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Posts published in May 2014

He also ran

carlson CHRIS


The passage of time has been good to him. His hair is now a distinguished white and there’s still plenty of it. His smile is still infectious, his voice still stentorian, his personality still charming, his intelligence obvious, and his ability to conduct solid political calculus still considerable.

Twenty-eight years ago he came within 3300 votes of being elected governor and knocking off the acknowledged heavy-weight champion, Cecil D. Andrus, in Andrus’ bid to return to the governorship after an absence of ten years.

Now 66, looking every inch the prosperous attorney he has become, he and I sat down recently over a three hour breakfast to catch up. It was just two old war-horses reminiscing, but both of us still feel youthful in spite of the challenges of advancing age.

I first became acquainted with David when I returned to Idaho in 1981 to accept appointment to the newly formed Northwest Power Planning Council following my service with Andrus at the Interior Department. Leroy was the Attorney General. We started jogging together over the noon hour.

We shared a common interest in Idaho history and politics. We both admired former governor and senator Len B. Jordan, and his wife, Grace. Though we had obvious political differences, I liked Leroy, even though he was one of the more calculating political personalities I’d encountered.

Many thought he was ruthlessly ambitious. Critics would point out details such as naming his daughter Jordan. Or they would cite his cultivation of the behind-the-scenes political power broker, Bill Campbell, a Boise insurance executive.

Or they would note his even then growing interest in President Abraham Lincoln and the Lincoln connection to Idaho. The passage of time has proven that interest to be truly sincere. He and Nancy have spent thousands of dollars acquiring Lincoln memrobilia which they have generously donated to the state. Proving he can still give a heck of a speech, he has traveled the length and breadth of Idaho talking about Lincoln’s tie to Idaho.

When one jogs with another, you talk about a variety of topics from family matters to beliefs and you begin to recognize the outlines of one’s strengths as well as weaknesses. There also is an implicit sanctity of the confessional.

Suffice it to say, I discerned as a “weakness” in Leroy what others would see as a strength - he was, and still is, loyal to a fault. As the 1982 election loomed there were those urging Leroy to run for governor against John Evans. To do so, though, would mean Leroy would have to run over Phil Batt who many in the GOP felt had earned an uncontested shot at Evans. (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)

Idahoans may be major fish eaters (Boise Statesman)
Otter critical of closed GOP primary (Lewiston Tribune)
Northwest and changing climate (Moscow News)
Battle for Ringo House seat (Moscow News)
Pullman deals with loss of no child exemption (Moscow News)
Nampa's Dale may run for Canyon commission (Nampa Press Tribune)
New Bujak trial beginning (Nampa Press Tribune)
The GOP battle for state controller (Nampa Press Tribune)
Evaluating Bannock fair board battle (Pocatello Journal)
New Holiday Inn Express opens in Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Sandpoint reviews sign ordinances (Sandpoint Bee)
Jerome okays canyon jump plan (TF Times News)
Gooding considers recall of school trustee (TF Times News)
McCain project delay worries potato farmers (TF Times News)

Corvallis parking plan heads toward finish (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Concerns about UO sex abuse investigation (Eugene Register Guard)
Criticisms arise of Klamath water deal (KF Herald & News)
Noonan farms plan reorganization (KF Herald & News)
Medical pot shop closes at Ashland (Ashland Tidings)
Restoration of Oxbow area flood plain (Pendleton East Oregonian)
The Wehby-Conger Senate contest (Portland Oregonian)
Child advocates at Salem losing staff (Salem Statesman Journal)
Climate change effects felt in region (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal)
Salem ward 2 race draws a battle (Salem Statesman Journal)

Oso will feature in land use court case (Everett Herald)
Possibility of WSU tuition freeze (Kennewick Herald)
Climate change effects felt in region (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Benton approves more staffing for jail (Kennewick Herald)
Under-free city councilor Franklin praised at meeting (Longview News)
Considering Olympic peninsula historic buildings (Port Angeles News)
Fishermen upset by steelhead agreement (Port Angeles News)
Big-money fighting on transport projects (Seattle Times)
Evaluating Spokane downtown renovation (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma chrter change may include strong mayor (Tacoma News Tribune)
What's the DUI line on pot in WA? (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver backs off air museum takeover plan (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima parks issue goes to November ballot (Yakima Herald Republic)

A different kind of challenger for Devlin

harris ROBERT


Powerful State Senator Richard Devlin may face a challenge in November after all. Though no Republicans filed for Senate District 19 (Lake Oswego, Tualatin, West Linn), Independent Party Member Rick Miller has formed a committee and has conducted polling to test the viability of an Independent candidacy.

