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)

Records from St Luke’s suit to be revealed (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Bench Sewer District absorbed by Boise city (Boise Statesman)
Lawsuit from veteran not buried with gay partner (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Pot sales in Washington underway (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Lochsa timber cut may be underway (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman reviews recycling program (Moscow News)
Modest start to wildfire season (Moscow News)
Nampa won’t change sanitation rates (Nampa Press Tribune)
Beck appears in Dayton (Pocatello Journal)
Massive wildfire near Hailey (TF Times News)
Filer dog shooting yields lawsuit (TF Times News)

Eugene water board considers development (Eugene Register Guard)
KF working on attracting airlines (KF Herald & News)
Henley Elementary work continues (KF Herald & News)
Hotter (to about 100) in OR (Portland Oregonian, Medfortd Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Rogue Transportation District may raise taxes (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
State ag officials say they have limited GMO authority (Medford Tribune, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Coal shipper seeks tribal agreements on fish (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wildhorse Casino adds non-smoking bar (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Washington pot shops open (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Curry County sheriff quits over cuts, health (Portland Oregonian)

Pot shops open in Washington (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Port Angeles News)
Former aide to Reardon sentenced – evidence tampering (Everett Herald)
Aquatic recreation district may try tax (Port Angeles News)
Fare evasion on Seattle light rail (Seattle Times)
On battle for the Jan Angel House seat (Tacoma News Tribune)
New development for highway 502 (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

otter at rally

 
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter speaks at the God and Country Festival of the Treasure Valley July 2 at the Idaho Center at Nampa. (image/Otter campaign)

 

The big story last week almost everywhere in the Northwest: The great weather surrounding the 4th of July holiday, and the local celebrations within. That became part of the political story too, as many candidates participated in Independence Day events. (Tougher activities will ensue in coming months.)

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Briefings

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)

A medical pot law debate stirring (Boise Statesman)
Washington prepares for pot sales (TF Times News, Moscow News)
Memorial set for hopistal ‘forgotten souls’ (Moscow News)
Education Tax Credit, sunsetting 2015, may be renewed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Wolf hunting funds begin to roll (TF Times News)

Memorial set for hospital ‘forgotten souls’ (Salem Statesman Journal, Corvallis Gazette)
Pot dispensary at Medford may hit ballot (Ashland Tidings)
Profiling Bergdahl (Portland Oregonian)

City administrator job going away at Mukilteo (Everett Herald)
Detailed cleanup work restarts near Oso (Everett Herald)
Washington prepares for pot sales (Seattle Times, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Badger road fire controlled (Kennewick Herald)
Memorial set for hospital ‘forgotten souls’ (Longview News)
What about BPA power for marijuana grows? (Port Angeles News)
Elwha interpretive center planned (Port Angeles News)
First-time home buyers rebound in Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)

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First Take

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

This deep red state would not exist but for a Democratic president and a Democratic Idaho governor.
It might have been shaped like a square or a rectangle, the way most other western states are, or nearly are; in fact when Idaho Territory was first created in 1863, it was: It then included what is now Montana and most of Wyoming, which sounds ridiculously large but still is only a little larger than Texas. Montana and Wyoming were sloughed off after about a year.

What was left of Idaho did not look like promising state material. In some ways, the Nevada experience soured many people on remote, oddly-shaped and lightly populated states. Nevada had been admitted in a rush during the Civil War, after which its mining industry went crash and the state largely depopulated; it was so poorly run as to be called a “rotten borough.” Idaho as a territory was a little better than that after its first decade or so, but still more a collection of pieces than a logically coherent entity. The mountains in the center seemed to bar direct transportation and communication across its farther reaches, and even the relatively flat desert in the south was forbidding for travelers between its growing eastern and western reaches, where farming was taking hold. (The hospitable Magic Valley was still in the future.)
And the northern part of the state, which never got over losing the territorial capital, felt little connection to the south. Economically, socially, politically, the pieces were distinct.

So plans for splitting Idaho into pieces started early, and continued up to the advent of statehood.

It almost happened. The closest call came in the 1880s.

Nevada was still struggling, and among the ideas circulating there was a territorial expansion. It had few options. California and Oregon already were states, and unlikely to give up territory. Utah to the east was nearing statehood itself, but the Mormon identity of the area was holding it back in Congress; Nevada would never get approval for that annexation. But southwest Idaho was gaining in population and developing a stable economy. From Nevada’s point of view, it looked scrumptious.
Washington territory was nearing statehood as well, and like other territories found that larger population bases always helped the case in Congress. Northern Idaho once had been part of Washington Territory, and even then Spokane was something a regional economic base. Why not a reunion?
And if those pieces were gone, the chances for Utah statehood would be improved if it gobbled eastern Idaho.

