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Apr 19 2015

Remember me? I recall you

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Three recall efforts against Oregon State Legislators were announced this week. The recall was prompted by the Legislators’ support of SB 941 which requires background checks for all private gun sales in Oregon.

A Hillsboro man, Benjamin Busch, claimed to have submitted recall petitions against Rep. Susan McLain (D-HD 29-Hillsboro) and Sen. Chuck Riley (D-SD-15- Hillsboro). While The Riley recall petition was filed April 14th, 2015, as of April 17th, 2015, no recall petition had been filed against McLain. And in a direct challenge to the Democratic Leadership, a Gun shop owner from Junction City filed a recall petition against House Majority Leader Rep. Val Hoyle (D-HD-14-Eugene) on April 14th, 2015.

Rep. Hoyle is thought to be a target partially due to her courting the support of gun owners- or courting them to not support her opponent- in the 2014 general election. Her support of background checks could have been considered a betrayal.

The Washington County organizers of the recall for Sen. Riley also raised Senator Riley’s support for a more robust modification of Gain Share than is supported in Washington County. Riley’s position on Gain Share modification has raised the ire of the business community in his District and the Gun bill opponents believe their recall effort against Riley could receive financial and political aid from the Washington County Business community.

Short Takes:

Gun enthusiasts successfully recalled two state legislators in Colorado after Colorado had adopted a law requiring background checks and limiting the size of gun magazines.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Poll, 81% of all Americans support background checks for all gun sales.

Rep. McLain’s House District is part of Sen Riley’s Senate District. Riley’s position on Gain Share makes him more vulnerable than Rep. McLain. The fact that there is no recall petition against McLain yet could be an indication that the petitioners may be focusing their efforts on Riley hoping to raise funds from the business community in their recall efforts. And, remember Riley won the 2014 election for his seat by a mere 221 votes out of almost 40,000 cast while McLain won her district easily. Continue Reading »

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Apr 19 2015

Self-publishing someone else’s materials

bookworks
 
About Books and Publishing

A column for BookWorks by Randy Stapilus.

A while back I worked with a writer who had written a good memoir, but it was riddled with issues about words he didn’t write.

This wasn’t plagiarism. He wanted to quote from popular songs that related to his story. The lyrics would have helped his narrative. But I told him he either had to get written permission to use the lyrics, or drop them. The permissions process proved cumbersome, and soon the lyrics were out.

I’ve advised writers to cut all sorts of material that wasn’t theirs from their manuscripts. In each case they intended to acknowledge the original sources, but that wasn’t enough: They needed to get written permission. Before you consider sending your book out to the world, think carefully about anything in it you didn’t write yourself, or get specific permission to use that material.

Earlier this year, working with a traditional publisher, I submitted pictures, with a variety of ownership backgrounds, for a book. Two of those photos were taken by friends who encouraged me through Facebook communication to use their photos in the book. I cut and pasted that dialogue, but by the publisher’s legal standards that wasn’t enough: The publisher required signatures from the photographers on their in-house permission forms (which I then obtained) before the pictures could be used.

This is not a matter of ethics: It’s a matter of protecting yourself legally. The Internet makes cutting and pasting easy, but it makes exposure of copying simple as well.

Some people make a living from finding copies of words or pictures reproduced without permission. Certain law firms in recent years have made a specialty of patrolling the web looking for duplicates of copyrighted material (often from newspapers and magazines), and filing or threatening to file lawsuits when they find them. You don’t want to be on the expensive receiving end of that action.

Your best defense: Stick to publishing that which you produce yourself.

This doesn’t mean you can’t reference (delete) what other people say. You simply have to be cautious about it.

Short quotes, a sentence or so in length, usually are not a problem, though reproducing even a single lyric line of a popular song can be a problem. Any recent copyrighted picture, without some indication permission, can be an issue.

Remember that copyright doesn’t have to be registered to be legally effective. My original copyright to these words, for example, became effective the moment I typed them on my computer.

