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Posts published in July 2014

Two lessons from Pete Holmes

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Washington

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who hasn't been a notably high-profile figure during his time in office – bearing in mind that his office automatically has some visibility – delivered two shockers, both in the form of highly useful lessons, last week. He got plenty of attention for both, attention sought out in one case and ruefully unsought in the other.

The first was his surprise appearance at Cannabis City, Seattle's first (legal) shop catering to recreational marijuana sales, on its opening morning. He was there early, and became the store's fourth customer, buying two small bags of product. His presence wasn't stunning in an absolute sense, since Holmes had been a strong and clear advocate for marijuana legalization; but then, not all legalization advocates are necessarily going to be customers of Cannabis city and its bretheren. Holmes said that one of his purchases was intended to be a keepsake, and the other – he suggestion – was intended for consumption.

This brief incident was captured on film (television cameras were there), and a picture of Holmes making a buy illegal under law in 48 other states was promptly posted on his official city web page. It's hard to imagine an image that more specifically or powerfully highlights how far the move toward legalization – and its social acceptability – has come.

Well, to a point.

Failing to think through (as an attorney should) the legal implications of what he was doing, a busy Holmes carried his bags back to his office at city hall. Soon after he was confronted with an unwelcome reality: Bringing marijuana into city hall (a “drug-free workplace”), and having it available during working hours, were contrary to city code. The code Holmes' job is supposed to enforce.
He fessed up soon after, said his mea culpas and offered to donate $3,000 (which would equate to a hefty fine) to the Downtown Emergency Service Center as penance.

Thereby providing a demonstration that although Washington has legalized the bud, its use and possession still are not exactly a wide-open matter. And will not be, at least for some time to come.

On the front pages

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)

Heavy construction ahead on I-84 (Boise Statesman)
Services for former Governor Evans (Boise Statesman)
IF youth developments gets $400k grant (IF Post Register)
Asotin sheriff quits August 1 (Lewiston Tribune)
UI installing more traffic calming projects (Lewiston Tribune)
Nampa taffic patterns will shift (Nampa Press Tribune)
New wineries in Caldwell business incubator (Nampa Press Tribune)
Boating limited at a lower Lake Lowell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Who plays for cleanup on sewer-backed houses? (Pocatello Journal)
TF seeks improved bicycle access (TF Times News)

About 45k visit Oregon Country Fair (Eugene Register Guard)
Hotter weather coming in next few days (Eugene Register Guard)
School's sports field nearly done (KF Herald & News)
Low water worries lead to bottled water scam (Ashland Tidings)
Medford officials plan Vietnam memorial (Medford Tribune)
Proposed natural gas plants to stabilize juice (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Dentist regulators make discipline info less available (Portland Oregonian)
Walnut trees at state hospital dying (Salem Statesman Journal)

Temperatures in the 90s are ahead (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun)
Starbucks approved for Bainbridge Island (Bremerton Sun)
Renovation funds could come for Mukilteo terminal (Everett Herald)
Inslee touts Washington at air show (Everett Herald)
District 4 congressional race turning ugly (Kennewick Herald)
Hastings urges protections on medical pot (Kennewick Herald)
More wildlfires in Washington (Vancouver Columbian, Kennewick Herald)
Pot shops have run out of pot (Longview News)
Employers still can impose pot limits (Seattle Times)
State's first license pot grower selling out (Spokesman Review)
Overview of pot marketplace (Tacoma News Tribune)
Portland quit free parking for disabled (Vancouver Columbian)

On the front pages

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)

New apartments planned for former trailer park (Boise Statesman)
Sugar-Salem schools may see cuts (IF Post Register)
New manager of transit in Pullman (Moscow News)
Charter school buys Caldwell land for auditorium (Nampa Press Tribune)
Democrats hold livable wage rally at Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Two legislative Democratic candidates drop out (Pocatello Journal)
Massive spontaneous explosion of alfalfa at Hansen (TF Times News)

Eugene cops kept list of disliked people? (Eugene Register Guard)
KF downtown getting bike corrals (KF Herald & News)
Oregon Caves monument may expand by 4,000 acres (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Reviewing the adult business collection at Umatilla (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New travel time reader boards set by ODOT (Portland Oregonian)

Kitsap library plans new Silverdale branch (Bremerton Sun)
BrewFest at Bremerton gets new location (Bremerton Sun)
Still searching for the last Oso victim (Everett Herald)
Everett says Kimberly Clark cleanup not yet done (Everett Herald)
Big wildfire growing fast near Entiat (Kennewick Herald)
Pot remains in short supply at stores (Seattle Times, Longview News)
High court: bicyclist box not subject to search (Longview News)
Inslee pushes increase in fish consumption (Port Angeles News)
STDs spreading more rapidly (Spokane Spokesman)
Sockeye salmon have record run at Bonneville (Spokane Spokesman)
Fire balloons at Lake Spokane (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver opens second pot store (Vancouver Columbian)
Heat rising quickly in region (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima council member proposed utility tax cut (Yakima Herald Republic)

Shut the hell up, Sarah

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

I’ve wanted to do a column under that headline for five years now. Even got to the keyboard a few times but held back. Really don’t know why. Lord knows she’s given any thinking person a pot full of reasons to tell her to “take a hike.” But now it appears she’s pissed off more than half the country and a majority just wants her to shut up and go away.