Does this sound implausible? Here’s some history: A bill to split Idaho among its neighbors in just this way (with Nevada getting most or all of southern Idaho) actually passed Congress in 1887 (when Republicans controlled the Senate, and Democrats the House), and only the signature of Democratic President Grover Cleveland was needed to redraw the map and eliminate Idaho.

There’s some evidence Cleveland was leaning toward signing the (bipartisan) bill. He was dissuaded by the man he had appointed as Idaho’s territorial governor, Edward Stevenson, who like Cleveland hailed from New York and was a member of its leading political families. (He was a relative of two-time Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson.) Cleveland pocket-vetoed the bill.

Idaho unionists counterattacked by trying (unsuccessfully) to annex western Montana.

Three years later Idaho was admitted as a state.

History does take its twists, a point to ponder as Idaho this month reaches its 124th year as a state.

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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)

Problems with Optum Idaho mental health (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Preparing for legal pot in Washington (Lewiston Tribune, Nampa Press Tribune)
Emergency dispatchers prepare for texters (Nampa Press Tribune)
Examining Idaho’s law on concealed carry (Nampa Press Tribune)
Controlled hunt tag redrawing set (TF Times News)

Algoma fire continues burn (KF Herald & News)
Public agencies using social media (Medford Tribune)
Lake Abert drying, wildlife there dying (Portland Oregonian)
Local cops carrying video recorders (Roseburn News Review)

County won’t tax property on tribe lands (Everett Herald)
Retail pot opens on Tuesday (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Copper mining planned for Methow area (Seattle Times)
Spokane medical instructors drop out (Spokane Spokesman)
Trying to expand ATV area in Colville NF (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing Representative Herrera Beutler (Vancouver Columbian)
Criminal subculture following after prison (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)

Medicaid disclosures show money flow in Idaho (Boise Statesman)
Spokane, like Eugene, bans some pesticides (Lewiston Tribune)
Suction dredgers say they’ll keep violating (Lewiston Tribune)
Caldwell tries to keep Canyon fair there (Nampa Press Tribune)
Foster chicken in Idaho recalled (TF Times News)

Immigration protests hit California (Medford Tribune)
Emergency crews prepare on oil trail traffic (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pot stores in Vancouver ready to open (Portland Oregonian)

Edmonds asks for waterfront traffic funds (Everett Herald)
Hanford Reach center opens (Kennewick Herald)
Most Hanford reactor buildings gone (Kennewick Herald)
Media request for shooting video blocked (Tacoma News Tribune)
Union says pay gap requires pay raise (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oregon officials resisted releasing oil train data (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

In recent days, I’ve looked at many congressional races around the country. Using my “student-of-politics” proclivities and some very good research, I’m going to give you my list of picks so you’ll know who’s who – how they stack up. I’m going to “name names” so you’ll know whom you should support.

Wait? What’s that? You don’t care who I like? You don’t want to know which ones I’m endorsing for Congress? What? Why?

Actually, that would be my response if you – or anyone – told me a list of candidate selections. It wouldn’t make a damned bit of difference.

And therein is my problem with endorsements. Who someone else – anyone else – ANYONE else is supporting is just not relevant to my ballot. Oh, we might eventually vote for the same candidate. Maybe more than one. But we do so individually. Not because of anyone else backing ol’ so-and-so.

There was a time endorsements were somewhat important. Used to be Democrats put a lot of stock in labor union picks. If the president of Amalgamated Widget Makers told members which candidate to support, that’s pretty much how everybody went. Major corporations often got behind one name and word went out to various branches of the business. “Smith’s the guy” and everyone was expected to mark “Smith” at the polls.

Union, corporate, workplace endorsements don’t carry the weight they used to. Nor should they. But all keep trying. Even some “churches.”

Newspapers endorse a lot – claiming they’re giving you the benefit of hours and hours spent in face-to-face extended interviews and “Candidate Glutz is our pick for county treasurer.” I’d rather they change current employment practices and hire someone who can actually write accurately and tightly – then publish well-written summaries of what that extensive interviewing showed about the office-seeker. Things the paid advertising didn’t show. Skip the endorsement. Factual summaries will do just fine, thank you very much. Again, well-written, of course. I’ll do the deciding.

