Archive for February, 2014

Feb 28 2014

What happened to common sense?

Published by under Carlson

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

So now what do the governing bodies of Idaho’s private colleges— Northwest Nazarene University, the College of Idaho and BYU-Idaho— do? The Idaho Legislature, taking leave of all common sense, and abetted by a governor who approaches all issues from a purely ideological standpoint (One doesn’t have to think when ideology has all the answers.), swallowed whole hog the latest gambit by the National Rifle Association to make the Second Amendment an absolute right as opposed to the qualified right the Supreme Court has ruled it is.

By over-whelming majorities they kissed the NRA’s ring and passed legislation allowing students over 21 who have taken an eight-hour enhanced training course to carry concealed weapons on a public college campus.

Even the patron saint of the NRA, Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in the precedent-setting case (District of Columbia v. Heller) establishing the individual right to keep and bear arms in order to defend one’s home or self, and separated that right from the Constitutional language appearing to tie the right to keeping and maintaining a militia, even the great Scalia wrote that it was a qualified right. He then went on to state that government could in the interest of public safety restrict carrying and bearing arms from high use public places such as courts and schools.

So the NRA pooh-bahs decide to push legislation that will further restrict the “qualifications” Justice Scalia says government can impose in the interest of public safety even when it runs counter to another sacred belief, that of local control. You see NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre, sincerely believes that had their been an armed and trained in proper firearm use one individual in the building when a Virginia Tech student went on a killing rampage that took 38 lives, the perpetrator would have been shot dead and many lives saved.

One can neither prove nor disprove it. All those in Idaho charged with the in loco parentis role of providing a safe learning environment in our public colleges and all those charged with providing police protection in those places believe otherwise. Continue Reading »

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Feb 28 2014

Otter, Little review the Idaho scene

Published by under Mendiola

Otter
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter converses with Dakota Bates, who chairs the ISU College Republicans, as Mike Webster, Otter’s eastern Idaho field representative, listens. (photo/Mark Mendiola)

 

mendiola MARK
MENDIOLA

 
Reports

Top elected Idaho Republicans did not fritter away their time on the Friday afternoon before the evening Bannock County Republican Lincoln-Reagan Banquet Feb. 21 at Pocatello’s Clarion Inn, which drew about 250 of the party’s faithful, including the state’s GOP elite from Boise and Washington.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little discussed education issues at Idaho State University shortly after U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo warned business people at a Mystique Performing Arts and Event Center lunch in Chubbuck of the nation’s worsening fiscal crisis.

Questions about the controversial “guns-on-campus” bill wending its way through the Legislature in Boise were among several questions fielded by Otter and Little in the ISU Student Union Building ballroom. On the previous Thursday, they spent time with Dr. Arthur C. Vailas, Idaho State University’s president.

Vailas told them he had been notified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it does not allow nuclear research and development on campuses where guns are allowed because of security concerns. “I had never heard that,” Otter said, noting about 60 percent of ISU’s R&D is nuclear-related.

Another complication if guns are allowed despite the opposition of the state’s university presidents and law enforcement officials is ISU’s Meridian campus is shared with a high school, and state law forbids guns to be carried at high schools, the governor said.

Asked if he would sign a “guns-on-campus” measure if it is passed by legislators, Otter says he never signals his intentions as lawmakers finalize a bill’s provisions, mentioning he has been a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

Little defended the controversial Common Core curriculum being implemented by school districts nationwide that is supported by governors and superintendents. While the U.S. Department of Education puts money into it, it’s really driven by the states, the lieutenant governor said.

In November 2010, the Idaho State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards. In January 2011, the Idaho House and Senate Education Committees gave final approval to adopting Idaho Core Standards in mathematics and English. Some Idaho school districts have implemented those standards, Little noted.

Many Idahoans are concerned that Common Core is part of a national curriculum and the federal government is developing a massive data base on each student in the United States, Little said, noting his father and grandfather had to meet standards to graduate from high school.

Otter noted that of Idaho’s $2.85 billion budget, 68 percent of it goes toward K-12 programs. The State Board of Education has set a goal that 60 percent of Idahoans 24 to 35 will get a degree or certification by 2020.

