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Posts published in September 2014

On the front pages

news

Was it a backing off or a miscommunication? The forest service chief says there was never an intent to require permits of news or recreational photographers shooting pictures in the wilderness, that the permits were aimed more at large movie productions and the like. Which doesn't square with local rangers requiring permits of news photographers. The followup news stories were continuing on today; still more followup will be needed.

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-Caldwell I-84 work cancelled (Boise Statesman)
INL projects helps with disaster preparedness (IF Post Register)
New strategic plan on Idaho juvenile justice (IF Post Register)
Otter visits UI, talks college savings (Moscow News)
WA state auditor reviews Whitman issues (Moscow News)
Forest Service says photo plan misunderstood (Lewiston Tribune)
Jones/Ybarra debate at Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Democrats seeking out younger voters (TF Times News)
More steps toward canyon jump attempt (TF Times News)

New OSU students arrive (Corvallis Gazette)
Tracktown USA pursues global event (Eugene Register Guard)
Wilderness photo permits debated (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News)
Interior Secretary Jewell visits on grouse (KF Herald & News)
Richardson fined over campaign reporting (Medford Tribune)
Many responses to survey on Ashland ski area (Medford Tribune)
Grant law enforcement looks for truants (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing 3rd House district race (Portland Oregonian)

Bremerton naval hospital redefing itself (Bremerton Sun)
Delayed Mariott hotel building launched (Everett Herald)
More beds designated for mental health (Everett Herald)
Many retirements in Olympia police this year (Olympian)
Wilderness photo permits debated (Seattle Times, Olympian)
Navy war games planned on Olympic peniunsula (Port Angeles News)
Couple on air for 118 years signs off (Port Angeles News)
Less uncompensated care at Harborview hospital (Seattle Times)
Secret meetings by port panel (Tacoma News Tribune)
New trail maps Tacoma rail tradition (Tacoma News Tribune)
Reviewing 3rd CD contest (Vancouver Columbian)
Oil industry reviewing train testing plans (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima residents may face power rate increase (Yakima Herald Republic)

A failure of consideration

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

When there is a mutually bargained for exchange for value, and one side is unable to deliver the promised value, in legal terms it’s called a failure of consideration.

What should be done if the Oregon Supreme Court overturns the PERS reforms that were part of the 2013 Legislaure’s “Grand Bargain” ?

In 2013, the State faced a budget crisis. State retirement costs were taking an ever increasing part of State and local budgets and Oregon education spending was losing ground and we continued to dwell in the bottom third of all states in per student spending. The solution was the Grand Bargain. The key elements of the deal were:

PERS changes. Reduce COLA’s, remove future legislators from coverage. (and other fixes)
Taxes: increase taxes on higher income Oregonians and eliminate the special medical tax deduction for higher income seniors. Increase cigarette taxes. Decrease taxes for pass through (S-Corp and LLC) business owners
Eliminate the power of local entities to regulate GMO’s
One time spending bump for schools

The GMO bill was a pay off for someone and not a key to the bargain. The key bargain- or exchange of consideration – between the Democrats and the Republicans was the trade off between PERS changes and taxes. And the key result was the school spending bump.

Immediately after the Grand Bargain was passed, the PERS changes were challenged in court. The challenge was fast tracked to the Oregon Supreme Court. All briefing was to be complete by early September and arguments are to be heard in October 2014. Unfortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court will not be able to issue an opinion before the November election.

But what if the Courts strike some or all of the PERS changes? If it does, the Legislature will have to address the huge gap the Court will have blown in the budget. (more…)

Rituals

Bond DAVID
BOND

 
Wallace St

Ritual is these days pretty much ignored or even despised, unless you're a gangsta wannabe who has to shoot a school-aged child to get yourself into the inner circle.

Ritual – the rite of initiation – used to be of great value to this country, at least to its male component. The rite of initiation used to humble us and make us human beings.

I can't claim to surviving Marine Corps boot camp training, as my father can. Nor did I attend the Air Force Academy, as my great kid brother did. But between initiation into Phi Delta Theta and a summer camp doing officer's boot with the USAF, I learned the lesson. Trouble is, the lesson has to be beaten into you.

One purpose of the rite of initiation is to grind you down and humiliate you beyond belief. In this age of artificially pumped up self-esteem, the “attaboy” for showing up for school once or twice a week even as you drool in a stoned stupor on your textbook, it's outright archaic.

Here's why the rite of initiation is not archaic: It turns wild young boys into human beings.

How does this happen?

Your masters, whether military NCOs and officers, or the seniors of your college fraternity, beat the living crap out of your ego. You are, at the end of weeks of physical exhaustion, forced to turn to some guy you never liked and beg him for help. And, funny thing is, he needed your help, too, and so did the chap next to you.

