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.


 
"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. "Mike Blackbird paints 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 that put him and so many others in that battlefield . . . 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.


 

Oct 22 2014

Promises to keep

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

He’s 83 years young, still walks several miles twice a day, has bounced back from a lung cancer surgery earlier this year with no need for follow up radiation or chemotherapy, still loves to bird hunt and fly fish, and almost 20 years after leaving public office remains the most recognized, admired and respected bald headed politician in Idaho.

Always known for his candor and honesty, if anything with age he has become more feisty and outspoken. This past week he received The Frank and Bethine Church Public Service Award in honor of a lifetime of work on behalf of protecting the “crown jewels” of Idaho’s outdoors – the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Owyhee Canyon Lands, and the Birds of Prey.

He reminded his audience in his brief acceptence remarks he has always striven for balance, that having a resource based economy could be and should be compatible with protecting the state’s environmental assets. He repeated his long-time mantra – “first you have to make a living but then you have to have a living that’s worthwhile.”

He also served notice that there is one last charge on his steed he is going to make before riding off into the sunset: the Boulder/White Clouds will receive the recognition it merits by President Barack Obama invoking his authority under the Antiquities Act to declare the area a National Monument.

Governor Andrus made his statement knowing full well that earlier in the day his good friend, second district Congressman Mike Simpson, who led a ten-year long effort to work out an acceptable piece of legislation only to be betrayed by then freshman Senator Jim Risch, had announced that he’d asked the Administration to give him eight months to achieve passage in the next Congress of a new version of his previous legislation. Continue Reading »

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Oct 22 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)

Otter wants 9th circuit gay marriage review (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
New bridge will finish Eagle part of greenbelt (Boise Statesman)
Record coho caught near Lewiston (Boise Statesman)
Less expensive E-911 possible for Asotin County (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU develops plans on ebola, UI doesn’t (Moscow News)
Local officials call on people to get flu shots (Moscow News)
Whitman County candidates debate budgets, guns (Moscow News)
State getting ready for ebola (Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Teachers unhappy about tiered license plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing 2nd district US House race (TF Times News)
District 26 candidate forum held in Gooding (TF Times News)

Voters consider the top-two primary option (Eugene Register Guard)
KF sets a 10% pot tax (KF Herald & News)
Water year was hard on irrigators in southern OR (KF Herald & News)
King Co sheriff says Washington pot rules work (Medford Tribune)
Jackson Co adopts two business recruitment plans (Medford Tribune)
Irrigon officials battle over library building (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon Health contractor hiring questioned (Portland Oregonian)
Undocumented drivers on ballot (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing the Courtney, Milne Senate race (Salem Statesman Journal)

Inslee at Bremerton on green Navy efforts (Bremerton Sun)
Sequist says he was libeled by opponent (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish council reviews raises for executives (Everett Herald)
Boeing breaks ground on 777X wing effort (Everett Herald)
OR county wants to change access on Diblee Point (Longview News)
Cowlitz County jobless rate dropping (Longview News)
Reviewing 35th district races (Olympian)
Clallam prosecutor challenger outraises incumbent (Port Angeles News)
Discussion held on new Port Angeles high school (Port Angeles News)
Effort to extend monorail staggers (Seattle Times)
Spokane car dealer needs more downtown space (Spokane Spokesman)
University Place restricts parking for US Open (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark County candidates get state GOP funding (Vancouver Columbian)
Jobless rates at Yakima dropping again (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 21 2014

Reviewing candidates for style

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, a native of Kenya and motivational speaker from Boise, follows Idaho politics closely, but his evaluation of candidates goes beyond their views on the issues.

Kituku wants to know how a person connects with an audience. Does the candidate stumble over words? Speak without a script? Use stories and humor in their presentations? Show passion? Inspire voters?

Kituku’s standards are high. His opening prayers are better than many keynote addresses. He has written books, made recordings and conducted seminars on public speaking. He’d be an outstanding speaking coach for any candidate wanting to sharpen his/her skills.

But he doesn’t get a lot of takers, because most candidates don’t give much thought to presentations – the part that often closes the deal with voters.
Intellectually, everyone wants to put substance ahead of style. But style is crucial, especially for newcomers challenging longtime incumbents. Steve Symms was loaded with style and flash when he ran against, and defeated, longtime Sen. Frank Church in 1980.

