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Posts published in “Day: August 5, 2006”

Measure rundown

There's the line of thought that in states like Oregon, where ballot issues pop up by the bushel, you're better off voting against all of them. (There's a good argument about just that on Blue Oregon.) Evidently, a lot of people do; something like two-thirds of them tend to fail. It's a reasonable default situation.

That said, not all do, and not all should. And blanket voting is simply another way of saying one is unwilling to do the work of separating the crystalline from the crud.

Herewith, an early and quick rundown of the measures that make the Oregon ballot this year, our take on what lies ahead. Expect the biggest debate on Measure 48; hope for spirited debate on all, especially the most obscure (and sometimes treacherous) financial measures.

Measure Will it pass? Should it pass?
39 - No eminent domain for private sales yes yes
40 - Constitution: Elect Supreme Court, Appeals by district yes close call
41 - Allow state tax deduction equal to federal exemption unclear no
42 - Ban insurance company use of credit scores for rates yes yes
43 - Parental notification on abortion of minor children yes leaning yes
44 - Expand Oregon prescription drug program yes yes
45 - Constitution: State legislators term limits close call no
46 - Constitution: Procedure on campaign finance law probably no
47 - Campaign finance rules, adds requirements probably no
48 - Constitution: TABOR state spending limits leaning no no


Comments not only welcome, but encouraged. Consider the above a first take likedly to be extended and revised a couple of months from now.

Echoes from Hells

reviewHistory usually does not repeat itself, exactly, but it does send waves of recollection off into the future. We have a hard time learning from history, it seems, until after it smacks us more than once.

Brooks bookUseful history books can at least soften the shock, and Karl Brooks' new (and first) book on the Hells Canyon controversy may do that, since its timeliness has worked out well. One of the underreported developments in Idaho and Oregon now underway is the renewal of Idaho Power Company's licenses for the Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Dams on the Snake River; the almost certain ultimate approval of those renewals does not lessen their importance (or render insignificant the terms attached). The lack of current controversy would seem to tell many Idahoans and Oregonians that the dams on the Snake involve no dispute.

But they once did, ferocious dispute indeed, and not where you might think. The battle running from the late 40s to the late 50s centered not on the environmental question that might be a centerpiece today - whether to build a dam (or more than one) on such a fine stream of freeflowing river. The issue then was over whether the federal government or Idaho Power, both experienced dam builders, should do the job - and win control of a key piece of electric generation in the Northwest.

Our Paradox Politics touched on the subject briefly, from the standpoint of Idaho politics. But now Karl Brooks has given it the full book treatment, and this thorough review turns out to be unexpectedly timely. (more…)

No 1 – in West Nile

Acuriousity - or is there a reason behind it? On surface at least, it seems one of the more counterintuitive health factoids around.

mosquitoHealth officials are saying that Idaho is the worst state in the nation for serious outbreaks of West Nile virus. That seems odd right on the surface. The virus is spread by mosquitos, and Idaho isn't an especially big mosquito state - mostly, it's dry, which tends to discourage the pests. On the other hand, this is a wetter year than most.

There is an excellent Ada County web site tracking West Nile developments in southwest Idaho, where it seems most prevalent. Statewide, as of yesterday, it shows 54 cases of West Nile determined among humans so far this year.

Not good news for the spread of this thing, for anyone in the west.