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Posts published in May 2014

Avoiding voter approval?

frazier DAVID


The Greater Boise Auditorium District (G-BAD) is tiptoeing around the law once again. This time they are aiming to deprive voters of their constitutional right to approve long term debt for a $38 million dollar kitchen and ballroom.

Article VIII, Sec 3 of the Idaho Constitution requires a vote of the people to approve debt. G-BAD lawyers have formulated a convoluted plan to have CCDC go into debt (which it can legally do), but not use CCDC funds–all on behalf of the auditorium district.

The plan as it stands now is to launder a loan through the Capital City Development Corp (CCDC). The terms of the so-called lease agreement call for CCDC to sell 24 year bonds in the amount of $22 million using the G-BAD credit and ability to repay.
G-BAD figures they can somehow convince a judge through a “judicial confirmation” petition they will merely be leasing the “project” on an annual basis. The project is actually a condominium portion of the new building proposed by the Gardner development group of Zion Bank fame.

The lease agreement blatantly uses an interest and principal component and even bases the rental payments on the cost of the bonds. Those close to the project refer to the CCDC role as a “pass through” which will not use tax money diverted from schools, city, county, and ACHD to fund urban renewal.

In layman terms the deal is like renting a house with the intent of owning it after making payments for 24 years, but using someone else’s credit rating and including a “non-appropriation” clause which says you don’t have to pay the rent.

Even though the intent is to OWN the project after 24 years, G-BAD is asking a judge to find they are not really going to PURCHASE the project, just LEASE it and magically get title at the end.

Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre testified at a G-BAD public hearing last Wednesday and told the board she is a frequent purchaser of bonds on behalf of Ada County, but would never invest in bonds which have a “non-appropriation” clause and call for a third party to ultimately own the project.

GUARDIAN editor David R. Frazier also testified before the board urging them to hold an election as mandated by the constitution. He said the project at $38,000,000 was “so profound it deserves the vote of citizens, not just a single judge.”

On the front pages


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)

Otter lost the 1st congressional district (Boise Statesman)
Splits remain among Idaho Republicans (IF Post Register)
Tough superintendent race for Ybarra (Nampa Press Tribune)
New UI president projects safe campus (Nampa Press Tribune)
Lake Pend Oreille court pass flood stage (Sandpoint Bee)
Dalay ordered for raven kill project (TF Times News)

Concerns in region about oil trains (Eugene Register Guard, Corvallis Gazette Times, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Coping with high tuition costs at UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon rates on school spending are low (Portland Oregonian)
Salem reviews beautification (Salem Statesman Journal)

Risk acknowledgement on some build permits (Everett Herald)
Still tighter parking around Statehouse ahead (Olympian)
Gates reduces Foundation spending (Seattle Times)
Same sex partners convert to marriage (Tacoma News Tribune)
Unkown what pot revenues will amount to (Vancouver Columbian)
Concerns in region about oil trains (Vancouver Columbian)
Debate over how much fish people eat (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Concerns for future of bighorn sheep herd (Yakima Herald Republic)

Get mad, get even

carlson CHRIS


Alaska’s long-time senior senator, the late Ted Stevens (1968-2008), had a vicious temper. He could erupt in a split second. Turnover on his staff was constant for few folks would take his berating their competence for long.

He was demanding, would not accept excuses and expected one never to make the same mistake twice. His caustic criticism often was aimed at the press. He rarely hesitated to call a reporter and let them know how badly they’d screwed up.

Behind all the anger, bluff and bluster, though, there was one decent person who had a tender heart, truly cared for those less fortunate and was devoted to his wife, Ann, and their children. He was a man of his word, a tireless advocate for Alaskans and a formidable adversary. He rarely carried a grudge, with one major exception - his senatorial colleage, Alaska’s junior senator, Mike Gravel.

He hated Gravel, and with good reason Stevens truly believed, and it was plausible, that Gravel brought about the situation that led to the death of Ann.

Gravel, born in Massachusettts, went to Alaska with the not so secret desire to achieve high public office. He drove a cab for awhile but soon got into real estate and was successful enough to seek office. An intelligent, charming fellow, he was liked well enough by his House colleagues to be elected Speaker.

In 1966 he trried to parlay the Speaker post into election as Alaska’s sole member of the House but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Ralph Rivers.

In August of 1968, though, he shocked many Alaskans by upsetting the venerable Ernest Gruening, one of Alaska’s last territorial governors and, along with Bob Bartlett, one of the first two Alaskan senators. Gruening, who will forever be remembered as one of only two sagacious votes against LBJ’s Tonkin Gulf resolution authorizing the president to do whatever he had to do in Vietnam, was in his early 80’s. To his regret he ignored Gravel and did little campaigning. Gravel went on to win the first of two terms in November.

Twelve years later Gravel himself was knocked off in the August Democratic primary by Ernest Gruening’s grandson, State Rep. Clark Gruening. Gravel had by then alienated many Alaskans but the clincher was the move Stevens quietly organizned to have a massive Republican turnout vote in the open Democratic primary for young Gruening. Stevens exacted his revenge.

Had Gravel been resonsible for Anne Stevens’ death? You be the judge. (more…)

In the Briefings

Seattle bike
How an intersection might look on the future Waterfront depicts the connections between bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles.. (image/Seattle Department of Transportation).


Elections, of course, dominated news coverage last week in Oregon and Idaho, as a U.S. Senate contest provided some of the big headlines in the former, and a battle of two slates within the Idaho Republican Party offered drama in the latter.

Washington, just a week away from its candidate filing period and still in a relatively quiet political moment, saw less dramatic headlines. A series of noteworthy studies, however, were released around the state shining fresh spotlights on a range of topics. See more about all of this in the Oregon, Idaho and Washington Briefings, out this morning.

On the front pages


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)

UI sees higher enrollment, safety (Moscow News)
Oldest Latah cemetery being fixed (Moscow News)
Managing lawsuits over federal lands (Nampa Press Tribune)

Southern Oregon wine selling in Japan (Medford Tribune)
Willamette ESD to be trained in state meeting law (Salem Statesman Journal)

Media interests conflict at Mill Creek (Everett Herald)
Lottery system planned for food distribution (Everett Herald)
Deeper Columbia channel brings business (Longview News)
Many more vets asking for VA help (Seattle Times)

Idaho’s slate regions

idaho RANDY

With the most recent election results, a new regional political map of Idaho has emerged.

The higher-level offices contested in Idaho's Republican primary election last week were fought over primarily by two clearly competing slates of candidates, those you might call the establishment candidates (who mainly were incumbents) and the insurgents, who challenged them.

Apart from the fact that the establishment won those major offices nearly across the board – losing only for secretary of state (where former House Speaker Lawerence Denney won) – the results varied quite a bit among the candidates. In the controller's race, Todd Hatfield came within about a percentage point of unseating incumbent Brandon Woolf (who had the disadvantage of never having been on the ballot before). Incumbent Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter scored only a modest win (51.4%) against state Senator Russ Fulcher. Meanwhile, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden scored a near-landslide over attorney Chris Troupis, and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little won smashingly (66.8%) over county commissioner Jim Chemelik. In the four-way superintendent of public instruction race, insurgent candidate John Eynon came in third.

But these races, as varied as their statewide totals may be, look surprisingly similar on county maps.

Fulcher, Chmelik, Denney, Hatfield, Troupis and Eynon, so varied in their statewide results, all won in Benewah, Clearwater, Idaho and Kootenai counties, and either won or nearly won in Latah, Boundary, Bonner, Shoshone and Latah and Nez Perce – in other words, all of northern Idaho. In no southern Idaho county did the insurgency fare nearly so consistently well.

And this relates to all of the north, however it tends to vote in the fall. Latah and Nez Perce counties are fairly competitive between Republicans and Democrats, in contrast to such others as Kootenai and Bonner, but in the primary all fell sharply into the insurgent camp.

And some of those northern wins were really striking. While losing clearly statewide, for example, Fulcher won Benewah County about three to one – and so did Troupis, even while he was losing by a big margin in the state overall. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Splits among the GOP continue (Boise Statesman)
Health care hiring slows (Boise Statesman)
Education building at UI to be rebuilt (Lewiston Tribune)
State parks rearrange their financing (Lewiston Tribune)
About Magic Valley's small graduating classes (TF Times News)

On University of Oregon, sexual violence (Eugene Register Guard)
Nature Conservancy helps with wocus transplants (KF Herald & News)
Coos Bay divides over liquid gas project (Portland Oregonian)

Childrens Hospital opens at Everett in August (Everett Herald)
Trios Southridge Hospital prepares to open (Kennewick Herald)
Possible big traffic increase on Columbia (Longview News)
Reviewing VA overload situation (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Changing times for medical pot users (Vancouver Columbian)
Portland water boil order lifted (Vancouver Columbian)
Stormwater rates rise at Clark County Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima farmers try via program for workers (Yakima Herald Republic)

Holy smoke! There’s fire …

harris ROBERT


I admit it. I read the Andrew Miller generated police report about Dr. Monica Wehby and thought. Whatever. She used bad judgment by entering Millers home, but it wasn’t stalking.

And I still hold to that opinion.

Then in today's Oregonian are two more reported 911 incidents. One about an incident regarding her possibly using a pad of paper to slap her soon to be ex husband in 2007. That didn’t really alarm me too much either. Again, the heat of a divorce, a husband looking to get an edge. Whatever.

But, included in that story is a link to a 2009 incident. This was apparently towards the end of what was a long divorce process. The husband apparently called the police and reported:

[Husband] called and said that he and [Wehby] are in the process of getting divorced. They have joint custody of the children. [Wehby] will come over and let herself in without permission. Stating she is there to see the children.

[Husband] and [Wheby] have a written agreement that neither is allowed at the others house W/O prior arrangement.

Tonight [Wehby] showed up at [Husbands] house at 2215 hrs, and knocked on the door (Banged). When [Husband] answered the door, [Wehby] said she was going out of town and wanted to say goodnight to the kids.[Husband] said that the kids were in bed already and that she was to leave.

[Wehby] continued to pound on the door until the kids came to the door to say goodbye. The kids were at the door in approximately one min.

(Bold added for emphasis by author)

So, it appears that when Dr. Wehby doesn’t get the type of personal treatment she feels she deserves, she is pretty . . . insistent, that people pay attention to her. This puts the 2013 Miller incident into a whole new light for me at least.

It also raises an interesting question about the role, if any Attorney Jody Stahancyk played in the 2013 Miller/Wehby incident. Stahancyk was Wehby’s divorce attorney, so Stahancyk likely knew about the 2009 incident. And Miller’s attorney is John Crawford, the husband of Stahancyk, and Miller was at the Stahancyk/Crawford home when he called 911 “on the advice of his attorney”. Since John Crawford is a business attorney, is it likely that it was Stahancyk that was advising Miller to call 911 on her former client?

Listen to the 911 tape again. Can you hear Miller talking to two people in the background?

On the front pages


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)

Otter rejects federal anti-prison rape rules (Boise Statesman)
St Anthony fishermans breakfast may end (IF Post Register)
WSU's Cosmic Crisp apply may hit stores (Moscow News)
Adjusting Moscow-Pullman airport (Moscow News)
New health clinic planned for Potlatch (Moscow News)
Balukoff prepares for Otter run (Nampa Press Tribune)

Quick turnover on S Coast foundation board (Coos Bay World)
4 developers consider riverfront land (Eugene Register Guard)
Commissioner Bozievich narrowly ahead (Eugene Register Guard)
Portland boils water due to e coli (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton East Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
Early opening for Crater Lake (KF Herald & News)
SOU governing board being created (Medford Tribune)
Easter Oregon prison infested with swallows (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Forested homes increase wildfire cost (Salem Statesman Journal)

Another Snohomish jail death (Everett Herald)
Most area bridges old (Everett Herald)
Green Power leader may face more legal trouble (Kennewick Herald)
New Kelso school superintendent chosen (Longview News)
Portland boils water due to e coli (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian, Longview News)
Seattle police see new reorganization (Seattle Times)
New Spokane plaza looking for name (Spokane Spokesman)
Seattle, Tacoma ports pressed into cooperation (Tacoma News Tribune)
Pierce considers mental health probation officer (Tacoma News Tribune)
Medicaid patients crowding Vancouver clinic (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima tests electric bus (Yakima Herald Republic)