Archive for April, 2012

Apr 30 2012

The King legacy

Published by under Idaho

Practically all of the people who buy and read the new memoir by Carole King, A Natural Woman, will be coming to it from the musical point of view – rightly so, considering her mass success as a songwriter and singer. But Idahoans will be looking for other material, because she has also been a public figure in Idaho, sometimes a controversial one.

The column today by Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman highlighted some of that. King, tiring of the urban life in New York, went to the far extreme and moved to backcountry Idaho, most prominently to the Robinson Bar area near Stanley. That this didn’t go over so well in some of those areas says a lot about Idaho: People in the state want growth and immigration (from other states), and they like money. But something in the cultures clashed. In asserting claims and rights that many other Idaho landowners drew, she attracted criticism the likes of which many of them never see.

The Barker review is a good introduction to some of this.

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Apr 29 2012

The Lane County tug

Published by under Oregon

If you’re among those who think of Oregon’s Lane County, seat Eugene, as a liberal bastion, take a look at today’s Register Guard piece on the county commission race between incumbent Rob Handy and challenger Pat Farr.

The contest is technically non-partisan, but you wouldn’t be far off describing Handy as the functional Democrat in the race, and Farr, a Eugene City Council member, as the functional Republican. There’s also a third candidate in the race, but it will surely boil down to Handy and Farr; both have strong cadres of supporters, from the usual suspects. This is not one of the rural-based districts, either: This hot contest is in the north side of Eugene, which is more politically marginal than many people would expect.

And the five-member board is marginal too. It had an effective conservative majority after the 2006 election, then a liberal majority after 2008, then conservative again after 2010. So what will come of it this year? We’ll be watching.

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Apr 28 2012

In the Briefings this week

Published by under Digests

Oxbow
The Broadway Bridge in Boise under the microscope. (Photo/Idaho Transportation Department)

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger said he will resign this summer to take over as president of Reed College. Governor Gregoire signed off on the state’s supplemental budget, ending the last substantial legislative activity for the year. Oregon’s secretary of state imposed a stiff fine on an initiative organizer. In Idaho, capitol mall demonstration rules were released by the state Department of Administration.

Personal income has taken a jump in Idaho. Hanford site operators are planning a major contract extension. Portland released an analysis of its economic development by detailed regions. Whooping cought cases in Washington are running well past 1,000. About 144 state liquor stores were sold, apart from the many more that were auctioned off, netting the state around $30 million.

Washington is bearing down on worker compensation fraud, and in Idaho the EPA is going after a dairy in Jerome. A major water diversion effort, backed by Representative Mike Simpson, is making its way through Congress. Oregon is looking for comments on management of parts of its state forest system.

Much more in the Briefings. Contact us for more.

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Apr 26 2012

The Idaho Political Field Guide

Published by under books,Idaho

The Idaho Political Field Guide, the counterpart to the Oregon PFG and the successor to the Idaho Political Almanac series, is out!

It’s been 10 years since Ridenbaugh Press published the last book in the series. This new one covers elections of the last decade, and the effects of reapportionment as well.

Several events are upcoming. Check back.

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Apr 25 2012

Carlson: Cry, Beloved Idaho

Published by under Carlson

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Occasionally politics gives rise to an all-encompassing phrase that means more than the words themselves. During the mid-1950’s Senate hearings on the excesses of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting rhetoric the committee counsel asked a memorable question: “Have you no decency, Senator?

It was and remains a classic rhetorical question, one which answers itself.

In the wake of a recent report people who care about this state and its future should be asking Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter the same question. More pointedly, they should be asking the governor, as well as State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, whether each honestly believes he is upholding their oath of office.

For those that do care about Idaho’s future – its children and their education, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear a convincing case can be made both could be charged with “dereliction of duty” and violation of their oaths.

Idaho’s Constitution is unequivocally clear that the primary duty of the state is to maintain a uniform and thorough system of public and free schools. No less an authority than the state’s former chief economist, Mike Ferguson, who ably served five Idaho governors and has an impeccable reputation for objectivity and honesty, has through the center he operates (The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy) issued a report that says the state is not fulfilling its constitutional mandate.

Dear Governor and State Superintendent, answer these questions honestly and preface each with an “Are you proud. . . .”: Continue Reading »

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Apr 23 2012

Whither the Tea Party

Published by under Oregon,Rainey

Where heads the Tea Party, as this new election year kicks into gear?

Ridenbaugh blogger Barrett Rainey has some thoughts on that after seeing some activists in action at his town of Roseburg.

His conclusion: “(Dis)organized into many small groups, the T-P’ers don’t have the “fire in the belly” they did 24 months back. And a lot of other folk, who either shared some of their anger or weren’t paying much attention, are taking more notice of what’s been happening. Or, as in the case of congress, what’s not been happening. And why. And who. Or whom.”

