Feb 29 2008

The Other Side of the Tracks

Published by at 6:03 pm under Idaho

The ipoff here is is quiet – the way this bill, a bill substantive and with real practical effect on a subject of undenied importance, just quietly slid through the process. That it seems to have generated no news stories was of course beyond the realm of legislators, but the quiet and apparent lack of debate – so far as we can tell, the relevant committee minutes from weeks ago still not having been posted – constitute the tell.

The bill passed the House 61-4 and is poised (as of records on line today) for a final vote on the Senate floor.

The subject here is House Bill 465, sponsored by Representative Lynn Luker, R-Meridian, which expands local government planning and zoning authority. In the Idaho Legislature? Without hoo-rah about ever-encroaching socialism? Well, the deal in this case is that local governments essentially have been barred, under state law, from discriminating against setting up group homes for the handicapped, which in extended definition includes those suffering from addictions. A federal law which covers related territory doesn’t include that extended definition, so this bill is structured as a sort of “bring it in line with” type measure.

But that’s not why the easy acceptance, of course. Few people really want group homes for addicts set up in their neighborhoods, and this would be a nice, quiet way to keep that from happening. It’s a sweep-em-under the rug measure, the only catch being that addicts, including those released from behind bars, have to go somewhere. So the bill is almost designed to set up a circular problem – a snake that eats its tail.

The immediate impetus for the bill likely was the series of group homes which has been organized in the Boise area by Dennis Mansfield. (We toured some of his New Hope facilities last month.) The norm in this sort of legislation is that you bring together affected parties and work through a compromise position. But on his blog, here’s what Mansfield is saying has happened:

Neither I nor anyone in this recovery-based industry nor
( I believe) the Department of Corrections ever EVEN knew the bill was being drafted, ever read the RS, ever were invited to any discussion on anything about it….and only came to the Senate Committee to give comment on the bill after I vigorously requested from Rep. Luker that the bill presentation be delayed so he could hear our concerns, but was denied the chance.

Lynn, who’s been a friend of mine in the past, expressed to me that this was a “mild’ bill. Read it for yourself. The new section of the bill reads as follows:

(d) The limitations provided for in subsections (b) and (c) of this sec-tion shall not apply to tenancy or planned tenancy in a group residence, as defined in section 67-6531, Idaho Code, by persons who are under the supervision of the state board of correction pursuant to section 20-219, Idaho Code, or who are required to register pursuant to chapter 83 or 84, title 18, Idaho Code, or whose tenancy would otherwise constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.

What this appears to mean is that any person who is an addict AND on proba-
tion or parole SHALL NOT be allowed the equal protection of the Americans
with Disabilities Act or the Fair Housing Act.

If anyone has an alternative take on how the measure was presented an information about it distributed, let us know and we’ll post it. Assuming Mansfield is correct, what’s happened is a breach of legislative norms.

And an attempt not to try solving a problem, but to sweep it away – dump it in the landfill. Somehow. Somewhere . . .

Mansfield quoted one of his clients this way: “As I sat and listened to Representative Lynn Luker’s remarks about House Bill 465, I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming “division” between “us” and “them”. From my perspective, he painted the perfect picture of “us” as the exclusion from “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” We were at one time included, but because we made mistakes in our lives, we have been deemed unworthy of the above aspects of the unalienable rights. It is as if to say that yes, they acknowledge that we are human beings, but just a lower level of human beings than they.”

Share on Facebook

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.

Share on Facebook



WASHINGTON-OREGON-IDAHO Our acclaimed weekly e-pubs: 35-45 pages Monday mornings getting you on top of your state. Samples available. Contact us by email or by phone at (208)484-0460.



This will be one of the most talked-about Idaho books in Idaho this season: 14 years after its last edition, Ridenbaugh Press has released a list of 100 influential Idahoans. Randy Stapilus, the editor and publisher of the Idaho Weekly Briefing and author of four earlier similar lists, has based this one on levels of overall influence in the state – and freedom of action and ability to influence development of the state – as of the start of 2015.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015. By Randy Stapilus; published by Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 202 pages. Softcover. List price $16.95.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015 page.

100 Influential Idahoans 2015
"Essentially, I write in the margins of motherhood—and everything else—then I work these notes into a monthly column about what it’s like raising my two young boys. Are my columns funny? Are they serious? They don’t fit into any one box neatly. ... I’ve won awards for “best humorous column” though I actually write about subjects as light as bulimia, bullying, birthing plans and breastfeeding. But also bon-bons. And barf, and birthdays." Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons. by Nathalie Hardy; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 238 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
Raising the Hardy Boys page.



"Not a day passes that I don’t think about Vietnam. Sometimes its an aroma or just hearing the Vietnamese accent of a store clerk that triggers a memory. Unlike all too many soldiers, I never had to fire a weapon in anger. Return to civilian life was easy, but even after all these years away from the Army and Vietnam I find the experience – and knowledge – continue to shape my life daily."
Drafted! Vietnam in War and in Peace. by David R. Frazier; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton OR. 188 pgs. Softcover. $15.95.
The DRAFTED! page.


Many critics said it could not be done - and it often almost came undone. Now the Snake River Basin Adjudication is done, and that improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it - judges, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others in the room when the decisions were made.
Through the Waters: An Oral History of the Snake River Basin Adjudication. edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 300 pages. Softcover. $16.95.

Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh died on July 20, 2014; he was widely praised for steady leadership in difficult years. Writer Scott Jorgensen talks with Atiyeh and traces his background, and what others said about him.
Conversations with Atiyeh. by W. Scott Jorgensen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 140 pages. Softcover. $14.95.

"Salvation through public service and the purging of awful sights seen during 1500 Vietnam War helicopter rescue missions before an untimely death, as told by a devoted brother, leaves a reader pondering life's unfairness. A haunting read." Chris Carlson, Medimont Reflections. ". . . a vivid picture of his brother Jerry’s time as a Medivac pilot in Vietnam and contrasts it with the reality of the political system . . . through the lens of a blue-collar, working man made good." Mike Kennedy.
One Flaming Hour: A memoir of Jerry Blackbird. by Mike Blackbird; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 220 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
See the ONE FLAMING HOUR page.

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.


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 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)


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.


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, 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.