Right now, Idaho boasts a high school graduation rate that is relatively high at 88-89 percent, but only 38 percent of high school graduates go onto college and even fewer graduate, making Idaho’s college graduation one of the nation’s lowest. Continue Reading »

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Feb 28 2014

On the front page

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Quiet negotiations over ‘add the words’ (Boise Statesman)
Magic Valley water curtailment stopped (Boise Statesman)
Board of Ed criticizes campus guns (Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Idaho Democrats seek FBI look into CCA (Lewiston Tribune)
Debate over proposed Lochsa land exchange (Lewiston Tribune)
WA Supreme Court on text privacy (Moscow News)
Tom Dale will run for Canyon commission (Nampa Press Tribune)
Dispatch fee funding okayed by Caldwell, Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislator: ‘Add the words’ efforts ineffective (Pocatello Journal)
Panida Theater board fires staffer (Sandpoint Bee)
Ski season running longer (Sandpoint Bee)
Campus gun bill protests (TF Times News)
Bill on eminent domain, irrigation districts (TF Times News)

Vaccination efforts, low turnout (Eugene Register Guard)
Florence mulls 1-year moratorium on pot shops (Eugene Register Guard)
Moore candidacy for Klamath commission (KF Herald & News)
Campaign on Jackson County GMOs organizes (Ashland Tidings)
Merger of White City, Mountain View schools (Medford Tribune)
Foothills developments advances (Medford Tribune)
Wolf population rises in Oregon (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Debate over wedding services initiative (Portland Oregonian)
Effects of OR pot revenue on kicker (Portland Oregonian)
Cover Oregon tax credits extended (Salem Statesman Journal)

Why did Everett school bond fail? (Everett Herald)
Hanford tank waste an issue for Inslee (Kennewick Herald)
Layoffs after Umatilla chem plant demolished (Kennewick Herald)
Court says text messages are private (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Longview OKs zoning for pot (Longview News)
Strong smelt harvest expected (Longview News)
Supreme Court on biomass plant pollution (Port Angeles News)
Nippon Paper mill stopped over tech issues (Port Angeles News)
Seattle viaduct work won’t finish till 2016 (Seattle Times)
Seattle regulates car service driver numbers (Seattle Times)
ID Democrats seek FBI review of CCA (Spokane Spokesman)
Chambers Bay may get new development (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oil transit companies won’t attend new forum (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima job picture improving (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Feb 27 2014

‘Who is going to be harmed’?

Published by under Reading

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

After commenting a couple of weeks ago that the Idaho legislature was mistaken not to pass legislation to “add the words” to provide employment, housing and other other protections on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, Republican former Governor (1995-99) Phil Batt followed up with this opinion article widely reprinted in Idaho newspapers.

The Idaho Legislature has once again decided to take no action to include sexual orientation under our anti-discrimination statutes. Instead, lawmakers seriously considered state approval of anti-gay incidents if they are done because of religious convictions.

These procedures and the protests generated by them have attracted the attention of major news outlets in large cities and even that of London newspapers.

Idaho leaders have said this is of no interest to present or prospective business opportunities in our state. In my career as a legislative leader and as a governor, I found otherwise. Large Idaho corporations, and particularly Hewlett-Packard and Boise Cascade, were very much concerned about Idaho’s reputation regarding tolerance.

The long presence of practicing Nazis in North Idaho caused negative press coverage of our beloved state worldwide. HP executives and other Idaho businesspeople helped force these scumbags out. However, the main credit goes to North Idaho citizens, who detested their abominable presence.

When an Idaho congresswoman said people of color would not live in North Idaho because it was too cold for them, we got another wave of bad publicity. She recanted her views and our good name was again restored.

Our Idaho executives told me that the state’s reputation is important to their businesses. If it is damaged, sales are hurt. Perhaps more important, it becomes much more difficult to attract outstanding, well-qualified and forward-thinking people to apply for Idaho employment.

Such is the case for a couple of my grandchildren. Max is gay. He attended Boise schools. He felt marginalized and troubled by some of the treatment he received from students and teachers. Ultimately, he dropped out, obtained his GED and moved to San Francisco. Continue Reading »

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Feb 27 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Trader Joe’s coming Friday (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Closed talk on CCA prison agreement (Boise Statesman)
Legislature on advisory board for treasurer (Boise Statesman)
WA starts issuing pot permits next week (Lewiston Tribune)
JFAC OKs $1 million to fight gay marriage (Moscow News)
Board of Ed study on high wage jobs (Moscow News)
Obermayr tries again for Latah commission (Moscow News)
How Materne got to Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
School budget ‘flexibility’ reviewed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Treasury oversight board progresses (Nampa Press Tribune)
Children/faith healing bill gets no hearing (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU’s hillside I to be replaced (Pocatello Journal)
Campus gun bill will raise security costs (Sandpoint Bee)
Gooding charter school sees mercury spill (TF Times News)
Idaho Youth Ranch will leave Rupert in 2016 (TF Times News)