The “endorsement” I hate most is the one that comes from one politician of another. The endorser may be boosting a friend or someone he works with. But often it’s a sham. Sometimes the two are even strangers to each other.
Politicians endorsing other candidates they’ve never even met has always been a vote killer for me. Party politics at it’s finest. Or worst. If you think such “blind” party line politics has been helpful for us in recent years, you haven’t been paying attention.
Then, take Chris Christie’s trip to New Hampshire awhile back to loudly announce his support for political transient, Scott Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Very firm words. Unqualified Christie backing. Yet, when immigrant Brown was “Senator Brown from Massachusetts,” Christie locked horns with him repeatedly and – in true Christie style – did so at the top of his lungs. Now it’s all better? Yeah, sure.

Political endorsements are almost always about getting an advantage or keeping the advantage. Chairman Christie of the Republican Governor’s Association, for example, is interested only in getting more Republicans in statehouses. Experience or qualifications be damned. Hand him a piece of paper with the name of your local Republican wannabe governor and Christie will make you think they grew up together. Buddies for life.

There’s nothing wrong with that per se. It’s just a job Christie and others are doing. But you need to know that because if you believe the hollow, verbal garbage and let the endorsement make your voting decision for you, then there’s a lot wrong.

And, of course, there’s the double-edged sword of endorsements. May look good to the one receiving the endorsement. Or, it may be a message to voters who don’t know the candidate but know they don’t like one or more of those doing the endorsing. Associated guilt, as it were.

The national political mess we’re in has been caused by a lot of things. But three factors stick out for me. First, too many voters don’t know one candidate from another and – like picking the “pretty brown horse” at the track – they cast a vote for the wrong reason. Second, too many of us don’t do our homework to find out which are the smart rabbits and which shouldn’t be allow to handle sharp objects.

And, third, many are “turned off” to politics – all politics – and either don’t vote or don’t make informed choices. So they wind up cancelling out wise decisions by more informed voters. And we wind up with a Louie Gohmert when we’d be better off with Gomer Pyle.

Each informed vote – honestly cast – does make a difference. That’s just a fact. Each vote. Every vote. But especially the vote that’s the result of a little research – a little extra effort – a little independent thought. The information is more easily accessible now than ever. Getting it is not hard.

What’s hard is living with the results of a bad vote – an uninformed vote – or a vote that wasn’t cast. Or falling for an endorsement of someone you don’t know BY someone you don’t know.

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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)

Risk of wildfires rising (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
UI professors opposing campus gun carry (Boise Statesman)
Idaho Falls plans for big fireworks (IF Post Register)
WA state initiatives ready for fall voting (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
New Nampa school superintendent takes over (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa Hobby Lobby opens in fall (Nampa Press Tribune)
Firefighters ready for fireworks aftermath (Nampa Press Tribune)

Highway 20 work proceeding (Corvallis Gazette)
New can, bottle recycling at Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane Co may exempt from Eugene leave plan (Eugene Register Guard)
Jackson libraries consider funding options (Medford Tribune)
Business owner arrested over bathroom camera (Medford Tribune)
Oregon gets 3 BNSF oil trains a week (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton Grain Growers may see layoffs (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Still investigating the hospital forgotten urns (Portland Oregonian)
Ballot measures begin to qualify (Salem Statesman Journal)

Smokey Point gets a medical clinic (Everett Herald)
Home values at Snohomish rising (Everett Herald)
Senator questions Hanford contractor payment (Kennewick Herald)
Seattle pot merchant will open Tuesday (Longview News)
Report says tourism will be economic key (Port Angeles News)
Inslee says state must prepare for downturn (Port Angeles News)
King County home prices still rising higher (Seattle Times)

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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)

Juvenile inmate abuse alleged in lawsuit (Boise Statesman)
Idaho asks Supreme Court Medicaid rate review (IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune)
Work progressing on new elementary schools (IF Post Register)
Gas prices rising quickly (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Pullman gets no pot store for another month (Moscow News)
Parma mayor quits after recall raised (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho Republicans search for resolution (Pocatello Journal)
Mormon crickets sweep through Oneida County (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello sees rabid bat (Pocatello Journal)
Mental health provider Optum blasted (TF Times News)

Critics blast Corvallis city garage plan (Corvallis Gazette)
Initiative would require GMO listing (Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Corvallis Gazette)
Parking district issue may go to vote (Corvallis Gazette)
Fire arupts at Lava Bed monumment (KF Herald & News)
Malin Theatre reopens after 50 years (KF Herald & News)
Marijuana tax set at Ashland (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Circle of Teran property sales at $1.5 million (Ashland Tidings)
Medford libraries moving cautiously (Medford Tribune)
CCOs showing strong progress (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Third strip club okayed in Umatilla (Pendelton E Oregonian)
Pendleton mail sort ends 2015, goes to Portland (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reporting changes on weapons in schools (Portland Oregonian)
Public employment growing again (Salem Statesman Journal)