The good news is that lots of online material now requires no permission at all. Continue Reading »

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Apr 19 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)

Debate continues over Canyon County jail (Boise Statesman)
Anxiety arises over common core tests (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing history of balanced budget amendments (IF Post Register)
More recordings of encounters with police (Pocatello Journal)
Magic Valley wants ‘manufacturing community’ status (TF Times News)

Drought map for Oregon expands (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing Merkley’s run in the Senate (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing Maclaren Youth Prison (Salem Statesman Journal)

More hazard area maps after Oso slides (Longview News)
Looking at Auditor Kelley’s history (Seattle Times)
Renton Boeing plant gets ready for big production (Seattle Times)
Other cases somewhat like Auditor Kelley’s (Tacoma News Tribune)
Looking at oil train rail safety record (Vancouver Columbian)
Washington approaches end of legislative session (Vancouver Columbian)
Tribes seek child placement background checks (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 18 2015

Quoth

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

The 2015 Idaho legislative session emerged more productive than its recent predecessors.

Public schools came out better this session than in a long time. A down payment was made on road repair and maintenance (though only about a third of what is thought to be needed). The legislature may not have “added the words”, but it can’t be said to have not heard the arguments on it: Hearings lasted for days after the bill was introduced, both moves sought by advocates for years and this time backed by House leadership. And Senate leaders didn’t get the praise they earned for inviting and courteously attending to an opening ceremony from a regional Hindu leader. There were some high spots in policy too (career ladder and anti-bullying legislation come to mind).

These things happened, however, in a context. You could pick it up in the steady stream of quotes, many internationally viral, such as:

“They (slave owners) weren’t terrible rotten horrible people. . . . And that’s how I see gay people.” Representative Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins, March 25.

“We already have 105 inspector generals [legislators] in this building. . . .I don’t think we need to add more to it. We’re talking about spending $350,000 a year. From what I’ve seen from government agencies, that would just be a beginning. They seem to grow out of control in no time at all. I don’t see where this is going to do anything. I agree there is problems. People do things they aren’t supposed to do.” Representative Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, February 26.

“We’re a nation under God, one nation under God. So when you take Christian prayer out of school, as long as it’s a generic prayer and it’s not specific to any denomination, because our freedom of religion thing was to deal with different denominations, not whether we’re Christian or not.” Shepherd, March 20.

“This bill aims to put in writing the rights of parents to be the primary decision makers for their children. Parents’ rights are given to us by God. We are not saying the state is granting these rights. We are simply putting it in writing in our code that this is the case … and we acknowledge the rights that parents have.” Senator Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, on her bill allowing parents to pull children from any school activity which “impairs the parents’ firmly held beliefs, values or principles.”

“They have a caste system, they worship cows.’ Senator Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, March 2.

“Hindu is a false faith with false gods.” Senator Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, March 3.

Barbieri: “You mentioned the risk of colonoscopy , can that be done by drugs?”
Dr. Julie Madsen: “It cannot be done by drugs. It can, however, be done remotely where you swallow a pill and this pill has a little camera, and it makes its way through your intestines and those images are uploaded to a doctor who’s often thousands of miles away, who then interprets that.”
Barbieri: “Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Representative Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, February 23.

(About rejecting the bill that could cost the state funds from enforcing child support) 4/10
“We didn’t want to give up our sovereignty. We have $42 million coming to the state – it wasn’t worth risking our sovereignty to me.” Representative Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls, April 10..

“My whole concern is potential federal overreach. In North Idaho we have the water litigation going. I just am in fear that something could be impacted if it became an endangered species.” Cheatham, January 19, about a proposal to designate the giant salamander as state amphibian.

“They were ugly. They were slimy. And they were creepy.” Representative Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, January 10.

And a non-quote:

(crickets) – Representative Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, declining to explain her votes against state budget bills, including not only six of seven pieces of the public school budget but also home-district state operations such as State Hospital North at Cottonwood and the North Idaho Correctional Institution at Cottonwood.

