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)

Fight over AF Magnida fertilizer plant (Boise Statesman)
Idaho unemployment rate dropping (IF Post Register, Pocatello Journal)
Who’s in charge at the Idaho GOP? (IF Post Register, Pocatello Journal, Sandpoint Bee)
Nafziger’s menswear in Nampa closing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Concerns about funding Pocatello connector (Pocatello Journal)
Hall Mountain mining dispute continues (Sandpoint Bee)
Democratic convention going smoothly (TF Times News)

Oregon suspends sprayer license over bees (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene limiting fireworks (Eugene Register Guard)
Bryant fire near Bonanza still growing (KF Herald & News)
Kalamth Co gets $803k in PILT money (KF Herald & News)
SOU gets interim president (Ashland Tidings)
Jackson Co schools limiting transfers (Ashland Tidings)
Fire risks creeping earlier in year (Ashland Tidings)
Multnomah gun ordinance will be tested (Portland Oregonian)
Still more bee die-offs reported (Salem Statesman Journal)
Mental health funds approach at issue (Salem Statesman Journal)

Oso Highway 530 re-opened to 2-way traffic (Everett Herald)
Local college graduations (Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Schools chief Banda may leave for California (Seattle Times)
Pot bakers must follow safe food regulations (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune)
Spokane proposes taxes for Riverfront upgrade (Spokane Spokesman)

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First Take

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

Grant Loebs, chair of the Twin Falls County Republicans, speaking of his state party leadership in the wake of a rule committee meeting at which incumbent Barry Peterson was deemed to have been re-elected as chair (which Loebs said he was not):

“It’s kind of a tin-horn dictator type coup. And the question is what do you do when somebody stages a coup and has the office and changes the locks and has their hands on the bank account and the computer systems, how do you get them out of there? In this country, we don’t do it through violence, so we have to work through all the processes that are available to us.”

UPDATE Here’s a response (not to the above quote, but to also-critical comments from former Idaho Republican Chair Trent Clark, who said that Peterson has lost his chairmanship and should surrender keys and related materials. The reply comes from Maria Nate of Madison County, a rules committee member:

“I am sickened by this discussion of ‘absolute power corrupting absolutely’ being attributed to the liberty wing of the party which is fighting the ABSOLUTE CORRUPTION of the establishment. Governor Otter is upset that he didn’t get his choice of chair in 2008 and goes on a tirade to win at all costs, even if that means burning down the party. Otter has instructed his people to choke the party by not contributing to it, he meddled in precinct committee elections and attempted to manipulate the delegates of Ada County. Mr. Clark, the corruption lies at the feet of the governor. I am proud to belong to a group of individuals that have decided to take a stand against such corruption. We will be silent no longer.”

She should be careful about suggesting that because words like “liberty” are sprinkled through its rhetoric, that her side and its advocates are any less susceptible to power grabbing. (One might revisit the history of Russian Bolsheviks in 1917 to reinforce the point.)

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Reading

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Somewhere down the road a future Idaho governor is going to take a page from a President’s Book of Plays, and is going to create, maybe even endow, an annual award to an Idaho writer, artist, composer, or outstanding college teacher.

Let’s call it the “Gem” Award, and attach a cash component of say $100,000. Ask the Idaho Humanities Council (The Council has established a similar award, but no money) to submit three names to the Governor.

Yes, Idaho already has the “Esto Perpetua” award that goes annually to the person or organization that during the previous year has best promoted Idaho heritage. It is awarded by the Idaho State Historical Society. While prestigious it too carries no monetary award.

My nominee for the First Gem Award would hands down be Idaho’s State Historian, and one of the state’s finest writers, Keith Petersen. Born in Vancouver, Washington in 1951 and a graduate of Washington State University, Keith has immersed himself in Idaho history like no other Idahoan.

His ability to relate fascinating details and place them in a meaningful context is superb. It is also the product of meticulous research and an innate curiousity that asks “what else was going on then that could have impacted this event or shaped people’s perceptions?”

Did you know that Father DeSmet, one of the first Jesuit missionaries to come to Idaho and the inspiration behind the state’s oldest structure, the Cataldo Mission, was a confident of Northwest road builder John Mullan? Mullan first came west in 1853 as part of a Pacific Railroad survey expedition headed by Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens, who “negotiated” (read dictated) the famous treaty of 1855 the effects of which we are still living with today.