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Apr 22 2012

In the briefings this week

Published by under Digests

Oxbow
Candidates Gone Wold. On stage.

Portland held its regular Candidates Gone Wild event – featuring Portland-area candidates – at the Bagdad Theatre.

A travel ruling affecting the Clearwater National Forest was upheld at the regional level; but another ruling, about the Whitman-Wallowa National Forest, was put on hold internally. In Washington, jobs are up but the unemployment rate remains flat. In Idaho, the jobless rate fell below 8%. Mountain Home Air Force Base formally installed a new commander.

Chicken pox cases were found at the Oregon state pen. The Washington state health agency is planning to expand its involvement with Medicaid activities. The last round of legislation from the 2012 Idaho legislative session was signed into law. Washington state government found a string of ways to reduce its ink pen purchases, cut its choices for printing paper building and reduced toner and ink cartridge buys by more than three-fourths.

The congressional delegation from the Spokane area issued a statement in favor of the North Corridor project. The Oregonian endorsed candidates in primary contests in all five Oregon U.S. House districts. Washington released its mid-month regulatory proposals. Idaho was slated to receive more than $20 million from settlements in drug legal cases. Congressional campaign contributions were reported (and results show up in this week’s Briefings).

Much more in the Briefings. Contact us for more.

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Apr 18 2012

New book: The Oregon Political Field Guide

Published by under books

OR political field guide

Today’s release day for our newest book: The Oregon Political Field Guide.

We have a lot more information about it on a separate page. But a here’s a little more.

First, you can order it through Paypal via this button here.





Second, it’s one of a series. The Idaho counterpart (the Idaho Political Field Guide) will be coming shortly. The Washington book is under construction and will be released a little later.

Third: What is the Field Guide? And why do we call it that?

These books are relatives of the Idaho Political Almanac series Ridenbaugh Press published in the 90s (about, obviously, Idaho). They cover some of the same territory, but not exactly the same. The Political Almanacs contained more background about office holders and sometimes candidates, and their stands on issues, performance in office, and so on. The Field Guides are a little different: They’re about campaigns and elections, with heavy focus on the voters – how the voters voted. This edition of the book (there may be more to come, later on) covers in some detail the last decade of elections. That allows you to see how various districts, counties and other areas elected people over time; how the percentages rose and fell, how the numbers of raw votes changed. It’s intended to be a useful tool for political analysis down to a fine level.

If politics in Oregon is your thing, then the Field Guide needs to be at hand.

A quick word about the Oregon Blue Book, and how this relates to that.

We’re enthusiastic fans of the Blue Book, a terrific and gorgeously general reference about Oregon, now celebrating its centennial. (A collection of 17 of the most recent sits prominently near where this is written.) It includes some information about elections, but not in great detail. And as a state publication, it probably shouldn’t include a lot more than it currently does. The Field Guide is designed to fill the gap: To present elections and other information in a way that’s non-partisan but also explanatory and analytical in a way that might be problematic for a state-backed book.

You can find out more at the book’s main web page; a clutch of sample pages also is available. And stop by (and “like,” if you would) the Oregon Political Field Guide page at Facebook.

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Apr 18 2012

The ever-scrambling WA 1 (on the D side)

Published by under Washington

Floyd McKay has in Crosscut a detailed look at the emerging – and it does continue to emerge – race in the new Washington 1st district, the part of northwestern Washington located roughly well east of I-5 and west of the Cascades.

He focuses on two key points (well, three if you could the lunacy of a prospective Dennis Kucinich campaign in the 1st).

One is that Republican John Koster, who came within a sliver in 2010 of ousting Democratic Representative Rick Larsen, has the Republican nomination sewn up and will be strong in the general election. He has lots of pluses, starting with having run strongly in much of this territory before, and strong organization and traditionally strong fundraising. We’d give him about even odds in the general right now.

The second is that the Democratic side is far from settled, and not yet even at the point where a front-runner can be easily discerned. The five Democratic contenders are all serious candidates with real advantages. Three (Suzan DelBene, Darcy Burner and Laura Ruderman) all have strong Microsoft backgrounds and have raised comparable amounts of money (some of it from that source), and all three have run for major office before (DelBene and Burner for the U.S. House, in the 8th district, and Ruderman for secretary of state, as well as election three times to the state House from King County’s east side). DelBene got a vice of confidence in an endorsement from Governor Chris Gregoire, but none so far look to be pulling far out ahead. And the two men in the race, businessman Darshan Rauniyar and legislator Steve Hobbs, are also running highly serious campaigns. This one has yet to be won by anybody.

One of the most interesting contests in the Northwest this year.