Cecil Andrus won two big races for governor, at least partly due to his ability to connect effectively with audiences. Four years ago, Keith Allred had substance in his run for governor against C.L. “Butch” Otter, but few style points and was no match for Otter in the general election.

This year’s Democratic candidate, A.J. Balukoff, a CPA by profession, speaks with Sabout corruption in the Otter administration and lack of focus on education, but without gusto. Balukoff’s bow tie, which was used in his early television ads, probably didn’t help him, according to Kituku. “I tell people they should stand out, but that does not mean looking silly.”

Kituku says Otter is no great speech-maker; the older he gets, the more he tends to ramble. But Otter has not lost a step as far as his ability to work a room. Strong handshakes, beaming smiles and friendly laughs make him as likeable as ever.

“That’s what I mean about connecting with people,” Kituku said. “Mitt Romney had some outstanding ideas and values, but he was not likeable.”

Recently, I was talking with Democratic Senatorial Candidate Nels Mitchell, and offered some first impressions of his speaking style. I hear words coming out of his mouth, but don’t feel anything coming from his heart. He may be a hit with Democrats and those who dislike Sen. Jim Risch, but in politics, lack of heart and soul equals lack of connection with undecided voters. Kituku has a similar view.

“Forget that one,” Kituku said flatly of Mitchell’s style.

He’s no kinder toward Risch, who Kituku says comes across as angry. “He does not connect well.”
Mitchell, a career lawyer, would do well learning from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, another career lawyer who turned to politics. As a candidate, and in his early days in office, Bieter was “horrible” as a speaker. Kituku saw a marked improvement in Bieter’s second state-of-the-city address – speaking without a script, telling stories and blending humor into his presentation.   Continue Reading »

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Oct 21 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)

Dangerous synthetic drugs found in Boise (Boise Statesman)
Andrus urges White Cloud monument (Boise Statesman)
Large upscale downtown apartments planned (Boise Statesman)
Looking at Balukoff and his campaign (Lewiston Tribune)
Record-breaking coho found in Idaho rivers (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow allowing lots with tight access (Moscow News)
Reviewing Idaho House race (Moscow News)
New Nampa library will have same hours (Nampa Press Tribune)
COMPASS working on five-year transportation budget (Nampa Press Tribune)
A bunch of legislative forums today in Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislative candidates discuss issues (Pocatello Journal)
Minico students barred from lunch across street (TF TImes News)
ACLU jumps into Declo discrimination case (TF TImes News)

Property taxes in Lane will rise (Eugene Register Guard)
Merkley seems well ahead of Wehby in race (Eugene Register Guard)
Transient rooms tax yields more than expected in Klamath (KF Herald & News)
KF will get a Sportsmans Warehouse (KF Herald & News)
Last governor debate at Medford (Medford Tribune)
Student said SOU rally was misinterpreted (Medford Tribune)
Forest review: Residents want more use (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Drivers license issue backers rally at Hermiston (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
UO strategizes on its $2b fundraising plan (Portland Oregonian)

Were student asked to help teacher running for legislator? (Everett Herald)
County death investigator reaches $125k settlement (Everett Herald)
Gas prices dropping in Washington (Longview News)
Reviewing Clallam auditor contest (Port Angeles News)
Risk of child poisoning at shooting ranges, pt 3 (Seattle Times)
Commute in Seattle getting worse (Seattle Times)
Review foster family difficulties, part 3 (Spokane Spokesman)
Liberty Lake passes expansive rule on minors, pot (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver Council won’t address Clark charter (Vancouver Columbian)
AGs go after sex trafficking online (Vancouver Columbian)
Write-in for Pierce prosecutor doesn’t want t run (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima pressing for more airlilne traffic (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 20 2014

Two weeks to go

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

I am hoping that my ballot is in the mail today. I am ready to vote.

What I really like about voting early is that it’s an inoculation against all the TV and Internet ads. Once I have voted, I know that I am just wasting campaign or special interest money.
So here we are two weeks to go until the formal Election Day and counting of ballots.

Remember two years ago Indian Country voters outperformed. As I wrote then, this smallest demographic slice of the population made a difference in the outcomes in Montana and South Dakota races for the U.S. Senate (the only two states Nate Silver called wrong).

