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Posts published in January 2013

California has to stem the tide of dogs

XXXXX
Dogs packed for shipment. (photo/source unknown)

 

linda LINDA
WATKINS
 

Dear Governor Brown,

I'm writing to you on behalf of the dogs and cats of Oregon, and the dogs and cats of California.

On January 13, in Brooks, Oregon - just a few miles north of our capital city of Salem - the Marion County Sheriff's Office and staff from the Willamette and Oregon humane societies seized over 130 dogs that were stashed in crates in a 7500 sq. ft. warehouse. The dogs were without adequate space, water, or food; and they were in need of medical care.

Why I'm telling you about this? Well, because the majority of those dogs came from the Porterville, California animal shelter.

Why were they found in a warehouse in Oregon? Because California's shelters are so overfull of dogs that your shelters are sending them by the truckloads up to Oregon and Washington - to rescues they know nothing about.

On behalf of the reputable, responsible rescues in Oregon and Washington, I am embarrassed and ashamed that this situation developed. Rescues and shelters up here are stepping up to help these dogs; and we'll make it right. We don't like that this happened and I'm pretty sure that the fallout from this will contribute to making some changes in how rescues in this state operate.

But, more to the point, over the last several years we have become increasingly concerned about the numbers of dogs that your shelters are shipping out of state. We're concerned because your counties appear to be doing nothing to stem the flow of dog production that is causing this situation. We're concerned because the dogs are being dumped all over the country with little to no review or evaluation of the shelters and rescues to which they're being sent. We're concerned because they are leaving your state in poor health: full of ticks and fleas, intestinal parasites such as giardia and coccidia, and infected with heartworm, parvo, and distemper; they are dogs who have sat in shelters for weeks with untreated injuries ranging from severe scrapes and abrasions to broken legs. We're concerned because nobody is monitoring the transports as dogs are packed in crates and stuffed into unheated, unventilated vans and driven 16 to 20 hours with no water or potty breaks or food, by uncertified drivers. We're concerned because the dogs (and cats) arrive dehydrated, ill, un-spayed or -neutered, and carrying new strains of diseases that weren't previously present up here. And we're concerned because as small, local rescues and shelters we know that we barely have enough space and resources to help Oregon and Washington dogs let alone the thousands you send out of state each year.

What we don't understand is why the folks in California are doing virtually nothing to clean up your problem - instead you seem to be perfectly content to continue shipping dogs to every part of the country: New England, the Mid-West, Canada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington; you name the state or the province, and they've likely had several shipments of dogs from California's major Central and San Joaquin valley shelters: Merced, Modesto, Salinas, Devore, Bakersfield/Kern County, Porterville/Tulare County, Orange County, and Los Angeles (including Lancaster). The word is out that these are now some of the highest "kill" shelters in the country. And the dogs don't die easy: Often they're finally killed only after they've developed pneumonia, or any one of several other respiratory diseases constantly present in the shelters. Being born in or put into these and a number of other California shelters is a certain death sentence - and that's why other states are ending up with California's unwanted dogs and cats. (more…)

Growth ahead?

mendiola MARK
MENDIOLA

 
Reports

Calling the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Washington a lost opportunity, Bank of Idaho President and Chief Executive Officer Park Price says if Congress and the White House can successfully resolve the looming debt ceiling and sequestration budget controversies, he expects robust economic growth in Idaho and the United States during 2013.

If agreement is not reached, America will teeter and lurch back into recession, he anticipates, noting the federal sector accounts for 20 percent of the economy.

Noting that six million jobs have been lost since the nation’s economic meltdown of 2008, Price says he hopes 2013 will see business start to hire more people, which is a must for the nation to pull out of its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

But uncertainty over whether the U.S. will default on its national debt or whether massive automatic federal budget cuts will be imposed by sequestration on March 1 has companies reluctant to resume hiring. When they are forced to lay off quickly, they tend to hire slowly, says Price, who earned an economics degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

“Businesses hate uncertainty,” Price says. “The longer this goes on, the harder it is on the economy.”

