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)

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)

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First Take

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

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.

Andrus easily brushed aside Stevens charge, explaining that it was a legitimate educational endaevor, not an advocacy tour (wink, wink!).

Towards the noon hour Stevens held up a copy of the just published book on Alaska by John McPhee, Coming Into the Country. Stevens extolled the book as the story of the Alaskan frontier and the people who carved a living out of daily combat with the Alaskan wilds.

He finished his harangue by suggesting Andrus could benefit from reading the book. Having bitten his tongue and bided his time, Andrus responded, “Senator, not only have I read the book but if you can end this hearing on time, I’ll be able to keep my luncheon date today with Mr. McPhee.’ Stevens was virtually speechless for a minute, then smiled and said “Oh Mr. Secretary, I wouldn’t want you to be late.” He knew he’d been had and banged the gavel to end the hearing.

2) Bi-partisan Cooperation. On that media tour, early one August morning a single engine Cessna 170 with pontoons landed on Lake Iliamna, taxied up to the Lodge dock where a solitary figure was waiting. Secretary Andrus jumped in the plane, piloted by a former bush pilot and guide who happened to be the current Alaskan governor, Jay Hammond.

Off the two of them flew for a day of putting down at several of Hammond’s favorite fly fishing spots. At various times during the day they would stop fishing, sit down and spread maps of Alaska over logs and basically would agree on various boundaries of the various proposed set asides.

Andrus tells a wonderful story about how along about mid-day Hammond turned to him and said, “Well its time to hit a gas station.” He put down on some isolated lake in the middle of nowhere, taxied the plane up to spit of land, killed the engine and said to Cece, ”I know I stashed a couple of five gallon fuel cans around here a few weeks back.” Off Hammond went into the brush and soon emerged with two five gallon cans and strained the fuel into the wing tanks. Then they resumed fishing and more discussions on d-2 boundaries.

No aides, no staff, no flunkies. Just two superb politicians who knew they had a job to do and had to cooperate to get it done in the best interests of Alaskans as well as all Americans.

Today’s politicians could learn a lot from those two fine public servants.

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Carlson

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.

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Digests

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)

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)

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First Take

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

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.

It was not to be. My father would talk about nearly any subject. But not politics. What I found was someone who had suffered a loss of faith – a loss of trust – in the institutions of the presidency, the White House and many in Congress. A man in his 70’s who had been raised on the fundamental values of America – a belief in the highest levels of the institutions of his government – the certainty of most Americans at that time in the reliance that those in charge would do the right things. Trust in their institutions. Small town, rock-ribbed Republicanism.

Given how most of us feel about government today, that all may seem pretty silly and very, very naive. But my father’s views of things in the ‘70’s – no matter how we view them now – represented the prevailing attitude of most older Americans at that time. Mine, too. But people his age were raised to believe in the permanence, the honesty and rightful conduct of this nation’s affairs. Those were their rocks of citizenship, if you will. Those were foundation stones of their America.

I tell you of my father’s loss of respect for many things political because I, too, am now experiencing some of the same disappointment and shame he felt in a number of previously trusted institutions.. Not that I’ve been naive or haven’t been exposed first-hand to a lot worse in our nation’s political history.

But I never thought I’d live under a government trying to keep Americans from voting. I never thought of a concentrated national effort to block millions of American women from the absolutely essential health care they’re entitled to. I never believed a state legislature – in this case Idaho – would reject overwhelming public opposition to allow concealed guns on campuses of colleges adamantly opposed to any such NRA ring-kissing. I never expected private wealth would replace unfettered democracy in the conduct of government. I never believed those who’ve loudly proclaimed their fanatical desire for more limited government would make such a nationwide spectacle to put a representative of that government in the medical exam room between a woman and her physician. I never expected elected representatives would become the most prominent destroyers of our economy by favoring the rich while making scapegoats and second-class citizens of teachers, firefighters, cops and other public professionals.

And more. And more. And more.

As this nation’s various political bodies and institutions conduct an unrelenting campaign to further divide us into the have’s and have nots, I find myself more disgusted with elective representation than supportive of it. Good people – very good people – are walking away from legislative and congressional service because of frustrations with others who’re simply there to stall, confuse and wreck the system. The good people remaining seem helpless to regain control. Responsible voices have kept quiet while the wreckers and destroyers have badly damaged national and many state political institutions.

Are they naive, too? Or, like many people I know, have they lost faith in what public service once was? Have they, too, suffered a crisis of confidence in our American systems of governance?

If you think all of us – really ALL of us – haven’t been touched or directly affected by the shameful business now going on in too many of our statehouses and Congress, you’re wrong. We have. In spades!

