JOURNEY WEST:
A Memoir of Journalist and Politics

by Stephen Hartgen
Here's the personal story of what brought the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator west from Maine to Idaho, and what he found and has done here. 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, available here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 

Apr 19 2014

Supremely intense

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

Idaho these days may be more likely to have a truly competitive contest for its Supreme Court than for its major partisan offices – a complete reversal from a generation ago.

It had a competitive race in 2008 won by Joel Horton, and in 2010 won by Roger Burdick. The challenger in both of those, John Bradbury, now is in a competitive 2nd district judgeship race. The 2008 Horton race, which he won by a sliver – 50.1% – was the closest Idaho Supreme Court race since at least the 1940s.

Horton is up for re-election this year, and this time the challenger is a well-known and long-time Boise attorney, Breck Seiniger. Mostly, these Supreme Court races have been calm and magisterial, even when they’ve sometimes featured energetic personalities. But this one has become a knock-down, and even drawn other candidates into the fray.

Seiniger has unleashed several blasts in the direction of the court, but this one (posted on his campaign web site) aimed directly at Horton got the most response: “Since Justice Horton has chosen to make impartiality an issue in this race, let me share with you Greg Obendorf’s story. In 2008, Idaho Supreme Court Justice Joel Horton was in another very tight race for re-election. . . . During this time, the Idaho Supreme Court deliberated on an appeal filed by J.R. Simplot, Co. to overturn a Canyon County jury’s $2,435,906 verdict in favor of a group of Idaho farmers, including Mr. Obendorf, and against Simplot.

“While the Obendorf case was under deliberation Justice Horton appointed one of Simplot’s in-house attorneys as his political treasurer. After doing so, not only did Justice Horton fully participate in the Idaho Supreme Court deliberations on this case, he wrote the opinion which resulted in all of the damages awarded by the jury were taken away, and the case being sent back for re-trial. Justice Horton’s opinion in favor of Simplot was issued on May 1, 2008 and Justice Horton was re-elected on May 20, 2008.” (He placed his supporting information online at www.seinigerforisc.com/simplot). Continue Reading »

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Apr 19 2014

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)

New Albertsons CEO talks corporate plans (Boise Statesman)
Lewiston kindergartners heading to Clarkston? (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow preparing for road construction (Moscow News)
Feds, state at standoff on Hanford cleanup (Moscow News)
New UI president settling in (Moscow News)
More cops for Nampa schools (Idaho Press Tribune)
Poachers a heavy load on Idaho wildlife (Idaho Press Tribune)
Busy Pocatello Cr Rd area land for sale (Pocatello Journal)
New Sandpoint stadium design set (Sandpoint Bee)
Bonner assessor candidate has $448k federal tax liens (Sandpoint Bee)
Earthquakes around Challis (TF Times News)
But $18m grant for Friedman airport (TF Times News)

UO Foundation asked to avoid fossil fuels (Eugene Register Guard)
Whole Foods considering Eugene site (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath water deal signed (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Charter cable conversion draws critics (Medford Tribune)
Kenton will lead EOU (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Public has questions on events center (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Expansion at Boardman Cheese plant (Pendleton East Oregonian)
WA state blasts Hanford cleanup plan (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Draining Portland water due to yuck factor (Portland Oregonian)
Water shortage at Crater Lake? (Salem Statesman Journal)

More Oso mudslide answers wanted (Everett Herald, Longview News)
State may ease on fish pollution rules (Everett Herald)
Hanford cleanup plans roundly blasted (Kennewick Herald)
Allegations of abuse at Woodland school (Longview News)
WA may lost No Child school waiver (Seattle Times)
Sandpoint plans solar paving project (Spokane Spokesman)
Sterling-Umpqua merger is complete (Spokane Spokesman)
Iconic Vancouver Steakburger closes (Vancouver Columbian)
Newhouse leads in 4th district money (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 18 2014

Idaho and the 17th

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

The Idaho Republican Party endorses repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows election of U.S. senators by popular vote – and not the Legislature.

