Writings and observations

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)

Boise city hall artwork chosen (Boise Statesman)
Efforts to curb dog shootings (Boise Statesman)
Debate over massive Caldwell subdivision (Nampa Press Tribune)
Water levees at risk in Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Maybe a new roundabout at Sandpoint (Sandpoint Bee)
Dairies promise to self-regulate (TF Times News)
CSI copes with guns on their campus (TF Times News)

Eugene Water/Electric land by river may be renewed (Eugene Register Guard)
Legislature nears end (Eugene Register Guard)
KF public safety levy planned (KF Herald & News)
PacifiCorps at Link River may be closed (KF Herald & News)
Health exchange still has bugs (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing the marijuana dispensary regime (Salem Statesman Journal)

Funding sought for new mental health court (Kennewick Herald)
Crack in Wanapum Dam deemed serious (Kennewick Herald)
Yakima wants pot money, but not sales (Longview News)
ACLU, judge on pay-or-appear (Port Angeles News)
Flaws in Hanford tanks (Tacoma News Tribune)
Supreme Court wants school fund changes (Tacoma News Tribune)
Still long calls on health exchange (Vancouver Columbian)
Critics of oil terminal speak out (Vancouver Columbian)
Candidates for Hasting’s House seat (Yakima Herald Republic)
Concerns about changing medical pot law (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Once again high officials in the administration of Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter have been caught misrepresenting “facts” and manipulating data in order to present a less than honest picture to the people of Idaho. It is intentional, done with malice aforethought, and it is deplorable as it is deceitful.

It is the latest issue in the long-playing saga surrounding the questionable award of a lucrative contract five years ago to a subsidiary of Qwest, the telecommunications giant and a contributor to Governor Otter over the years even though their bid was not the low bid. From e-mails produced in the subsequent lawsuit by the low-bidder, Syringa, which includes in its principals members of former Governor John V. Evans’ family, it was clear to Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones that the then head of the Department of Administration, “First Bud” Mike Gwartney, had predetermined that Qwest would win. Justice Jones denounced this fix in scathing language.

Purpose of the contract was to deliver broad band width primarily to most of Idaho’s many rural school districts so that they could offer their students dual credit courses, classes whereby students could get both high school and college credits for the class. Many states have these so called “running start” programs whereby a student can get a jump on going to college and earn early credits that reduce the cost of college for the student and save having to take heftier student loans out to finance a college curriculum. While nobly intended there is obviously something rotten in /Denmark that cries out or further examination: the cost!

Leave it to an enterprising reporter, Judd Wilson, for the St. Maries Gazette-Record, to ferret out the cost and ask the obvious questions on behalf of the taxpayer. Wilson looked at a press release put out by the Department of Administration last month which claimed that 5,010 students had earned 15,905 college credits through IEN, thereby saving families over $2 million in tuition at typical rates, thus saving Idaho families hard earned cash. Give Otter’s Department of Administration an F in Math if one is kind. Call it deliberately deceitful if you’re not so inclined.

Since its inception in 2009, the Idaho Education Network has cost federal and state taxpayers $28,552,670. Do the math yourself. It averages out to $1,795.20 in taxpayer dollars for each of the 15,905 college credits touted by the Department in the report – except of course that number isn’t there.

Hello! Is anybody there? How can this be justified? A dual credit at North Idaho College costs from $65 to $107 per credit. At Boise State the per credit cost is $260 and at the University of Idaho it is $311 per credit. So, can anyone explain why the IEN delivered dual credits cost almost six times as much as a Vandal credit?

Well apparently not. All one hears are vague statements about hard to measure intangibles that broadband brings to rural districts, such as – President Jimmy Carter appearing in some program presented to a government affairs class in some school like Kendrick? Give me a break.

This cries out for another Attorney General ordered investigation as well as a new oversight board to be put in place to prevent further rip-off of the taxpayer.
The irony of course is some colleges and universities, particularly elite ones, such as Dartmouth, are beginning to question the awarding of college credit for courses taught by high school instructors. As they should. Ask any instructor of a “running start” class and if honest he’ll admit that many students don’t belong in the class, care little for the subjects, but districts sure like the additional funds they can garner for having the class available.

Dartmouth has gone so far as to even not allow the SAT approved Advanced Placement classes in English, History and Math to be counted towards a Dartmouth diploma. Good for them as they are being honest about trying to insure the quality an education they provide costs.