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Apr 18 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)

Pollution grows in Boise valley (Boise Statesman)
Caldwell’s old Kit RV plant now Omega RB plant (Boise Statesman)
Moscow takes another look at industrial plan (Moscow News)
NNU board will look again at layoffs (Nampa Press Tribune)
More parents opt out of common core testing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho ranks high nationally in health enrollment (Nampa Press Tribune)

Former UO archivist dismissal ‘humiliating’ (Eugene Register Guard)
More parents opt out of common core tests (Eugene Register Guard)
Jackson Co officials getting raises (Medford Tribune)
Planning responses for spills of oil tankers (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Brown says she’s settling in as governor (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland man sues robocallers, $1500 a call (Portland Oregonian)
Wyden defnds fast track on trade deal (Salem Statesman Journal)

Area teachers will go on strike (Seattle Times, Bellingham Herald)
Nooksack River area has hit drought (Bellingham Herald)
Nooksack casino at Deming could close (Bellingham Herald)
Massive accidents released 13m bees (Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Coastal Community, Prime Pacific banks merge (Everett Herald)
Inslee signs law on geologist hazards maps (Everett Herald)
Inslee grows drought emergency area (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian, Longview News)
Reviewing auditor Kelley’s history (Olympian)
Washington resident uneasy about Alaska oil arrival (Seattle Times)
Spokane diocese returns accused man to ministry (Spokane Spokesman)

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Apr 17 2015

Backcountry flying

by under Idaho.



 
Training with MAF at Deadwood, Holdout, Idaho City and Weatherby Airstrips.

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Apr 17 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)

Issues in the Nampa school district contests (Boise Statesman)
Child support funding still in balance (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
WA auditor says he’s not guilty in fed charges (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
UI president Staben releases plan for growth (Moscow News)
WWAMI may see underhaul with med school changes (Moscow News)
Otter vetoed cannabis extract oil bill (Nampa Press Tribune)
Twin Falls police chief search stopped for now (TF Times News)

Adjusting plans for improved Astoria boatyard (Astorian)
Eugene gets world track meet for 2021 (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Interim school superintendent at Springfield (Eugene Register Guard)
Police chief of Junction city may sue city (Eugene Register Guard)
Modoc officials support Klamath water agreement (KF Herald & News)
Debate over Klamath sheriff’s budget continues (KF Herald & News)
Medford okays beehives in city limits (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton ponders what to do with drone bucks (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Mine claimant asks Oath Keepers to step down (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland businesses consider religion effects (Portland Oregonian)
President named for Western Oregon U (Salem Statesman Journal)

Auditor Kelley faces major charges (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Sockeye return to Elwha river (Bremerton Sun)
Warnings issues about more whooping cough (Everett Herald)
Feds approve flushing of Lake Sacajawea (Longview News)
Insurers have given bad birth control information (Seattle Times)
Clark farm land may become industrial (Vancouver Columbian)

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Apr 16 2015

Jail his butt

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Can anyone explain to me why Clive Bundy’s old, wrinkled ass isn’t sitting in some federal crossbar hotel? A year after the BLM and other agencies we taxpayers expected better of backed off and let the old bastard off the hook for a million dollars, he’s throwing parties to celebrate his “victory.”

The tab Bundy owes the feds for more than 20 years of unpaid grazing on our land has now risen above a million and it appears he’s gonna keep right on doing what he’s been doing. Stealing. Trespassing. Lying. Blowing smoke. Rabble rousing. Playing right wing “folk hero.” Ignoring a legally-binding contract he signed with the government more than 20 years ago. And not payed a dime on since.

Last weekend, more than a thousand people showed up at his place with RV’s, tents, sleeping bags and “Don’t Tread On Me” flags. And, oh yes, lots and lots of guns. Bundy had put out a “social media” invitation to come eat some of his fine beef (which you and I paid for), listen to more lies and hate speech (on land you and I own), fire off a few rounds at government shooting targets, badmouth all things federal and hear his loud claims that he’s “beaten all unconstitutional” authority with his thieving, illegal acts.

How come? Why is this rural Nevada welfare cheat still able to strut around on land you and I own while flicking his middle finger(s) at us and the whole world?

