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Posts published in June 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)

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)

Time for house cleaning

rainey BARRETT


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. (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)

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)

In the Briefings

On June 10 Fish and Game conservation officers and biologists responded to reports of a moose wandering around a southeast Boise neighborhood. The yearling female moose was spotted in various locations including Warm Springs Golf Course. Because the moose had been slowly moving closer to town, Southwest Regional Wildlife Manager Craig White made the decision to tranquilize it, and relocate it. The moose was taken out of the city and moved to a more remote location off Highway 21. (image/Department of Fish & Game)


Politics continued to pour in last week, polling in Oregon (Senate and governor) and the Republican convention in Idaho - a remarkable convention that broke up in rancor without electing leadership or passing a platform or resolutions. it drew a good deal of attention, some of it national since the honorary chair, Representative Raul Labrador, is also running for House majority leader.

A somewhat quieter week on the Washington side.

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)

Pot-friendly zoning planned for Clarkston (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing GOP convention (Moscow News)
Genesee honors agriculture (Moscow News)
Previewing Labrador's majority leader run (TF Times News)
Prescription drugs proving a gatewway to heroin (TF Times News)

UO may get up to $3 billion from very wealthy (Eugene Register Guard)
Ashland will consider pot dispensary rules (Ashland Tidings)
Organic agriculture brings in younger farmers (Ashland Tidings)
Lithia to buy DCH Auto Group, expands (Medford Tribune)
Crater Lake highway gets new traffic cameras (Medford Tribune)
Sea lions may be increasing in Columbia (Portland Oregonian)

Court hearing on Paine Field passenger service (Everett Herald)
State posts PSAs on parental pot discussions (Everett Herald)
Port Angeles may pay for hydro plant repairs (Port Angeles News)
Washington concerned about oil spill control (Vancouver Columbian, Port Angeles News)
Starbucks funding some college tuition (Seattle Times)
Battle over developing South Hill bluff (Spokane Spokesman)
Security concerns at U.S. Open, University Place (Tacoma News Tribune)
No bike lanes in waterfront plans? (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakama tribe concerned over hatchery regs (Yakima Herald Republic)

An opening for Balukoff?

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate A.J. Balukoff won’t apply for membership into the tea party and there’s no chance of him being a featured speaker at an Idaho Freedom Foundation conference. But if wins the governor’s seat in November, the most conservative Idahoans could be the ones who will help put him there.

As Idaho Freedom Foundation Director Wayne Hoffman sees it, electing Balukoff over Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter makes sense from a conservative’s perspective. It may be one way to put the Republicans Party on track.

For instance, Hoffman says, if a Gov. Balukoff were to push for Medicaid expansion, it would be dead on arrival in a Republican-dominated Legislature. If Otter were to propose Medicaid expansion, lawmakers would look more closely at the potential cost savings for counties. A Balukoff administration that proposes repeal of sales-tax exemptions likely would go nowhere in the Legislature. If Otter proposed the same thing, legislators could view it as a sound way to raise needed revenue.

Conservatives probably wouldn’t like him any better than two recent failed candidates, Jerry Brady and Keith Allred. But Otter is no beacon for conservative principles either. Otter’s poor showing in last month’s Republican primary election, in which almost half the people voted for someone else, makes him prime for election defeat.

“Butch is vulnerable,” Hoffman said. “He won against a no-name and under-funded candidate with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. You have to think that’s problematic.”

Losing Ada, Canyon and Kootenai counties also is problematic for the governor – along with a disastrous Republican convention over the weekend that failed to elect a party chairman or approve a platform. “We have hit bottom,” said Congressman Raul Labrador, one of Idaho’s leading conservatives.
The Democratic challenger, as with Hoffman, hears dissatisfaction in the conservative ranks.

Balukoff’s philosophy overall is far different from Sen. Russ Fulcher, who took 44 percent of the vote in the GOP primary. But much of Balukoff’s rhetoric is the same as Fulcher’s.