Police, landlords working on issues (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Indian mascot bill goes to governor (Corvallis Gazette Times)
New Lane County administrator picked (Eugene Register Guard)
Homeless center Whoville closes this spring (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene library branches could remain open (Eugene Register Guard)
Not enough money to accept Klamath Project bids (KF Herald & News)
Tribes in NW blasting pot legalization (KF Herald & News)
Dispute over gravel business at Gold Hill (Medford Tribune)
Southern ed service district loses Grants Pass (Medford Tribune)
Splits among Republicans at Dorchester (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston will oppose pot outlet (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Future of Hermiston ag station (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Oracles reduces its Cover Oregon staff (Portland Oregonian)
Wolf tracks found on Mount Hood (Portland Oregonian)
Lottery reform bill fails (Portland Oregonian)

New Snohomish precinct delayed (Everett Herald)
House Democrats: charge OR residents sales tax (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Plan to reduce liquor tax (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Vancouver labor dispute tensions remain (Longview News)
Nippon Paper plant at PA idled (Post Angeles News)
Seattle considers universal pre-school (Seattle Times)
Seattle police misconduct cases reviewed (Seattle Times)
Spokane incinerator power bill fails (Spokane Spokesman)
Pro-death penalty advocates blast Inslee plan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Franciscan Health leader retires (Tacoma News Tribune)
Schools built by lottery money? (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima: share pot revenues with cities (Yakima Herald Republic)
Sunnyside plans center remodel (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Feb 26 2014

Rich bitchin’

Published by under Rainey

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

When someone has an asset or significant advantage in life, it may’ve come from hard work, inheritance, luck or just serendipitous circumstance. Most of us don’t give such a situation much thought and go on our way.

But when someone so advantaged – regardless of how that advantage was acquired – brags about it or expects the rest of us to construct a special pedestal from which the wealthy can gaze lord-like over the rest of us, I get pissed. Such is my state at the moment.

We poor plebeians are suffering a torrent of billionaire bitching as some of them suddenly come out from the secured grounds of their compounds to complain we don’t appreciate them sufficiently. We’re being told they don’t deserve our scorn – that we’re treating them the way Nazis treated Jews – we “have-nots” should stop complaining about the “have’s” and spend more time admiring their success – voting should be based on “one-dollar-one-vote” – people who pay no taxes shouldn’t be allowed to vote – yadda, yadda, yadda.

Much of the arrogant blathering has been so ridiculous as to make me wonder how in hell they were smart enough to make a pile of bucks. Maybe Daddy left it to ‘em.

One of the craziest voices is that of Bud Konheim, CEO of a luxury fashion brand. I’m not going to give the bastard a dollop of publicity so if you want to know which one, look it up.

He says 99% of Americans should stop complaining and realize how lucky they are. He says our “poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world. Exact quote: “The guy’s making, oh my God, $35,000 a year. Why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China. Anyplace. The (in America) guy is wealthy.”

If you’re trying to make sense out of that blather, don’t bother.

Konheim’s disconnect from reality interested – and revolted – Yale School of Management prof Jeffrey Sonnenfeld who said such “thinking” shrieks of “insensitivity and grandiosity.” “It makes you wonder about other decisions he’s making,” Sonnenfeld said.

Then there’s billionaire Tom Perkins who believes the mass of us poor folk are making “progressive war on the 1% as did the Nazis on anti-Semitism.” Perkins also has proposed giving each of us as many votes in elections as we have dollars in the bank. He, of course, would get a billion ballots or two. Damn! The last 15 years of her life, my mother – with only Social Security and family care for income – paid not a dollar in taxes. But she never missed an election in her life. Doubt her citizenship record could be matched by ol’ Perk. Continue Reading »

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Feb 26 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Maximus workers surprised by job losses (Boise Statesman)
Limited funds for roads in Asotin (Lewiston Tribune)
Pot zones approved for Pullman (Moscow News)
Zoning design control may be limited (Moscow News)
WSU sets up undocumented student help board (Moscow News)
New Walmart at Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bill to allow 80 mph speeds advances (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa teacher negotiations center on health (Nampa Press Tribune)
Grace, North Gem School Districts may merge (Pocatello Journal)
CSI might spend $100k to deal with gun bill (TF Times News)
New transparency at TF economic group (TF Times News)

Benton considers new jail plan (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Corvallis school board paying some legal costs (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Corvallis property maintenance draws crowd (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Titling undocumented drivers license ballot issue (Eugene Register Guard, Ashland Tidings)
Natural Grocers coming to Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Union HS remodel considered (KF Herald & News)
Hoppe plans circuit court run (Ashland Tidings)
Eagle Point shop owner plans commission run (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Medford teacher vote still ahead (Medford Tribune)
Tamastslikt wind turbine starts (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Hermiston officials planning ahead (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Debate over small town chicken ban (Portland Oregonian)
Mexican narco-lord arrest ripples to Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Local governments may get lottery funds (Portland Oregonian)
Salem develoiper faces big tax lien (Salem Statesman Journal)

Management at morgue changes (Everett Herald)
Senate Democrats would end tax breaks, fund schools (Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian)
More urban growth acreage okayed (Kennewick Herald)
New welcome sign at Longview (Longview News)
Sheriff warns of jail bond loss impacts (Longview News)
Problems with Bertha began in Japan (Seattle Times)
PA Lincoln theatre will close (Port Angeles News)
Spokane Valley bans texting by council at meeting (Spokane Spokesman)
KPBX public radio moves to new digs (Spokane Spokesman)
School testing at Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Park at Gig Harbor opens (Tacoma News Tribune)
C-Tran shows off bus proposal (Vancouver Columbian)
Snowpack at Yakima now at average (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Feb 25 2014

Introducing … podcasts …

Published by under website

We’ll see how this goes … but the plan is to start posting podcasts here from time to time. We’re trying out a service called Spreaker.com, and if it works well our hope is to start including here the voices of a number of people, most (not necessarily all) associated with Ridenbaugh Press.

This first is really just a tester; don’t judge it too harshly. Keep watch and we should be back with more, and better soon.

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Feb 25 2014

Not honorable, but right in some ways

Published by under Trahant

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

President Obama’s next budget, due to be released soon, will be good news for Indian Country.

The Washington Post describes the plan this way: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.”

So does this mean austerity will end in Indian Country? Unfortunately, no. But this budget is a new approach — and it will have many implications in Indian Country.
Let me explain. It starts with this whole business of “austerity” or a government that shrinks itself and the economy.

The problem, essentially, in recent years is that Democrats have bought into the premise of austerity. There is this idea that a smaller government will somehow right the economy because the private sector will then create more jobs. Nonsense. There is far more evidence that when government invests in the economy there will be growth ahead.

The president’s budget adds an important twist to this debate by calling for sharp reductions in military spending. This will not be popular with Republicans (even though the U.S. spends $600 billion a year, more than the next ten nations combined on defense.)

There should be little debate among tribal governments about austerity. There is not much of a private sector in tribal nations to pick up the slack. So any significant reduction in government, whether it be welfare payments or support for law enforcement programs, reduces the number of jobs at home.

Spending for programs that directly benefit American Indians and Alaska Natives — such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service — are from the portion of the budget that’s considered discretionary spending. Every dollar has to be appropriated by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president. There has to be a “deal” to spend the money.

And discretionary spending is shrinking. Last year it totaled about $1.2 trillion and is projected to drop by $7 billion, less than 1 percent, in 2014.

The budgets that are growing are “mandatory” spending, money that’s automatic, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Continue Reading »

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Feb 25 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Ex-wife of Sen. McKenzie won’t be charged (Boise Statesman)
Job losses at Maximus call centers (Boise Statesman)
Increases in school funding unlikely (Boise Statesman)
Assessing college degree value (Moscow News)
WSU Floyd contract continued (Moscow News)
Lamar running for Latah commission (Moscow News)
Simplot closure at Nampa (Idaho Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Expansion at Plexus electronics plant (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nuclear research, guns on campus (Pocatello Journal)
Rangen water call held off (TF Times News)

Redesigning Henley Elementary (KF Herald & News)
Temporary manager at fair (KF Herald & News)
Eugene city looks at sick leave (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane County audit released (Eugene Register Guard)
OR House would allow local pot bans (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
TriQuint Semiconductor will merge (Portland Oregonian)
Legislators work on metro land use deal (Portland Oregonian)

Arlington losing its Olympic theatre (Everett Herald)
Naturopath’s cancer practices questioned (Seattle Times)
Spokane won’t oppose tribal casino (Spokane Spokesman)
Protesters try to stop deportations (Tacoma News Tribune)
New CEO at MultiCare Health in Pierce (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark County may outsource some labor work (Vancouver Columbian)

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Feb 24 2014

Whose Idaho values?

