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Posts published in “Day: December 15, 2006”

Sweet to Sali

Not a lot of Idaho legislators were close to former state representative, now U.S. Representative-elect Bill Sali, but state Senator Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, certainly was.

Gerry SweetThe past tense refers not to the relationship, which continues tightly, but to Sweet's role in the legislature - he has resigned his seat in the Idaho Senate to become Sali's in-state district manager. He's a logical choice in that regard.

There are other regards. Sweet was hashed last session for missing a lot of votes so that he could attend to his pribvate business, which often meant attending gun shows and similar events. The Associated Press reported then, "he absences of Sen. Gerry Sweet, R-Meridian, drew criticism from some lawmakers who say he hasn’t paid enough attention to one of the Legislature’s most important panels. Sweet didn’t vote on 63 of 200 budget bills for fiscal year 2007, based on figures provided by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to The Associated Press."

But then, while the job of state senator is part time, that of district manager of a congressional office is full time. Usually.

FOLLOWING: With his letter of resignation lodged, the district's Republican central committee has about two weeks to nominate replacements (usually three are nominated). The governor then picks one - which leads to the question of which governor will make the choice, Jim Risch or Butch Otter? The time frame would allow for either to do so . . .


We count ourselves lucky: We lost power for only about six hours last night, after a full day of warnings that it could easily happen. Kept us off line a bit, but no damage done.

Government Camp - ODOT roadcam photo A grocery store clerk we know wasn't quite so lucky. The ferocious winds tore down a 100-foot evergreen in her yard, smashed it to the ground, missing her house . . . and her neighbor's house, barely . . . but not the neighbor's $18,000 boat.

And that was small stuff to what others went through. An estimated million people lost power at some point in northwestern Washington - much of Seattle was hit - and five or more days may pass before it is restored in some places. The Portland metro region and nearby coast saw outages for about 375,000 people. (Just imagine being the power repair guys trying to deal with this. From accounts we've seen so far, they appear to have done an extraordinary job.)

Washington reported four deaths from all this, so far. In Oregon, the search continues for people who - what could they have been thinking? - insisted on climbing Mount Hood; the death toll on that Oregon landmark is way above normal.

This is turning into a biting winter.

Absorbing a regional power hitter

The big Seattle law firm Preston Gates & Ellis is one of the power players in Seattle.

This is old shoe downtown clout: The oldest big law firm in Seattle, one of the biggest (420 lawyers) and big names - yes, the Gates in the name is Bill's father, and he was big deal in the Puget Sound well before anyone had heard of Microsoft, and even now cuts a big swath in Washington business and politics. (It does represent Microsoft, too.) The political clout roster would start with former Senator Slade Gorton and go on from there. And they are only the best known of many big figures here.

It has been Seattle owned and based, up to now, but that is changing: At the turn of the year it will merge with an even bigger firm (a little more than twice as big), Kirkpatrick & Lockhart of Pittsburgh. Like Preston Gates, it has offices scattered around the globe. (Informally, the merged firm will be called K&L Gates - notice which name of the Seattle three will be retained.)

Spokesmen maintain that the merger will change virtually nothing at Seattle, other than link it more firmly to the global marketplace; no change of personnel or clientele was indicated. Our interest, though, is that in the power structure of Seattle, there may be a little change. Preston Gates has been an independent, freestanding operation in Seattle, a free agent to an extent, operating as it will; now it will become part of a larger system. How the change will affect it as a business and professional entity is one thing, but we have to imagine it will affect its stance and role in the community, if only in subtle ways. It will be, after all, part of something still bigger, now.