The original Bundy-BLM contract of over 20 years ago was legitimate and binding. Moreover, it was tested some years back in federal court and upheld. The BLM has absolute authority to enforce it and can call in any other agencies necessary to help solve the issue. But it hasn’t made a move.

Ah, but don’t lose hope. Bureau spokeswoman Ceclia Boddington sent out a press release last weekend – a press release – saying the agency “remains resolute” in its goal to resolve the “dispute administratively and judicially.” She came in on Sunday to write it.

ROAD APPLES!

If you or I owed the IRS a million for six months, we’d have agents at the door, bank accounts tied up and a date with zealous penal authorities to be fitted for a jumpsuit. This old bastard owes $1.1 million and he’s serving steak burgers and cold beer to a bunch of armed nuts while flipping off the rest of the world.

When law enforcement backed off last year, it was a black eye for justice but it was understandable, given the amount of ammunition and the number of boozed up, itchy trigger fingers poised to do God-knows-what. Hard to swallow – but it was right.

So – we’re a year down the trail and nothing’s changed. Certainly, during that time – 365 days – a few well-armed and determined government reps could’ve called on the old boy, served the right documents and hustled his butt off to jail. Proper agencies could have cut his electricity, turned off any outside water supplies, stopped his mail, cut off his Internet access, blocked his roads and collected his cattle. They didn’t. Why? Continue Reading »

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Apr 16 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)

Looking into state juvenile corrections lawsuits (Boise Statesman)
Issues arise over radiation incident last fall (IF Post Register)
Small tuition increase okayed by state board (Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Reviewing the legislative session (Lewiston Tribune)
UI gets $10m for more research efforts (Moscow News)
NNU faculty give no-confidence vote against president (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa schools start earlier in August this year (Nampa Press Tribune)
LaBeau reinstated as IACI president (Nampa Press Tribune)
New superintendent picked for Castleford schools (TF Times News)

Gun bill prompts recall try against Hoyle (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield may enact moratorium on Common Core (Eugene Register Guard)
Westfir limits resident use of water (Eugene Register Guard)
Josephine miner asks for calm (Eugene Register Guard)
Umatilla Co continued pot dispensary ban (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Rules for pot still under some development (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Rape victim time limit bill passes House (Portland Orgonian)
About bill to raise interstate speeds to 70 (Salem Statesman Journal)

Whatcom pay proposed .2 cent sales tax (Bellingham Herald)
Legislature still struggles with McCleary schools (Spokane Spokesman, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Everett panhandling rule targeted by ACLU (Everett Herald)
Bonney Lake mayor has issues with road work (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Washington unemployment rate drops under 6 percent (Seattle Times)
Profiling new head of Seattle police union (Seattle Times)
Area protesters want $15 minimum wage (Spokane Spokesman, Yakima Herald Republic)
Longview considered for new oil refinery (Vancouver Columbian)
Congressional delegation seeks Columbian treaty (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima appeals redistricting court decision (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 15 2015

A cancerous growth?

frazier DAVID
FRAZIER

 
Boise
Guardian

In recent months the GUARDIAN and Mrs. GUARDIAN have been wracked with guilt and ridiculed by friends for our practice of taking “Sunday Drives,” to places like the Riverside Restaurant at Horseshoe Bend or the Boise Stage Stop east of Boise.

While the food at both locations is surprisingly good and the staffs are genuinely friendly “Idaho Folks,” we have come to realize you have to go 15-20 miles to “get away from madding crowds.” The sea of rooftops to the west and endless snake of traffic on Fairview, I-84, Eagle Road, State Street, etc. tend to tighten our neck muscles.