Published by under Carlson

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter has lost all touch with reality. His slandering U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Winmill at a Capitol for a Day in Craigmont by accusing this distinguished jurist of not being in touch with Idaho values goes beyond the pale. Sadly, it demonstrates the great degree to which the governor himself just doesn’t get what is going on in this world.

Otter is the one who doesn’t get Idaho values.

Idaho values education. Otter clearly does not. His eight years have seen educational support eviscerated by him and the Legislature. Idaho now ranks 50th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of per pupil spending on education. The Albertsons Foundation is running ads pleading with him and the Legislature not to fail Idaho. They ignore that a third of Idaho’s third graders can’t read at grade level and only one out of 10 Idaho high school graduates actually obtains a college degree.

Idahoans soundly rejected the Luna/Otter reform initiatives. Otter’s Pollyanish response was the people rejected the process not his proposals.

Idaho values honesty. Otter clearly does not. His shuck and jive on Corrections Corp. of America’s bilking the state of millions by falsifying pay stubs regarding its management of the Idaho Correctional Center outside Boise, and then settling for $1 million before the results of any investigation are known is patently deceitful and dishonest.

He claims not to have raised taxes but three-fourths of Idaho school districts have had to pass supplemental property tax levies to compensate for state decreases. That is a tax shift and a tax increase pure and simple. But go ahead and keep up the Big Lie that it isn’t, governor.

Idaho values its wilderness and its public lands with access to all. Otter does not. He has opposed fellow Republican Mike Simpson’s carefully crafted Boulder/White Clouds legislation on the simple grounds that there’s enough wilderness in Idaho.

He is supporting the stupidity of the state looking into taking over federal lands but, of course, there’ll be no new taxes needed.

Idaho values its children. Otter does not. Early childhood education benefits are well known, but Otter does not support the state providing funding for preschool classes.

Idaho values offering a helping hand to those need — a hand up, not a hand out. More than 100,000 Idahoans living at or near the poverty line would benefit from a Medicaid expansion, which would pay all the costs now absorbed by the state and county indigent funds. Continue Reading »

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Feb 24 2014

Coming out of the strike

Published by under Oregon,Oregon column

oregon
RANDY STAPILUS / Oregon

So what emerged out of the Medford teacher strike, the labor uproar that dominated news in southern Oregon virtually all of the first part of this year?

Medford Superintendent Phil Long said the settlement means “moving forward, putting our schools back together and repairing relationships with people.”

You might think they could have gotten that far without a strike.

In fairness, the details of the terms weren’t supposed to be released publicly until the teachers had a chance to see them and vote. That is the way these things usually go.

But you might think too a little more transparency would help.

It might have in Portland too, where teachers and administration came very close to what would have been the district’s first strike ever. (For some reason, the leadup to strike got a lot more media and local attention in Medford than in Portland.)

Portland is a fairly union-friendly city, but many people there may have felt a little confused: What was the dispute really about, at base? What was each side asking for, what did it insist on? The district’s patrons and taxpayers might have been better able to decide who to root for if they had known.

There wasn’t much such information last week. Spokesmen for negotiators seemed to characterize the outcome as a compromise, which might at least make the patrons feel better. But, a compromise between what?

The main indicator at Medford seemed to be that the issue related to “the financials” – but exactly what that translated to was less than clear.

Strikes, and near-strikes, often leave hard feelings behind. Best way to resolve that, to move forward and maybe avoid conflict to this level next time around, might be opening the process to a little more public airing.

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Feb 24 2014

On the front page

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Hotels interested in downtown Boise builds (Boise Statesman)
Smaller turnout at Hampton jazz fest (Moscow News)
Taliban and Bergdahl exchange (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Rain rising in southern Idaho (Nampa Press Tribune)

Oregon tries cutting vaccine waivers (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette Times)
Gay marriage backers get signatures (Ashland Tidings)
Medford teachers back in school (Medford Tribune)
Rogue whitewater instruction offered (Medford Tribune)
State lottery numbers up (Medford Tribune)
Increasing medical costs at jails (Salem Statesman Journal)

Hastings tenure in reviiew (Kennewick Herald)
Bar cost for alcohol might go up (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Longview Tennant landfill may close (Longview News)
Vaccinations in Oregon (Longview News)
New PA port director named (Port Angeles News)
Legislature considers supplement budget (Port Angeles News)
Seattle growing faster than suburbs (Seattle Times)
Does Clark County excessively fine felons? (Vancouver Columbian)

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Feb 23 2014

In the end, no gag

Published by under Idaho,Idaho column

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

Backers of the CAFO anti-videoing legislation – “ag-gag” – have already lost the war, even if the legislation passes.

