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Posts published in May 2014

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.

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)

Club for Growth drops Smith funding (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Wandering OR-7 may have mate (Boise Statesman)
Code limits speech in judge campaigns (IF Post Register)
VanderSloot sues reporter Zuckerman (IF Post Register)
Project 60 reached via inflation not growth (IF Post Register)
Clarkston moves slow on pot ordinance (Lewiston Tribune)
WA state considers rules for slide areas (Moscow News)
Candidate filing starts in Washington (Moscow News)
Reviewing Democrats in the 1st district (Moscow News)
Wilder sees downtown upgrade (Nampa Press Tribune)
Permit issued for Power Co nitrogen plant (Pocatello Journal)

Eugene plans sale of alleys to store (Eugene Register Guard)
Wandering OR-7 may have mate (Medford Tribune, Pendleton East Oregonian, KF Herald & News, Ashland Tidings)
Logos charter school wants more space (Medford Tribune)
Tougher statewide school tests on the way (Portland Oregonian)
Organization plans gay marriage fight (Salem Statesman Journal)
Reviewing Salem wrd 6 contest (Salem Statesman Journal)

Pot banned at Marysville (Everett Herald)
Road near Oso could limit logging (Everett Herald)
Kilmer speaks on ocean's acidity (Olympian)
Candidate filing begins in WA (Vancouver Columbian, Port Angeles News)
Electric rates up at Clallam PUD (Port Angeles News)
Seattle area consider bus funding option (Seattle Times)
About another Seattle police chief option (Seattle Times)
Cable TV in Tacoma wants 10% rate rise (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver handles school crowding (Vancouver Columbian)
Prosser farm gets approval for pot grow (Yakima Herald Republic)
Ellensburg-Yakima bus service survives (Yakima Herald Republic)
Washington deer population has fallen (Yakima Herald Republic)

Unreported Alaska land stories

carlson CHRIS


On June 28th former four-term Idaho governor and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus will make a presentation in Vail, Colorado to the top donors to the The Carter Center on the how of achieving President Carter’s greatest legacy, the setting aside of 103 million acres of virgin Alaska lands into the four major preservation systems---national parks, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges and new wild and scenic rivers.

With passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands and Conservation Areas (ANILCA) legislation on December 1st followed by an immediate signing into law by President Carter on December 2nd, 1980, Carter surpassed President Theodore Roosevelt as the greatest friend of conservation in the history of the White House.

As many Idahoans know, the key to the success was the then Interior Secretary convincing President Carter to use his powers under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to declare much of Alaska to be National Monuments in 1978. The President followed the advice which overnight literally forced opponents led by the Alaska Congressional delegation to stop opposing legislation and instead start supporting legislation to undo the much more restrictive national monument designation. The same tactic now appears necessary if the pristine alpine areas of the Boulder/White Clouds are to receive appropriate protection.

In helping to prepare his presentation I was reminded of two colorful stories that have gone largely unreported.

1) Gotcha. In the summer of 1978, Andrus put together and personally led 30 members of the nation’s media on a ten-day, once in a lifetime tour of many of the proposed set asides. It led to numerous supportive stories in media across the nation.

Alaska’s senior senator, Ted Stevens, was furious. He accused Andrus of lobbying with public money, something the Senator himself had been accused of years before when at the Interior department he had openly used public resources to campaign for Alaskan statehood.

Even though a Republican in the minority at that time, Majority Leader Robert Byrd let Stevens act as the de facto chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee. Thus, in the fall, Stevens commanded Andrus to appear before the committee to defend the public affairs budget and the public costs of the tour. (more…)

In the Briefings

Hammer Flats
Spraying and other action for control of noxious weeds is underway in many places around Idaho; here, an Ada County weed control truck is spraying. (photo/Ada County)

As the primary elections in Oregon and Idaho near, political campaign activity hits a peak, with advertising starting to run heavily and campaigns hitting hard with their closing cases.

Meanwhile, some indicators of economic slowdown, in cases of revenue falling a bit short of expectations in Washington and Idaho.