In 2014 these are my three elections to watch: Alaska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Two of those states have tight Senate races (the latest Real Clear Politics look at the average of all polls estimates a Republican pick-up of 8 seats, enough for a Senate majority.)

South Dakota is now polling within the margin of error for a four-way race. That means the race is essentially tied and it will be won by the campaign that’s best organized to get their voters to the polls.
Former Gov. Mike Rounds, the Republican in the race, is viewed unfavorably by more than half of those surveyed, 51 percent, and that could lead a lot of conservatives to vote for Gordie Howie, an independent. In the most recent poll, Howie is earning about 5 percent support. As more of the national talk, however, focuses on either independent Larry Pressler or the Democrat Rick Weiland, I think this makes Howie more likely to get Tea Party support. So watch: if Howie gets more than 5 percent, that will come from Rounds and make it more likely that Pressler or Weiland wins.

And which one? That really depends on Indian Country. Will there be a turnout and consistent vote for one or the other. President Obama won nearly 3,000 votes from Shannon County in 2012, 93.4 percent of the vote. Can that number grow as voters consider changing the name of the county to Oglala Lakota County? My guess is that Weiland will get the majority of those votes, but the bigger question is can he get a large percentage, 80 or even 90 percent? (If you look through the 2014 election map and every blue county is an American Indian homeland.)

The other thing to watch is early voting numbers. The bigger the early returns, the more likely outcome favoring Weiland.

Turning to Wisconsin. The hot race in this state is for governor — and there are several issues that impact Indian Country, including mining policy. Polls show this as a tight race. Two factors that are hard to see how they will play out is the increased number of jobs and the drop in gas prices. Both are good news — so it’s a matter of perception (Are the governor’s policies responsible? Or does the president get credit?)

The Native Vote Program for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters has a goal of increasing the Native American turnout by 6 percent. To put that challenge in perspective: The turnout of Native voters was only 34 percent in the last governor’s election while the general turnout was 52 percent. That means there is a lot of room for growth. Especially with early vote. (Just think: With early voting, a community could even hit 100 percent turnout.)

I’ll have a lot more to say about Alaska this week. The First Alaskans Institute’s Youth and Elders Conference is underway in Anchorage (Shoni Schimmel speaks today, yay!) and Thursday is the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. Both are big deals — especially during an election year.
Gotta run. Idaho needs my ballot mailed back.

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Oct 20 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)

Coho largely restored by Nez Perce (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing the legislative rulemaking amendment (Boise Statesman)
Looking at online schooling (Moscow News)
Pullman starts with budget hearings (Moscow News)
Percentage of college-bound students fell in 2013 (TF Times News)
Dog shooting still dogging city of Filer (TF Times News)

US House 5 a cooler race this time (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene deals with sick leave rule specifics (Eugene Register Guard)
Kitzhaber’s campaign battered by scandals (Medford Tribune)
Medford schools may try all-day kindergarten (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Portland ‘re-entry court’ (Portland Oregonian)
The 5th U.S. House district race, uneven (Salem Statesman Journal)

Expensive, negative state Senate race in 35th (Bremerton Sun)
Annual salmon run is about to start (Bremerton Sun)
Review of Y.S. House 2 contest, Larsen favored (Everett Herald)
Forks people uneasy about Navy electronic war plan (Longview News)
Centralia Power plant top WA greenhouse gas producer (Olympian)
Examining how a legal pot operation works (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles may make deal for smart parking meters (Port Angeles News)
Lead poisoning at Belleview gun range (Seattle Times)
Second part of problems with foster care (Spokane Spokesman)
I-90 overpass to get local funding (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing two-R 4th district U.S. House race (Tacoma News Tribune)

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Oct 19 2014

Of many things

jorgensen W. SCOTT
JORGENSEN

 
Conversations with Atiyeh

Of the three interviews I did with former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh prior to his passing last July, my favorite was the one from late March.

That hour-long talk makes up the fourth chapter of my recently released new book, Conversations with Atiyeh, and is called “Boy Scouts, Football and the Legislature.”

The first part of our conversation was about the governor’s lifelong involvement with the Boy Scouts organization. He joined as a young boy, but continued his involvement well into adulthood and beyond.
Vic beamed with pride as he talked about his son Tom achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Governor Atiyeh talks about the Boy Scouts

We also discussed his football career. Vic played at Washington High and the University of Oregon through good years, bad years, and everything in between.