I say get ‘er done, because it makes no difference. Election by the people and the Legislature would produce the same results in this Republican state. Idaho has not had a Democrat in the U.S. Senate since Frank Church and, since Democrats are so inept, I doubt if I will see another Democrat in the Senate in my lifetime.

So what kind of U.S. Senators would we get if they were elected by the Legislature? We’d have Mike Crapo, for sure. He was a former president pro tem of the Idaho Senate and a member of the House of Representatives before moving to the Senate. Who would fill the second slot? Why, it would be Jim Risch – a former Senate pro tem, majority leader, lieutenant governor and governor.

Both would be slam dunks in the Legislature.
In the past, Idaho has had Jim McClure, Steve Symms, Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne. They, too, would be easy choices for the Legislature.

So why bother with the formalities? Election to the U.S. Senate in Idaho would be like electing a pope, or appointing a Supreme Court justice. It would be for life – or until the senator decided to quit. Or, in the case of Craig … you get the point.

The argument for keeping the 17th Amendment is that election by the people produce a better and more accountable government. In most cases, and probably most states, that’s probably true. But, not in the Gem State. Idaho Republicans have no problem force-feeding repeal down the throats of the rest of the nation, and they damn well expect their elected officials to support that part of the GOP platform.
Elected officials, naturally, are reluctant to take away voting rights from the people. But I have no such problem since the electorate automatically votes the Republican ticket anyway.

Think of the time and money that could be saved if the Legislature elected U.S. senators. Crapo and Risch would not have to spend any time kissing up to big-money lobbyists and padding their campaign accounts. They wouldn’t have to worry about doing annoying little things like holding town hall meetings, or spending millions of dollars on advertising. The only people they would need to talk to are the Republican leaders of the Legislature. Get them on your side, and the rest will follow like sheep.

Repeal of the 17th Amendment would be one way to remove the influence of money in politics. It would be kind of nice knowing that we didn’t have a U.S. Senate that was bought and paid for by lobbyists.

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Apr 18 2014

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)

Coroner yard sign draws attention, criticism (Boise Statesman)
Board revises guns on campus rules (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho could get more med school space (Moscow News)
W Washington U needs minorities, president says (Moscow News)
Closed ‘for remodel’ store a problem (Nampa Press Tribune)
Gas & oil auction pulls $1.1 m (Nanpa Press Tribune)
Kuna considers school levy (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU museum in National Geographic (Pocatello Journal)
Bonner County may see megaloads (Sandpoint Bee)
Idaho militia looking for recruits (TF Times News)

Klamath water agreement signs today (KF Herald & News)
Considering Klamath public safety funds (KF Herald & News)
Preparing for drought in Ashland (Ashland Tidings)
Construction around I-5, Phoenix (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Audit on welfare urges job emphasis (Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Big increase in oil trains in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Marion County ends immigrant jail holds (Salem Statesman Journal)

Meeting reviewing Oso mudslide (Everett Herald)
Inslee visits Olympic tribes (Port Angeles News)
Ride service petitions stall on signatures (Seattle Times)
Western Washington U enthic comment (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
Release of CRC spending records (Vancouver Columbian)
Zoning debate over pot production (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima downtown design seeking ideas (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 17 2014

A candidate quietude

oregon
RANDY STAPILUS / Washington

The Washington official candidate filing week is now exactly one month away. From there, candidates in races contested by more than two people will have three months to try to pull into the win or place slots so they can advance to November.

Usually, by this time, the ruckus is clearly audible.
The general quiet we’re seeing right now may relate, in addition to the absence of statewide and federal senatorial candidates, to the point that only but so many contests will feature more than two serious candidates. Only for that relatively small number of races will the August primary really matter, other than as a kind of distant early polling.

As matters sit the primary shouldn’t be notably decisive on the U.S. House level. Of course, there aren’t likely to be many serious contests there anyway even come November. But even in the 1st district, widely perceived as the most competitive, there’s unlikely to be more than one serious challenger in the field.

