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Posts published in June 2014

On the front pages


More Bergdahl in review (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
State suseum prepares for renovation (Boise Statesman)
Nez Perce opposing power council on salmon (Lewiston Tribune)
Carbon tax could yield NW dividends (Moscow News)
Donations coming in for Seattle shooting stopper (Moscow News)
Internal GOP fight at convention (TF Times News)

OSF's All the Way wins Tonys (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Farmers preparing for drought (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Bend wildfires turn smoky (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
Salem considers paying for fireworks (Salem Statesman Journal)

Oil train report nearly done (Everett Herald)
Granite Falls gets new police chief (Everett Herald)
Legislators free meals under review (Olympian)
Driver impairment survey could pay drivers (Seattle Times)
Bergdahl case debate continues (Spokane Spokesman, Yakima Herald Republic)
Weighing effectiveness of medical pot (Tacoma News Tribune)
Donations pour in for Seattle shooting stopper (Tacoma News Tribune)
Light rail deal Vancouver-PDX still negotiated (Vancouver Columbian)
Bend area fires blazing (Vancouver Columbian)

Secession voices in the woods

rainey BARRETT


This week’s results of the secession votes in Northern California have been posted. The score is two to one: two deciding to continue their established relationship with this country - one opting to join four other counties that previously decided to pioneer a new “State of Jefferson.” Butte County, California, voters will decide the issue for themselves come Tuesday next.

Now, to some it might appear all this “smoke-in-the-California-woods” is just that: people blowing smoke. But, if you clear the air a bit, you’ll see there are some “flames” to all this and some real problems - maybe more violent problems than voting - could be ahead.

In Del Norte and Siskiyou Counties deciding to stay with the union, the count was roughly 60-40. Tehema County voted to go, and it was about the same ratio to leave. About six in ten. In other words, no terribly lopsided majority either way. So, the secession question isn’t going to disappear, regardless of how impossible such a move might eventually be. The discontents and the malcontents still equal 40-60% of the residents. They’ll continue to create very heated political situations in anything those counties try to do. Anything.

There really is some “beef” to all this secession business. Watched a spot on the T&V the other day showing several dozen kids with dummy wooden rifles being marched across an open field ala the British in 1775. They also were getting lectures from old guys in uniforms - astride old horses - about “freedom” and “personal rights” and all that. In other words, prepping the next generation of Northern California kids to carry on the fight when the old guys and the old horses are long gone. That’s dangerous.

When you have 40-60% of the local population getting onboard this secession train, the reality is not all these folks are on the loony fringe. Several I’ve heard support leaving California express some very legitimate concerns i.e. political and economic dominance by large cities, unequal distribution of government assets and programs, little representation in matters of government, etc. All fact maybe, but also all legal.

The U.S. Supreme Court put us on the “one-man, one-vote” highway in the 60's. Soon, rural sections of all states found themselves losing their grips on the levers of government and commerce. Power began shifting to metropolitan areas. Idaho may be one of the last states where this isn’t necessarily true. And that’s only because the legislative bunch from Ada and Canyon Counties - where a third of the population lives - have clout in numbers but keep fighting among themselves over political B.S. So less populated regions of the state still kick their butts in the legislature because the rural communities have learned to stick together. (more…)

An Oregon top two

stapilus RANDY

The View
from Here

If James Kelly and Brett Wilcox succeed in getting their top-two primary proposal on to the ballot, I sure wouldn't bet against it passing. (See the Oregonian article out today on this.)

Part of the reason is that anyone who isn't a registered Republican or Democrat automatically would have a reason to vote for it: It would give them meaningful entre into a bunch of primary races they're now closed off from. And while 20 years ago the number of non-major party registered voters in Oregon was roughly about half the number of Republican or of Democrats, they're now more numerous than Republicans and not far off from Democrats.

(I'll admit to some bias here, being a longtime shut-out NAV registrant. I know I could register opportunistically to vote in either party's primary and then switch back, but that sort of thing just doesn't feel very honest to me.)

That's a huge voting block of about a third of the electorate.

Plenty of major party members likely would be in favor too, though. Both parties would have increased opportunities in legislative districts and in other venues where they currently have no realistic chance of winning; general elections have no real significance in most of the state. Moreover, a larger variety of people from both parties could wind up serving, expanding the tents on both sides.

You don't even get the sense that many of the top elected officials in place now necessarily would be much opposed to the idea.

And while the idea hasn't exactly wonderfully reformed politics in Washington and California, it hasn't hurt, either, and people seem happy enough with it.

This could happen.