The current crop of politicos in Boise, Meridian, and Garden City are bent on “increased density” as the basis for planning the future of our community. These are the folks who give away our tax dollars, make exceptions to zoning laws to benefit developers, and refuse to allow citizens the voice we are guaranteed in the Idaho Constitution. As the song goes, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Their decisions create problems, which demand solutions, which cost money, all contributing to the decline of our quality of life. The school and highway districts constantly scramble to keep up with the demands caused by unnatural growth. Boise officials have dumped their sex offenders (21 at Vista and Canal), impoverished citizens, trailer parks, low cost housing, and skinny houses in the Vista neighborhood. Now they are spending a federal grant to address the issues. (A few perverts living along Warm Springs and skinny houses in the Harrison Blvd. median would be a good start)

For the past half century we have watched generations of politicos destroy our downtown, leaving a vast wasteland in favor of the Towne Square Mall. The polluted aquifer was ignored, money was squandered over a fire station location, and some of the busiest streets in the state were created.

Meanwhile the downtown wasteland was ripe for development. Thanks to “tax increment financing,” all the property owners living outside the redevelopment area funded the services required when the growth took off. One smooth talking developer after another came in with slick plans which always depended upon taking public money for their private benefit. Taxes on new construction and increased property values goes to CCDC (Capital City Development Corp.) NOT to the city, county, ACHD or schools.

In this latest round of insanity we have people eagerly awaiting recently announced projects including:
–160 unit apartment complex in the area of 5th and Front
–100 room hotel at Capitol and Myrtle (with 26 parking spots)
–100 room hotel across Myrtle on the Dunkley Music property
–300 room convention hotel at 11th and Front with a possible 5,000 seat soccer field
–St. Luke’s seeks to close Jefferson for its private benefit

Meanwhile after half a dozen rejected locations, Boise is building an underground bus station and Gardner is putting the entire Center on the Grove in shadows with new office condos. Buses will be doing some sort of loop against traffic on Capitol.

Not to ignore the rest of the city, Boise leaders are in the process of annexing land on South Cole for a development called “Syringa Valley.” The area is predicted to have 1330 homes, 1110 apartments, 480 condos, and a business park and shopping center.

Both ACHD and Boise Schools have developed plans to spend millions of dollars on the planned urban sprawl.

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Apr 15 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)

Finding quarters for homeless veterans (Boise Statesman)
McCall police chief gets $400k in termination case (Boise Statesman)
Child support bill reject could cost $250m (IF Post Register)
College tuition hike may be ahead (Lewiston Tribune)
Lewiston area could be second AVA region in Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow city projects outrunning money (Moscow News)
Nampa P&Z okays St. Luke’s hospital there (Nampa Press Tribune)
NNU board gets petition for dismissed Oord (Nampa Press Tribune)
New regs go in place for Lake Lowell (Nampa Press Tribune)
More food insecurity in SE Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
School districts start teacher negotiations (TF Times News)

Chicago’s Schill chosen as UO president (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon unemployment rate now below national (Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
State Senate okays gun sales background bill (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Armed group opposes feds at mining claim (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston Conference Center future uncertain (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon counties will get some timber assistance (Portland Oregonian)

Mt Baker will open this week with more snow (Bellingham Herald)
Legislature approves changes in medical pot law (Vancouver Columbian, Bellingham Herald, Longview News)
County official’s remarks called racist (Everett Herald)
Everett nurses, hospital agree to contract (Everett Herald)
Granite Falls considers move to city manager system (Everett Herald)
Former Hanford exec sentenced over timecard fraud (Kennewick Herald)
Effort to clean Longview tap water slows (Longview News)
Clark councilor files run for chair (Vancouver Columbian)
Oregon income taxes its residents, WA employees (Vancouver Columvian)
Newhouse named to House Rules committee (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 14 2015

Republicans and Cuba

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

There was both good news and bad for the Grand Old Party this week. The good news was the presidential candidacy announcement by Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. At the age of 43, he’s young, handsome, smart as a whip, and gives terrific speeches. First elected Speaker of the Florida House at age 34, his is an ascending star.

Presidential elections are most often about the future and who can best lead the nation into that uncertain time. Historically, the Democratic Party has been the one presenting younger, future-oriented candidates. This time around it may just be the Republicans, who with Rubio, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, have a corner on the younger, generational change leaders.

Former Senators Hillary Clinton, and James Webb (The only two announced Democrats) will both be approaching or at age 70 on Inauguration Day, 2017.