SD-19 registrations are: Democratic 43%; Republican 31%, Non Affiliated 21%, Independent Party 5%.

In 2010 Devlin easily defeated Conservative Charter School advocate Mary Kremer (spouse of Republican right wing activist Rob Kremer), 55% to 45%. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the District is reliably Democratic.

Back in 2010 Republican Steve Griffith, who polling showed would have likely been a much tougher general election opponent for Devlin, was defeated in the 2010 Republican primary by Kremer. Griffith had a stellar resume of accomplishment, including serving as Chair of the Portland School Board. But his candidacy ran into the conservative buzz saw that is now standard Oregon Republican primary politics.

Absent a surprising write in campaign for the Republican nomination, there will be no one appearing on the ballot in November as a Republican.

If Millers polling is similar to Griffiths back in 2010 then a right of center moderate nominee of the Independent Party could result in a dynamic one on one general election. (more…)

News reports

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Kevin Richert, who for more than a decade was one of the best editorial writers in Idaho, has a new bragging right. He’s also one of the Gem State’s reporters, earning the title of “Reporter of the Year” by the Idaho Press Club.

The award was richly deserved – and made more impressive by the fact that he beat out two high quality reporters from the Idaho Statesman, Sven Berg and Katy Moeller. It’s ironic that the top award goes to someone who does not work for the traditional print media. Idaho Education News is based online, but it’s the best place to find out what’s happening in education and Richert does a great job.

The Idaho Press Club also has proclaimed a new kingpin on the print side in the Treasure Valley. The Idaho Press-Tribune was given the top award for general excellence, beating out the Times-News of Twin Falls and the Idaho Statesman. That award is surprising, because the Press-Tribune was in the top three in only a a few categories. The Statesman, which has an outstanding reporting staff, has enough awards to decorate a wall. The Times-News also has a generous number of awards.

So, how does the Press-Tribune get first place and the Statesman get third? I suspect the difference is on the editorial page, which is the heart and soul of any newspaper. The Press-Tribune under Phil Bridges, another Statesman alum who is making good, produces editorials that are worth reading. At the Statesman, the in-house material on the editorial page is the newspaper’s weakest link.

No doubt, there are high fives going throughout the newsroom in Nampa. But I can’t take the Press-Tribune seriously for “general excellence” until it upgrades its political and Statehouse coverage. Nampa is Idaho’s second largest city, the politics in Canyon County are hot and heavy, and there’s no excuse to leaving coverage to a depleted Associated Press staff.

The top award in that editorial writing category went to Jon Alexander of the Times-News, who has shown that longevity is not the only criteria to producing quality material. Third place went to Michael O’Donnell with the Idaho State Journal, which over time has gone from one of the worst pages to one of the best. (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)

Ruling ahead on Idaho same sex marriage rule (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Another Bujak trial gets underway (Boise Statesman)
Looking at race for state treasurer (IF Post Register)
Lewiston school board may take building to ballot (Lewiston Tribune)
Whitman Co still working on credit rating (Moscow News)
WA college tuition growing rapidly (Moscow News)
Otter campaigns through Latah County (Moscow News)
Census finds fewer farms but more acreage (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa plans stoplight changes (Nampa Press Tribune)
Children wandering off in Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Building a Pocatello semi-pro baseball team (Pocatello Journal)
Flooding disaster called at Bingham Co (Pocatello Journal)
Working the details on TF canyon jump (TF Times News)
New Gooding school leader hired (TF Times News)
McCain Foods development at Burley 'on pause' (TF Times News)

OSU dismissed basketball coach Robinson (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Corvallis Gazette Times)
No sex assault charges for UO players (Eugene Register Guard)
Geothermal plant at Paisley this summer (KF Herald & News)
Juggling foster home availability (KF Herald & News)
Low supplies on gun ammo in area (KF Herald & News)
Ashland may raise utility rates (Ashland Tidings)
FAA still considering east Oregon drones (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Kitzhaber helps with heart attack (Portland Oregonian)
Trail blazers head to semi-finals (Portland Oregonian)

Snohomish slows land use planning for Oso (Everett Herald)
Bill Frank, tribal leader, dies (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald)
Rattlesnake Mountain tours allowed by judge (Kennewick Herald)
Clallam development director inquiry done (Port Angeles News)
Boil keeps Nippon biomass firm closed (Port Angeles News)
Tuition rising fast at WA colleges (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver Council reviewing oil shipping (Vancouver Columbian)
New Clark commissioner hiring held off (Vancouver Columbian)

In the Briefings

murray minimum wage
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today announced the details of a broadly-supported plan to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest of any major city in the nation. (Photo/Office of Mayor Murray.