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)

Colleges find new gun rule expensive (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Boise shoots for 1,000 downtown residences (Boise Statesman)
Many bergdahl issues remain (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
IF has low crime, more on east side (IF Post Register)
Preparing for upcoming fire season (IF Post Register)
Both parties conventions at Moscow (Lewiston Tribune)
Another school levy expected at Wilder (Nampa Press Tribune)
Lots of new houses in Middleton (Nampa Press Tribune)
Hate groups dropping in number (Pocatello Journal)
Westwood Mall hanging in despite troubles (Pocatello Journal)
Slowdown seen in Filer recall effort (TF Times News)

Looking at sheltered workshops (Eugene Register Guard)
State may pay Cover Oregon official legal bills (KF Herald & News)
Much praise for hero in Seattle shooting (KF Herald & News)
Water issues on Bear Creek (Medford Tribune)
In Oregon, nonpartisan primaries ahead? (Portland Oregonian)
World War II memorial dedicated at Salem (Salem Statesman Journal)

Everett Boeing production may slow with 777X (Everett Herald)
Bears prevalent in Ilwaco area (Longview News)
Revenue shortfall at Longview shelter (Longview News)
Keeping track of pot strains (Olympian)
Flood plain permit might have stopped Oso building (Seattle Times)
Looking back on SPU shooting (Seattle Times)
Puyallu tribe election complicated by Dillam death (Tacoma News Tribune)
Marijuana banking questions remain (Vancouver Columbian)
Clark County mulls fireworks rules (Vancouver Columbian)
Armed adinistrators at Toppenish schools (Yakima Herald Republic)
Farm worker advocate Tomas Villaneuva dies (Yakima Herald Republic)

Rarely so simple

idaho RANDY

We hate unresolved questions. And we hate not knowing for sure what to think about something. Good? Bad? We want to know where to slot it.

The Bergdahl case probably will gnaw at a lot of people for quite a while. We aren't completely sure what to make of him, or what we should have done – or should do now – about him. War, messy and unpredictable beast it is, has a way of producing irritating loose ends like Bergdahl.

Go back a year, and what did we know? That U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whose home town was Hailey, had been held by the Taliban for four years. On June 20 last year, Idaho's congressional delegation issued a joint statement on the possibility of a prisoner exchange: “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bowe Bergdahl and his family. His safe return has always been of the utmost importance to us, and his well-being is something we raise with senior administration officials whenever possible.”

Why would the delegation have said anything much different than that “his safe return had always been of the utmost importance to us”? He and his family were, among other things, United States citizens and constituents.

Such quotes have been a constant from the beginning. In July 2009: “With the Pentagon now confirming his identity, we add our thoughts and prayers with others for his reunion with family, friends and Army colleagues. Private Bergdahl represents Idaho and his nation courageously.”

On April 8 this year, Senator Mike Crapo, in an interview with KBOI-TV, reported on a trip to Afghanistan: “And with every one of those meetings at highest levels, I raised the issue of Bowe Bergdahl. I'm pleased to report that not only had they heard of him, they were co-ordinating among themselves. It is a priority for them.” But he also suggested, based on what he'd heard, the idea of extracting him forcibly, rather than negotiating a release, was not realistic.

These recitations aren't gotchas; to the contrary, they're what most people would expect any congressional delegation to say. That's true even with this: Reports that Bergdahl may have walked away from his post, may have deserted, have surfaced and flown around the Internet for a long time. (“May” is a key word here: This is a subject hotly debated, not yet resolved.) Anyone who has followed the Bergdahl case even peripherally has not been surprised to see them surface again now. (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)

Battle over Canyon Co fair continues (Boise Statesman)
Seattle shooting blocked by student (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Bergdahl getting support in Hailey (IF Post Register)
Nuclear controls going more digital (IF Post Register)
Looking ahead to state party conventions (Moscow News)
Pocatello gay initiatve vote challenged (Pocatello Journal)
Revived semi-pro baseball team sells out (Pocatello Journal)
New sign code adopted for Sandpoint (Sandpoint Bee)
Snake River coating caused by algae bloom (TF Times News)

Hatchery salmon numbers to be reduced (Coos Bay World)
Former Waremart store may be call center (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane primary election winners certified (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath sheriff gets armored vehicle (KF Herald & News)
Reviewing possible library district (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Tuition frozen for Oregon undergrads (Ashland Tidings)
Seattle shooter stopped by student (Medford Tribune)
Umatilla tribe buys back 400 tracts (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla forest plan under review (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Salem area graduations (Salem Statesman Journal)

Follow about the SPU shooting incident (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News, Olympian)
School security enhanced in area (Everett Herald)
Woodland detective sues chief on sexual harassment (Langview News)
Half of people say justice system unfair (Olympian)
Pharmacy service firm cuts at Liberty Lake (Spokane Spokesman)
More battles on oil trains at Vancouver (Vancouver Columbian)

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)

Hailey copes with Bergdahl debate (Boise Statesman)
INL program stems from waste deal (IF Post Register)
Shootings at Seattle school (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Whitman Co responds to financial audit (Moscow News)
Turning trains quieter at Caldwell? (Nampa Press Tribune)
Debate over four-day school agency plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bergdahl debate continues (TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Snake River sludge may be algae bloom (TF Times News)
Wildfire in wilderness expands (TF Times News)

