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Posts published in August 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)

Colleges will report on strengths, weaknesses (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Boise seeks to annex 27,000 people to the SW (Boise Statesman)
Idaho's standard of living falls behind (IF Post Register)
Employers in Idaho seeinng wave of retirees (IF Post Register)
Traffic light change at Karcher Road (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislator sues Bannock County over jail death (Pocatello Journal)
Ybarra campaign draws questions (TF Times News)

Former Santa Clara school site may be sold (Eugene Register Guard)
Sky Lakes Medical adding clinics, staff (KF Herald & News)
Some wildfires nearly contained (KF Herald & News)
Gender pay gap found in state (Salem Statesman Journal)
How much tax money would pot give OR? (Salem Statesman Journal)

Legal settlement by Bremerton school, covered (Kitsap Sun)
Paine Field could see ongoing changes (Everett Herald)
Marysville goes after special ed improvements (Everett Herald)
Legal pot still has high cost, low supply (Longview News)
Wildfires burning through fighting funds (Seattle Times)
The last Issaquah farm sold (Seattle Times)
Massive I-5 renovation at Tacoma begins (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark Co sees many more traffic fatalities (Vancouver Columbian)
In Clark GOP, moderates faring better (Vancouver Columbian)
ACLU sues Yakima, seeks by-district council seat (Yakima Herald Republic)

A recess itinerary

idaho RANDY

Here's where members of Congress tend to get a bad rap: When congressional recesses are described as vacations, weeks when the officials can head off to the Caribbean and laze around. At times like the current congressional recess, which this year like most includes the month of August.

A few of them do treat it as time off, but most – while maybe taking a break here or there – use much of the time to do work, sometimes in Washington but often spending time back in the home state or district.

What exactly they do varies according to the person, and their priorities.

Last week Senator Mike Crapo released his recess schedule, and it shows that from August 11 to 28, which takes in most of the recess period, he will be visiting places and groups all over Idaho. On August 11 he will appear at two awards ceremonies and speak at the Financial Industry Authority Investor Forum. At McCall two days later he “discusses issues with Valley County Commissioners, Payette National Forest Supervisor’s Office” and in the afternoon “Tours Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory’s recent facility expansion” at Lewiston. The next day he goes to Orofino to speak with the county commissioners and the chamber of commerce; the day after, he's back in Lewiston for a groundbreaking on a water project.

And so on. On the 27th he has two events in Twin Falls, both meeting with veterans groups, and on the 28th two in Pocatello, presenting an award to a veteran and addressing an economic symposium.

That's a lot better than just vacationing during a recess, certainly, and not too different from what Idaho's congressional delegation often does. But it is a little limiting. If you're a economic developer or an executive of a prosperous business, or a veteran, or a local government official, your chances of getting face time with the senator aren't bad. It's not a bad thing that they get the opportunity. The point is, not many other Idahoans do.

Let me digress, for a moment, over to Oregon's 4th congressional district (the southwest part of the state), where veteran Representative Peter DeFazio is preparing for his recess. And he really needs some preparation.

Like other members of Congress, he'll be meeting with bunches of people and groups back home during the recess. But the core of his time will be spent at town halls, open meetings where people in the community are invited to ask questions of the representative, or give him a piece of their mind. (As they sometimes do; political opponents periodically show up and get involved.) Usually these run around an hour and a half each.

He will hold town hall meetings in Reedsport, Bandon, Gold Beach, Brookings, and Port Orford.

And then in Coos Bay, North Bend (this one mainly on veterans), Springfield, Cottage Grove, and Grants Pass.

And after that in Myrtle Creek, Roseburg, Lebanon, and Albany (the latter mainly on veterans).

And, in his last few days before the recess ends, in Corvallis, Florence, Veneta and two in Eugene.

DeFazio isn't the only member of Congress to run this kind of regime on their time away from D.C. But he certainly does get exposure to a wide range of his constituents.

The practice could use some expansion in places such as Idaho.