A new NBC/Wall Street/Annenberg poll has found 54-percent of voters - regardless of party - have heard enough of the Wasilla wastrel. Even four-in-ten Republicans don’t want to hear her uninformed babbling anymore. Among Democrats the margin is two-thirds.

But it’s not just the self-serving Alaskan opportunist the public is fed up with. More than half the respondents are tired of hearing Rev. Jesse Jackson’s opinions on this, that and the other. Nearly half would like former Vice President Cheney to put a sock in it and go silently back to Wyoming with about 43% saying “enough already” to Newt Gingrich.

Aside from being just plain without talent or knowledge enough to make any sort of meaningful contribution to the national dialogue, Palin’s problem - and to some extent the others - is the result of several things. First, none of those named has any legitimate public platform. All did at one time. But no more. They have no substance and nothing relevant to say. They’ve worn out their welcome.

Second, the media made them “personalities.” As such, they have nothing meaningful to contribute. No public office. No institutional connection. No platform of any kind. They’re just supposed to be opinionated, funny, crusty, say controversial things, be available and show up.

Think all the people you know. You know lots of folks. But are they all friends? Do you invite all these folks to your house? Do you even want all of them at your house? Probably not. Oh, you may work with some, socialize with some, go to church with some. But are they all people you want to hang out with all the time? Probably not. People come and go in our lives but few relationships stay. Those that do are based on something more than “personality.”

The media has “made” these people - Palin, Gingrich, Jackson et al. Not because they’re good, upstanding, honest folk with something important to say. No. They’ve made them “personalities” to fill long stretches of what would otherwise be “dead air” or empty pages because they can be counted on to be controversial or entertaining if not illuminating or meaningful. They’re creatures of the media and, when they no longer can bring ratings or subscriptions numbers, they’ll be discarded by that same media. Old news.

Palin, in particular, is nothing more than a media “personality.” She’s offered nothing positive or important to the national dialogue since you first heard her name six years ago. She’s a creation: partly by the media but mostly by her own hand. When the national spotlight accidentally shined on her in 2008 - at the behest of a confused John McCain - she was ready. Immediately ignoring McCain speech writers and political advisers much smarter than her, freelancing interviews without campaign approval, copywriting her name and image and signing a long-term contract with a major speaker’s bureau before the campaign was over, Palin grabbed the brass ring. The media loved her. Well, more like developed a case of heavy breathing. (more…)

On the front pages

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)

Nampa okays new traffic pattern and library (Boise Statesman)
Big new Broadway Ford building in IF (IF Post Register)
Iona in forced annexation battle (IF Post Register)
Simpson on stringer EPA arsenic standards (IF Post Register)
More time for ice skating rink lease (Lewiston Tribune)
Teacher shortage growing in Washington (Moscow News)
Pullman tries to use more green eneregy (Moscow News)
District court at Latah puts in budget request (Moscow News)
Searching for new College of Idaho president (Nampa Press Tribune)
Money heads into anti-wolf program (Nampa Press Tribune)
Road work leads to sewage overflows (Pocatello Journal)
School bond narrowly fails at North Gem (Pocatello Journal)
Hunters opposing White Clouds monument (TF Times News)
Transportation Department hit will asbestos fine (TF Times News)

Road work will worsen Eugene traffic (Eugene Register Guard)
Blue Mountain Recovery Center may be demolished (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Higher salary for new Cover Oregon leader (Portland Oregonian)

Port Orchards rejects pot sale restrictions (Bremerton Sun)
Inslee proposes new water quality plan (Spokane Spokesman, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic)
John Koster reviewing his county ombudsman role (Everett Herald)
Reynolds smelter buildings at Longview demolished (Longview News)
Mass of air samples tested at Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
Port Angeles business groups consider unity (Port Angeles News)
Short supply in pot stores (Seattle Times)
First Spokane pot buyer now without a job (Spokane Spokesman)
Shipping firm back at Tacoma after 31 years (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver marijuana shop opens doors (Vancouver Columbian)
More complaints about fireworks this year (Vancouver Columbian)

John Evans

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

For a while after he became governor in 1977, John V. Evans became known among some Idaho political writers as the Rodney Dangerfield of governors: He couldn't get no respect – and that was the headline of a column at the time.

Anecdotes flew around. He was the lieutenant governor who put gas in his car tank, forgot his wallet at home, and promised the attendant he would run right back and get it and pay. Not good enough: The lieutenant governor had to leave his watch as collateral. (Evans had a good enough sense of humor that none of this seemed to bother him.)

As governor, there was an optics issue too. He took the office not by election but by elevation, after the charismatic Cecil Andrus had been named interior secretary. Evans had a lot to live up to, and he lacked Andrus' magnetism.

But by the time of Evans' passing this week, perspectives changed – a lot. He gets a good deal of respect now and for good reason.