For 13 years, Price specialized in capital investments for General Motors. From 1979 to 2003, he owned and operated Park Price Motor Co. in Pocatello, which was founded by his father in 1947. In July 2003, Price became president of the Bank of Idaho, which has seven branches in eastern Idaho and real estate offices specializing in mortgage originations in Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. He became the bank’s CEO in 2010.

The recent disappointing fiscal cliff debate resulted in some tax increases with no spending cuts. A more comprehensive package was needed on a grander scale, Price says, adding that deficit spending cannot be sustained at its torrid pace.

“It’s clear that the path we’re on is unsustainable. We continue to mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren. It is morally unacceptable to tolerate this,” the former Pocatellan says.

On the other hand, if spending is cut too aggressively, it could be a shock to the economy, tax revenues could fall and the federal deficit worsen, he cautions, urging that cuts be done gradually, not drastically. Congress won’t agree to raise the federal debt ceiling as President Obama wants without significant spending cuts, he observes.

Because of the fiscal cliff outcome, taxes are now off the table, Price notes, stressing he hopes cooler heads prevail as the new Congress gets organized. “Unfortunately, we don’t have much time,” he says. (more…)

Packin’ nuclear? Why not?

stapilus RANDY
STAPILUS

 
The View
from Here

Boise attorney John Runft has addressed a point that ought to be put to gun advocates coast to coast. But did he address it as they would - and has he thought through the implications?

Interviewed on KIVI-TV in Nampa, he was enthusiastic in his discussion of the Second Amendment, saying there was even an "anti-government" aspect built into it. (I'd love to find the specific validation for that argument.)

But he also acknowledged something that some gun advocates seem not to, that there are limits even to the Second Amendment: “Do you have the right to bear a bazooka? The right to bear an atomic bomb? Absolutely not.”

No argument on that here. But I would argue this: Bazookas (defined in Wikipedia: "a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the US Army") and nuclear weapons clear are "arms". (Remember the nuclear arms race.) Not much question about that either.

So: By Runft, it is okay to ban some arms. Next question: If we can ban bazookas from private use, why not semi-automatic weapons? From where comes the private constitutional right to possess one but not the other?

A question, then, posed to any and all gun advocates: Should weaponry such as nuclear weapons and bazookas be allowed for private ownership in the United States? If not, why not, if your argument that a right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed?

A heavyweight bout that wasn’t

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

For years, the conventional wisdom among Idaho political insiders has been the state’s two best campaigners were Cecil Andrus, the Democrat, and George Hansen, the Republican. Each had the rare ability to walk into a room of strangers and leave a half hour later with everyone feeling they had personally connected with the candidate and liking him, regardless of party affiliation.

Each had charisma and command presence, in part because each was more than six feet tall. Each had a keen intellect that could reduce complex issues to digestible parts. Each used humor effectively, though Andrus was better at self-deprecation. Neither were great orators but each could speak in lay-man’s language with passion and listen with compassion.

Each had a great memory. They rarely forgot a name or the face. Both had the stamina to begin a day greeting Idaho National Lab bus riders at 4 a.m. and give a stem winder speech that night. They had intensely loyal followers for many years, and some are still around. Hansen and Andrus worked their way up in politics, Andrus starting as the state senator from Clearwater County in 1960 and Hansen as Mayor of Alameda, a suburb of Pocatello in 1960.

Hansen was the first to achieve higher office, knocking off then Democratic incumbent Second District Congressman Ralph Harding from Blackfoot in 1964 in spite of the landslide presidential election of Lyndon Baines Johnson (the last time a Democrat president took Idaho). Hansen quickly turned his sights on Frank Church’s Senate seat, but lost a hard fought race in 1968.

Andrus lost both the 1966 primary race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and then the general election to Republican Don Samuelson. Andrus defeated Samuelson in a rematch in 1970 and went on to win the governorship three more times.

The Second District seat was taken by Orval Hansen (no relation to George), an attorney and state senator from Idaho Falls who served in the House until 1974 when George Hansen decided to reclaim his old seat. He easily dispatched the other Hansen in the Republican primary. George Hansen served 10 controversy-filled years before narrowly losing the 1984 election to Richard Stallings, a history professor at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho).

