. A haunting read." Chris Carlson, Medimont Reflections. ". . . a vivid picture of his brother Jerry’s time as a Medivac pilot in Vietnam and contrasts it with the reality of the political system . . . through the lens of a blue-collar, working man made good." Mike Kennedy.
One Flaming Hour: A memoir of Jerry Blackbird. by Mike Blackbird; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 220 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
See the ONE FLAMING HOUR page.


 
Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
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THE IDAHO POLITICAL
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by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
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without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
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Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.