The major exception may be in the 4th U.S. House district, which not coincidently is the one where a retirement (that of Republican Doc Hastings) is opening the seat. The 4th will very likely remain Republican in November, but the name of the Republican nominee is far from settled, and so is the field. Of interest: Will this be a case where two Republicans face each other in November? (There’s a good chance, however, there will be enough Democratic votes in the primary to at least secure a second-place slot for the general.)

Among candidates, that may be far and away the most interesting result to watch in Washington on primary day. A handful of legislative races could work the same way, where one party or the other draws just enough strong contenders to throw the primary result into doubt. But that’ll likely be only a few.

The top-two system has its advantages, and it may wind up making the general election more interesting than otherwise.

For the primary, maybe not so much.

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Apr 17 2014

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)

Tuition increases cut at UI, BSU (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
WA transport commission visits Palous (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Moscow works out play field funding (Moscow News)
Tulalip state senator visits WSU (Moscow News)
Library square funding still discussed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa school district faces employee suit (Nampa Press Tribune)
Fair board looks at 20/26 location plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Employees sue Chubbuck WalMart for various (Pocatello Journal)
Prescribed burns at Pandhandle forests (Sandpoint Bee)
Sandpoint considers stimulus for jobs (Sandpoint Bee)
Magic Valley veterans form new political party (TF Times News)
No SAT cost for many Idaho students (TF Times News)

Corvallis looks at plan code updates (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Water deal signing on Friday (KF Herald & News)
Klamath commission debate held (KF Herald & News)
Klamath public safety funding considered (KF Herald & News)
Gun debate in Ashland (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Port dispensaries banned in Jacksonville (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Wildfire risk high at Ashland (Medford Tribune)
All Umatilla cities ban pot stores (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Cover Oregon not Oracle’s fault, it says (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Inadequate oversight alleged in welfare (Portland Oregonian)
Polk’s pot dispensary closes, county order (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviving Oso-area, Darrington economy (Everett Herald)
Linking pot business, movies (Port Angeles News)
Future of buried landfill considered (Port Angeles News)
WA Medicaid rolls increasing fast (Seattle Times)
Help with Oso mudslide (Seattle Times)
New Seattle police chief chosen (Seattle Times)
Legislator Shea supports Nevada rancher (Spokane Spokesman)
CdA tribe offers poker, provoking state (Spokane Spokesman)
Gig Harbor mayor dismisses administrator (Tacoma News Tribune)
Audit of CRC wonders about $17m (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot vending machines in state? (Vancouver Columbian)
Cantwell on oil terminal concerns (Vancouver Columbian)
More discussion of WSU med school (Yaking Herald Republic)

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Apr 16 2014

Balukoff’s guns

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff acknowledges that he hangs out mostly with his fellow Democrats. If he spent time in rural communities, and coffee shops not named Starbucks, he would know better than to take on the National Rifle Association – the sacred cow of special interests in Idaho.

Balukoff may well be correct about the NRA’s candidate survey being full of loaded questions, but he shouldn’t be surprised about that. The NRA is a defender of gun rights and many Idahoans love the organization because of that.

For a lot of Idahoans, the three most important issues in an election are: Guns, guns and guns. Rep. Raul Labrador’s town hall meetings often take on the flavor of an NRA convention. Of course, Balukoff would be the last person you’d see at a Labrador town hall meeting.
The NRA endorsement is the prized pig of any election season in Idaho. Even those who don’t get the NRA endorsement will talk about their avid support of the Second Amendment. But almost nobody takes on the NRA – except for Cecil Andrus, and Balukoff rightfully acknowledges is no Cecil Andrus.

According to a story by the Statesman’s Dan Popkey, Balukoff was advised by his campaign manager to stay silent on the NRA. So instead of following that advice, he issued a press release saying, “Special interests gave us Idaho’s guns on campus law.”

So under Popkey’s byline, Balukoff committed political suicide in the front page of the Idaho Statesman. How stupid can you get?

Balukoff ought to know the legislative chambers are full of people who think that universities, school classrooms, the streets and public places would be a lot safer if people who knew how and when to use guns were allowed to carry them. These lawmakers don’t need the NRA to tell them how to vote on gun issues.