Piercy letter quests UO harassment issue (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield getting Hobby Lobby (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath, Lake on new child welfare plan (KF Herald & News)
Phoenix shop quits pot dispensary (Ashland Tidings)
Seattle shooting leaves one dead (Medford Mail)
PGE building new natural gas plant (Pandleton E Oregonian)
Possible pay raise at Chemeketa College (Salem Statesman Journal)

Shooting at Seattle university (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Insurance parity in same-sex marriage required (Kennewick Herald, Olympian)
Disagreements on Bergdahl exchange (Spokane Spokesman)
Feds may change anti-gang fund rules (Yakima Herald Republic)

Why Richardson can’t win

harris ROBERT


In poll after poll, Oregon voters identify the economy and jobs as the most important issues to Oregon voters. And Dennis Richardson’s supporters are adamant that we should focus on his ability to handle the State budget and Kitzhaber’s fiscal failures and incompetence.

Meanwhile Democrats want to focus voters’ attention on Richardson’s positions that are more conservative than those held by a majority of Oregonians. Mainly:

1. Guns. While most Oregonians do believe in the personal right to keep and bear arms, most don’t advocate arming school teachers as Richardson does. In most people’s book that moves him along the second amendment supporter scale from a gun rights position, to the gun nut fringe.

2. Gay rights. Not just anti gay marriage. Richardson was an adamant opponent of even civil unions. And he has stated his belief that singling out “preferential” treatment of gays is wrong because it’s based on ones behavior. Clearly putting him in the camp of people who believe being gay is a choice. Michelle Bachmann territory.

3. Abortion. Richardson is an adamant opponent of a woman’s right to chose.

Richardson supporters argue that our biggest problems are economic. Taxes and spending. That Richardson’s positions on guns, gays, and gestation are irrelevant, and that his opponents are really missing the big picture. His ability to manage our State government. They are wrong.

Two counter points.

First. We all know very well that in the general election, the “Three G’s” are going to be used to get out the Republican base and churn up their inner outrage dial against Kitzhaber and Democrats in general, thus admitting that the three G’s are a potent and important issue for many. You can’t have it both ways. Don’t ask me to ignore the man behind the curtain while taking your supporters on a private tour behind that curtain and treating it like a conservative voting booth where who knows what kind of promises are being made. Now, if Richardson will publicly disavow any interest in these issues, and state that he will entertain no law, statute, bill, discussion or policy regarding these issues, I’d start to take his candidacy seriously.

Second. What if there was a very economically sound Democrat running who also believed that everyone should be required to compost and do curbside recycling. That only smart guns should be allowed in Oregon, and that people should all be required to give blood once a month. None of these positions could ever be adopted by our State legislature, but I bet centrists and independents –and even many Democrats – would all have a pretty hard time voting for that person, regardless of our confidence in their ability to handle the Oregon economy and government budgeting. (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)

Hailey cancels Bergdahl celebration (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
ACHD ends bike lane experiment (Boise Statesman)
Winmill dismisses anti-NSA lawsuit (IF Post Register)
Two prisoners from NICI escape (Lewiston Tribune)
Palouse short on physician help (Moscow News)
Man buys Hwy 95 eyesore south of Moscow (Moscow News)
Canyon Commissioner won't be charged for rant (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ridgeview High build Pricier than expected (Nampa Press Tribune)
U-2 spy plane flying at Pocatello airport (Pocatello Journal)
Bingham County reorganizes GOP (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho wants full 9th circuit marrige review (TF Times News)

Wolf OR-7 definitely has pups (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Ashland Tidings)
KF Coordinated Care leader goes to Salem (KF Herald & News)
Last SkyWest plane leaves Klamath (KF Herald & News)
Supreme Court doesn't block OR marriage (Portland Oregonian, Medford Tribune)
Pot dispensaries in Gold Hill prepare (Medford Tribune)
Higher fees set for Umatilla County (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton council passes budget (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing Oregon and Common Core (Portland Oregonian)
Liquor privatizing advocates pull ballot issue (Salem Statesman Journal)
Salem students graduate (Salem Statesman Journal)

Some top county officials get raises (Everett Herald)
Debate over release of oil transport report (Everett Herald, Vancuver Columbian)
Long-time Olympia pharmacy closes (Olympian)
New rule for liquor and restaurants (Olympian)
Possible garbage rate rise in Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Seattle City Light chief gets big raise (Seattle Times)
Minimum wage advocates look at more cities (Seattle Times)
Big convention growth plans in Seattle (Seattle Times)
Hailey cancels Bergdahl celebration (Spokane Spokesman)
Supreme Court challenger, disbarment (Tacoma News Tribune)
New Columbian bridge option discussed (Vancouver Columbian)