The bad news for Republicans is the candidacy announcement by Senator Rubio.

Rubio’s declaration coupled with the well-orchestrated meeting in Panama at the Organization of American States gathering between Cuban President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama spells trouble for the Republican presidential wanna-be’s.

Perhaps the most critical state for a Republican hopeful to capture in the primary is Florida. Likewise, the path to the White House in November, 2016 will go through Florida. There is one issue above all other issues that moves a critical Florida Republican constituency and that is maintenance of the trade embargo in the minds of the Cuban/American community.

President Obama’s long overdue movement to begin the process of doing away with the embargo ensures it will remain a divisive issue throughout the campaign cycle. Obama knows a good wedge issue when he sees one.

Senator Rubio, the son of immigrants who fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took power, is expected to maintain the “no compromise/no trade” position which must may give him the critical edge he’ll need to defeat in the primary his political mentor and friend, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Even before the Obama/Castro meeting, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced he was for pulling the trade embargo. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wisconsin’s chief executive are expected to follow suit. After all, free trade is one of the tenet’s of the Libertarian faith.

Idaho’s current governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, has long advocated lifting the trade embargo so Idaho producers could market and sell directly to Cuba. During the six years Otter was in the House he took three, lobbyist paid for trips to Cuba.

The first trade mission Otter organized and led as governor was to Cuba in April of 2007. Saying, according to spokesperson Jon Hanian, he was going down there “to sell some groceries,” Otter led a delegation of 35 Idahoans that included folks from the Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho Milk Producers, a seed company, a couple of professors from BYU-Idaho, and Marty Peterson, the public affairs director for the University of Idaho, wearing his historical preservation hat. Peterson was hoping to take part in an effort to protect and preserve author Ernest Hemingway’s Havana home. Continue Reading »

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Apr 14 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)

Business interests consider the legislative session (Boise Statesman)
WA House Democrats release roads proposal (Lewiston Tribune)
Asotin county officials irritated with legislature (Lewiston Tribune)
Legislature kills child support bill (TF Times News, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Omega RV builds in Caldwell, adds 150 jobs (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bridges may be affected by big winds (TF Times News)

School superintendent at Springfield quits (Eugene Register Guard)
Debate over raising minimum wage increase (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Medford hospital aims toward more mental care (Medford Tribune)
Arrival on beaches of “blue blobs” (Portland Oregonian)
Plans for more barriers on risky interstates (Salem Statesman Journal)

No more free island transit rides, maybe (Everett Herald)
Problems with hiring new manager at Mill Creek (Everett Herald)
Home prices have gone up in 15 (Longview News)
New transport plan from House Democrats (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Seattle getting smart parking meters (Seattle Times)
Many area immigrants may be freed from detention (Seattle Times)

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Apr 13 2015

Letting us in on the costs

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

We don’t often reprint issue letters – the type that encourage people to sign a petition on some issue, for example. But this one advocates for an idea on health care we’ve been supporting for years, and now it might become actual state law. The mail comes from the public interest organization OSPIRG.

We all know health care still costs too much. But how much does it cost? If you’ve ever asked, you know: They won’t tell you.

Why? Because, unlike every other business in America, hospitals get to keep their prices a secret. As a result, they get away with charging outrageous prices and surprising fees, often for routine procedures.

A bill to make Oregon’s hospitals post their actual prices online is scheduled for its first vote next Monday. Hospital and insurance industry lobbyists are working to defeat the proposal. Will you stand with us?

Tell your state lawmakers: Make hospitals post their prices.

Not too long ago, my friend’s wife cut her finger deeply and went to the emergency room. The doctor gave her a tetanus shot and a few dabs of a skin adhesive called Indermil. A few weeks later, they got a bill for $2,300. They charged her $1000 for the skin glue alone, even though it can be purchased online for $40 a tube.

What other business gets away with that?

When pressed on why they can’t just post their actual prices, hospitals will tell us it is too difficult and too complicated.