Governor Atiyeh talks about football

Our final topic was his 20-year legislative career. I asked him about his favorite memory from that time. He replied that it was the days of the famed “Phone Booth” caucus, when there were so few Senate Republicans that they could all literally fit in a phone booth.

One thing was clear to me in our talks—Governor Atiyeh felt good about his life and career.

Governor Atiyeh talks about his legacy

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Oct 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)

Simpson wants 8 months to pass wilderness bill (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Overview state superintendent public instruction race (Boise Statesman)
GOP legislative candidates fully funded (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bannock assessor candidate chargs unethical behavoir (Pocatello Journal)
Simpson outraises Stallings in campaign (TF Times News)
Reviewing magic valley drug court (TF Times News)

Looking at Oregon’s pot ballot issue (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
UO tries academic emphasis in fundraising (Eugne Register Guard)
Looking at Oregon’s ballot issues (KF Herald & News)
Green candidate drops from District 2 Senate race (Medford Tribune)
Kitzhaber’s recent troubles (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing governor’s race (Salem Statesman Journal)

Legislators talk of restoring 2008 cuts (Bremerton Sun)
Court looks at new schools budget (Bremerton Sun)
DelBene far outspending Celis (Everett Herald)
City offices and more move from Everett floodplain (Everett Herald)
Thurston corrections contract signed (Olympian)
Heavier conflict in expensive 35th Senate race (Olympian)
South Sound and ebola (Olympian)
Investigative: Lead poisoning at gun ranges (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Veteran Spokesman journalist Dorothy Powers dies (Spokane Spokesman)
Power plants produce vast greenhouse gases (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
Reviewing vote on Vancouver charter (Vancouver Columbian)
East Clark Columbian bridge idea questioned (Vancouver Columbian)
Focusing on 4th district US House race (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 18 2014

No difference at all

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

A reader points out that Idaho voters next month will decide whether to pass an amendment to the state constitution, and “The only info I have is in the “Idaho Voters’ Pamphlet” and it’s not enough”: She requests some guidance.

Okay: On this one, you can feel comfortable throwing a dart blindfolded at your ballot. Whether you pass it or fail it, it will make no difference whatsoever, not to Idaho voters, their government, or anything else. When I read that one of its main floor backers, Senator Curt McKenzie of Nampa, said it was among most significant pieces of legislation he’d dealt with, I hoped that his legislative career has amounted to more than that.

What House Joint Resolution 2, which passed both chambers with not a single vote opposed, does say is that the Legislature can authorize and holds final effective approval power over all agency rules and regulations. That would be significant if the legislature already had not been doing that. Legislatures take varying roles in dealing with agency regulations, but the Idaho Legislature has been overseeing and accepting and rejecting rules for decades – to my knowledge at least since the 70s, and probably long before that.

For many years, the legislature gave the rules a quick look, maybe throwing out two or three controversial ones in a normal session. Since the mid-90s, it has been applying a microscope to them, spending the first quarter or so of each session hunkered down over not legislation but administrative rules to decide whether they will stay there, or should be kicked out, or amended. Some studies have concluded that the Idaho Legislature has, for a couple of decades, had more power over and more closely reviewed the rules than any other legislature in the country.

So what is the new proposed amendment intended to accomplish? Basically, to allow the system Idaho has had for a couple of decades to stay in place.

Is there any reason to think it won’t? Legislative backers point out a couple of challenges to legislative rule approval at the Idaho Supreme Court; but the court has each time upheld the legislature. That’s too much locked-in precedent for such a change to happen easily.

But even if it did, the practical difference would be, as a lawyer would say, de minimis. Administrative rules can be set up only within the terms of state law, so the legislature sets the parameters to start with. If the rules color outside the lines, they can be challenged and thrown out in court. Legislators can also change state law as they please to rein in regulatory ideas they don’t like or impose those they do; there’s not a lot of limit on how specific law can be. (Laws can be held unconstitutional for vagueness but generally not for specificity.) Legislators also hold the power of the purse, and can (and often do) include statements specifically describing what money cannot be used for, or must be used for – which amounts to sweeping control of what an agency does. A legislator might argue that a governor can veto a bill, even a budget bill; but two-thirds of the legislature can override vetoes. Continue Reading »

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Oct 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)

