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Posts published in “Day: June 12, 2009”

A Seattle blogstorm

The Democrats who run the Washington Legislature gave Republican exceedingly little to work with in the next campaign: No tax increases, very little that could even be campaigned against as "anti-business." (The Oregon legislative Democrats, on the other hand, are providing some material.) That, anyway, is one way of looking at it.

David Goldstein of Horse's Ass, a left-of-center blog, is taking another approach: Going after the legislative leadership for being Republican-lite. As in his most recent post, "Who wants a primary challenge?"

The irony is, we all know there’s a fair share of deadwood in the Seattle delegation, along with a handful legislators who simply aren’t as progressive as their constituents on a number of important issues, such as pay day lending, the homebuyers bill of rights, tax restructuring, and more. Indeed, start this conversation at nearly any political gathering, and the same names keep popping up again and again, the usual suspects of Democratic incumbents who deserve a serious, well-financed primary challenge, and who just might not survive should they face one.

So why don’t I name names, as some in the comment threads have challenged me to do? Oh God, I’m tempted, but coming from a lowly blogger like me it would only come off as a personal hit list, and do little more than earn me animosity from those legislators on it, some of whom I personally like, even if I think it past time for them to move on and give somebody else a chance at getting stuff done before Republican Rob McKenna seizes the line-item veto pen.

There will be more of this.

In the Klamath, a baby step

klamath

A dam on the Klamath River

When the sponsor of Senate Bill 76 stood up in the Oregon House today, an obvious question arose immediately. The sponsor was Representative Ben Cannon, a Portland Democrat. The bill has to do with removal of four dams on the Klamath River, about 300 miles south from Portland. So why Cannon and not someone more local?

After all, the bill was described as (this is from the official House Democratic description) "the product of a negotiated agreement between Oregon, Washington, California, the federal government and PacifiCorp. It is supported by over two dozen groups including agriculture interests, conservation groups, utility companies, Native American tribes and other affected participants who developed the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement."

Sounds pretty sweeping. And Cannon was a capable floor sponsor. But the rest of the story emerged right after, as the representative from the Klamath Falls area (his district covers the river basin area in question) stood to speak against the bill. That was Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, who offered an impassioned argument against the bill.

There's a long history here, as anyone who's followed the Klamath debate knows, ranging from water shutoffs to full flows, variously helping and hurting fish, farmers and other interests. There have been high-profile protests and much more.

The recent settlement, from last year, appeared to bring an end of much of this - at least put an end in sight, with proposed demolition (years from now, probably after 2020) of four dams and a string of concessions to various parties. On the surface, it looked like a deal (somewhat resembling in construct the Nez Perce/Snake River deal in Idaho a few years back). However. (more…)