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)

Chinook salmon recovering (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
WSU awards degrees to 2,600 (Moscow News)
State superintendent race reviewed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa school operations head retires (Nampa Press Tribune)
BYU-Idaho considers expanding research (IF Post Register)

Big PAC money shows up in GOP primary (Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette Times)
New campground reservations at Rogue River (Ashland Tidings)
Questions about new Jackson Co health center (Medford Tribune)
Vestas Wind mulls move to Colorado (Portland Oregonian)
Parking gets more expensive at the zoo (Portland Oregonian)
Willamette students graduate (Salem Statesman Journal)

Concern over FDA beer brewing rule (Everett Herald)
Billy Frank honored (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian)
Few health enrollees see billing issues (Vancouver Columbian, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
What now, with No Child Left Behind? (Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
10th House candidates split on pot (Olympian)
Profiling a prospective Seattle police chief (Seattle Times)
Candidate filing week begins (Vancouver Columbian)
New rules mean colleges more closely watched (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot law enforcement by feds uneven (Yakima Herald Republic)

A loss of confidence

rainey BARRETT


For decades, the far right has warned the rest of us that government - from local to federal and back again- was “not our friend” and, in fact, was something to be suspicious of - if not downright feared. Now that so much of our government is in the hands of creatures of the far right, I’m forced to agree. Government - and many of its institutions - can no longer be counted on to be there for us when we need it and, in fact, much of it has become something to be feared.

Additionally, too many of us WASP’s have tut-tutted as rights of non-WASP’s have been blown this way and that in the political winds. “Too bad,” we’d say quietly. “Someone ought to do something. But that’s not my problem.”

Well, Virginia, it’s become our problem. In spades!

From legislature to congress, hardly an American alive today has not been legislated against in recent months. Pick a subject: taxes, voting rights, medical care, immigration, adequate education funding, curbing violence, personal safety, a hideous expansion of gun “rights,” rejection of highly credentialed people to judgeships, eliminating access to vital health care for millions of women, hampering reproductive rights, rejection of access to necessary medical care and other promised benefits for returning military personnel, union busting, denigration of police, fire, teachers and other government workers, illegal declarations of “wars-of-choice,” slashing food stamps and other necessary social safety programs, unwillingness to pursue criminal charges for those financial types who nearly bankrupted the country. There are more. Add your own.

Fact is, there doesn’t appear to be anyone in what used to be the American middle class - which has historically been our national pride and joy - who hasn’t been adversely affected by some level of government. Or more than one! If you feel differently - if you feel untouched in those areas - if you think you’re unaffected by denial of rights of citizenship or have not had any of your liberties infringed - you’re either in the one-percent or living in a dream world. Or wrong!

Consider a personal experience. My father was an Oregon Republican of the first order. Eisenhower, Rockefeller, Dole. Dirksen and others in the pantheon of prominent GOP politicians of the ‘40's, ‘50's and ‘60's were men he respected, whose careers he followed and for whom he voted. Repeatedly. Small town Oregon, rock-ribbed, God fearing Republican guy, my father. Over many years, we discussed politics. Often. Those men and those values formed the foundation of his love of country and his respect for those who led it.

Then Richard Nixon.

I’d been away for some years - several in Washington D.C. in broadcast journalism. While we regularly kept in touch, Dad and I hadn’t our face-to-face, political fireside chats on the patio in Bend recently. Nixon was forced out of the presidency about that time. Shortly after, I came home on vacation, looking forward to more political bantering with him. (more…)

Twilight time


These stretches of the two to three weeks before “election day” – actually, the deadline day for completing voting – are a strange time.

The ballots for this year's primary election in Oregon have already gone out, and a good many of them have been marked and cast. (Those in my household are among those already returned to the county clerk.) But not all of them, not by a long shot, are gone, and the more sophisticated campaigns are keeping a close watch to try to ensure that the ballots they would like to see returned, are.

So there's that frantic nature of the work underground, and a bad case of nerves on the part of some candidates and their supporters. They'd be better off, on a personal level, if they had more practical work to do the way candidates in polling-place voting states do, right up to the last day before the mass of balloting occurs.

In places like Oregon and Washington the candidates, simply, have less to do. They still can wander out and shake hands, but most of the intensive work of the campaigns is done already, timed to hit before the ballots go out. Anything major happening from this point out will hit a lot of people who already have voted, and what would be the point of that?

They do, of course, have to keep themselves on a leash: The possibility of saying something foolish or worse remains there, and enough votes come in even on the last day to do prospective damage.