I will give a simple example, from a Phi Delt initiation. We pledges were placed in a circle and forced to do curl-ups until we were all about ready to croak, wearing buckets containing onions about our necks for a week. Not a dandy way to pick up girls from sorority row.

Hours and hours of this, after days of no sleep and all the time being screamed at. We could do no more curl-ups.

Then, one-by-one, a consciousness spread among us. The big asshole Hawaiian football player grabbed my arm and helped me do one more pull-up. By instinct I grabbed the guy on my left, whose name I cannot remember, and grabbed him up, and the three of us got ourselves up, and within the space of a minute we were all of us in that circle, arms locked, together, nobody better than anybody else. It wasn't about me anymore. It was about us, and we could do curl-ups together all night long.

At that moment, we got “it.” We were liberated spirits because we had become united. Ain't nobody better than anybody else. Some went on to greatness and built great things. Others became street bums, legislators or journalists.

It doesn't matter, because the rite of initiation gave us all the same starting line and, I believe, the same humility and sense of humanity. It is a rite sadly missing.

On the front pages

news

On the list of clearly and obviously idiotic governmental regulations, the planned (actually, long-standing interim rule which may be made permanent) rule on wilderness photography must have a place of honor. Regulation of activity in wilderness areas start from a rational premise, that man should visit but not stay and that his footprint should be as light as possible. And you can see the argument if someone (news organizations included) want to bring in equipment larger than a photographer can carry on his person. Short of that, how does the photo rule (as reported on by a string of Northwest papers today), which may require $1,500 permits even of ordinary visitors to the lands and allows government employees to decide which news stories merit wilderness photography and which don't, serve to protect the condition of wilderness areas? It could undermine them instead if it infuriates people about the idea of designating lands as wilderness (hello, Boulder-White Clouds).

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)

Forest Service plans wilderness photo rules (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune)
Judge Lodge takes senior status (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
First gubernatorial date held, minus otter (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Capital for a day meets Lenore (Lewiston Tribune)
Pedestrian mall maybe for downtown Lewiston (Lewiston Tribune)
Questions arising about Lochsa land deal (Moscow News)
C of I adds to faculty, for more students (Nampa Press Tribune)
Clothes store wants to build at canyon rim (TF Times News)

New connector trail west of Corvallis set (Corvallis Gazette)
Family working on pot dispensary business (Corvallis Gazette)
Demolition of old city hall approved (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath county working on air quality (KF Herald & News)
Gold Hill may set 25% pot tax (Medford Tribune)
Forest Service plans wilderness photo rules (Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
Pendleton library considers new services (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Potatoes have above average season (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Stanfield may get low-income housing (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing 2nd District U.S. House race (Portland Oregonian)
Fires break records in 2014 in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)

Harrison medical sets plans for Silverdale (Bremerton Sun)
Ferries gather input from riders (Bremerton Sun)
Glacier Peak to be watched closer for eruptions (Everett Herald)
Group formed on Everett homelessness (Everett Herald)
4th district candidates talk up Hanford (Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
Group urges pot laws tightened on in-car use (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Big tidal wetland created near Cathlamet (Longview News)
Flat water fee considered in Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Clallam auditor race reviewed (Port Angeles News)
Seattle cops test body cameras (Seattle Times)
Halfway mark reached in light rail extension (Seattle Times)
Avista moving some big gas lines (Spokane Spokesman)
Selah considers 'all inclusive' park (Yakima Herald Republic)

You can run but you can’t hide

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

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. (more…)

On the front pages

news

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)

The good times rolled

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Summer is over on Oregon’s central coast. No big news for you, maybe. But very big news for those of us beach side. And good news it is. Very good! Stores, restaurants, bars, campgrounds and all the usual places tourists spend their dollars are saying this has been the best - very best - year ever. Not just since the recession. Ever!

Even the real estate market, which went in the tank in 2007, has come back in a big way. Average sales prices in the $270,000 bracket a year ago hit an average of $340,000 in August. The number of sales has been pretty consistent for the last few months at 70 or so in our county. But prices have been going back to pre-recession levels. Best residential buys around now are condos and townhouses. Time shares are also firming up.

But - part of the reason for these record-setting numbers is likely to present a big future downside, we’re told. The weather. The summer months have been absolutely beautiful. But, it seems, too much so. Traditional rainy periods that occasionally drive sunbathing tourists back to the motels temporarily have been few. Less than two inches in August. About the same in July.

Biologists are saying coastal rivers aren’t running high enough for returning salmon to get all the way back to their spawning grounds. The absence of the usual amount of rainfall is also likely to affect lobster and crab futures because shallower waters near the coastline are warmer than usual. Not enough cold inflow from rivers.