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Apr 18 2012

Carlson: First test

Published by under Carlson

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

The real test of a president is how well they make difficult decisions. Wisdom, insight, perspective, a sense of political necessity and public acceptability, are all critical factors.

The first insight one gets into the mind of the person seeking public endorsement for their pursuit of the highest office in the land is their choice of a running mate.

The simple fact is all too often the vice president has ascended to the presidency upon the death of the president. Sometimes the nation has benefitted as the vice president turns out to be surprisingly competent at holding and exercising judiciously the powers of the Office of the President.

For example, in the 20th century most presidential historians agree that Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Lyndon Baines Johnson all turned in credible performances when called to center stage by the death of a president. Candidly, though, all four of those selections were based upon what were deemed at the time to be over-riding political concerns.

President William McKinley’s political mentor, Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, thought he and other GOP party bosses were putting the overly “progressive” Teddy out to pasture and out of the public mind. Imagine their shock when the young, ambitious, vain but brilliant Teddy inherited the Presidency upon the death of McKinley?

Twenty-two years later, “Silent Cal” became president upon the death of Warren G. Harding. The former governor of Massachusetts was considered by these same historians to have been a considerable improvement over the man he succeeded.

Truman of course surprised many by his ability to rise to the demands of the job. And LBJ, at last having reached his long-time goal, ushered through the Congress his “Great Society” legislation including the truly historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Each of these men won the office in their own right in the subsequent election.

Contrast those four with the four who succeeded to the presidency in the 19th century none of whom went on to be elected. Three of the four are viewed by presidential historians as “weak leaders,” the exception being John Tyler who set the correct precedents for a veep to succeed to and be able to exercise all the powers of the presidency. Continue Reading »

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Apr 17 2012

OR: The close races

Published by under Oregon

Some posts back we took a look at what might be some of the most vulnerable, at-risk Oregon House races according to party registration. There are, of course, other metrics too, and here’s one: The districts which have seen the closest races in recent years.

OR political field guide
Based on material from the upcoming Oregon Political Field Guide

This is not perfect apples and apples, of course, since the districts have changed with redistricting. For the most part, though, they haven’t changed so much that a look at the closest becomes altogether useless.

(Material for this post is drawn out of the just about to be released Oregon Political Field Guide, pictured and linked to at the left.)

In the last decade, the very closest Oregon House race was in House 28, in Washington County, when in 2002 Democrat Jeff Barker squeezed out a 41-vote win over Republican Keith Parker. Barker is still there, running again this year, but this doesn’t seem like one of the contenders to watch most closely. Barker went on to win 2004 and 2006 in landslides, was unopposed in 2008, and won with about 57% in the Republican year 2010.

The next two closest races in the last decade were also in 2002, wins by Democrat Betty Komp in District 22 (in the Salem-Woodburn area), and by Derrick Kitts in District 30. Komp was closely challenged in 2006 and 2010 (and that 2010 opponent is on the ballot again), so that’s a district worth watching.

So is Washington County’s 30, though Kitts, who left to run for Congress, is long gone. He was replaced by Democrat David Edwards, who in 2010 was replaced by Republican Shawn Lindsay. In District 30, no candidate of either party has gotten as much as 57% of the vote, so this is clearly a seat to attend to.

The next closest races may be a little less indicative, though they suggest the unexpected places where close contests can develop. In 2006, Republican John Dallum, running for the second time in the sprawling east-of-Cascades 59th, was held to 50.68% of the vote in what would seem to be one of the stronger Republican districts in the state. Indeed, Republicans have returned to landslide levels here since, but time and change can make for surprises.

And time can change a district. In 2004 the closest House race in Oregon was in District 10, when Republican Alan Brown barely held his coastal district 10 seat after a challenged by Democrat Jean Cowan. That close race was foreshadowed by another very close win (51%) by Brown in 2002, and in 2006 Cowan narrowly (51.58%) defeated him. Those three races in District 10, in fact, account for three of the 20 most competitive legislative races in Oregon in the last decade. But: Cowan was unopposed in 2008 and won decisively in 2010. As she leaves it this year, the district seems to have a clear Democratic lean. But how genuine that lean is may be a question for the fall.

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Apr 16 2012

Kucinich? Again?

Published by under Washington

Thought this was settled.

After losing a primary election in his home turf of Ohio, Representative Dennis Kucinich seemed to have bowed to the inevitable, and didn’t bring back up the talk of running for Congress from somewhere else in the country. Like Washington, where some months back he seemed to be semi-campaigning.

But now, here it is again. There’s a web site, Washington Citizens for Kucinich, hosting a petition asking him to run and a survey on the question of whether he should. All of this is aimed specifically at getting him on the ballot in this state where he does not and never has lived.

