Archive for July, 2007

Jul 31 2007

Diminishment of interest?

Published by under Oregon

Question came up during conversation yesterday with a journalist from D.C. of whether Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley‘s likely entry into the U.S. Senate race would mean a withdrawal of some or many of the other names mentioned as prospects. Conclusion seemed to be that yes, likely it would.

That’s not the explicit reason given today for the statement that Senator Alan Bates, D-Ashland, won’t after all run for the Senate. After expressing some interest in the idea, he told the local Daily Tidings today that he’ll stay where he is: “At this point, my family, my patients, and legislative work for universal health coverage for all Oregonians takes precedence over a bid for the U.S. Senate.” (Pointer via Blue Oregon.)

Okay; but one has to suspect that the news about Merkley wasn’t entirely irrelevant.

We suspect more decisions-against will be following before long.

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Jul 31 2007

Under whose carpet?

Published by under Idaho

Over a generation our collective response to crime and other social ills has been largely this: Get rid of it, get it out of my sight, I don’t want to be bothered with it. For crime, the simple solution: Lock ‘em up. There’s still someone out there doing something bad? Lock ‘em up longer. Mandatory minimums. Three strikes and you’re out. With the result that this country, and some parts of it in particular, have bulging prisons, enormous bills for corrections, and all the rest.

And a lot of those people we’ve locked up, out of sight and out of mind, are beginning to return to society, sentences partly or fully complete. Now what do we do?

We’re jointly responsible for this mess, and over time we’re all probably going to have to give a little as we work our way out of it. There’s going to be a lot of conflict, and some of it will become political. Some of what’s coming in many more places, emerged at a meeting this morning in Boise. The people involved there included the mayor and two former opponents for a state Senate seat, along with neighbors, attorneys and others, but in the end we’re all involved.

[This is a long post, continued overleaf.] Continue Reading »

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Jul 30 2007

Inslee on point

Published by under Washington

Jay Inslee

Jay Inslee

Washington Representative Jay Inslee has abruptly become the lead congressional figure on the prospective impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

There’s no reference to it yet on his congressional website, but it’s all over news media: He’s taking the initial step toward an impeachment, formally asking the House Judiciary Committee to look into it. His resolutions says:

Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

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Jul 30 2007

The ruse organization

Published by under Washington

So often this kind of thing happens, and so often they get away with it. Might have in this case, but for the side effects of a lawsuit.

In his column, Peter Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune writes about a group called Associated Casino Employees for Survival (ACES, of course). The city of Tacoma has been trying to ban or at least cut down on its proliferation of casinos, and a 2006 initiative (which failed) sought to overturn it. ACES was the public face of the attempt to overturn the ban.

ACES presented itself as a group of casino employees – notably, as Callaghan writes, single moms trying to earn a living and keep their jobs. That presentation wasn’t enough to pass the initiative. But just now has it come completely undone, thanks to the firing of Mike Purdy, who ran the campaign, and his followup lawsuit for wrongful termination. In it, he described how the corporations which ran the casinos were the real backers of the initiative.

So you see an initiative – or something similar – on the horizon backed by jes’ plain folks? Look carefully before you take them at face value.

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Jul 29 2007

Tracking the old dog

Published by under Washington

Following up our July 8 post “Old Dog Leaves the Porch,” on the fierce Republican primary in Washington Senate district 14, we’d note here that the local paper, the Yakima Herald-Republic, has weighed in.

Its editorial endorsement today went to Jim Clements, the incumbent, over challenger Curtis King. Clements, a veteran House member, was appointed to the Senate seat last December to fill a vacancy. King also had applied, and now is challenging him in the primary for election to the seat.

The paper said the decision was close but tipped by what was described as effectiveness in the last session, on Clements’ part, in several important pieces of legislation. And added, “Since there are only 17 Republicans in the 49-member state Senate, you don’t have the kind of success Clements did unless you have earned the respect of your colleagues. That’s something Olympia insiders report the folksy Clements certainly has done.”

Election is next month.

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Jul 29 2007

The streets of Pasco

Published by under Washington

Pasco

In downtown Pasco

Walk or drive around the city of Pasco, and the Hispanic feel of the place is clear, and strong. You’ll see more than small traces of Hispanic communities in many other communities in the Northwest, in Hillsboro or Woodburn, Oregon, or Caldwell or Rupert, Idaho, to cite a few examples.