John Evans held office during one of Idaho's tougher economic periods, and when much of the bigger picture of Idaho politics, on partisan, social and philosophical levels, was turning against him. He still won election to the job twice, the second time over a man (Phil Batt) who more than a decade later did become governor; he came very close to winning a race for the U.S. Senate. (All that followed a closely contested run for lieutenant governor in 1974.)

Evans could fairly be considered one of Idaho's strongest governors. He was a highly skilled politician (first elected to the state Senate in the Republican year of 1952 from Republican Oneida County), a far better campaigner than many people credited him for, and he could be a partisan leader when occasion arose. Republicans long remembered how many previous governors would simply sign a veto of legislation, but Evans brought out a big red veto stamp to make his point.

My memories of his time in office come from another angle: Alongside the self-confidence (which any successful politician must have) was an evidently genuine humility and kindness. Few major public offices I have ever seen were as open as his; the door of his office was nearly always open, allowing for inquiring reporters or anyone else to see exactly what the governor was up to at any given moment.

One day I asked to spend a day with the governor, from breakfast until he got home from work. That sort of story isn't totally unique, but what was unusual was this: I wasn't kicked out of anything, any meetings or deliberations at all, all day. That was not the kind of openness you saw in just about anyone else's administration. (more…)

Remembering Evans

peterson MARTIN
PETERSON
 

John Evans left the governorship in 1987 – 27 years ago. Roughly two-thirds of Idaho’s current population were either under the age of eighteen or not even born yet when he left office. Given Evans’ low public profile after leaving office, it isn’t surprising that many Idahoans don’t recall his many years of public service. Many of them probably associate him more closely as the face in advertisements for D.L. Evans Bank.

John Evans grew up in Malad. His grandfather David L. Evans served in the territorial legislature and, following statehood was Speaker of the House. Like his grandfather, John Evans was a Democrat and a banker. He was elected to the state senate in 1952, at the age of 27. In 1957, when the Democrats took control of the Senate, he became senate majority leader. He left the senate in 1959 and was elected mayor of Malad.

His years as a small town mayor, rancher and banker provided him with invaluable experience and skills that would serve him well when he returned to state government, again serving as a senator, then lieutenant governor and finally ten years as governor.

When Cecil Andrus resigned as governor to become Secretary of Interior in 1977, Evans became governor. His ten years as governor were during some of the most challenging times that Idaho has ever faced. In 1978 Idaho voters approved the 1% Initiative, which placed substantial restrictions on the ability of local governments to raise operating revenues. Then came the economic collapse. The state’s economy had little diversification and was heavily dependent upon natural resource based industries. In a perfect storm, the bottom dropped out of the timber, mining and agricultural industries. As a result, state tax revenues plummeted.

Using his experience as a mayor, Evans understood the need for basic governmental services at the state and local levels. As a mayor, he also understood the need for setting priorities and operating in a fiscally conservative manner. The result was a mixture of reducing non-essential services, cutting operating costs and increasing the flow of state revenues. He also created the Idaho Department of Commerce to help begin Idaho’s economic rebuilding. With a legislature heavily dominated by Republicans and led by staunch conservatives such as Tom Stivers in the house and Jim Risch in the senate, Evans had his work cut out for him. But he rose to the occasion, working with a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans, he kept the ship afloat and laid the groundwork for an economic recovery that led to some of the best years that Idaho’s economy has ever seen. In many ways, his relationship with a Republican legislature was more productive than that of some Republican governors. (more…)

On the front pages

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)

Recalling Governor John Evans (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, TF Times News)
Owyhee building, hotel no longer, plans opening (Boise Statesman)
No pot sales in SE Washington for a month (Lewiston Tribune)
Poll finds favor for road repair, not fuel taxes (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Pot sales open in Washington (Moscow News)
Humanists show billboards with secular message (Moscow News)
Nampa gets new Wal Mart in a week (Nampa Press Tribune)
National Republicans back August 2 Idaho meeting (Pocatello Journal)
728-acre fire attributed to teen (TF Times News)
Snake River canyon jumpers still push for event (TF Times News)

Lane County pushed back on Eugene sick leave rule (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing effect of legal WA pot on Oregon (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Klamath schools want $36 million bond (KF Herald & News)
Hot weather has effect in southern OR (Ashland Tidings)
Scaling down Medford downtown intersection (Medford Tribune)
Considering barley options around Umatilla (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Report on oil trains generates protest (Salem Statesman Journal)

Harrison hospital could leave 2nd insurer (Bremerton Sun)
Debate held for 26th House district race (Bremerton Sun)
Big fee charged for driving on Oso private road (Everett Herald)
Officials now must be trained in public records (Everett Herald)
State plans warnings on fish consumption (Everett Herald)
Marijuana sales begin in WA (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News, Port Angeles News)
Longview port may trip propane export plan (Longview News)
Domestic violence shooting at Spokane hospital (Spokane Spokesman)
State working on new water quality rules (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark planning for new bus system, gets grant (Vancouver Columbian)