If you did not know those facts then read Keith’s most recent endeavor, a biography of Captain John Mullan, who engineered the Mullan Road that started at Fort Walla Walla and ended up at Fort Benton in Montana on the Missouri River. Much of Interstate 90 today follows the road that he mapped and engineered over 150 years ago. Even if one is not a reader of history or biographies, this book is well worth one’s time.

The book is entitled John Mullan: The Tumultuous Life of a Western Road Builder and is published by WSU Press.

Keith begins the book with Captain Mullan’s delivery of a speech in New York City in 1863 at the height of his fame for his explorations, mapping and road building in the west. Mullan is actually the warm up act at the speech forum but drones on and on for a couple hours.

Keith portrays this as the apogee, the high point of Mullan’s story, for at age 36 it is bascially all downhill for the intrepid but ambitious Mullan from there to the end of his life. While Mullan displayed incredible discipline in his younger years, was a diligent and obedient student while mastering the intricacies of engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and clearly an exceptional leader of his map-making and road building crews he appears to have had a classic fatal flaw.

Keith brings the flaw—an almost fanatical desire to be rich—out as the story proceeds from a successful career in the Army as the extraordinary engineer of the Mullan Road to a man frustrated in almost all his later business ventures. It’s a highly nuanced portrayal of a complex human being who may or may not have found peace before the end of a long and eventful life.

Spread across the “Inland Empire” are head high pryamid like rock monuments. These and a few bas relief like statues of Captain John Mullan are markers for the first engineered road in the northwest. Like today’s Interstate, it was built and justified for its military use.

Mullan and crew spent the 4th of July in 1861 relaxing at the top of (what else would it be named) 4th of July Pass some 17 miles east of Coeur d’Alene. It is the lowest major pass through the Rockies and Mullan decided it was superior to the gap through the mountains where the Clark Fork flows into Lake Pend Oreille. Mullan later conceded that was a superior route than the one over 4th of July and onto Missoula and then Fort Benton.

Fort Benton was actually the northern and western most “port” on the Missouri River. For years it was the jumping off place for miners and emigrints seeking the better life in the west. As such, it boomed with goods being imported into the northwest and products being shipped east.

Standing today in front of the last marker (there are 134) at the terminus of the Mullan Trail on a now very quiet riverfront street in Fort Benton, it is hard to envision the former hustle and bustle. Keith Petersen, though, brings it to life with his attention to fascinating details and fine writing. Some of his other fine books include River of Life, Channel of Death, about the Lower Snake River, This Crested Hill—an Illustrated History of the University of Idaho, and Company Town: Potlatch, Idaho and the Potlatch Lumber Company and are must reads for any student of Idaho history.

Keith is in a class by himself. All Idahoans owe him a hearty thank you. He truly is an Idaho Gem.

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Carlson

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)

St. Luke’s-Saltzer fight continues (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Labrador loses run for majority leader (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Democrats prepare for their convention (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
IF Odyssey school charter may be revoked (IF Post Register)
New possible airfield near Palouse (Moscow News)
Balukoff suggests ‘Otter fatigue’ (Moscow News)
Caldwell moves 4th of July fireworks (Nampa Press Tribune)
Dairy worker sentenced on cruelty charges (Nampa Press Tribune)
Republican worker: Otter key to a resolution (Pocatello Journal)
Concerns over Hall Mountain Mine (Sandpoint Bee)
TF drive-in plans summer reopen (TF Times News)
Reviewing Idaho’s natural gas industry (TF Times News)

Panel advises against Washington Park sale (Corvallis Gazette)
Recount shows Lane incumbents still win (Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon looks into bee die-off (Eugene Register Guard)
OR-7 and pups central in timber legal case (KF Herald & News)
New busing zones set for Henley School (KF Herald & News)
Ashland adopting pot dispensary rules (Ashland Tidings)
Fire burns part of table rock area (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Fire burns close to Heppner (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla goes to Hermiston ambulance (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wheat production down diminished this year (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umpqua College seeks new health building (Roseburg News Review)
Support grows for mental health court (Roseburg News Review)
Gun regulation group forms (Salem Statesman Journal)

Another Boeing labor dispute, over 2 workers (Everett Herald)
Longview PUD considers rules on pot (Longview News)
Fake distress calls costly for Coast Guard (Port Angeles News)
Spokane animal shelter moves, grows (Spokane Spokesman)
Martinac shipbuilder in loan default (Tacoma News Tribune)
Inslee backs state minimum wage increase (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot stores look to open in July (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