If Balukoff was trying to do an impersonation of Andrus, who took on the gun lobby almost 30 years ago, it was a poor effort. Andrus is about the only person who could get away with calling NRA leaders “gun nuts.” Continue Reading »

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Apr 16 2014

To Wasden – listen up

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Never having met or even talked with Idaho’s current attorney general, Lawrence Wasden, I have no compunction about offering some free political advice.

First, in reviewing opinions he has provided to the governor and through his deputies, to the various state agencies, he comes across as thoughtful, reasonable, prudent, and logical with a good dose of common sense. He is not overtly partisan, either. He reads the law with due deference to precedent, and gives solid advice.

Secondly, he displayed genuine political courage in reframing the upcoming primary campaign as a fight for the soul and the future of the Republican Party, with reasonable, sensible, moderate Republicans on one side and unreasonable, uncompromising, blindly ideological “wing nuts” (my choice of words, not his) on the other side.

He is absolutely correct.

Imagine my surprise then when I saw an op-ed in the
April 9th edition of the St.Maries Gazette-Record, written by an intelligent but nonetheless rock-solid right-winger in Benewah County, Ken deVries. He does his homework and he at least listens politely to those he disagrees with.

Ken charged the attorney general had aligned himself with the “take your guns away” crowd, led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when he signed off on Idaho filing an amicus brief in the case that led to the historic Heller vs. the District of Columbia ruling in a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That ruling, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority, was the first time the Court ever interpreted the Second Amendment to be a qualified right for an individual to keep and bear arms to protect himself and his property apart from the Constitutional language that appeared to tie that right only to keeping and maintaining a well armed militia.

For some yet to be adequately explained reason, the office of the Idaho Attorney General filed an amicus brief in the preceding case and joined with the likes of the attorney generals of states like New York and Massachusetts, and liberal “we-need-more gun control” mayors like Mayor Bloomberg.

In discussing the issue with the Gazette-Record’s publisher, Wasden’s office claimed a mistake was made, that they quickly withdrew the amicus brief, turned around and filed a brief supporting the ultimate majority view as expressed by Justice Scalia. I accept that explanation, but Wasden has to recognize there are still unanswered questions.

Is the lawyer who drafted the initial amicus brief still on staff? If so, why wasn’t he fired? Anyone with an ounce of sense looking at the other signers should have known Idaho didn’t belong in that company. Some may make the argument that the AG’s office essentially thought the brief which they temporarily joined was all about a state’s right to develop its own rules and regulations. Continue Reading »

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Apr 16 2014

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)

Bud Purdy dies (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Copies of Meridian’s controversial book sent (Boise Statesman)
State sues Potlatch, Clearwater on fire (Lewiston Tribune)
Risch land exchange bill on hold (Lewiston Tribune)
Report: Lewiston port promoting growth (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow meeting covers substance abuse (Moscow News)
Moscow water bond approved (Moscow News)
Chaney won’t quit House race (Nampa Press Tribune)
CWI reviewing Canyon fair relocation (Nampa Press Tribune)
Meridian interchange work begins (Nampa Press Tribune)
Explosive from WWII at Pocatello’s airport (Pocatello Journal)
Sho-Bans win control of FMC site (Pocatello Journal)
Grace/North Gem school merger hearings (Pocatello Journal)
Legislators review session (Sandpoint Bee)
Hot sheriff’s race in Minidoka County (TF Times News)