Before returning to the House, though, George Hansen took one more run at the U.S. Senate seeking the seat being vacated by Len Jordan in 1972. Hansen lost the August primary in a four-way race to First District Congressman Jim McClure, who also defeated former three-term governor Robert E. Smylie and Glen Wegner, a young lawyer and doctor from Kendrick. (more…)

Sculpture in Corvallis

Corvallis
A Willamette River waterfront sculpture in downtown Corvallis, looking out toward the old Benton County building. (photo/Randy Stapilus)

 

Outspoken advice that will likely be ignored

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

A few days after the 2012 general election, we opined in this space the President had become stronger and Congress weaker - that the election had altered the balance of power in favor of the White House. A couple of correspondents said we were wrong - that the President had received no “mandate” and Republicans still controlled the House of Representatives.

In the weeks since, the President’s approval rating has gone up while Congress is now down to unprecedented polling levels - falling in favorability below colonoscopies and root canals. Obama has - with full assistance of that Republican “majority” - secured a stronger bargaining position while Congress - especially the House - has become a swamp.

To the aforementioned skeptics, we now safely advise - it’s gonna get worse for the GOP. And it will be at their own hand.

Several Republican 2016 presidential wannabee’s are already flitting about the country, doing dozens of media interviews, popping more antacid pills because of all the rubber chicken dinners attended and proposing all sorts of new legislation to make the party more “open and welcoming” They’re demonstrating - in spades - they haven’t a clue how to improve the standing or acceptance of the GOP. It’s just so much verbal flatulence.

In weeks since the election, there’s been a single, lifelong Republican voice worth the hearing. After accurately quoting the ignorance of former Republican governors Palin and Sununu, he said this:

“Let me be candid. My party is full of racists and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”

Colin Powell also accused his own party of ignorance - of intolerance of different views - of demanding ideological purity rather that proposing solutions to the nation’s many problems - of failing to offer an acceptable and viable alternative to the Democrat Party - of failing to understand the fundamental changes of ethnicity taking place in this country today.

To the minorities the GOP is trying to attract - to the independents with whom the GOP must connect - to disaffected Republican moderates who have been exiled from the GOP table - Colin Powells may be the most respected Republican voice in the country today. If other Republicans of similar stature don’t follow his lead - if the Party continues to ignore such right-thinking - there will be Democrats living uninterruptedly in the White House for the next 30 years or more. And controlling Congress.

To the Rubios, the Santorums, the Bachmans, ol’ Newt and the other rabbits out there, all that’s needed are some speeches, some new immigration legislation - some talk of a “big tent” - some new curtains in the windows. So, that’s what they’re proposing. And they’re dead wrong. (more…)

Not a coup, though it could blow up

cascades RANDY
STAPILUS

 
West
of the
Cascades

We'll concur here with Peter Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune in hauling out the dictionary and declaring that talk - like that of Democratic Seattle Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles - that the new management of the Washington Senate amounted to a coup, is excessive.

It i certainly unusual, at least in the Northwest, for two members of one party (Democrats) to break away and join with the opposing (Republican) caucus to form a new operating majority, after the general election apparently had left the Democrats in charge.

But they did it according to the rules - the majority rules. Which they changed, as well, on Monday, opening a tasty assortment of changes that could wind up benefiting either side.

If the "coup" talk among some Democrats was a little much, so too was the talk among some Republicans that theirs was a "bipartisan" coalition. Not really. When the two Democrats who shifted over were a former Republican legislator (Rodney Tom) and a near-Republican breakaway of long standing (Tim Sheldon), that's hardly the case. When a Democrat came up with the label for their governing caucus as BINO - Bipartisan in Name Only - that sounded like a joke destined to stick, because there was truth in it.

But the governing caucus is legit.

This majority does however has the look of a highly flammable coalition. The demands of a single member could throw it into question, which is why one-vote majorities always have a hard time keeping effective control. If the caucus is closely cohesive and not given to firey displays of personality, it can work. But it only takes one to create a serious issue, and there are some distinct personalities in this caucus.