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)

Labrador faces majority leader vote (Boise Statesman)
Lewiston to dispose of old library building (Lewiston Tribune)
Sheriff in Latah wants raises for deputies (Moscow News)
Idaho Democrats look to calm convention (Moscow News)
Washington’s Didier giving away guns (Moscow News)
CWI plans for next academic year (Nampa Press Tribune)
New businesses setting near College of Idaho (Nampa Press Tribune)
Safety officers armed at ISU (Pocatello Journal)
Lawsuit on Bannock vote alleges corruption (Pocatello Journal)
Agreement that GOP convention was chaos (Sandpoint Bee)
Nonprofit Wasden chairs saw embezzlement (TF Times News)
Small donations may lead to shortened fireworks (TF Times News)
TF urban renewal sells key building (TF Times News)

College sends Benton Center bond to voters (Corvallis Gazette)
Farmers battle rail to bike trail (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene moves on citywide sick leave rule (Eugene Register Guard)
Water shutoffs start around Klamath (KF Herald & News)
About 50 arrests in food stamp fraud (KF Herald & News)
Ashland council rejects open carry ban (Ashland Tidings)
Conviction thrown out over illegal stop (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Districts limiting student transfers (Medford Tribune)
Reports of wolves attacking livestock (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla pays massive prisoner med bill (Pendleton E Oregonian)

Snohomish explores Oso buyouts (Everett Herald)
Lynnwood opens its first farmers market (Everett Herald)
Council at Everett raises city taxes (Everett Herald)
Gas prices continue to rise (Longview News)
Fireworks plant near Tenino explores, kills 1 (Longview News)
Amazon releases 3D Fire phone (Seattle Times, Longview News)
Farmers market looks at medicinal pot (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles downtown group may shed one (Port Angeles News)
Concerns about quakes, underground Seattle reservoirs (Seattle Times)
TSA sets flight pre-check at Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Didier campaign giving away guns (Tacoma News Tribune)
Debate planned for District 4 GOP candidates (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

After a long caucus meeting last night, the Independent Party of Oregon announced the first round of candidates who will appear on it’s primary ballot this summer.

The IPO received requests from 62 candidates to be included in it’s primary election and approved 18 to appear on it’s primary ballot. Prospective candidates included Republicans, Democrats, IPO members, non affiliated candidates and Libertarians. Some had already received their party nominations and some had not. The IPO had candidates applying for County Commission races, State races, and Federal races.

The featured primary race will be for Governor between Republican Dennis Richardson and Democrat John Kitzhaber. Other hotly contested races that will appear on the ballot include Senate Districts 3, 13 and 15, where an Independent cross nomination could make a difference in a close November general election.

In two races, IPO candidates Chuck Lee (HD-25) and Drew Kaza (SD-16) won’t face any primary opposition so their nomination will set up one on one general election races against a single major party candidate. In HD-25 presumptive Independent candidate Chuck Lee will face very conservative Republican Bill Post and in SD-16 presumptive Independent candidate Drew Kaza will face Democrat Betsy Johnson.

The IPO will continue to review pending applications and more candidates are expected to join the approved list by the end of the week. Once approved, the IPO intends to publish it’s own voters guide and send it to all 100,000 members.

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Harris Oregon

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

The Associated Press, MSNBC and other news media are sticking to the story that Obama is only the fourth president to visit a reservation. I say at least seven, more likely eight.

So one by one here goes the documentary evidence (for those who care).

President Chester Arthur’s visit to Wind River, Wyoming, 1883. Picture from Frank Jay Haynes collection, Smithsonian. The trip was on horse back and included a senator and the Secretary of War. (I love the umbrellas in the picture above.)

The second visit is President Warren Harding’s trip to Alaska in 1923. The first port of call was Metlakatla. (As Stephen Conn points out: Any presidential visit before the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act would be a visit to Indian Country.)

Third. President Calvin Coolidge’s visit to South Dakota.

A trivia question: How many US Presidents have been photographed wearing headdresses? (It went badly for Coolidge.) Answer: At least one, Jimmy Carter.

Fourth. Franklin Roosevelt visited at least three reservations, only once speaking on Indian Affairs. He traveled to Quinault in Washington state, Blackfeet, Montana, and Cherokee, North Carolina. (He was also photographed with a chief in North Dakota.)

