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Posts published in “Day: March 15, 2007”

Not Hooley either (or is it either?)

Darlene Hooley
Darlene Hooley

Tis a little striking how steadily the leading Oregon Democrats keep taking themselves specifically out of contention for the U.S. Senate next year, to challenge Republican Senator Gordon Smith. But as well, we're starting to notice the trap doors alongside the hitherto flat demurrals.

Representative Darlene Hooley (5th district) is the latest to say that nope, she won't do it. (The item shows up on the Oregonian's political blog.) And in her case, that seems to be that. She hadn't really been expected to run, or thought likely to, partly given her improved status in the House.

That point also evidently has been influencing decisions by the other three Oregon House members. One of those three, David Wu (1st district), similarly opted out, with no further discussion since. But the Oregonian piece intriguingly adds (from his spokesman), "if that opportunity were to present itself, he would definitely consider it." Which is more than he seemed to before.

Peter DeFazio (4th district), likewise has said in clear terms that he wouldn't run, but we're perceiving a slight crack in the door, based partly on some chatter in DC and partly on the qualification in his spokesman's statement that he "has not changed his position on running at this time" [emphasis added].

Finally, Earl Blumenauer (3rd district) has never committed himself one way or the other, beyond saying that he isn't ready to say anything yet, other than (in the Oregonian piece) saying the Democrats would likely have a candidacy rolling by Labor Day (more than five months off).

Okay: Odds are none of them run. But we do start to run if some serious discussions are quietly underway in the cloakrooms . . .

Clear Channel to Peak

It may be a ripple in the corporate context of Clear Channel, but it's a big deal in radio Idaho: Selloff of a half-dozen Boise radio channels, including some of the leading stations, to Peak Broadcasting of Fresno, California.

The most notable of the stations from a public point of view may be KIDO-AM, which has been home for much of the local talk radio in the Boise area (and beyond). Others include KCIX-FM (hot adult contemporary), KSAS-FM (contemporary hits), KFXD-AM and KTMY-FM (country) and KXLT-FM (adult contemporary).

Peak is a much smaller outfit, and new, and private (with prospective more flexibility in its options); the Boise stations are only its second substantial buy, the first being a smaller group of stations at Fresno. The deal becomes final in April.

The good folks at the Idaho Radio blog have been discussing this, and the prospect of it, for several days. A number of useful points emerge from the extensive comments you'll find there.

One is the reason for the selloff - "The sale is part of Clear Channel’s ongoing effort to take the company private. The company announced it would shed all radio clusters outside the top 100 markets - with Boise being the largest group up for sale." Clear enough.

There was much debate over the stations may change, if at all. Unresolved, for now.

The return of Strippergate

Abunch of Seattle political people, and not just the Colacurcios and their friends, must have been made unhappy this morning by the Washington Supreme Court decision in Washington v. John Phillip Conte et al. It seems, after all, destined to return "strippergate" to the area's political lexicon, long after it seemed to have faded away.

The legal issue involved may shale up a few political people, too. In Conte, the court is holding that the state Public Disclosure Commission's actions against campaign law violations don't overlap with, and don't preclude, the possibility of a local or state prosecutor filing criminal charges covering the same territory: You're not necessarily done with law enforcement when the PDC is done with you. It was on that basis, that PDC action precluded other legal action, that a trial court dismissed a clutch of charges of violations of the campaign finance law. The Washington Supreme Court said it was wrong to do that, and reinstated the charges.

As the court wrote, "the State's ability to charge under two statutes is not a reason to hold that one of the statutes must prevail over the other."

The decision includes a fine summation of this complicated case, which a couple of years back was all over the Seattle headlines but has died down since. A key part of it has to do (incredibly enough) with a parking lot, and the need to expand parking space, and the effort of the owners of the Rick's strip club to get city approval for the expansion of parking onto nearby property they own, parking they installed without city approval. At the city planning department and commission level, they ran into turndowns - all of this went on over the course of more than a dozen years - and then in 2003 appealed to the city council. (As a side note, we've never grasped the argument at that core level of the case, of why such an expansion should be objectionable.) The city council turned out to be more amenable, approving the rezone on a 5-4 vote. The problem was that, as a Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission investigator reported: