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Posts published in May 2014

Firing time

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Early in his political career, Gov. Butch Otter would encourage people to view political campaigns as part of a job-application process.
As with any good applicant, he greeted voters as he would with a CEO of a company – a winning smile and firm handshake. He looked sharp, had a resume that didn’t quit, and was quick and confident with his responses. For good measure, he’d drown his face with after shave lotion – just to make sure nobody forgot who Butch Otter was.
That was 1986 and Otter was applying for Idaho’s lieutenant governor. He landed that job and two others he applied for during that 28-year stretch – 1st District congressman and governor of this great state. Now, he is applying for a third term in the state’s highest office.

At 72, Otter is much older than when he first applied in 1986. But he still looks and feels sharp, has that winning smile, firm handshake and is as friendly as your next-door neighbor – minus the layers of after shave lotion, thank goodness.
Otter has been an easy hire through the years. But for company CEOs, there comes a time when employees must be fired. It often comes when an employee does something egregious to embarrass the company. The CEOs in Otter’s life were able to overlook a couple of embarrassing moments – a drunken driving arrest and entry into a tight-jeans contest.
But the other night, Otter did something that no CEO could ignore. He was responsible for making Idaho the nation’s laughingstock by insisting that Harley Brown and Walt Bayes be part of the only televised gubernatorial debate of this primary campaign. Brown and Bayes were total embarrassments, as Otter, debate organizers and everybody else knew they would be.

Otter’s political strategy worked to perfection. Brown and Bayes were sideshow distractions and the candidates didn’t even get around to talking about education. The message sent to industries, educators and others considering moving to Idaho is that this is a state of bikers and backward hicks and that people such as Harley Brown and Walt Bayes are worthy of consideration for the state’s highest office. If the head of the Department of Commerce were responsible for creating this kind of spectacle, he’d be fired – as he should be.
As a native Idahoan, I’m offended. And as one of the CEOs of this state, I am holding Butch Otter responsible for what he did to my state.
I’m going to fire him on Tuesday.

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)

Historical - 1st edition of the Statesman (Boise Statesman)
AG corruption unit stays busy (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Debate over sage grouse picks up (Boise Statesman)
A review of six top races (IF Post Register)
Trucking firms searching for drivers (Nampa Press Tribune)
Wilder reduces its school levy ask (Nampa Press Tribune)
Profiling Packer-Earl primary, Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Profiling 2nd district Simpson-Smith (Pocatello Journal)
TF officials endorse new N-W interstate (TF Times News)

New field at Mazama High School, KF (KF Herald & News)
Eugene council considers sick leave plan (Eugene Register Guard)
Medford ESD losing positions (Medford Tribune)
GMO issue survey enters campaign (Medford Tribune)

Exploring mudslide effects on Stillaguamish (Everett Herald)
The GMO battle in Oregon reviewed (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
Should restaurant inspection scores be posted? (Seattle Times)
Bitter battle in Pierce legislative race (Tacoma News Tribune)
Reviewing questions for possible commissioners (Vancouver Columbian)
Dairy prices on the rise (Yakima Herald Republic)

The end of the Bovill Run

idaho RANDY

When I attended the University of Idaho back in the 70s, one of the semi-illicit student activities was something called the Bovill Run.

It was a typically stupid college-kid drinking challenge. The idea was that a carload of kids would cruise east to Troy, consume drinks at a local drinking establishment, head further east and stop at Deary and Helmer, and northeast to Bovill, rinsing and repeating at each location, then on northerly to Princeton and Potlatch, and any other alcohol purveyors in eastern Latah County, on the way back to Moscow. Left unclear was whether continued drinking at Moscow establishments constituted part of the challenge but, supposedly, the number of drinking places visited numbered around twenty.

I've been told that the Bovill Run was abandoned some years back. That certainly would have been a good thing.

There may be a dark echo to that in the closure of many of the small-town businesses – bars among them – in many of these small resource-industry communities. Not, of course, that the “run” was any sort of significant economic driver, but in the fact that the economy in these communities has fallen to the point that the escapade isn't even doable now.

The thought was prompted by a story last week in the Lewiston Tribune about the Idaho Foodbank's mobile pantry, which includes Bovill among its stops. It operates out of a central office at Lewiston.
Most people in larger communities wouldn't spend much thought on the arrival of a pickup truck hauling a trailer containing food. In Bovill, it's a big deal. The last of the long-vaunted bars in the small timber community closed six months ago, and that had been the last place in Bovill where residents could buy basic foods and supplies.

The pastor at the local Presbyterian Church was quoted as saying, “I don't think you can over-estimate the importance of the mobile pantry coming to this community.”

Once a hot timber town with a fine hotel and even an opera house, Bovill became so lively a century ago that its namesake Hugh Bovill reportedly quit it with his family for quieter environs. The decades since have not been kind. Bovill is a lot like many small towns in Idaho, and beyond. Its population estimated at 305 at the century's turn was down to 265 in 2010.

The trend line is not good. Nor has it been good for many of the other small rural communities in the area. (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)

How the candidates spend their cash (Boise Statesman)
Table Rock burger closes, new burger opens (Boise Statesman)
Ammon, IF at odds on Hitt Road (IF Post Register)
GOP governor debate hits national (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Lewiston council member on discrimination (Lewiston Tribune)
Gay marriage backers rally (Lewiston Tribune, moscow News)
Washington candidate filing wraps (Moscow News)
CSI graduation day hits (TF Times News)

Eugene school budget improves (Eugene Register Guard)
Gay marriage ruling planned Monday (Eugene Register Guard)
Evaluating threats to Klamath tribe leaders (KF Herald & News)
Rover company might add jobs in SW OR (KF Herald & News)
Ashland may lose plaza kiosk (KF Herald & News)
Planning on high election turnout (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Callahan's lodge may sell (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
GOP in Umatilla scrambles to fill slots (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Oil traain firms claim need for secret routes (Portland Oregonian)
Wehby stalking story threatens candidacy (Portland Oregonian)
Courts allow ban on overnight statehouse protest (Salem Statesman Journal)

Oso mapping funds requested (Everett Herald)
Boeing and charges of unfair negotiating (Everett Herald)
Gregoire and cigarette tax measure (Vancouver Columbian, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Contest for Cowlitz prosecutor (Longview News)
Congress may ok small-port dredge funds (Longview News)
Army cuts copter squadron at JB Lewis (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Olympia 'mistake by the lake' may be redeveloped (Olympian)
Constantine proposed new ride-share regs (Seattle Times)
Idaho gay marriage rally (Spokane Spokesman)
Application of weed control tax debated (Spokane Spokesman)
Libertarians seek ballot status (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver considers rules on oil terminal (Vancouver Columbian)
Controlled burns in Naches district (Yakima Herald Republic)

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)

Same-sex marriage for Idaho stayed (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
New Idacorp CEO meets with shareholders (Boise Statesman)
IF High School principal retires (IF Post Register)
Whitman county poverty studied (Moscow News)
Reviewing secretary of state candidates (Nampa Press Tribune)
Notus may face elementary school bond (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bingham commission 2 race reviewed (Pocatello Journal)
Race for TF County coroner (TF Times News)

David Taylor sentenced to death (Eugene Register Guard)
Campaign starts on GMO labeling (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
Food bank has restricted crop supply (KF Herald & News)
Klamath tribal leaders threatened (KF Herald & News)
Long to lead Cascade Christian HS (Medford Tribune)
Debate over city award of construction job (Medford Tribune)
Area tribes get land buyback funds (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Coos officials try to keep fee funds from state (Portland Oregonian)
Hwy 217 ramp finishes early with bonus (Portland Oregonian)
Chemeketa college exec faces assault charge (Salem Statesman Journal)

Getting closer to reopening Oso highway (Everett Herald)
Mentally ill in criminal case can be drugged (Everett Herald)
New bones, DNA throw light on Kennewick Man (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
New brewpub headed to Longview (Longview News)
Brewing again at Tumwater? (Olympian)
Cigarette tax would fight cancer (Seattle Times)
Idaho gay marriages stayed by court (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane VA said to be troubled (Spokane Spokesman)
Credit rating for Yakima improves (Yakima Herald Republic)

An Idaho kind of selection?

idaho RANDY

Toward the end of the Idaho Republican gubernatorial debate Wednesday, candidate Harley Brown remarked, “You have your choice, folks: A cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker, or a normal guy. Take your pick…”

Were those candidates for governor of Idaho or the Village People?

Alternatively, there's a more philosophical description at the delighted liberal website Daily Kos: “There's Anarchist-Leaning Tea Party Guy, there's Old West Sovereign Citizenish Guy, there's Ideological Party Purist Peeved At Establishment Guy and there's Establishment Guy Peeved At Ideological Guy. In Republican Party races we call that the sampler pack.”

That might not be as most people perceived it, though. Few paid much attention to the two guys – incumbent C.L. “Butch” Otter and challenger Russ Fulcher – who have an actual chance to win. The many, many, many collections of video clips on the web in the hours and days after the debate overwhelmingly focused on the other two, Harley Brown and Walt Bayes.

They were great television. The debate played like a massive and slow-mo car wreck, your eyes drawn repeatedly to Brown, the biker-garbed equal opportunity offender with visions (and tattoo) of the presidency, and Bayes, the Bible-quoting mountain man given to declarations of divine (and nuclear) retribution who might have been a distant relation to the Duck Dynasty. Otter and Fulcher who?

So. Huffington Post: “10 lessons we learned from Idaho's incredibly dysfunctional GOP candidates.” The Portland Oregonian: “Leather-clad biker steals the show.” Gawker: “I can't stop watching this bizarre Idaho GOP governor debate.” Fox News: “Eccentric candidates make for strange Idaho gubernatorial debate.” Raw Story: The debate “is so bonkers …” PBS: “In Idaho, a debate like you've never seen before.” Cybercast News Service: “Fringe contenders send Idaho governor debate viral.” It was the liberal Kos site which called the event “a thing of beauty.”

You can watch it on the Idaho Public Television web site. Go ahead. You won't be bored. (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)

Judge won't halt Friday gay marriages (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News, Sandpoint Bee)
Service dog picks up ISU degree (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing outside money in ID campaigns (IF Post Register)
Leavies planned in Latah school districts (Moscow News)
Canyon commission candidates on local issues (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello's Blad neither yes/no on gay ordinance (Pocatello Journal)
Big spending in Jerome Co race (TF Times News)

Charter school possible at Alsea (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Planning for drought in Kamath (KF Herald & News)
Old Pendleton hospital may be repurposed (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Labor money passing through Jenson fund (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Water right discussion at Umatilla port (Pendleton East Oregonian)
National group blocked from OR gay marriage fight (Salem Statesman Journal)

Water around Oso returns to norm (Everett Herald)
New off-road dirt bike area approved (Everett Herald)
Money lost for homeless program (Olympian)
Contest for prosecutor at Clallam (Port Angeles News)
Seattle cops go after fewer low-level crimes (Seattle Times)
Spokane won't pursue longer school days (Spokane Spokesman)
Teachers laid off at Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakama tribal forest program troubled (Yakima Herald Republic)

Defining a party

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Could this election define the heart and soul of Idaho’s Republican Party? Congressman Raul Labrador makes a case for those high stakes, which led to his endorsement of Sen. Russ Fulcher for governor and a host of tea party candidates.

“We need a new vision for Idaho,” Labrador said. “We need strong leaders that understand that business as usual is what should not be happening in Idaho. We should look for fresh ideas and for new ways to make Idaho what I believe should be the gem of the whole United States, rather than be at the bottom of all the different things.”

Labrador calls for leaders to “show a vision of what Idaho will be five years from now, 10 years from now and 20 years from now.”

Cecil Andrus could not have said it better. Of course, the Fulcher-Labrador crowd offers far different solutions than Andrus, but there at least is agreement on what some of the problems are. Idaho is last in the nation in wages, and first in the relative numbers of workers receiving minimum wage. It’s at the bottom, or near the bottom, in just about all measures for education and as stories by the Statesman’s Dan Popkey and others have revealed, Gov. Butch Otter’s Project 60 has been more of a campaign slogan than a formula for economic recovery.

When Labrador talks about things like “heart and soul,” he can start with the visual contrast between the young turks and the old guard. Fulcher and Labrador are two politically ambitious men who are in the prime of their lives. Otter, the leader of the old guard, is an example of an aging politician who has been there, done that and never wants to leave.

Yes, Fulcher and Labrador are about as conservative as politicians get. But in Idaho, that’s not a bad thing. Idaho is a poor state, and there is not a high threshold for new programs and more taxes. Idaho will never be among the big spenders for education, whether it’s the public schools or higher education. Paying the minimum wage will continue to be challenging enough for businesses.

This new brand of conservatives want what almost all Idahoans want – quality schools, good roads, safe communities and quality state services. But people such as Fulcher and Labrador think there are smarter and more effective ways to manage state government and boost the economy. Fulcher talks about natural gas exploration in the Payette area and Labrador talks about Idaho becoming the next Silicon Valley.

Both say that for Idaho to move forward, old leaders have to go. “Butch Otter has done a lot of things to admire in office. But after 40 years in government, he has lost his way,” Labrador says.

Labrador, especially, is what Otter was in his younger days – a firebrand conservative who challenges the old ways of doing business. Fulcher is more measured in his approach, but he has a similar resolve.

The question that Republicans will answer on May 20th is whether they are ready for a new heart and soul.

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)

Judges throws out ID same sex marriage ban (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News, Sandpoint Bee)
Profiling the governor's primary (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune)
Garden City may ban bar smoking (Boise Statesman)
Profiling attorney general GOP race (IF Post Register)
Fall chinook runs doing well (IF Post Register)
Lewiston will retain Horizon flights (Lewiston Tribune)
Urban renewal finance questions (Lewiston Tribune)
Fire calls increasing at Pullman (Moscow News)
1st district primary contest profiled (Moscow News)
House 13A candidate talks past charges (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello High principal retiring (Pocatello Journal)
Snake Canyon jumps may be televised (TF Times News)
Club for Growth quits funding Smith (TF Times News)

Lane Transit won't seek income tax rise (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane County strikes two Mt Pisgah events (Eugene Register Guard)
Charter school issues debated at KF (KF Herald & News)
KF Ridge View trail approved (KF Herald & News)
Jedge says Medford can block pot license (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Elk Creek lands to become park (Medford Tribune)
Anger over contract for fire station (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston may spruce up airport (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Teachers blocked in battle against Common Core (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Fire burns from cooking hash oil (Portland Oregonian)
Healthy job growth at Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
New Salem-Keizer superintendent hired (Salem Statesman-Journal)

Labor council won't back Larsen (Everett Herald)
State not planning to halt logging (Everett Herald)
Benton City students protest staffing changes (Kennewick Herald)
Inslee bars release of convict (Kennewick Herald)
Longshore talk begin at Longview (Longview News)
Campground still shut over mudslide (Seattle Times)
Another police chief candidate reviewed (Seattle Times)
Idaho same sex marriage ban tossed (Spokane Spokesman)
Reporting planned health insurance rates (Tacoma News Tribune)
More insurance plans may come to Clark (Vancouver Columbian)
Supreme Court visits Clark (Vancouver Columbian)
Planning consider revised Yakima plaza (Yakima Herald Republic)
Lawsuit erupts over Taylor Bridge fire (Yakima Herald Republic)

A tale of two projects

frazier DAVID


The announcement by the J. R. Simplot Company to build a nine story headquarters at 11th and Front while Gardner plans a new project at 8th and Main brings to mind the differences in funding.
Simplot’s project won’t depend on public money like the Gardner project which depends of lots of public money–just for the foundation.

Simplot may very well create a demand for parking structures and bicycles, but by the time the new building is a reality, the CCDC Central District will nearly be expired (2017) … then there is Team Dave’s desire named street car.

Taxpayers–under the current Gardner scheme–will fund a good portion of the basement foundation in the form of a “transit center.” Citizens will have no voice in the project which depends upon money from half a dozen agencies. Don’t forget this location is at least the fourth “perfect location” for a transit center.

One of the troubling aspects includes a “ballroom” in the Gardner structure planned for the Center on the Grove which depends upon future public tax money from the Greater Boise Auditorium District.

Idaho’s constitution mandates agencies must seek voter approval to spend future tax money. GBAD has a hearing set for May 21 as the first move to circumvent the public and get a single judge to “confirm” the ballroom is “ordinary and necessary.”

If the project is viable, we suggest Gardner put its hands in its own pocket to secure financing and charge rent for its real estate.

NOTE– The GUARDIAN is in Vietnam where the government doesn’t worry about public’s thoughts on spending, so we may be a bit slow posting comments.