Especially if it passes.

Senate Bill 1337, which has passed the Senate, bars a person who “without the facility owner’s express consent or pursuant to judicial process or statutory authorization, makes audio or video recordings of the conduct of an agricultural production facility’s operations.” More specifically, it’s intended to ban (though various existing laws already theoretically do) the videotaping of what happens to livestock in concentrated animal feeding operations. This is significant in Idaho, home to some very large CAFO operations in the Magic Valley and southwest. The new bill would punish violators with up to a year in jail or a $5,000 fine; critics note that’s the same as the state penalty for animal abuse.

Similar legislation has been proposed, most often failing to pass, in more than a dozen states; a Utah law is being challenged in the courts.

The Idaho bill was specifically prompted by a video shot in 2012 at Bettencourt Dairy at Hansen, showing workers beating on livestock. Last week another video shot at an Idaho CAFO, which added animal sexual abuse to the mix, was released. Both have had many, many views, and they’ve gone viral on social media.

We can’t know if the videos alone would have generated massive international attention. We do know the videos, combined with legislation to ban shooting more of them, has sent interest in the subject sky high, in news reports nationally and overseas. The story is irresistible: An attempt to keep the lid on what people have already seen. But memories aren’t so easily erased. Nor is the technology, which keeps moving in the direction of disclosure, as privacy advocates regularly remind us.

Among other responses to the bill are petitions, some inside Idaho, some by national animal advocacy groups. Petitions usually do little by themselves, but they can assist organization efforts, and they keep the subject visible. Not only smaller and relatively hard-core groups like Mercy for Animals, which released the Bettencourt videos, are involved in this, but also larger and better-funded groups like the Humane Society of the United States. The subject of CAFO livestock has gone mainstream.

If you doubt that, watch the latest series offering from Netflix: The satirical but pointed “Farmed and Dangerous.” (The initial plot hook involves an exploding cow.) Once issues like this get into cultural discussion, national regulation and legislation may, in time, follow. It’s in the spotlight now.

The Magic Valley has benefited recently from arrival of a number of food processors who came there largely because of the easy supply of dairy products. Don’t be surprised if boycotts of some of them start – and lead to business responses. To see this playing out, Google the Wiese Brothers Farms in Wisconsin, and read about the videos and other reports that led a frozen pizza company to cut all ties with them.

Nor is that all. If SB 1337 is signed into law (as seems likely), watch for this: An activist who deliberately violates it, shooting more video intending to get caught – and insisting on a very public trial that could draw more national and international attention, kicking in the cycle all over again.

The problem for livestock operations is not insoluble. The simplest out is to improve and closely monitor operations, then throw open the doors for public viewing. Some CAFO advocates have argued that much of what’s been shown on the videos has been unusual aberrations, that most livestock is treated better before slaughter than the videos suggest; an open door policy would be the one practical way to prove it. Some of what inevitably happens in the best of meat processing businesses is of course difficult for many people to stomach, but the operators could fairly argue that if you want your meat at the supermarket, this is how it has to get there. Since most people do want their steaks and burgers, the argument might settle down, on at least higher ground than it occupies now.

Legislation has its uses. But CAFOs here have among other things a PR problem, and these kinds of laws seldom are much help with that.

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Feb 23 2014

On the front pages

Published by under First Take

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Reviewing Crane’s treasury investments (Boise Statesman)
Idaho as anti-gay, or not (Boise Statesman)
More rain still needed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Hixon bill to push hospital transparency (Nampa Press Tribune)
Guns on campus v nuclear research (Nampa Press Tribune)
Tribes and team mascots (Pocatello Journal, Sandpoint Bee)
Rangen water call hit region (TF Times News)

Many Chinese studentes coming to UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Union HS renovation, maybe (KF Herald & News)
Medford teacher strike concludes (KF Herald & News)
Limited inspections on OR oil trains (Portland Oregonian)

Boeing’s deals with the state (Everett Herald)
UW says race enters into death penalty (Kennewick Herald)
Hastings record at Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
Reviewing plans for methanol plants (Longview News)
Students at UW subsidizing sports (Seattle Times)
Reviewing coal traffic in WA (Spokane Spokesman)
Battle over minimum wage in WA (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
C-TRAN may move to electronic fares (Vancouver Columbian)
Many disable people don’t have services (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)

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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
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
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

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

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here