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)

Idaho pay is low, essential costs higher (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Rain helping spuds, hurting hay (IF Post Register)
More evacuations at Cougar fire (Lewiston Tribune)
Latah County budget nearly ready (Moscow News)
King's building demolished with Caldwell renewal (Nampa Press Tribune)
Data-driven crime, traffic approach in place (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello finance chief departs (Pocatello Journal)
Simplot Aberdeen plant won't close just yet (Pocatello Journal)
Write-in files for sheriff in Minidoka (TF Times News)
Racetrack approved within Burley (TF Times News)

Coos anti-smoking manager heads to Eugene (Coos Bay World)
Tribe transport plan lists county roads (Coos Bay World)
UO didn't have to pay $940k to Gottfredsson (Eugene Register Guard)
Chiloquin gets Head Start back (KF Herald & News)
KF mosquitoes found with West Nile (KF Herald & News)
Columbia gorge fire threatens home (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Experts say Oregon won't easily beat Oracle (Portland Oregonian)
Chemeketa exec may sue college (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ferry Tacoma extensively damaged (Kitsap Sun)
Granite Falls mine wants more work hours (Everett Herald)
Pot sales pass $1 million in tax payment (Olympian, Longview News)
South Lake Union plans building sale, construction (Seattle Times)
Pike Place rejects bicycle sharing program (Seattle Times)
New psychiatric boarding rule kicks in (Seattle Times)

On the hamster wheel

idaho RANDY

It was a little while after word of the departure of University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson that a key point about the terms of departure became clear.

The basics about the departure were released immediately, though there wasn't much clarity as to why he was leaving. The only explanation was that he wanted more time with his family, but really: He'd only been in the job for two years. He seemed to do well enough as president, made no major (visible) errors and from the outside looked to be headed toward a tenure of a number of additional years. And this guy they'd just hired, after an expensive year-long national search, was leaving, and they apparently gave him an immediate okay to go. Even an incentive of nearly a million dollars: $940,000, which apparently was a gift, not at all contractually required in the event of his resignation. (The figure came from the combination of a year's pay as president and a year as a tenured professor, which he also contractually has been.)

The first matter at hand, of course, is: Why such a generous departure payment for someone who simply quit early? The governing board made a reference to the “contributions” he made – but isn't that part of the job, what he was being paid for as a matter of course? What were the contributions that were so massive they qualified for a million-dollar gift?

Then there's: Why is he leaving? (Apparently it isn't for a higher paycheck elsewhere; he said he has no other job lined up.) You can count on this much: We haven't heard all of the reason, whatever it may be, yet.

And this: Is this the prompt for yet another year-long nation-wide search, the leadership status in which most of our universities seem to spending about a quarter to a third of their time? It seems a peculiar kind of status for institutions where brilliantly inspired top leadership is taken to be so important.

As a matter of going forward: UO has chosen its provost (academic vice president) Scott Coltrane as interim president. Based on their description of him, he seems a perfectly decent choice, a university administrator for a decade and a dean, then provost, at UO since 2008. He's apparently a respected administrator, and he knows something about UO. Why not save themselves the trouble and just strike the “interim” from his title, and be done with it?

Much better than the hamster wheel they're likely to fire up yet again.

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)

Boise talks about $17m bond plan (Boise Statesman)
Canyon conflicts over inmate labor program (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Ybarra says she didn't intend school snub (Boise Statesman)
Cougar fire S of Lewiston partly contained (Lewiston Tribune)
Study shows high costs of DUI (Moscow News)
Labor Statistics: 6% of Idaho have multiple jobs (Nampa Press Tribune)
Balukoff rally at Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Recovering from the flash flood (TF Times News)

UO picks provost as interim president (Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal)
Support for biologist leads to retention (KF Herald & News)
Columbian Gorge evacuees go home (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Toxin found in Salem water supply (Salem Statesman Journal)

New taxi rules for Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Composting odors are back at Everett (Everett Herald)
Possible cutbacks at Lewis-McChord base (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Inslee asks federal wildfire disaster help (Olympian)
Kilmer extremely outspents GOP challenger (Port Angeles News)
Supreme Court rules on psychiatric boarding (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Economic recovery lags in Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Sea star wasting found in aquariums (Tacoma News Tribune)
Election observer was packing heat (Vancouver Columbian)
Feds critical of inspections at Vancouver port (Vancouver Columbian)
Progress made on Snag Canyon fire (Yakima Herald Republic)

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)

Meridian-Eagle corridor still filling in (Boise Statesman)
More Idahoans facing climate change (IF Post Register)
Geological tour center opens at Driggs (IF Post Register)
Big wildfire roars south of Lewiston (Lewiston Tribune)
Large scale changes planned at airport (Moscow News)
Canyon work release still active for now (Nampa Press Tribune)
Sudden flood hits Twin Falls (TF Times News)
TF finds West Nile in mosquitoes (TF Times News)

UO president quits after two years (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal)
Fire in Columbian gorge ousts residents (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Early water shutoffs in Klamath Project (KF Herald & News)
Still more lightning wildfires (KF Herald & News)
State water supply fund still needs board (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Day care group blocks pot use (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bainbridge Island dog park opens (Bremerton Sun)
Area faces vias backlog (Kennewick Herald)
More wildfires in Okanogan area (Longview News)
Tea Party loses ground in Cowlitz precincts (Longview News)
Seattle house prices hit record levels (Seattle times)
Celis poor showing in 1st stuns GOP (Seattle Times)
Fife argues state can't legalize pot (Tacoma News Tribune)
Retail pot store in rural Pierce planned (Tacoma News Tribune)
Columbia gorge fire ousts residents (Vancouver Columbian)
Benton complaint against Inslee dismissed (Vancouver Columbian)
Snag Canyon fire finds wind (Yakima Herald Republic)

The general difference, maybe

idaho RANDY

The primary – which it still sort of is, despite its top-two functionality – in Washington often is regarded as a massive straw poll, a clear indicator of where things are headed in the November general election.

Often it provides good markers, especially when the results are strongly decisive. The incumbent members of Congress, for example, all came away with big leads in the primary. (That includes Suzan DelBene in the 1st, who many observers insisted was facing a close general election. If she is, it would mark a huge reversal from the primary.)

Closer primary results are another matter. Two of them jump out for interest come November.

One is in the 4th congressional district, where veteran incumbent Republican Doc Hastings is retiring. The issue isn't which party will control the seat; in the strongly Republican 4th, that seems a given. But a large number of Republicans were competing for the seat, and the outcome was unclear.

This week, the field was led by Clint Didier, a former pro football player now aligned with Tea Party and NRA interests, who has run for office twice before unsuccessfully, and Dan Newhouse, a former state legislator from the area who could be considered a more centrist conservative, who led the state's Department of Agriculture in former Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire's administration.

The contrast between the two is almost as clear as if their party labels were different. Didier will draw from the Tea Party and cultural right (his loud support for keeping the Redskins football team name helped ensure that), and Newhouse will draw from the left, probably including most Democratic voters. Didier led in the crowded field, but Newhouse seems to have most of the early money for the general, because he has the opportunity to grab backing from more blocks of voters.

It will be a clear-cut contest. Much more clear cut than the primary was.

So, likely, will be the contest in legislative district 35, where long-time Senator Tim Sheldon appears to have come in second place.

Sheldon is in a key spot in the Washington Senate. Nominally a Democrat, he often has sided with Senate Republicans and at the beginning of this current term joined with fellow nominal Democrat Rodney Tom, and the chamber's Republicans, to form a majority coalition dominated by Republicans, which among other things blocked large parts of new Governor Jay Inslee's agenda (and the Democratic House's). The contest for who will control the Senate in the next term remains closely fought. (more…)

More IPO candidates ahead?

harris ROBERT


Under Independent Party of Oregon rules, the nominating caucus may fill vacancies for any elective position.

Following the July online primary vote which nominated numerous candidates to office, The IPO has declared several House and Senate positions vacant. These seats are ones where no candidate applied, or was qualified by the caucus. Applicants have until August 15th, 2014 to apply.

IPO leaders indicate that they are particularly interested in candidates in districts where currently only one major party candidate will be appearing on the November general election ballot.

They say that in heavily gerrymandered districts where the winner of the dominant party primary is the presumptive winner in November, an independent candidate would offer independents, voters from the non dominant party, and even moderate voters of the dominant party, more choices.

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)

SUPI candidate Ybarra no show at school event (Boise Statesman)
New plans for Boise downtown bike lanes (Boise Statesman)
Improvements in housing markets in IF (IF Post Register)
E Washington elections results (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Genesee grass fire threatens home (Moscow News)
Caldwell's old Kings building to be razed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Rule Steel hit with OSHA ruling (Nampa Press Tribune)
Flooding hits parts of southern Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho issued reply in same sex marriage case (TF Times News)
Wildfire funding changes blocked (TF Times News)

Interim management director at Eugene schools (Eugene Register Guard)
Festival of Eugene gets site, needs more (Eugene Register Guard)
Water allocations at Klamath constrict (KF Herald & News)
Rain helping with wildfire battle (KF Herald & News)
Partial containment at Oregon gulch fire (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Virus killing southern Oregon deer (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Old hospital building demolished (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Forest plan blasted by local officials (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Housing scarce in Pendleton, Hermiston (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Tightened rules on pot, daycare providers (Salem Statesman Journal)

Election results (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Bremerton Sun, Longview News)
Planning for new Paine Field projects (Everett Herald)
Franklin Co jail hit with abuse lawsuit (Kennewick Herald)
Federal official won't inspect grain at Vancouver (Vancouver Columbian)
Snag Canyon fire develops (Yakima Herald Republic)