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Posts published in July 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)

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)

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)

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)

The fallacies of endorsements

rainey BARRETT


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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

A transformative governor

carlson CHRIS


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. (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)

Where Bergdahl came from (Boise Statesman)
Project cleans phosphorus from Boise River (Boise Statesman)
Department of Energy talks cleanup contracts (IF Post Register)
Idaho crime diminishing a little (IF Post Register, Pocatello Journal)
Suit filed vs state juvenile corrections (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon Fair may yet go to Idaho Center (Nampa Press Tribune)
Fish & Game rules on under-12 hunting tags (Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Coyotes hit Firth-area livestock (Pocatello Journal)
State mental health provider issues noted (TF Times News)
Plans shown for expanded Magic Valley airport (TF Times News)
Hot contest for state superintendent (TF Times News)

KF subdivision well closed off (KF Herald & News)
Oregon preparing for drought (Ashland Tidings)
Medford ordinance on pot challenged (Medford Tribune)
Medford appproves transfers in school districts (Medford Tribune)
Dry conditions hurting wheat yield (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Disputes over the firing of SAIF CEO (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)
Opponents to same sex marriage on ropes (Portland Oregonian)
New Oregonian editor named (Portland Oregonian)
Oracle has 1,280 contracts with OR governments (Salem Statesman Journal)

Should light rail run to Paine Field? (Everett Herald)
Post-Oso lawsuit names Snohomish Co, state (Everett Herald)
Hanford whistleblower loses legal appeal (Kennewick Herald)
Port Angeles population, unusually, declines (Port Angeles News)
T-Mobile must refund unwanted costs (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Longview News)
Seattle's first pot shop opens next Tuesday (Seattle Times)
Spokane hydroplane races blocked this year (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane blocks some fireworks (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma sets up billboard community (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima sheriff deputy contracts okayed (Yakima Herald Republic)

‘Fighting the Odds’ – back in print

You've seen the box above this post - about the new edition of the great Frank Church biography Fighting the Odds - for a while now. But with the release ongoing, I wanted to draw a little more attention to it.

You can find most of what you want to know (including how to order) at the Fighting the Odds page.

Here's what we had to say in our release to media and others:

Four-term Idaho Senator Frank Church would make any short list of the most important U.S. senators of the last century, and one of the most active on heated issues, from his role in developing wilderness areas, to his opposition to the Vietnam War, to investigating the CIA, Church was a leader on a host of difficult issues – and he did so representing a state where his views were not always in the majority.

Now Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church by LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer, is back in print on the twentieth anniversary of its first publication, through Ridenbaugh Press.

With a new foreword from Oregon's senior senator Ron Wyden, who has followed Church's footsteps with efforts to protect Americans from the over-reaching of our National Security Agency, "Fighting the Odds," is an award-winning, serious biography about a man who was not afraid to speak out and stand for what was right, instead of what was popular, accepted policy.

Wyden said in his foreword, “In Fighting the Odds, LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer have written, to my mind, the definitive biography of Senator Church’s political life. When Mr. Gramer contacted me about writing a foreword for the 20th anniversary of the book’s first printing, I was honored and quickly said yes.”

Gramer, a long-time Idaho Journalist and now President and CEO of Idaho Business for Education, covered Church for years before joining with Washington State University Professor LeRoy Ashby to write the biography. (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)

New Idaho laws taking effect (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
BSU anti-abortion groups says speech violated (Boise Statesman)
Several fires bloom in Magic Valley (TF Times News)

Tourism agency on Corvallis parking (Corvallis Gazette)
Oregon employers must fund contraceptives (Corvallis Gazette)
Air carrier loss may affect guard activities (KF Herald & News)
Summer looks dry, tough on farmers, wildlife (KF Herald & News, Ashland Tidings)
White City may get shooting range (Medford Tribune)
Weather makes for fireworks concerns (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton shipping center rehabbed (Pendleton E Oregonian)

Ferry design, car safety under review (Everett Herald)
Everett university center shifts to WSU (Everett Herald)
Reach center opens at Richland (Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
Records show 15 oil trains a week roll in area (Longview News)
Light supplies for pot at retail (Port Angeles News)
No contamination at Sequim milk (Port Angeles News)
Big money in Spokane prosecutor race (Spokane Spokesman)
WA gets biggest population growth since 08 (Tacoma News Tribune)
Dorn asks feds for break on No Child (Tacoma News Tribune)