Writings and observations

carlson CHRIS


Ron Crane has been the Idaho State Treasurer for 16 years. Most voters don’t have a clue who he is or what he does.

That’s a shame because his inexpertise at shifting investment accounts has cost the taxpayers at least $20 million dollars according to an independent audit. He is trying to cloud the picture by citing a legislative audit of office management that gives him a “clean” bill of health and included reviews of his questionable personal use of a state issued gas credit card and expense account reimbursements. However, he continues to refuse to disclose all the documents related to his inept management of the known $20 million loss.

Fortunately, for Idaho voters, there’s a lady bulldog after him, a tough minded, no nonsense accountant from Twin Falls named Deborah Silver who knows numbers and can keep the books balanced. She knows the job requires investing state tax collections wisely to always generate a return on investment.

Voters should take note of the fact that a vast majority of Idaho’s professional accountants, across party lines, are endorsing her candidacy.

She is down-to-earth, articulate, and passionate about doing the job correctly. She has thrown some nice jabs at Crane who is trying to avoid answering her relentless questions demanding true transparentcy and honesty from the incumbent. She nailed Crane’s renting a fancy limousine for he and his staff when on a bond sale trip to New York City with a simple statement that where she grew up the only “limousine” she ever saw was yellow and green with John Deere on the side.

She also cites Crane’s abuse of a state issued gas credit card to fill his personal vehicle as a classic example of greed by an elected official who comes to think he is entitled to all the perks he can grab at the public trough. Crane now buys his own gas, a tacit admission that he recognizes how cheesy such greed appears even if technically he was not in violation of state law.

Silver grew up in the Magic Valley and is a graduate of Jerome High School. Her thank you notes to contributors pictures her fly fishing with the Perrine Bridge in the background. She clearly knows how to handle a fly rod. Indeed, she is one of those folks all too rare, especially in public office, who projects competence and inspires confidence. She has easily attracted support from Republicans and Independents as well as Democrats.

There is a second-hand report of a poll, one which allocates those leaning and “undecideds,” along with those who have decided that has her closing in on Crane and she trails by only four points. Besides Crane’s questionable competency, she says when she tells voters he’s been there for 16 years, it almost always generates support for her because most Idahoans see public service as a temporary calling, not a lifetime tenured entitlement.

She should also do well with patrons of Idaho State University inasmuch as her husband of 38 years, Leroy Hayes, hails from Aberdeen. His younger brother, Steve, led Idaho State to its greatest basketball victory to date, a 1977 NCAA tournament upset, 76-75, in Provo of second ranked UCLA.

Silver received her B.A. in Business Administration from Boise State in 1979 and she is indeed a certified public accountant. Crane is not. Her husband is a graduate of Idaho State and holds a law degree from the University of Utah. Together they have raised their two children and both are Vandals. Son Eric is in communications and has an MFA in Creative writing. Daughter Victoria is an attorney.

Much of the Idaho media’s coverage of the upcoming November election is focusing on the races for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Secretary of State, where there is no incumbent and the Democrats have selected political veterans, a former assistant SPI, Jana Jones, for SPI, and State Representative Holli Woodings, for Secretary of State.

Even the current SPI, Tom Luna, appears to be conceding that Jana Jones will be his successor, and many folks say Woodings is in a dead heat with Lawerence Denney.

I just might drive down to Jackpot and place a bet that the Democrats will achieve a “trifecta” with all three women winning. Silver will win because she is the right person in the right place at the right time with the right message. The same can be said for Ms. Jones and Ms. Woodings.

Share on Facebook



The Tuesday Twin Falls debate was the last chance for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Sherry Ybarra to turn things around for her struggling campaign, and the debate may have helped. She presented herself as the experienced education professional she is, and her connection to the school-level education picture – her opponent, Jana Jones, has spent a lot of time in recent years in state-level education work – may have come across as appealing to a number of voters. Did it do enough to turn things around?

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)

CCDC planning condo project in Boise (Boise Statesman)
Boise Hawks seeking a new stadium (Boise Statesman)
Battle over Boise bike lanes coming to head (Boise Statesman)
Fewer people lacking health insurance now (IF Post Register)
Superintendent prospects Jones, Ybarra debate (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Congressional concern on Lochsa land exchange (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon Co food co-op may open in January (Nampa Press Tribune)
Melba schools may try bond election (Nampa Press Tribune)
SWAT dispute between Bannock Co, Fort Hall (Pocatello Journal)

OSU commbatting sex assaults (Corvallis Gazette)
Heavy rain in western Oregon (Corvallis Gazette)
KF Community Lounge will stay open (KF Herald & News)
Medford still working on pot tax measure (Medford Tribune)
New Hermiston manager points to water need (Pandleton E Oregonian)
Profiling 4th district House race (Portland Oregonian)
Using DNA technology for pot strains (Portland Oregonian)
Federal rule would limit photography in wilderness (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ferry sysrem waiting for new director (Bremerton Sun)
More discussion ahead about oil trains (Everett Herald)
Unemployment up in South Sound (Olympian)
Kilmer proposes bill on mining asteroids (Port Angeles News)
Clallam county still delays on pot decision (Port Angeles News)
Tharinger visits Clallam on various issues (Port Angeles News)
Streetcar line for First Hill gets ready (Seattle Times)
Amazon.com and the gender pay gap (Seattle Times)
Spokane might measure sewage pot traces (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma council backs gun background checks (Tacoma News Tribune)
Developer lines out plans for Chambers Bay (Tacoma News Tribune)
Lewis-McChord may close medical command (Tacoma News Tribune)
Considering budget cuts to colleges (Vancouver Columbian)
Teachers blast Yakima special ed approach (Yakima Herald Republic)

Share on Facebook

First Take