Seattle's move toward adopting a $15 minimum wage may have been the big news in the region last week, marking the adoption of a high wage in a major jurisdiction - in a state that already has the highest state minimum wage in the country. Expect aftershocks from that to ripple along in coming weeks.

Primary election day (or, in Oregon, mail-in deadlines) are fast approaching, and political campaigns in Oregon and Idaho are heating up. In Idaho, both incumbent and challenger in the governor's race have gotten plenty vocal. And debates are continuing there this week.

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)

Reviewing Ada coroner race (Boise Statesman)
Labrador's third run for House (Moscow News)
Most school teacher negotiations on track (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon commission race - Alder (Nampa Press Tribune)

Considering action on bad intersection (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Primaries showing up GOP battles (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Springfield sees cost of adding land to city (Eugene Register Guard)
State will fund student AP tests (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Projections call for many fires this summer (Portland Oregonian)
Improvements in Willamette area air quality (Salem Statesman Journal)

More Medicaid patients: Enough doctors? (Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Battle over Amon Wasteway water (Kennewick Herald)
Newer sheriffs jailing immigrants (Port Angeles News)
Ocean power project abandoned (Port Angeles News)
Spokanne holds Bloomsday (Spokane Spokesman)
Debating Pierce plan to destroy hospital (Tacoma News Tribune)
Campaign money for Herrera Beutler (Vancouver Columbian)

A legislative giant

peterson MARTIN

I spent 36 legislative sessions wearing a variety of hats. During that time I got to know scores and scores of legislators. But when I look back at them, there is one who stands above the rest. He was Steve Antone, a farmer from Rupert who served in the Idaho House from 1969 until 1996.

He had a number of skills that would prove beneficial in his legislative work. He was intelligent, generally soft spoken, had a good sense of humor and the ability to get along with just about everyone.

For twelve years he chaired the important House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Most tax legislation in Idaho originates in that committee and, as a result, the chairmanship can be a powerful position. The twelve years Steve Antone chaired the committee were perhaps the most challenging from a budgeting and taxation standpoint that Idaho has ever seen.

In 1978, Idaho voters approved the 1% Initiative. Although well intended by its proponents, the initiative was incredibly flawed from a constitutional standpoint and unworkable from an administrative standpoint. Under Antone’s chairmanship, supporters and opponents of the measure, legislators and lobbyists alike, were able to come up with major revisions that provided limitations on the levying of property taxes by local governments, while still meeting various requirements of the state’s constitution and statutes.

I was executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities at this time and approached Antone about the possibility of his committee conducting a field hearing at the Association’s annual convention to receive input for city officials. No legislative committee had ever conducted a hearing outside of Boise. Antone gave it some thought, liked the idea, and took the committee to Coeur d’Alene that summer.

In the early 80s, Idaho’s natural resource based economy collapsed. Low prices for farm commodities, timber and minerals all combined to knock the bottom out of the state’s tax revenues. It was the worst fiscal situation the state had seen since the great depression. The solutions to the state budget problems had to be met with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

It fell to Antone and his committee to approve the series of tax increases. (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)

Crowded judicial race to replace Wetherell (Boise Statesman)
Meridian's Scentsy shifting its product line (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Lawsuits over environment - who benefits? (IF Post Register)
Groups consider urban renewal in N Lewiston (Lewiston Tribune)
Trade trip to Russia on hold (Nampa Press Tribune)
Revewing Bannock Fair Board suspension (Pocatello Journal)
State sues Coeur d'Alenes over poker (Sandpoint Bee)
Looking at the AG Republican primary (TF Times News)
St. Luke's an example of med industry change (TF Times News)

Lane County elections reviewed (Eugene Register Guard)
New growth in burned forest (KF Herald & News)
Federal inspector general looks at Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian)

After engineer jobs move, Boeing pressed on breaks (Everett Herald)
Teachers union vote drawns unusual attention (Seattle Times)
Changes proposed for Spokane Riverside Park (Spokane Spokesman)
Debate over Hepatitis C drug cost (Tacoma News Tribune)
Dark boat launch leads to auto drowns (Tacoma News Tribune)
Farlnad declining in Clark County (Vancouver Columbian)
Uncertain placing for local homeless (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima meal delivery gets budget cut (Yakima Herald Republic)