Time capsule found in old statute (Boise Statesman)
Police observing rail crossings (Boise Statesman)
IF city officials start strategic planning (IF Post Register)
Lewiston, Orchards Sewer, hit impasse in talks (Lewiston Tribune)
Washington initiative on class size has costs (Lewiston Tribune)
Palouse city has mass of public record requests (Moscow News)
UI Dean Bruce Pitman departing (Moscow News)
Balukoff school backer never voted in Idaho (Idaho Press Tribune)
Library Square tenants evaluate options (Idaho Press Tribune)
New ads up in race for governor (TF Times News)
Options considers to cut auto-wildlife collisions (TF Times News)

New UO fundraise goal set at $2b (Eugene Register Guard)
Debate rages on driver license ballot issue (Eugene Register Guard)
State student endowman plan on ballot (Eugene Register Guard)
Voters asked for $36 million for KF high school (KF Herald & News)
Judge says cities can bar medical pot retailing (KF Herald & News)
Circuit judge contest renews at Jackson Co (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Jackson Co commission 1 candidates (Medford Tribune)
On future of Umatilla-area school service district (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Senator Hansell blasts Kitzhaber on water spills (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pot dispensary access becoming easier in OR (Portland Oregonian)
Ferrioli blasts negative campaign ads (Salem Statesman Journal)

Kilmer heavily outspends opponent (Bremerton Sun)
Bainbridge Island gets new park (Bremerton Sun)
King home values rise, and so do taxes (Seattle Times)
Looking at frequent turnover in neighborhoods (Seattle Times)
Examining reduced-class-size initiative (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane council member partner in pot business (Spokane Spokesman)
New museum planned for Point Ruston (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver school board may expand meeting notice (Vancouver Columbian)
Controversial prayer breakfast with Boykin held (Vancouver Columbian)
Looking at the problem of hoarders (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima schools may see athletic upgrades (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 17 2014

OOPS two

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Ah, Ebola. Seems like only yesterday we imported our first case of this terrible, headline-grabbing disease. Our very first. It’s so fresh in the mind I can still see and hear ol’ Rick Perry and the loud “SWOOSH” made by his running to the national TV cameras.

“We’re proud – (proud, I say) – that a Texas hospital has been chosen to treat the nation’s first Ebola patient,” he said through a big Texas good ol’ boy smile. “Texas is proud – (proud, I say) – of our best-in-the-country hospitals and the tremendous people we have giving such wonderful care.”

He turned from right to left. Then left to right so the cameras could catch that sculpted Texas chin. Then he departed – stage right. Of course.

Since then ol’ Rick’s been on the campaign trail in three states and off to France for . . . . . well, I don’t know what for. You can bet it’s something to do with running for president in 2016. Or at least HE thinks so.

So let’s recap what’s happened in that “state-of-the-art” Texas hospital since the old boy hopped a jet after his phony, office-chasing welcome mat for Ebola was broadcast worldwide.

First, the patient died. But there’s more. Seems the Dallas staff of one of the “best-in-the-country” hospitals sent the patient home with antibiotics when he showed up with all the symptoms of – wait for it – Ebola. The old “take two and call me in the morning” shuffle as I recall my own emergency room visits. Rick, of course, didn’t check out details or the history of how that Ebola patient got Ebola or what the hospital’s nonexisent software bridge between the doctor’s and nurses’s computers had caused before he rushed to center stage. As I said, detail.

Then a nurse there came down with Ebola. Then a second. Same place. Center for Disease Control folks got so mad they wouldn’t let new patients anywhere near Texas – pulling one out to ship to Atlanta and another to Emory Medical Center. Several C-D-C higher-ups even muttered publically something about “incompetence” at the Texas “best-in-America” hospital. Ricky, of course, was in France and didn’t pick up on that. OOPS.

Ebola is a terrible, dreaded disease with a near 70% death factor. Also deadly is the uncontrolled, lemming-like disease of running for president. Once infected, most “patients” seldom survive. In this case, France or no, a second nationally broadcast “OOPS” moment for Perry should be enough for permanent residence in the political graveyard. Oh, he may not realize he’s deceased for awhile. What with all the zombie phobia these days. But I have to think he’s among the “walking dead.” Again.