“A lot of people think Otter has been in for a long time and not a lot of show for his tenure,” Balukoff said. “People recognize that our education system is not where it should be and per capita income is at the bottom of the nation. They are upset with the lack of accountability and cronyism in the governor’s office. People are dissatisfied with the lack of leadership and are ready for a change.” (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)

Rehabbing the post-high school 'Go on' effort (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Evaluating red light cycle at Hitt/17th (IF Post Register)
GOP convention adjourns without chair, platform (IF Post Register, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Minimal federal inspection of high-risk wells (Lewiston Tribune)
Close look at Materne tax breaks (Nampa Press Tribune)

Eugene evaluates homeless effort (Eugene Register Guard)
Oregon may try to map GMO fields (Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
Pot dispensary law has led to backlast (Medford Tribune)
SAIF CEO Plotkin dismissed (Portland Oregonian)
Evaluating school safety (Portland Oregonian)
Some schools not doing safety drills (Salem Statesman Journal)

11 new charter schools sought in state (Kennewick Herald)
Business development groups after merger (Port Angeles News)
Delta air plans expanding in Northwest (Seattle Times)
No platform, chair at Idaho GOP convention (Spokane Spokesman)
ID water permitting moves toward state (Spokane Spokesman)
Dispute over Clark County stormwater fee (Vancouver Columbian)

Something for Democrats to talk about

idaho RANDY

Next week Idaho Democrats will follow Idaho Republicans in holding their convention at Moscow. There's much they could usefully talk about – but probably won't.

The party has nominees in place for most major offices and a passable number below, and the convention will discuss their virtues. Also, the shortcomings, especially recent ones, of the Republicans who have been in near-total control of the state government for the last two decades. And the policy differences between the parties.

That is what Idaho Democrats, like Republicans, have done every two years during these last 20.

And here's the record from 1994 to now. Democrats have lost the last five gubernatorial elections, getting a peak percentage of the vote in 2006 (44.1%) - in other words, not close. That's better than the Senate races during that time, when they peaked at 34.1% (in 2008).

The most telling statistic may be legislative. In 1994 Republicans won the state Senate 27-8, and the House 57-13. After the 2012 election, they won the Senate 28-7, and the House 57-13. Through the years in between, those numbers have hardly changed. Good candidates, bad candidates, better or worse campaigns and funding, varied message strategies – little of it seems to have mattered.

In two decades of Idaho politics, we have seen successive presidencies, economic ups and downs, people coming and going, this candidate and then that arising, periodic scandals and mishaps, changes in content and intensity of ideology, demographic changes, terrific candidates, fringe candidates, issues dominating discussion then fading and then replaced by others. Through it all, Idaho partisan politics has not budged. The needle has not moved.

The politics of Idaho seem frozen, glacier-like, except for moving even slower than that.

But what about the major-office wins by Democrats for superintendent of public instruction (1998, 2002) and the U.S. House (1st district, 2008)? Those openings happened on occasion of major Republican mess-ups – in other words, when Republicans errantly left the door wide open. That doesn't happen a lot.

Depending on who you are, this may be okay. Many Idahoans regularly vote for Republicans, and – even putting aside what the candidates say or don't say in campaigns - what those Republican candidates deliver cannot come as much of a surprise, good or bad, after all this time.

If you're a Democrat, or an independent simply not on board with the agenda of the last 20 years, the frustration has to be great. Democrats run candidates both good (sometimes very good) and less so, run campaigns well and less so, have surprisingly often raised enough money to get their message out, and in many instances done what conventional wisdom says candidates and parties ought to do. Earlier in Idaho history that might have resulted in a middling number of wins. Not in the last 20 years. (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)

Labrador announces for majority leader (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Massive work underway at I-84 (Boise Statesman)
Bieter proposes another fire protection bond (Boise Statesman)
Decline, rebuild efforts, of Idaho unions (IF Post Register)
Rand Paul speaks at Moscow (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Idaho Republicans consider resolutions (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Sandpoint Bee)
Chaney runs for House seat, despite charges (Nampa Press Tribune)
Dietrich fire hits 145 acres (TF Times News)

Big Social Security case develops in Bandon (Coos Bay World)
Impacts of well closures in curtailment (KF Herald & News)
What can be sold at Saturday market? (Ashand Tidings)
Conservation group seeks to buy burned land (Ashland Tidings)
Umatilla Chemical Depot loss cuts jobs (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hermiston Rotary joins anti-trafficking (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Police concerned of SE Portland homeless camp (Portland Oregonian)
Background of Troutdale shooter (Portland Oregonian)
Roseburg News-Register mornings on weekend (Roseburg Review)
Consumers speak on insurance proposals (Salem Statesman Journal)

Education could take a hit in next budget (Kennewick Herald)
Army Corps targets cormorants (Longview News)
High prices, conditions for easside houses (Seattle Times)
Boeing, others, develop alternative health plans (Seattle Times)
Labrador runs for majority leader (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark sheriff candidates debate (Vancouver Columbian)
Longview homeless shelter struggles (Longview News)
Yakima school board may end senior projects (Yakima Herald Republic)