But not to the degree at Pasco, where you could wonder for a moment or two if you’ve accidently slipped south of the border. On our last trip there a few weeks back, we were strcuk more than usual by the number of Spanish-language business signs dominant almost everywhere except the main drags, where the national chains were still most visible.

All of this might have sunk in more strongly if we’d noticed the latest Census figures for Franklin County (of which Pasco is the seat), and its neighbor to the north, Adams County. Those two have become the Northwest’s first counties where the Hispanic population is an absolute majority – about 57% in Franklin and 52% in Adams, which is much smaller.

A useful Associated Press piece on the Hispanic growth at Pasco outlines some of the ways the city, and the local area, is changing. (It’s worth noting that of the cities in the Tri-Cities, Pasco appears to be much more Hispanic than Kennewick, Richland or West Richland.) The raw numbers are substantial: Census estimates put Pasco at 34,022 in 2000, and very nearly at 50,000 now – growth of almost 50%, about 16,000 people, in six years. As the AP story indicates, nearly all of that growth seems to be in the Hispanic population. And, of course, this growth is not new; the growth spurt started in the late 90s.

The social and cultural effects of all this are various. Here, we’ll take a quick look at the political.

Continue Reading »

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Jul 28 2007

Wyden, Kempthorne and endangered species

Published by under Oregon

Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden

Dirk Kempthorne

Dirk Kempthorne

This would seem to fall into the “helluva story” category, although the Northwest news media silence about it has been almost absolute – the Eugene Register-Guard (in a useful and telling editorial), Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (and out of region, the Federal Times and Forbes) seem to have been almost alone in delivering even succinct reports about it. So consider: This is about Oregon’s senior senator asking questions about what may be important ethical issues in a major federal agency with important importance to the Northwest as well as with national import – an agency led by a well-known northwesterner.

In the case of some senators this might be business as usual, but Senator Ron Wyden is usually low-key and diplomatic. So some attention should be paid when words like these show up in one of his press releases (from July 19):

“Mr. Limbaugh’s switch from water regulator to water lobbyist is ominous, in part, because of the Department’s recent history of scandals involving industry players moving through Department ranks while serving industry interests,” wrote Wyden, identifying Ms. MacDonald and recently convicted, former Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles as examples. “Frankly, it’s not always clear where these Department leaders put their loyalties.”

Wyden wrote that, on July 20, directly to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Here’s some background.

Continue Reading »

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Jul 27 2007

Tribal diversification

Published by under Idaho

Some Indian tribes which have gotten into casino operations have settled for milking the cash cow, however long that may last. Others have used the money as leverage to get into other things, and are developing strong economic engines.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe, which has made good money from its casino, has plowed a good deal of it into other kinds of activities. Last year it bought most of Berg Integrated Systems, which manufactures large pieces of equipment. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports today that Berg appears about to receive a giant military contract (giant in the context – $300 to $500 million) to build big fuel storage units.

Tribe Chairman Chief Allan was quoted as saying. “It means new jobs and new money for North Idaho, not just recycled money. It’s very cool.”

That it is.

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Jul 27 2007

Haying season is on

Published by under Oregon

haying season

Haying season is on the Northwest; where we are, in rural Yamhill County, farm equipment is in full use. The people running the machinery have been working hard hours after the recent spate of rain, which was timely and more than welcome for most of us, but a problem for some in agriculture – it left some area wine producers grimacing.

Harvest approaches. (Photo/Linda Watkins)

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Jul 26 2007

In the happiest of moments

Published by under Idaho

Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson

We missed it till now because the item broke in a sports column in the Idaho Statesman. Caught it now because it is showing up in national media – Sports Illustrated, national blogs and more. Mention it here because the implications could take it much further.

Started with a much-celebrated moment – the January win of the Boise State University Broncos over the Oklahoma Sooners. One of the BSU players centrally responsible for scoring the final winning points was running back Ian Johnson, and just after the game ended the fine day went on for him and one of the cheerleaders, when he proposed marriage, and she accepted.