Perry’s is not the only voice politicizing what is really a terrible international health issue. John McCain and his hand puppet L. Graham blame the administration – read president – for not appointing an Ebola “czar.” McCain – who has previously loudly complained about the existence of “czars” in Washington – not only looks foolish but has omitted one serious fact. He and the puppet helped block the last Surgeon General nominee, keeping the job vacant for many months. They claimed 36-year-old Dr. Vivek Murthy was “much too young” for the job – despite an exemplary scholastic and medical record.

Putting the lie to that claim was the fact that the good doctor had once written of his belief that “gun violence is a public health issue.” Damned right! But the NRA pulled the string tight on some political “privates” and Murthy’s nomination died aborning. The jobs still vacant. Thanks, John.

Ebola must not be a political football. It’s a damned serious theat everywhere. Though it’s odd to note no Ebola cases in Germany, Japan, England, Russia, Canada, South America, Mexico et all. Wonder why.

The plain fact is McCain, Graham, Perry and other Republicans have joined other fear mongers scaring the hell out of millions of Americans. A few Democrats, too. Rather than use the power of their public offices to throw governmental clout and tools into the battle to control the disease, they daily fling outrageous charges of failure and danger in all directions.

Ebola is here. On our soil. It’s going to get worse. It’s not going away anytime soon. National Institutes of Health and CDC leaders need to stop with the soothing platitudes and the “we’re-in-control” falsities and give the public honest facts and evaluations based on medical knowledge rather than ass-covering or political fright. The White House needs to stop with the same tones of overconfidence and bring to bear the most qualified help from any source available in the nation. Or the world, for that matter. Now! Continue Reading »

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Oct 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)

Did Bieter ask for firing ACHD executives? (Boise Statesman)
Overview of how Idaho economy is doing (IF Post Register)
CCA negotiations handled by Otter staff (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Idaho Falls considers urban renewal district (IF Post Register)
Student dean at UI retiring (Lewiston Tribune)
Profiling Senate 5 candidate Carlson (Moscow News)
Jerome cheese factory pays $88k EPA fine (TF Times News)
Ybarra talks about failure to vote, repeatedly (TF Times News)

Hyatt Hotel planned for Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Another levy for Eugene schools returns (Eugene Register Guard)
18th Cover Oregon security glitch reported (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
“Free speech zone’ blasted by SOU students (Medford Tribune)
Transport district argues to maintain levy (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Jackson Co commission 3 race (Medford Tribune)
Wyoming coal junket rejected by tribe (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Poll: People don’t think government spends well (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Colorado tax revenue from pot overestimated (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing the battle over GMO labeling (Portland Oregonian)

New leader at Harrison Medical Center (Bremerton Sun)
Upgrades at Bremerton sewer plant (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing Kitsap County prosecutor contest (Bremerton Sun)
Lakewood releases plan for new high school (Everett Herald)
Cowlitz prosecutor contest heats up (Longview News)
Industrial area needs $350m of rail work (Longview News)
Long-time Justice Utter dies (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Reviewing race for Clallam County auditor (Port Angeles News)
Funding strong for Clallam development officer (Port Angeles News)
Starbucks announces pay raise, customer gifts (Seattle Times)
Forks people question Navy electronic warfare (Seattle Times)
Vera Power back-billing customers (Spokane Spokesman)
Looks like warm winter for Northwest (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Selah looking at utility tax increase (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 16 2014

Through the crosstabs

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

Political managers spent a good deal of time reviewing polls, but they don’t spent a lot of time with the “top line” figures – how, say, two candidates stack up against each other in a race. That can be useful information (notably when put in the context of other polls and for trend lines), but the most helpful material often has to do with the other questions and the answer breakdowns.
Oregon Public Broadcasting and Fox-12 (through DHM Research) polled Oregon from 8-11 on candidates and ballot races. The top lines were not much different from what we’ve seen elsewhere: Governor, John Kitzhaber (D) over Dennis Richardson (R) by 50%-29, Senate, Jeff Merkley (D) over Monica Wehby (R) by 47%-26%. No terrific shocks there.
But here’s some of the rest of what it shows.
Is Oregon on the right or wrong track? As a political matters, that’s good for figuring out how incumbents will do. “Right track” is gaining, for the first time in a while; in the new poll, 50% responded that way (37% said “wrong track”), compared to 48% in September and 43% in April. Optimism looks to be gaining on Oregon.
They’re not super familiar with the candidates, though. Just 62% identified Kitzhaber as the Democratic nominee for governor, not great for a three-term governor, but Richardson’s number was even less impressive; 34% knew he was the Republican nominee. (43% thought the Republican in the race was someone else.)
On the Senate side, just 46% identified Merkley, a six-year incumbent, as the Democratic nominee, and 42% named Wehby as the Republican nominee. That’s better than Richardson, but apparently a lot of those people didn’t like what they heard about her (there have been a bunch of bad headlines0, since the poll showed her getting a smaller percentage than Richardson.
Back to top lines, the ballot issues were a mix of results, and in all don’t add up to a strong philosophical direction. Marijuana legalization seems to be doing pretty well but is no slam dunk (52%-41% in favor), while expanding drivers licenses without proof of legal residents looks to fail big time (about 2-1). the “top two” ballot approach is almost a wash with plenty of undecided (which suggests failure); and the GMO labeling proposal has a slight edge but really is too close to call.
Draw some conclusions from all that if you can.