Pot outlet bans sought in 71 cities (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Lane sheriff seeks Florence cop job (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane Community College short on funds (Eugene Register Guard)
OIT nears energy self-sufficiency (KF Herald & News)
Klamath commission forum planned (KF Herald & News)
Funding sought for Klamath basin research (KF Herald & News)
Ashland prohibits plastic bags (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Kentucky man may head Medford schools (Medford Tribune)
Cover Oregon repairs under review (Medford Tribune)
Teachers hired at more-flush districts (Portland Oregonian)
OR job growth rising again (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Still looking for Oso mudslide causes (Everett Herald)
Mini-dam on Skykomish River discussed (Everett Herald)
State pressure could risk Hanford projects (Kennewick Herald)
Kennewick won’t annex 21 acres (Kennewick Herald)
Goldmark takes timber money (Longview News)
Post-AG complaint, Dish refunds $2m to customers (Longview News)
Big concerns about Puget loss of 1k Boeign jobs (Seattle Times)
Seattle metro tax proposal (Seattle Times)
Spokane asks for parks levy (Spokane Spokesman)
Voters may consider full-time Spokane council (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma council considers new hotel (Tacoma News Tribune)
Voters back competing gun proposals (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
I-205 plan may help with driving (Vancouver Columbian)

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Apr 15 2014

The financial base and the voting base

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Welcome Robert Harris, our latest contributor at Ridenbaugh Press. Harris has lived his entire life in the Oregon and Washington. He is the managing partner of Harris Law Firm, a general practice “Mom and Pop” law firm of ten attorneys located in the Portland Oregon metro region. For 30 years he was a registered Democrat but is now a leader in the Independent Party of Oregon and the editor of OregonOutpost.com.

The US Supreme Court’s line of cases protecting virtually unlimited election spending (and likely soon to make unlimited campaign contributions protected as free speech) has greatly empowered party and candidate financiers. A relatively small number of large corporations, unions, and wealthy donors are a distinct financial base within each major party. And a Party’s financial base is as important as the voting base. Because while money will automatically create a viable candidate (see Monica Wehby) and thus votes, a voting base won’t automatically create a large enough financial base to win an election.

So, it’s fair to now say that each major party has a distinct and powerful voting base and a financial base. And the edge the Democratic Party in Oregon has is that it’s financial base and voting base have greater issue overlap than the Republican financial and voting bases.

OR GOP base parties

The Oregon Democratic financial base is clearly unions and more specifically public employee unions. And the Democratic Party is very clear that it’s number one issue is the well being of employees. Preferably union employees, and more specifically public employees. Whether the issue is PERS, public spending on construction projects or schools, tax increases to pay for these services, government oversight or control of the land use process, the financial base and voting base of the Democratic Party are generally in sync on major issues and policies. Consequently, there is little tension within the Party and it can act very cohesively with less internal disruption or conflict between the two bases.

In comparison, the Republican financial base is more interested in a libertarian capitalism. Less government regulation and low taxes, while it’s voting base is more animated by social issues . Though low taxation and less government regulation are important as well for the voter base their blood boiling issues are immigration, gay marriage, abortion, and religious policies such as prayer in school and evolution. And, while disagreements between the Democratic financial base and voting base are more related to relative importance of a particular policy, the differences between the Republican financial and voter base are more often about the policy itself. Businesses want immigration reform. And think being anti gay is bad for business. Continue Reading »

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Apr 15 2014

The case for Fulcher

mansfield DENNIS
MANSFIELD
 

Many states are preparing to soon hold their Primary elections. Throughout the western states, the primaries are often held in the spring. For some states, like Arizona, their races for party nominations are held at the end of summer.

In Idaho, this party-centric nominating election is held in late May.

The two races that seem to capture the lion’s share of attention and news in Idaho are the GOP Primary races for Attorney General and Governor.

I’ve already covered the Attorney General race – stating that Christ (pronounced Chris) Troupis would make fine NEW attorney general. The incumbent’s tenure has simply been too long. (Having advocated term limits and fought a dying battle on behalf of them in Idaho, I STILL believe that elected officials MUST return home – either by force of law or force of vote.)

Regarding Governor, the case is the same.

Idaho’s sitting Governor, Butch Otter, and I have known each other for 23, almost 24 years. Many of those years have been friendly years – only distancing ourselves for a brief period of time when one another got in the way of the other’s mutually-desired GOP nomination to US Congress – a dozen-plus years ago. He won. I endorsed him the very next day and worked to see him get elected three times as Congressman and then twice as Governor. I have a deep affection and fondness for Butch and Lori Otter.

I also have a deep, decades-long friendship with Russ Fulcher and his family. I write about Russ in my book Beautiful Nate.