But most, for now, there's not much else.

It's mostly a matter of watch and wait.

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)

Evaluating Otter's claim to hit $60b GSP (Boise Statesman)
How much and what health insurance covers (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Personal impacts of Idaho Medicaid gap (IF Post Register)
Profiling frequent letter writers (Lewiston Tribune)
With Chaney out, two write-ins run (Nampa Press Tribune)
Graduation at Idaho State (Pocatello Journal)
Derailed train at Sandpoint (Sandpoint Bee)
Video-famous Bettencourt dairy sold (TF Times News)
Reviewing governor's race (TF Times News)

Lane CC students defaulting at high rates (Eugene Register Guard)
Chinook face uncertain water and weather (Medford Tribune)
Changes in governor's race (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
More energy in Jackson Couty GMO battle (Medford Tribune)
Firings at Portland Zoo over culture? (Portland Oregonian)

Scientists looking at Oso mudslide (Everett Herald)
Providence Regional studies cancer vaccine (Everett Herald)
Reviewing Hanford's cleanup operations (Kennewick Herald)
Constitution change on campaign money? (Longview News)
Hospitals releasing seriously mentally ill (Seattle Times)
Costco launches efforts in Europe (Seattle Times)
More growth at Moses Lake BMW plant (Spokane Spokesman)
Working through underwater mortgages (Tacoma News Tribune)
10th CD sees pot, campaign money issues (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Analysis of Clark commission battle (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot seller plans to startup (Vancouver Columbian)
Candidate filing begins (Yakima Herald Republic)

A slate phenomenon

idaho RANDY

In the last few days of April, two Republican organizations announced their endorsements in the May primary elections. They were entirely different.

The North Idaho Political Action Committee, based at Coeur d'Alene, led by a group of long-time Republican activists and elected officials, offered this group of choices for statewide offices: Governor: C. L. "Butch" Otter; Lieutenant Governor: Brad Little; Secretary of State: Phil McGrane; Attorney General: Lawrence Wasden; Controller: Brandon Woolf.

The Republican Liberty Caucus, a more statewide group but also including some active Republican names, had a list of endorsees too. They were: Governor: Russ Fulcher; Lieutenant Governor: Jim Chmelik; Attorney General: Chris Troupis; Secretary of State: Lawerence Denney; Controller:Todd Hatfield; Superintendent of Public Instruction: John Eynon.

No overlap at all. And it's not just a matter of these two groups; the split among Republicans is large and deep and runs through and between many organizations.

From time to time, groups of nonpartisan candidates – candidates for elective office in a city, for example – might run in a slate. But this is the first time in decades at least, and maybe ever, that one of Idaho's parties has been largely split by slate contests, two groups of candidates facing off against each other.

Those two lists of endorsements cover most of the competitive races for major offices; the other is the 2nd U.S. House district, incumbent Mike Simpson (who would align with the NIPAC group) and challenger Bryan Smith (with the Liberty Caucus). A number of legislative candidates fall on either side of the canyon as well. The candidates mostly have not formally endorsed each other (though Little did endorse McGrane last week – is that a precursor to more?), but the alignment is clear.

There are a number of subtleties and implications to this.

One subtlety is the two races with four relatively well-balanced candidates, the races for secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction. NIPAC didn't endorse in the latter, making unclear who their side would prefer (though it likely wouldn't by Eynon); and though both sides did endorse for secretary of state, the two non-endorsed candidates may get enough votes that the battle of the slates could be scrambled.

Beyond that, you might realistically expect that most of the wins on election day will be bunched on one side or the other. People are likely to vote Otter-Little-Wasden-Simpson, or Fulcher-Chmelik-Troupis-Smith, not (for example) Fulcher-Little-Wasden-Smith. The lines are being drawn clearly.
That also may mean these candidates are becoming interdependent: A really smart move, or a serious blunder, by one candidate could impact their allies, causing some voters to jump from one side to the other.

That kind of thing often happens in clearly-defined slates at other levels. On the city level, slates often rise or fall in unity. (I remember vividly the big win of a well-organized city slate in Boise in 1985, that upended city hall and brought Dirk Kempthorne to the mayor's office.)

But then, this is an unusual phenomenon. Idaho history hasn't seen slate campaigns in party primaries before. Shortly, the voters will be setting some precedents.