Does anyone not see the pattern that is emerging? From the dismissal of the Transportation director for cancelling a contract awarded to an Otter favored entity to trying to skip through an investigation of CCA’s falsifying work stubs to paying more than top dollar for the IEN contract it becomes ever clearer that there is no captain at the tiller of the Idaho ship of state. We are adrift in the rough seas full of pirates glad to take advantage of Idaho’s apparent inability to really provide oversight of outside contracts.

The pirates smell the fat hog that they can keep cutting as long as there is no real leadership or any real oversight. Greed is rampant and the taxpayer is clearly getting gouged but does anyone really care enough to do something about it?

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Carlson

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Retirement sucks.

I have tried retirement on for size since leaving the Idaho Statesman two months ago and it truly sucks. I’ve tried saying, “I’m retired,” for the last couple of weeks, but I cringe at the thought. So I’m not going to do it. I’m 63 years old, which may be too old to hold a job or be hired anywhere. But I don’t look or feel old, and I’m not going to act old.

Every now and then, I see stories about people who retire and end up dead within a short time. When my older brother was in his late 50s, he talked glowingly about retirement and some of the things he wanted to do. When he turned 62, he could hardly wait to begin his new chapter of life; he was planning to spend his golden years in New Mexico. Just before moving there, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and died just after his 64th birthday. I’m not suggesting that retirement killed him. But he spent so much time looking forward to it and he had so little time to enjoy it. I’m as healthy as a horse and could enjoy retirement if I wanted; I just don’t want it.

For me, I want to explore some new challenges while tackling some old ones. I do volunteer work with the American Diabetes Association, which has the most honorable of missions – to find a cure for this deadly disease. I’d also like to dabble in an area in which I am familiar, which is Idaho politics. I still have opinions on what I see and read in the news and I’d like to use this forum for expressing my thoughts.

The difference between what I’m doing with Ridenbaugh Press and working for a newspaper is I will not be tied to deadlines and will not have to worry about satisfying the whims of cranky desk editors. I can do what I want, when I want and write pretty much how I want.

You know, retirement doesn’t suck so much after all.

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Malloy

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 opens at Boise (Boise Statesman)
State wolf managers review policy (Boise Statesman)
Guns on campus bill progresses (Boise Statesman, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Sandpoint Bee)
Fish & Game killed 23 wolves at Lolo (Lewiston Tribune)
Disputes over Hawkins development persist (Moscow News)
New UI president Staben takes over (Moscow News)
Dissatisfaction over Caldwell downtown (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ag-gag bill signed into law (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Bill to adjust state corrections advances (TF Times News)

Clammers want EPA to review Coos port (Coos Bay World)
Lane County executive spot filled (Eugene Register Guard)
Bill would aid Hynix site renewal (Eugene Register Guard)
KF medical pot dispensaries legal locally (KF Herald & News)
Acrimony in departure of fair manager (KF Herald & News)
Medical pot limited in Central Point (Medford Tribune)
Renewal eneergy bill goe to governor (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Construction flaws noted in Hanford tanks (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Manager says she was scapegoated on Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Profile of Senate contender Monica Wehby (Portland Oregonian)
House passes Washington Co urban boundary (Portland Oregonian)
Medical pot dispensary law in effect (Salem Statesman Journal)
Drought levels show improvement (Salem Statesman Journal)

Few changes in ferry schedules (Bremerton Sun)
Students will help update Port Orchard comp plan (Bremerton Sun)
Emeritus Senior living examined (Everett Herald)
More funds for Arlington schools (Everett Herald)
Concerns about Hanford tank construction (Kennewick Herald, Vancouver Columbian)
Computer servers at Ki-Be schools examined (Kennewick Herald)
Crack found in Columbia dam (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Corporate sales fast at Chambers golf course (Seattle Times)
Seattle re-consider car for hire industry (Seattle Times)
Spokane public market sales down, closes (Spokane Spokesman)
Locke’s departure from China acrimonious (Evrett Herald, Spokane Spokesman)
College Real Hope Act in force, sort of (Tacoma News Tribune)
Investigator finds touble in transit system (Tacoma News Tribune)
Men charges on federal pot law violations (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima will go after pot revenue (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take