Mukilteo may reach agreement on fire (Everett Herald)
Committee starts on Civic Field rehab (Port Angeles News)
Six profit colleges in WA could close (Seattle Times)
Seattle mayor quashes exec raise at City Light (Seattle Times)
Signatures delivered on class size measure (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
Heavy traffic expected on 4th (Tacoma News Tribune)
Moving ahead with waterfront trail (Vancouver Columbian)
North Bonneville applies for put store (Vancouver Columbian)
Payback ordered for former Selah manager (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

July 20 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of a governor never elected by the people of Idaho who nonetheless had a more profound and lasting impact upon Idahoans than many of its elected governors. His name was Forrest H. Anderson, the 17th governor of Montana who in one-term, 1968-1972, not only transformed Montana but indirectly helped his colleague, Cecil D. Andrus, to transform Idaho.

Born in Helena on January 30, 1913, he died tragically by his own hand at the age of 76 in Helena on July 20th, 1989. He had been in ill health for years in part due to a hard life consumming too much alcohol (A functioning alcoholic he allegedly quit drinking during his second term as Montana attorney general, 1960-1964) and too much tobacco whether cigarettes, a pipe or a cigar.

A short, almost pixie-like figure, he nonetheless towers over most other Montana governors in terms of ability to change the state and turn its government into true and efficient public servants. He could be brusque with people and caustic. He often swore like a lumberjack and had little use for the press. A very private person he was often accused of acting in secret (He did). A humble man, he eschewed all the trappings of high office.

Montanans, however, loved him. He was elected three times as attorney general (1956, 1960, 1964), served a term early in his career from Lewis and Clark County in the Montana Legislature (1945-47), and was twice elected as an associate justice of Montana’s State Supreme Court. He is the only person to ever serve in all three branches of government in Montana.

He could have easily been re-elected governor but his declining health compelled him to step aside after but one term – one however which saw Montana’s government truly changed. Two of the three major changes he brought about in Montana had their “successors” in Idaho.

Anderson first met Idaho’s newly elected 39 year old governor, Cecil D. Andrus, in the summer of 1971 at a Western Governors Association meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They hit it off immediately, though Anderson was almost twenty years older. Both had reputations for candor and political smarts and both recognized similarities in the other.

While there Anderson walked Andrus through the intricacies of his successful effort to take Montana’s 160 agencies, boards, and commissions and consolidate them down into no more than 20 state agencies. He packaged it in the form of an initiative that he took to the people for a vote in November of 1970. It passed over whelmingly.

Andrus recognized Idaho had the same need, so lifted the page from Anderson’s playbook, ingeniusly added the phrase “one-stop” shopping, and took it to Idaho’s voters in November of 1972 with a similar result.

On another occasion Andrus was complaining to Anderson about the spiraling costs for Idaho in belonging to an interstate compact for higher education services (WICHE) not usually available in states like Idaho and Montana, including various fields of medical education. After listening to Andrus, Anderson said, “Well, Cece, let’s form our own.”

Thus was the highly successful WAMI (stands for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program born whereby states like those and later Wyoming, without medical schools purchase seats at the University of Washington’s Medical School. Graduates of the program are encouraged and incentivized to return to their sponsoring state to apply their skills especially in underserved rural areas.

Anderson also will forever be known as the generator of the modern Montana State Constitution. He felt Montana’s original needed a complete overhaul. He spearheaded the successful creation of a Montana Constitutional Commission that sent to the people in 1972 a revised and modernized Constitution which narrowly passed. Recognizing he had more than enough on his plate, Andrus did not follow Anderson’s lead on this.

One story tells much about this “little big man:” While serving as governor he would sometimes spend an evening picking up trash in the fishing access parking lot adjacent to some property he owned on the Missouri River. The story goes that a passerby walked into a nearby bar and complained to the bartender that there was some deluded fool out in the parking lot picking up trash who also claimed to be Montana’s governor. The bar tender replied quietly, “He is.”

On July 20th take a moment to say a prayer for the repose of the soul of the best un-elected governor Idahoans across the years will continue to be the beneficiaries from his fine public service. Rest in peace, Forrest H. Anderson. Your place in the history of two states is secure.

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Carlson