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Oct 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)

Otter’s staff worked on CCA deals (Boise Statesman)
Same sex marriages begin in Idaho (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Coho salmon will be harvested Friday (Lewiston Tribune)
Jobs growing, trained work force lags (Lewiston Tribune)
Campaign finance filings in Latah Co (Moscow News)
New heart facility will open in Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ybarra voted twice in last 17 elections (TF Times News)
Poll shows Democrats closing, but still short (TF Times News)

Keeping watch for cougars (Corvallis Gazette)
DeFazio, Robinson battle in debate (Eugene Register Guard)
UO study: higher rape risk in campus Greeks (Eugene Register Guard)
General election ballots arriving (KF Herald & News)
This year’s fire season called ‘lucky’ (KF Herald & News)
Medford Ward 4 candidates on the issues (Medford Tribune)
Young voters may be key on ballot issues (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Ethics issues filed on Kitzhaber, Hayes (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon banks worried about pot business money (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hayes client got foreclosure relief (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing Senate race (Salem Statesman Journal)

EPA seeks Navy landfill operation (Bremerton Sun)
Gass prices fall around kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing Kitsap clerk campaigns (Bremerton Sun)
Backlast seen against marijuana sales (Everett Herald)
Debate held between DelBene, Celis (Everett Herald)
Lewis Co denied water to pot grower (Longview News)
New Port Angeles high school plan revealed (Port Angeles News)
Tharinger has big finance lead in House race (Port Angeles News)
Electronic warfare sparks debate at Forks (Port Angeles News)
Mark Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill church (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Gay marriage underway in Idaho (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane mayor will reject $7k raise (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane valley house candidates well known (Spokane Spokesman)
Questions about structuring port alliance (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver’s Leavitt boycotts prayer breakfast (Vancouver Columbian)
La Center sees decline in gaming revenues (Vancouver Columbian)

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Oct 15 2014

Arguing for a 2/3 threshold

frazier DAVID
FRAZIER

 
Boise
Guardian

The DAILY PAPER had a page one story today about the effort to gain a 2/3 approval of voters for the City of Boise to go into debt for 10 years. The measure previously failed.

The STATESMAN story is fair, well balanced and accurate. It also dwells on the efforts of GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier to force local governments to play by the rules–something they didn’t do prior to 2004. We don’t know whether to take credit or blame, but Boise City has a record of extravagant requests. Frazier has a record of saving the city millions upon millions of dollars, forcing them to either pay cash or tone down their dream projects.
Modern suburban fire station in Boise, Idaho.
Through legal court victories we saved citizens about $15 on the police building (City Hall West), as much or more on the airport parking garage, and voters turned down a $38 million debt for a new library in favor of pay-as-you-go projects for three new branch libraries which are very successful.

Regardless of your thoughts on the $17 million bond sales pitch to move fire stations, build new ones, and construct a training facility, its a good thing the bond failed in the past.

Why? Because we minority of voters sent City officials back to the budgeting of OUR money and guess what? They have come up with a lower price tag and a shorter term bond debt. Thanks to a change of the former firemen retirement fund to be included in the state Public Retirement program, much of the revenue to repay the debt will come from within.

While we don’t oppose this bond, we have some concerns about financial issues directly relating to Boise’s fire department: Continue Reading »

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A truly down-home ad for Oregon Senator Merkley.

 

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.
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JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

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WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
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