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Posts published in “Year: 2007”

Dairies, laundries

Those mega-dairies have impacts way beyond what you might expect. This is from a letter in the Twin Falls Times News:

I live in Filer. We have only one public Laundromat. In the last two years, I have noticed two white-beige older vans sitting outside this Laundromat filled to the ceiling with duffel bags filled with towels and rags used on local dairies.

My concern, you ask? Simple. Why should our only public Laundromat in Filer be used for the dairies? When my own private washer and dryer went out of service to me, I tried to use the washers and dryers. They were in use from dawn to dusk. Then, from a sanitary point of view, they are not being sanitized or disinfected after each use.

My suggestion, you ask? Simple. With the cost of the washers and dryers at our coin Laundromat, why don't the dairies purchase this Laundromat and have another Laundromat built for the human residents of Filer and/or build their own on their property and give us back our Laundromat but only after a total sanitizing and disinfecting of the Laundromat we now have.

So let's hear again how the owners of dairy property have no impact on other people . . .

Inside and outside campaigns

We're likely going to see more of this on a national scale. But we'll note here David Postman's recent post that it's turning up in the Northwest at present.

There are presidential campaigns, and then there are campaigns in support of (or opposition to) presidential campaigns. This fact is significant in the case of all, maybe most significant in the case of Democratic candidate John Edwards, who is taking federal matching money and thereby limiting his campaign funds. But what about other organizations that run their own ads and messages?

This is a sticky and uncertain area, legally and ethically - there's supposed to be no coordination between the ins and outs, but what that means can be unclear. Postman is noting that one of Washington's biggest and most influential unions, S.E.I.U. local 775, has been organizing support for Edwards. (The national organization has not endorsed in the Democratic contest.) One local leader told Postman, “At that point no one is really making any strategic decisions. It was just listing a number of things that are obvious that the union could do for Edwards. That includes things you could coordinate and things you couldn’t coordinate.”

As noted, there will be more of this.

Baseline 08: The Majors

So we've run through our three lists of races to watch in the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, 10 races each; today, a quick overview of the top races in the region. Nothing especially obscure here, but a tad of perspective might be helpful in seeing how the year shapes up.

The numbering logic in similar to the legislative rundown: These are the contests which, from this viewpoint, seem to have the most significance or analytical interest as we look to where Northwest politics goes from here. It isn't a list of which seats are most likely change parties (though we think there's a good shot some may) or which incumbents are most endangered. Rather: Which contests stand to say the most about local and Northwest politics? Some of these races tell us something apart from what the partisan balance will be: They tell us something about how people see their community and their state.

One other highly cautionary note: Candidate filing deadlines are quite a ways off, in March for Oregon and Idaho and not until the first half of June for Washington, meaning that surprises in personnel doubtless will continue to unfold. What looks of interest may well change; but this is how it looks at the moment.

(The list is below the fold.) (more…)

“a few dollars more”

Campaign finance reports for 2007 won't be out for a while yet (the end of the year is, of course, generally a significant deadline not for filing but for end-of-period). An interesting note via e-mail from Steve Novick, one of the Oregon Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate: He says he's at about the half-million-dollar mark. Will be interesting to see where his main primary competitor, House Speaker Jeff Merkley, lands on the end of year report.

From Novick's mail: "We’ve now passed the $500,000 threshold for the history of the campaign, but to meet our target for midnight December 31 we’re counting on you to send us a few dollars more. In perspective, that’s more than Bill Bradbury had at this point in 2001 (almost more than he had in April right before the primary). More than Jon Tester had at this point in 2005, more than Ted Kulongoski had at this point in 2001 and way, way more than Paul Wellstone had at the end of 1989. We’re really in a great position to make our case to the voters next year."

PROMO Novick picked up a favorable review/interview in an online Harper's Magazine piece, "Watch Out for Left Hook: Six Questions for Oregon Senatorial Candidate Steve Novick." It mentions, naturally, that he's running to oust Republican Gordon Smith, but curiously fails to notice at all that Smith isn't his current opposition: That would be fellow primary contenders Merkley and Eugene real estate broker Candy Neville.

Baseline 08: Washington Legislature

Oregon statehouse

Washington statehouse

The generic look for Washington legislative politics seems to be, will the Democrats solidify gains which in the last couple of cycles have put them in decisive and almost overwhelming control? An early look suggests that if on one hand they've pretty much picked off not only the low-hanging but even most of the reasonably accessible fruit, they're still not necessarily done. And for all the Democratic targets out there, not a lot of them look especially vulnerable.

So. What we have here is the third of three lists covering the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, with one covering major offices for the three states coming tomorrow; 10 races each. The numbering logic in similar for all: These are the contests which, from this viewpoint, seem to have the most significance or analytical interest as we look to where Northwest politics goes from here. It isn't a list of which seats will change parties (though we think there's a good shot some of them will) or which incumbents are most endangered (among other things, some of these are open seats). Rather: Which contests stand to say the most about local and Northwest politics?