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Rainey

oregon
RANDY STAPILUS / Oregon

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.

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Oregon Oregon column

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)

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)

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First Take

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

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.

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Idaho Idaho column

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 state AG contest (Boise Statesman)
Boise city gets tracts from Day family (Boise Statesman)
Fish & Game warn of wildlife feeding (IF Post Register)
Gallina replaces Acey on superior WA court (Lewiston Tribune)
Lawsuit challenging WA pot taxation (Lewiston Tribune)
Dispute over rules for bighorn sheep (Lewiston Tribune)
Dogs not allowed in UI facilities (Moscow News)
WSU tuition not rising in coming year (Moscow News)
Bujak, former prosecutor, not guilty (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislative candidates in denate (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ground breaks at Portneuf Wellness Center (Pocatello Tribune)
Schools won’t fill in charter-sought forms (TF Times News)
Reviewing Lt Gov contest (TF Times News)

Gardiner Sanitary District board recalled (Coos Bay World)
Cover Oregon will may agents $900k (Coos Bay World)
Looking ahead to fire season (Coos Bay World)
A look at food stamp fraud ring (KF Herald & News)
Mule deer tag numbers rising (KF Herald & News)
SOU president didn’t get other job (Ashland Tidings)
Recall attempt at Medford schools fails (Medford Tribune)
Campsite rules changes at Rogue/Siskiyou (Medford Tribune)
Bankrupt business may not repay city loan (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Walden hits hard on primary challenge (Portland Oregonian)
CEO of SAIF dismissed by board (Salem Statesman Journal)
Ward 8 council campaign in review (Salem Statesman Journal)

Machinists union leaders re-elected (Everett Herald)
Oso mudslide debris being cleared out (Everett Herald)
Kennewick senior priest dies (Kennewick Herald)
Finding help for displaced owls (Kennewick Herald)
School districts try for no child waivers (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Massive expansion of BMW carbon fiber plan (Seattle Times)
State looks closely at hillside logging (Seattle Times)
N Idaho Republicans deeply split (Spokane Spokesman)
Johnny’s Seafood back at Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Suit challenges WA pot taxation (Vancouver Columbian)
Stewart seeks commission seat (Vancouver Columbian)
How to improve I-205? (Vancouver Columbian)
Good cherry crop predicted (Yakimma Herald Republic)

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First Take

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton

Sen. Russ Fulcher, fighting an uphill battle to end Gov. Butch Otter’s regime, should use this quote as his them for the stretch run of this primary election campaign.

This election is not about electing Fulcher as the Republican’s nominee for governor, or repealing Obamacare.

This race is about stopping a dictatorship.

No, it’s not the kind of dictatorship that produces oppression and mass killings. It’s about one man potentially holding power for a lifetime. Two terms – or at least two consecutive terms – is long enough for presidents and governors.

If Fulcher doesn’t take Otter out this year, then Idaho will be stuck with him – potentially for decades to come. Otter already has said he is not discounting running for a fourth term in 2018, which translates to this: He’ll run for a fourth term. Then a fifth term, a sixth term and beyond.

It’s not unusual for members of Congress to serve 12 years or more in office. But a senator or congressman is only one of 535 other members. They do not define the agenda, or the power structure, for the nation and states – as presidents and governors do.

When the same people are in power for so long, some very friendly relationships develop over time.
Looking at Otter’s campaign staff, he makes no effort to hide those relationships. His staff includes a representative of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the state’s most powerful business lobby. It also includes a lobbyist with Veritas Advisors; a representative of the scandal-plagued private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America; and a former lobbyist for the troubled school broadband provider, Education Networks of America.

It’s not illegal for money machines to be working on campaigns. But it shows there’s a lot of big money people and organizations who have an interest in keeping Otter in power.

The Otter people have done a good job of convincing people that this race is over. I’m not so convinced that’s the case.

As it stands about 16 percent of Idaho eligible voters participate in the closed GOP primary elections. What happens if the percentage drops to 13 or 14? Fulcher has a pretty good idea where his support is and he’s confident that his supporters will get out to vote. I’m not sure where the passion is for Otter, beyond the big-money crowd.

I don’t agree with Fulcher on all issues. I’m skeptical about his insurance reform plans as a way to sidestep Medicare expansion and I’m no fan of the idea of Idaho taking over management of the federal lands. If he’s elected, it will be up to him to chart the course on those issues and prepare spirited debates. I have no fear of a governor pushing something I might not like.

What I do fear is a permanent power structure and the corruption that is certain to occur as a result. I don’t want a governor who is led out of office by handcuffs … a body bag.

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Idaho Malloy