Here is a film from the Montana trip. (The meeting was in Glacier National Park, but he traveled from the town now called East Glacier.)

Fifth. It wasn’t an official presidential trip, per se, but Harry S Truman was president when he stopped on the Fort Peck Reservation in 1952 as part of his whistle stop train campaign. He was met by Assiniboine leaders. He was given a pipe to smoke. Montana Rep. Mike Mansfield, who was also on the platform, told the Indians, “The President doesn’t smoke. What he did here was for the first time.”

Louis Henry Montclair wrote about this trip.

Sixth (depending on your point of view). Ronald Reagan went to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to meet tribal leaders. One extraordinary meeting was in the presidential suite at the Hilton where Reagan, Ivan Sidney and Peterson Zah talked about the Navajo-Hopi dispute in Aug. 1985. We could certainly argue about Albuquerque, but I think it should count as “home turf.”

Seven. Then, of course, President Clinton’s trips to Pine Ridge and Shiprock.

There were two presidential trips that did not happen.

Nixon administration officials wanted Richard Nixon to give the opening speech at the dedication of Navajo Community College.

They said it would be ideal, it was on the way to San Clemente and would be smart. The record of the “why” is complete, but I have never found out why it did not happen.

Nixon’s second trip that did not happen was to New Mexico for the celebration of the return of Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo. Nixon instead sent the teenage daughter of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

And I wonder about President Herbert Hoover? I’ll keep checking on this one.

Herbert Hoover lived as a child in Pahwuska, Oklahoma. Hoover wrote in a letter: “I attended school with the Indians appropriate to my size. They were of course being taught English. I and my cousins were mostly interested in learning Osage.”

Eighth. President Obama’s trip last week. But he needs another trip to match Clinton and a couple more trips to catch up with FDR.

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Trahant

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)

Labrador running point for Tea Party (Boise Statesman)
Wasden’s nonprofit discloses embezzlement (Boise Statesman)
Conservation groups blast new salmon plan (Lewiston Tribune)
GOP convention woes could hurt party (Nanpa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Sandpoint Bee)
Questions about Blue Mountain timber sale (Lewiston Tribune)
Funding drops for veteran health transports (Moscow News)
Palouse sees bee and butterfly collapses (Moscow News)
Survey shows Idaho business friendliness (Nampa Press Tribune)
CWI projecting 50,000 students by 2040 (Nampa Press Tribune)
Fire watchers concerned by dry conditions (TF Times News)
Water projects moving ahead this year (TF Times News)

Benton College still planning Corvallis growth (Corvallis Gazette)
State employees getting coordinated care (Corvallis Gazette)
Eugene considers sick leave ordinance (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath council considers drought options (KF Herald & News)
More land added to spotted frog habitat (KF Herald & News)
Removing illegal private rain water dams (Medford Tribune)
More expansion possible for Lithia Motors (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla council rejects port project (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing oil train safety (Portland Oregonian)
Health insurance rates for state drops in 2015 (Salem Statesman Journal)

Passenger terminal planned for Paine Field (Everett Herald)
State revenue up, costs grow more (Everett Herald)
Didier campaign sponsors gun giveaway (Kennewick Herald)
Emergency shelter seeks to open at Kelso (Longview News)
Seattle speed signs have two-word overage (Seattle Times)
Does merging military bases save money? (Tacoma News Tribune)
Tacoma not considering strong mayor plan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oil train shipping info coming slowly (Vancouver Columbian)
Vancouver city manager sees big raise (Vancouver Columbian)
Clark Co behind schedule on firework rules (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Last week’s shameful, amateurishly conducted, unbelievably arrogant and utterly unnecessarily divisive Idaho GOP convention was – is – and always should be – looked upon as the state’s absolute low point in political history. But – it should not be remembered as a surprise.

Those of us with a lifelong interest in things political can’t help but look upon that horrendous display and want to think – to say – to write something thoughtful and meaningful in it’s wake. Anyone who tries to do so will embark on a fool’s errand. But that won’t stop some of us from trying.
There was nothing in the raucous display of political throat-cutting upon which to base any thoughtful review. It was an expensive embarrassment for the party. And, as word spreads through the national political networks, equally as embarrassing for the state.