Originally, since neither candidate had asked for my endorsement, I withheld it. I just sat and watched – until this week.

Maybe it was today being Tax Day, maybe it was just my nature to think long and then act …

Today I decided to act and endorse State Senator Russ Fulcher for the GOP nomination for Governor of Idaho.

Here’s why:

Governor Butch Otter made two large blunders.

First, he embraced (and then led on) the state healthcare insurance exchange plan. He had a chance to be the Butch Otter many Idahoans have come to know and appreciate. Oddly, Butch Otter failed to BE Butch Otter on this major issue, failing to join many of his fellow GOP governors as they stood against it.

Second, he decided to run a third time as governor. Continue Reading »

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Apr 15 2014

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)

Eagle seizes part of greenbelt tract (Boise Statesman)
Women sue BSU on sex assault (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Lewiston extends smoking ban (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho public defender system blasted (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU will help at Oso mudslide (Moscow News)
Syringa park still said not in compliance (Moscow News)
Moscow city looking for marketing, rebranding (Moscow News)
Enrollment down at Treasure Valley CC (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon house prices and prices up (Nampa Press Tribune)
200 jobs at new Shelley jerky plant (Pocatello Journal)
Seizure of pot-laced candy at Montpelier (Pocatello Journal)
Litehouse buys Coldwater building (Sandpoint Bee)
Compromise Rangen water call ruling (TF Times News)
Battle between Lincoln clerk, planning head (TF Times News)
Businesses weigh in on TF downtown renewal (TF Times News)

More opening for Oregon jobs (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Benton Commission candidates at forum (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Eugene sets new business tax break (Eugene Register Guard)
KF explores air service options (KF Herald & News)
Klamath water project still short of water (KF Herald & News)
Gold Hill considers waste facility (Medford Tribune)
Oregonian nabs Pulitzer for PERS edits (Portland Oregonian)
Salem doc top OR earner for Medicaid (Salem Statesman Journal)
Chemeketa president in line for new job (Salem Statesman Journal)

Jail death care settled for $1.3m (Everett Herald)
GEO okays Boeing tanker effort (Everett Herald)
Kennewick faces coach abuse case (Kennewick Herald)
Maybe cleanup cuts at Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
Feds block some water for pot fields (Kennewick Herald)
Sequim city hall demolished (Port Angeles News)
Rodney Tom won’t run again (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Goldmark reverses, accepts $100k timber money (Seattle Times)
Heavy drawndowns at Wanapum Dam (Spokane Spokesman)
Fire wipes out Puyallup fair hall (Tacoma News Tribune)
Herrera Beutler on fish preservation bill (Vancouver Columbian)
Ethics board reviews legislators free lunches (Vancouver Columbian)
Utilities/Transportation reviews party buses (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 14 2014

Ready, aim . . .

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

The situation with the Bundy family out in the flatlands some 80 miles from Las Vegas is akin to a truck load of dynamite with a very, very short fuse – parked next to a wildfire. Even an accidental spark could get a lot of people killed. So the federal government has blinked – backing away from executing a very valid court order and made the pathologic freeloader a hero in the eyes of his government-hating friends.

At first glance, this is about a professional deadbeat who owes us taxpayers more than a million dollars in grazing fees – running his cattle on BLM lands for decades and ignoring the bills. Rather than back down, the BLM should have served the court order, confiscated his herd, sold ‘em at market and arrested the bastard for inciting sedition. Seems simple enough.

Like so many of their push-it-to-the-limit kind, Cliven Bundy and his family have taken the totally irresponsible position their ancestors were there before the BLM – their water rights predate federal ownership of the land – they’re not obligated to pay the bills the feds have been sending for more than two decades. And they haven’t! Not exactly living up to the promises made signing that federal grazing contract many years ago. Makes one wonder what changed their minds. And when.

Now, the Bundys claim they’ve tried to makes some payment on their water and grazing bills recently but nobody will take the money. And they’re right. The State of Nevada and the federal government will not accept payment. They can’t. That’s because the recent court order allowing the BLM to confiscate the cattle also freezes the whole Bundy situation. And their assets. The Bundys are in massive default.