But it isn’t, really. They already know their prices – they just don’t want to make them public. In fact, hospitals and insurance companies actually have written agreements to keep the prices they negotiate a secret.

This is absurd and we should not tolerate it a moment longer. Inflated prices due to lack of competition and excessive price variation have led to $105 billion in waste in health care spending each year.

It is time to get the health care industry to do what every other business in America does.

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Apr 13 2015

In the Briefings

container
 

A look at the container yard at the Port of Lewiston. Last week, reacting to the loss of a service contractor at the port of Portland which in turn led to loss of service at Lewiston, the Idaho port suspended most container service and announced layoffs. See the economy/business section in this issue. (Photo /Port of Lewiston)

 

For most of Friday, the Idaho Legislature seemed to be just a little too far behind the curve to adjourn for the year – it seemed likely to return for at least a day or two this week. But then, around midnight, it wrapped up. The late-night fallout will be examined and re-examined this week.

The Oregon Legislature has been moving ahead in overdrive – passing a school budget weeks ahead of the normal schedule. Might it adjourn in the early part of summer?

In Washington, it’s time now for the clash of the budgets – the Republican Senate and the Democratic House. Recognizing the reality of the budget-passing imperative and the option of a gubernatorial veto, some compromises are likely. But expect a lot of position-taking between here and there.

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Apr 13 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)

Questions over how many Idaho wolves there are (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Defendants with mental health issues have spiked (Lewiston Tribune)
Idaho Legislature adjourns for year (Moscow News)
Preparations back on for canyon jump (TF Times News)

Neighbors dislike rehab center idea at Ashland (Medford Tribune)
Senators help dedicate Oregon Cave monument (Medford Tribune)
Gas prices will be lower this summer (Portland Oregonian)
Several perimenter breaches noted at PDX (Portland Oregonian)
Subdivision development fee possible at Salem (Salem Statesman Journal)

Local incentives for pot sales may be coming (Bellingham Herald)
Housing market becomes much hotter (Bremerton Sun)
Boeing has plane supply issues at Everett (Everett Herald)
Lead-stren gun ranges still get federal contracts (Seattle Times)
Interstate widening resumes at Snoqualmie (Spokane Spokesman)
Food trucks setting down at Coeur d’Alene (Spokane Spokesman)
Kindergartens pressed for space (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima admins wary of cost of smaller classes (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Apr 12 2015

The highway difference

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

Road trips, and the amount of time they take, may mark the single area of great difference between the Oregon east of the Cascades and the Oregon to the west.

West of the Cascades, there’s little interest in raising speed limits, and for good reason. Traffic is heavier, especially in the metro areas but to a sometimes surprising degree away from them as well. Roads have lots of points of entry and exit. Many roads are fairly narrow and twisty. Even Highway 101, the great coastal highway located well away from the metro areas, is often packed with traffic, and even where it’s not it is hilly, winds around – little of it seems to run in a straight line – and has lots of roads branching out, since it is only major route through the region. Driving times often are determined less by the number of miles involved, than by the number of vehicles and turns.

Eastern Oregon is like a whole different road system. Some of it runs through mountains, true, but even most of those roads are far less twisty than across the Cascades. Traffic is relatively light (even, in relative terms, on I-84 east of The Dalles). Most highways are remarkably straight, and most are wide, well built-out roads, and many of them have limited access.
Driving east of the Cascades is not like driving to the west.

A couple of pieces of legislation, offered by lawmakers from eastern Oregon (Ontario and Cove), show some awareness of that. The states all around Oregon have higher speed limits on their freeways, and on many rural highways as well. While you can make a solid case for lower limits in the Willamette Valley and environs, it’s a different story in the long runs between, say, John Day and Lakeview, or Arlington and Pendleton. There, the greater danger in keeping things slow would seem to be road weariness from drives extending too many hours.

The Oregon legislature has a pretty good track record of taking road trips in bringing issues to far reaches of the state. Before dismissing these two new bills, as so many others have been over the years, western lawmakers might do well to roll a few miles on those long-long stretches.

And reconsider.

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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
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