Idaho’s Republican Party has been headed off the cliff for a long time. Like the party nationally, it’s been organizationally kidnaped by narrow-minded absolutists in no way representative of either the long and honored conduct of the GOP or the mainstream of its historic membership. Both groups have created platforms filled with homophobic, racist, close-minded and hurtful language. Both are exclusionary. Both have espoused political goals antithetic to good government. Both have turned their backs on historic accomplishments of past Republican leaders who worked in the best interests of the country at-large rather than some imagined utopia of better days.

When a handful of party “loyalists” meets ahead of convention, voting to disenfranchise some 30-percent of the delegates who were to attend, it doesn’t take a great deal of political acumen to see who’s in charge and how the experience will end. This particular convention was not only doomed from day one, it was doomed years ago as unity, comity, accommodation and compromise were drummed out of the party vocabulary. The Idaho GOP has been walking along the cliff’s edge for a long time. The convention finally proved to be one foot out in space. There will be a fall. In fact, it’s started already.

Republicans have become more divisive – more likely to exclude those who differ in thought and word. The GOP has become an intolerant, narrow-minded group. Nowhere has that been on display more arrogantly than in Idaho in the past week. If one or more sheep differed on any subject from the single-minded theology presented, such sheep were quickly cut from the flock. The aforementioned organized effort to exorcize nearly a third of voting delegates was proof positive. Three entire counties were targeted for elimination in the convention process.

Idaho Republicans – and too often national Republicans – do not close ranks after the type of failed purity debacle seen last week. They either withdraw from further participation or immediately begin efforts to further institutionalize their divisions. One Idaho county has birthed four Republican central committees. Four. Compromise? Comity? Unity?

Many years ago, Gov. Robert Smylie – himself a long-serving Republican – gave me some good political thought. He said, after a certain length of time occupying power, both parties would do well to “open some closet doors and air the place out.” Despite his own failed effort to try holding onto power too long, he was right. And Idaho’s political climate has reached the point some thorough house cleaning seems long overdue.

And “house cleaning” there may be. Already there’s talk in the state of disaffected – or even embarrassed – Republicans getting behind Democrat gubernatorial candidate A. J. Balukoff in November. Republican reasoning seems to be – if elected – he would face the usual solidly Republican legislature which would hold him in check for four years. That would give Idaho Republicans time to do some philosophical “house cleaning” and be in better shape to take back the governor’s office in 2018.

Risky reasoning, that. But that’s how bad things have gotten in the Idaho GOP. That’s how badly things went in the state convention last week. And that’s just what could happen because the Republican dog looked off the bridge, saw what appeared to be a bigger bone and dropped the one he had.

Old as Aesop. As fresh – or as despoiled – as Idaho’s Republican Party.

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Rainey

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)

GOP people try to patch it up in the party (Boise Statesman, Pocatello Journal)
Clarkston working on pot regulations (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman may get highway land that blocks expansion (Moscow News)
Washington state’s best paid employees are coaches (Moscow News)
Idaho drops some more in per-student spending (Moscow News)
Charter schools getting facility payments (Nampa Press Tribune)
New economic director, Steve Fultz, at Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
International implications of Bergdahl exchange (TF Times News)
Gun policy set for College of Southern Idaho (TF Times News)

Corvallis gets greenhouse gas report (Corvallis Gazette)
Corvallis still considering hotel plan (Corvallis Gazette)
Eugene will limit legal fireworks this year (Eugene Register Guard)
KF schools hiring 16 teachers (KF Herald & News)
Klamath troops heading for Afghanistan (KF Herald & News)
SOU president goes to Eastern Washington (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Former Tidings building sold for office space (Ashland Tidings)
State progresses on Oracle lawsuit (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Report points to continuing illicit pot in state (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)
Chemeketa College president departs (Salem Statesman Journal)

Boeing’s fortunes and aerospace training (Everett Herald)
Snohomish County may get some pay raises (Everett Herald)
Unions critical of possible water quality regs (Everett Herald)
Sexual haraassment case costs Clatskanie PUD $1.3m (Longview News)
Seattle mayor cuts deal with ride service firms (Seattle Times)
Big pay raise for Seattle City Light CEO (Seattle Times)
Bertha to grow by 86 tons, then restart (Seattle Times)
Eastern Washington U gets new president (Spokane Spokesman)
A fifth of Spokane water supply leaked away (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoman sweeping up pot licenses (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver public income not matching costs (Vancouver Columbian)
Court says Yakima broke records law in police case (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take