There's little chance, to be sure, that Republicans will be able to retake the Senate in 08, and odds are less than even (though closer than remote) for a recapture of the House. But the House margins are still close, and every one of those 60 contests will have some significance. And, as is often so, some of these races tell us something apart from what the partisan balance will be: They tell us something about how people see their community and their state.

One other highly cautionary note: Candidate filing doesn't happen until early June, meaning that surprises in personnel doubtless will continue to unfold. However, we do have early filings with the Public Disclosure Commission to work with, and though those are mainly pro forma filings by incumbents, they are in some cases early indicators.

(The list is below the fold.) (more…)

Down again

The Seattle Times is reporting, but is not commenting on - did you get that? - a memo from Publisher Frank Blethen that next year will see the paper's "most difficult and painful downsizing" ever.

That is in line with what other papers around the region have been doing. But it has to give the newsroom a bad case of the jitters.

Baseline 08: Oregon Legislature

Oregon statehouse

Oregon statehouse

Or Oregon Legislative Assembly, if you prefer, in the second of four lists for the end of the year, of what now look like some of the most noteworthy and watchable political contests to come: Three lists covering the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, then one covering major offices for the three states, with 10 races each. The numbering logic in similar for all: These are the contests which, from this viewpoint, seem to have the most significance or analytical interest as we look to where Northwest politics goes from here. It isn't a list of which seats will change parties (though we think there's a good shot some of them will) or which incumbents are most endangered (among other things, some of these are open seats). Rather: Which contests stand to say the most about local and Northwest politics?

There's little chance, to be sure, that Republicans will be able to retake the Senate in 08, and odds are less than even (though closer than remote) for a recapture of the House. But the House margins are still close, and every one of those 60 contests will have some significance. And, as is often so, some of these races tell us something apart from what the partisan balance will be: They tell us something about how people see their community and their state.

One other highly cautionary note: Candidate filing is open until March 11. Surprises in personnel doubtless will continue to unfold. (Consider, for example, the recent presumed legislature departure of Brian Boquist from the House, except that he then opted into a race for the Senate, for a seat he likely will win.)

(The list is below the fold.) (more…)

A center-city remake

ULI report

ULI report

Salem gets discounted too much: It's a good small city, with a stronger-than-usually-given-credit-for downtown and a bunch of other assets apart from its state capitol role. It has a number of parks too, but one aspect of the city that jumps out as unrealized potential is its Willamette River waterfront, the bisector (toward the west side) of the city.

There's parkland there, sure, but not a great deal of it. (Boiseans would look at the river frontage and act superior.) What's there is good, but there are key blockages. And one of the most important of those, just southwest of downtown and across the street from city hall and the main library, is an old industrial plant, the Boise Cascade (now Boise) wood factory. Very old - BC and the companies that preceded it have owned the property and used it for wood production since 1862. The buildings that occupy 13 acres of its property most recently have been used for packaging and distribution; about 100 people work there. It's not wasteland, but it is something of an eyesore, and it diminishes the surrounding downtown core area.

Turns out, we learn in an announcement today, a win-win is possible here: A change in location for the Boise company (with the company evidently working very cooperatively on it) and a new redevelopment of the area to bring out some of its underlying potential. An important chunk of Salem may be transformed as a result.

(more…)

Baseline 08: Idaho Legislature

Idaho legislative building

Idaho legislative building

It being that season again - yes, it's the time of Lists - we have a few to close out the year. (Then we'll have more lists next year. Gee.) Our point (excuse, if you insist) is that this is a reasonable point to pause and take stock of where we are or seem to be in Northwest politics - what it looks like as 07 slides into 08.

This is the first of four lists for the days upcoming, of what now look like some of the most noteworthy and watchable political contests to come: Three lists covering the legislatures of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, then one covering major offices for the three states, with 10 races each. The numbering logic in similar for all: These are the contests which, from this viewpoint, seem to have the most significance or analytical interest as we look to where Northwest politics goes from here. It isn't a list of which seats will change parties (though we think there's a good shot some of them will) or which incumbents are most endangered (among other things, some of these are open seats). Rather, it's: Which contests stand to say the most about local and Northwest politics?

You may wonder if there are as many as 10 potentially significant Idaho legislative races for '08; after all, aren't Republicans essentially a lock to maintain a solid grip on the Legislature regardless? Well, yeah, probably. But there are places of potential or actual change, and places where politics is getting redefined. These races could matter even if the overall partisan balance in the Statehouse doesn't greatly change.

One other highly cautionary note: There's no candidate filing until March 10 (deadline March 21), so we don't yet know for sure who's running for any legislative seat. Could be that some of the reasons for interest in some of these races goes away by then. Just sayin'.

(The list is below the fold.) (more…)