And seems not to be much wanted, to judge from comments by state Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz: “Dennis Kucinich has to decide what his legacy is going to be. Will he be remembered as a principled member of Congress or the narcissist who lost two Congressional races in two states the same year?”

Kucinich’s interest in the Evergreen State seems to be drawn mostly by its possession of three congressional districts, all strongly or semi-amenable to Democratic candidates, where no incumbent is running this year. Never mind that experienced in-state candidates already have surfaced and gotten to work in all three of them, and that all three would be iffy matches with Kucinich’s kind of politics. (All three are better fits for more moderate Democrats.)

In truth, Kucinich might be a decent fit philosophically for one Washington district – the 7th, based at Seattle. But good luck trying to convince people to vote for a guy who’s never even lived in the home district before campaign season. At all.

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Apr 15 2012

This week in the Briefings

Published by under Digests

Orting
Setting up the new food bank at the former funeral home, in Orting. (Image from Pierce County TV)

In Orting, they’ve turned a funeral home into a food bank, which may be a positive metaphor for something. Elsewhere, the region settles down into a post-policy mode as the last-adjourning of its legislature (Washington’s) hit the sine die mark last week.

There were other governmental marks – the signing of the last legislation passed in the Oregon session (no vetoes this year for the one-time Dr. No) and the opening of a new east side courthouse building in Multnomah County – but more of the activity seemed to be environmental and cultural. A new study showed electric vehicle use in the region seems to be headed upward. A mountain lion was caught near Pocatello, even as reverberations continue over wolf hunting (or tracking, in the case of OR-7 near Oregon).

But in Oregon and Idaho, primary elections are only weeks away. Expect more politics in next week’s editions.

Interested in getting the Briefing in your Monday e-mail? Send a note to [email protected].

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Apr 14 2012

Enforcement by geography

Published by under Washington

Crying out for a study: Do the “emphasis areas” on drugs and prostitution (and sometimes other things, like alcohol offenses work? Or is this one of those intuitively-sensible ideas that go nowhere on closer inspection?

The idea is to identify areas where a negative activity is taking place – 82nd Street in Portland, say – and bust up some of the aggregative activity by banning people convicted of the offense from going there.

King County Council member Reagan Dunn (who is, not to make a perjorative out of this, running for attorney general) points out in a recent release that “In 2011, there were 802 gang-related incidents reported in King County. According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, there has been a 165 percent increase in gang-related crime since 2005. Judges currently have the ability to restrict individuals convicted of drug or prostitution-related offenses from entering specially designated areas.”

Dunn’s thought is to extend the principle to gang activity.

It has the sound of a reasonable idea, especially since – more than most of the other kinds of activity where this has been tried – gang activity tends to be geography-based.

But does it work? We’ve not seen much by way of comprehensive studies providing an indicator, one way or the other. This could be a useful tool, especially for gang enforcement, if it does work. Maybe someone should get a clearer answer to whether it does.

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Apr 12 2012

Records public only if you won’t use them?

Published by under Washington

Here’s the background to the public records case, in the endlessly perverse Michael Gendler v. John Batiste, out of the Washington Supreme Court today:

Michael Gendler is an attorney who was bicycling across Montlake Bridge in Seattle one day when his front wheel caught in the bridge’s grating. He was thrown from the bicycle, hit his back and neck, and has been quadriplegic since. Wondering if the same sort of accident had happened to others, he started to research, found that some had, and asked the Washington State Patrol for accident reports on the bridge to find out more. After some back-and-forth, the WSP said it could provide a historic list of accidents on the bridge; Gendler would have to fill out and sign a form to request it. When the attorney in him looked at what he was being asked to sign, he found this: “I hereby affirm that I am not requesting this collision data for use in any current, pending or anticipated litigation against a state, tribal or local government involving a collision at the location(s) mentioned in the data.”

In other words, if he signed and got the information, he wouldn’t be able to use it in the meaningful way. (Of course, if he hadn’t been a lawyer, he might have signed away his right to legal action without knowing he had done so.)

Gendler said this was no fair, and took the WSP to court. The state patrol has fought him all the way up, from trial court to the court of appeals and the Washington Supreme Court Court where, today, it lost for the third time in a row.

The legal resolution of the case was actually fairly complex, because the patrol said the records were gathered in part for federal highway safety purposes which it said have a limitation on legal liability.

That the Patrol failed in this argument probably saved it from some high perversity: Keeping secret records gathered for the purpose of fostering road safety, from a man injured in a road accident seeking the records specifically to press for greater road safety.

Someone in Washington government really ought to start thinking through this kind of thing.

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Two bulls fire near Bend, and defensible space.

 

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
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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.


 

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    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

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    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

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