They're running a high-wire act. All the Senate Democrats have to do is sit back and watch ... and comment.

The next agenda

carlson
NW Reading

Excerpts from Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's State of the State address today.

The Oregon Business Plan, which has guided our work over the past two years, is built on three pillars: creating 25,ooo jobs per year through 2020; raising Oregon’s personal income levels above the national average by 2020; and reducing Oregon’s poverty rate to 10 percent by 2020. These three pillars recognize that private sector job creation is the foundation of an enduring prosperity – but they also recognize that prosperity must lift people in every community in every corner of our state; and that without reducing poverty, all Oregonians will not have their shot at the American Dream.

And that means that over the next two years, our commitment to these second two pillars must be no less than our commitment to the first.

Far too many Oregonians continue to struggle with unemployment, debt and the rising cost of health care. That is the urgency you bring with you to the 77th Legislative Assembly. And that sense of urgency is at the core of the budget I sent you last month – a budget that reflects the priorities that have guided us over the past two years: putting children, families and education first; investing in jobs and innovation; and reducing the cost of government. It is also a budget built on the assumption that even with constrained resources, we cannot wait to begin reinvesting in children, in families and in education.

When I first came to the Legislature in 1979, kids could drop out of Roseburg High School in the 10th or 11th grade and get jobs in the woods and the mills with good wages and benefits. Those days are long gone – and over the past few decades, the economic benefits of education have steadily grown. In 1979, the average college graduate made 38 percent more than the average high school graduate. Now, the average college graduate makes over 75 percent more. And more than 60 percent of the jobs in the next decade will require at least a technical certificate or associates degree – yet only 67 percent of our students are graduating from high school, taking them off the path to economic security. ... (more…)

In the Briefings this week


A rendering of the planned patas monkey exhibit at the Boise Zoo. (image/Boise Zoo)

 

An advance look at the new exhibition buiilding for Boise Zoo's patas monkeys, expected to be unveiled this summer. Efforts toward the new building were launched last year after one of the monkeys was killed by a human intruder.

Economic and legislative stories dominated the news in the Briefings across the three Northwest states, as legislators prepare to do their thing for 2013.

The emerging split

Last week's Idaho column was about the two sides that Idaho's U.S. House Republicans - insurgent Raul Labrador and establishmentarian Mike Simpson - have taken in the new Congress. A piece in the Idaho Statesman (paywalled) today aggressively underlines that.

A split between the two has become direct and personal, Simpson calling Labrador "irresponsible" and more for his role not only in the fiscal cliff battle, but also for his decision to withhold his vote for John Boehner as speaker. That, he said, will hurt him down the road - severely damaging his credibility. Simpson added, "As anyone who's ever been in a legislative body will tell you, you've got one thing going for you and that's your credibility. And once you lose that credibility its gone and gone forever."

Labrador shot back, calling Simpson a "bully" and "an old-school legislator who went to Washington, D.C., to compromise."

In backing up his side, Simpson told a story about himself, one I saw unfold years ago, when he was in the Idaho House. Back in the early 80s when Simpson joined the Idaho House, he was known as an ideological hardliner, and he was considered well to the right of House Speaker Tom Boyd, with whom he was in leadership in the later 80s. In 1990 he ran against Boyd to oust him, and an in the caucus vote Boyd won.

Simpson recounted how, in the floor vote to formally elect a speaker, he joined the other Republicans in voting for Boyd. But there's more to the story. In the following 1991 and 1992 sessions, Simpson didn't sit back and sulk, and he didn't trying to engineer an angry guerrilla war. Instead, in the sessions that followed he became a more productive legislator than he ever had been before, pushing through a batch of significant legislation, from a "Truth in Taxation" measure to legislation amending mandatory minimum sentencing laws, bills that crossed ideological lines and marked him as a serious legislator. The upshot was that when Boyd retired from the House in 1992, Simpson easily won the speakership. And eventually, put him in good position to run for Congress.

Labrador has taken, so far, a rather different route. We'll see where it gets him.