The fact that he is black and she is white, however, wound up unearthing some serious racist ugliness. In news reports, Johnson said that he has fielded “phone calls, 30 letters and, in some instances, personal threats.” And the wedding will be the scene of increased security.

From the standpoint of Boise and Idaho, this too now has become a sad but undetachable part of the Fiesta Bowl story.

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Jul 26 2007

Live from Ashland: It’s – The Editorial Page!

Published by under Oregon

Ashland editorial

The Editorial Page at Ashland/RVTV

Here is something very neat that we’ve not seen before, in quite this fashion: A sort of editorial page discussion program with room for reader comment. On community access TV, backed up with YouTube online access.

The Editorial Page is a weekly cable access program featuring three editors of the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper. Each Wednesday, the three editors go on camera and – they’ve gotten refreshingly loose and informal – talk about three editorial subjects of local import. These may be the merits of the recent 4th of July parade, or city government, environmental issues, or something else. They spend about seven minutes on each topic, and then invite viewer (/reader) response.

They’re now in season 2. (That’s right, we just happened on to it.) Archived video is available from as far back as last October, when the three talked about their city council endorsements.

This is not a bad idea. And easily hijackable elsewhere.

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Jul 26 2007

The Vance analysis II

Published by under Washington

Part II of the Chris Vance analysis on Crosscut of why things went so wrong for Washington Republicans, and what they should do about it now, is up. And like part I worth the read, though the argument has . . . issues . . . scattered throughout.

There are, however, useful points of interest throughout. (And as noted in our last post on Vance’s part I, other minority organizations – Idaho Democrats, say – might pay attention.)

Continue Reading »

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Jul 25 2007

Seattle > Pocatello > Las Vegas

Published by under Idaho

The title of the blog caught our attention some months ago: A Seattleite in Idaho. That figured to be interesting, and a number of the posts since then have been. Culture shock is usually readable.

The blogger, Jessica, has moved on. She moved from Seattle to Pocatello to attention Idaho State University, and has graduated. Now she’s in Las Vegas, and writing about the political atmosphere there. As another observer of interstate comparison, we’d suggest a look at what she’s found, and in some cases leaving behind.

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Jul 24 2007

Is Merkley in?

Published by under Oregon

Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley

We hadn’t especially pegged Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley – fresh from his first session in that role – as a big dice roller. There again, if you have ambitions, you move when the time is right, and you can’t always pick your time.

Both the Associated Press (according to “two sources close to the campaign”) and Willamette Week (“Three highly-placed Democratic sources”) today are reporting that Merkley will file paperwork early in August to run for the U.S. Senate, for the seat now held by Republican Gordon Smith. Merkley has made no formal acknowledgment, saying only that a final decision still is forthcoming.

The one substantial Democrat so far in that race is Steve Novick, a consultant who has deep background in Oregon politics but who has not run before. Odds in the primary seem to go to Merkley, who has national encouragement and an instant large fundraising network. (Although, if Novick were to beat him, he would emerge in the general to face Smith as a proven giant-killer.)

Offers one comment writer on WW: “Dave Hunt will make an excellent Oregon House Speaker, and either Diane Rosenbaum or Arnie Roblan will make a very good House Majority Leader.”

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Jul 24 2007

Fire politics

Published by under Idaho

The recent spate of heavy fire seasons has begun to result in a fire politics too, in rural areas. Some of this played out today in a piece in the Twin Falls Times News.

South-central Idaho is a logical place for it, since this is on the southern end of the hottest fire territory in the country. Three adjacent counties stretching across much of southern Idaho – Owyhee, Twin Falls and Cassia – have been declared fire disaster areas by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Last night, about 120 ranchers and others from these rural areas gathered in the small city of Castleton and fired questions at Tom Dyer, director of the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. Many of them had to do with the Murphy Complex fire, which reportedly ran to nearly 900 square miles. They asked if the agency could have kept it from becoming so massive if they’d hit harder, earlier? (Current reports are that it is now smaller in size but still only 20% contained.)

Some of them argued that grazing regulations left too much vegetation in place, serving as fuel when the fires took off.

Could go in a variety of directions, but fire looks like a front-burner (sorry – would you rather we called it incendiary?) issue for a while, especially if the fires continue getting worse.

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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.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
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    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
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    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
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    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here