But all that fades now because the Bundys have taken the position they’re the “aggrieved” party in this situation – that the feds are exceeding their authority – that the government is out to make an example of them – they’re victims of government excess – that they’re “patriots” who will hold out until the end. About 98.7% B.S.

The feds do appear to have some blame here. The BLM should’ve stepped in years ago with direct legal action to put an end to Bundy’s use of federal grazing lands for free. While I haven’t read the contract, I’d bet the farm there’s a section dealing with default – what it is – when it is deemed to have taken place – remedies for forcing contract compliance. And penalties. I’ve never signed a major contract without such language. And Bundy has been in default, according to the courts and government, for more than 20 years.

To let the Bundys run up a million dollar grazing tab for that long without collection action is, to my mind, completely irresponsible on the feds part. Get two months behind on your house payment and you can expect a guy from the bank at your front door. So – to some extent – this situation could have been nipped in the bud years ago.

But – as I said – because of the dangerous situation the Bundys have created by word and deed – trying to make themselves out the martyrs here – we’ve got an armed encampment of federal officers “cheek-by-jowl” with several hundred armed faux “freedom fighters” from half a dozen states who’ve come to the Bundy homestead to stand against anything governmental.

There’s a dangerous element in this country using the I-net and other media to whip itself into a frenzy of camouflage-wearing, government-hating, heavily-armed anger. Without knowing any firsthand details of Ruby Ridge or Waco, they blame the feds for those and any and all perceived attacks on their “personal freedoms” – most especially the Second Amendment to the Constitution – a document most of them have likely never read. They’re as unstable as a gallon of nitro on a bumpy road. Reasoning and logic are out of the question. They talk violence as if it were the only satisfactory response to their trumped up hatred. How many will actually stick around if shots are fired is anyone’s guess. But shooting is what they say they’ll do.

The back ridges and valleys of our Pacific Northwest also harbor a lot of very unstable people. Some hiding from something or someone. Some mentally over-the-edge from wars or simply lack of professional treatment. Others who call themselves “survivalists” and are convinced the world is soon to meet some cataclysmic end and believing they alone will be spared. Some are flat-out criminals growing marijuana or engaging in other illegal activities. And some have built heavily fortified compounds in which they’ve gathered family and vow to kill anyone who comes snooping about. Continue Reading »

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Apr 14 2014

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)

WSU considers medical school (Boise Statesman)
Whitman Democrats name state delegates (Moscow News)
Exercise shows Rupert split in two by trains (TF Times News)

Effort to build craft beer museum (Eugene Register Guard)
Ashland may ban plastic bags (Ashland Tidings)
What to do with fees for wildlife parking (Medford Tribune)
Portland metro rules may limit composts (Portland Oregonian)
New stormwater fee about to hit Salem (Salem Statesman Journal)

Everett School District tries another bond (Everett Herald)
Kennewick annexation opposed (Kennewick Herald)
Teevin Brother to grow site at Rainier (Longview News)
Park chalet may have to be moved (Port Angeles News)
Spokane may open more area to pot grows (Spokane Spokesman)
Logging rises in east Clark County (Vancouver Columbian)
Possible medical school at WSU (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Prosser tries 4th time on school bond (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 14 2014

In this week’s Briefings

Oregon

 
IN THE OREGON WEEKLY BRIEFING The 173rd Fighter Wing will conduct night flying operations April 14-17, 2014, between approximately 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15 student pilots at Kingsley Field. “Night flying is a critical skill which our students need to learn to be effective war fighters,” said Col. Jeremy Baenen, 173rd Fighter Wing commander. “We understand the disruption to the community during night flying weeks, but we try our best to minimize the noise impact.” The community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field. Most of the training will occur in military operating airspace east of Lakeview.” (Photo/Oregon Military Department)

 
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Pike Place's plans for a new waterfront entrance.

 

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.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

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.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and how they're dealing with the day of the Internet. New Editions tells you 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?

 
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  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
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.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here