So, it may be a “win-some, lose-some” situation. But it really has been just beautiful!

This was our first full summer during “the season.” We’d been warned the influx of all the touristas would have a daily affect on our lives. Lines at the good restaurants. Crowds in the stores. Lots of waiting when shopping. And traffic. Lots and lots of traffic in our little single highway towns. We’d have to learn the “back routes” to get from one end of the community to another.

It wasn’t really so bad. Except for the “left-turners.” Damn, how they screw up traffic. Rather than making three right turns to go around the block and head safely straight ahead to the beach, they just stop and hit the left blinker. And they stay stopped for one or more complete cycles of lights while traffic piles up behind.

In summer months, traffic moves north and south through little towns like ours in an almost unending stream. No problem as long as the movement continues. You deal with it. Except for those damned “lefties.” But when we locals complain, someone downtown who relies on the transitory dollars screams banning turns would cost them their livelihood. Sounds like B.S. to me but they win. Every time.

Speaking of traffic, during the season, it seems the most out-of-state plates we see are on vehicles from Washington, California, British Columbia and Idaho. In that order. All, of course, want to get close to the Pacific. And Oregon is where they chose to do so. (more…)

On the front pages

news

The biggest Northwest story of the day was environmental: A finding in one study that wind patterns, more than human activity specifically, in large part may have been causing the warmer than normal winters in the Pacific Northwest (and may again this year). The story is likely to be misread as a shot against global climate warming, but the academics who worked on it were specific that it was not, that the phenomenon they reviewed was a specific regional development, not global, and just one factor among many.

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)

Middleton ends contract with sheriffs office (Boise Statesman)
Bison from Yellowston may be spread around (Boise Statesman)
Asotin sheriff's race turning bitter on ad (Lewiston Tribune)
Warm weather expected in region this fall (Lewiston Tribune)
Profiling new Schweitzer engineereing CEO (Moscow News)
Moscow considers beer, wine at farmers market (Moscow News)
Idaho health exchange will have 261 plans (Nampa Press Tribune)
Property tax homeowner exemption will rise (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Are Idaho drivers rudest nationwide? (Pocatello Journal)

Strong job growth noted in Benton (Corvallis Gazette)
Two school board slots filled at Corvallis (Corvallis Gazette)
Batch of OSU parking permits sell out fast (Corvallis Gazette)
Aaron Jones, Eugene lumber exec, dies (Eugene Register Guard)
City hall demolition creeping ahead (Eugene Register Guard)
KF council reviews pot revenue potential (KF Herald & News)
Debate over Cave Junction anti-bullying (Medford Tribune)
Medford looks at viaduct improvements (Medford Tribune)
Drone test range gets final OK (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Editorial boards host governor debate (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pacific temps linked to wind patterns? (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Josephine sheriff seeks civilian help (Portland Oregonian)
Profiling race in OR 1st congressional (Portland Oregonian)
Salem holds off pot rule decision (Salem Statesman Journal)

Report says stalled ferry wasn't overloaded (Seattle Times, Bremerton Sun)
New rules possible for gun ranges (Bremerton Sun)
Legislators urge shakeup in ferry (Everett Herald)
BNSF Railroad limiting access to beach trail (Everett Herald)
Richland starts building 4th fire station (Kennewick Herald)
Thurston community TV upgrades equipment (Olympian)
Simpson lumber company may sell (Olympian)
Moving toward finish on biomass plant build (Port Angeles News)
Study: Pacific coast may be warmer due to winds (Seattle Times, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian)
Warnings of 15% cut in state college funds (Seattle Times)
Major drop in teen pregnancy at Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Wednesday quake may have hit Seattle Fault (Tacoma News Tribune)
Pinchot Forest HQ moves to Army barracks in 16 (Vancouver Columbian)

A Denney evaluation

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

I like Lawerence Denney.

I worked four sessions as communication adviser with the House GOP caucus when Denney was speaker of the House and found him to be fair and supportive. “Boss Denney,” – a description often used by the Lewiston Tribune and Post Register – didn’t fit this soft-spoken man.

In morning leadership meetings, he was anything but a “boss” or “bully.” Scott Bedke and Mike Moyle, the top leaders of the House today, were the strongest personalities in the room and often drove the discussions. Denney, with his friendly laid-back style, was the kind of guy who would lend you a ladder or a wrench if he were your next-door neighbor.

That’s the side of Denney that I have known for seven years. But because of his actions as House speaker, I can’t dismiss the harsh comments from the Tribune, Post Register and other sources. He’ll probably win the secretary of state’s office, because Democrats don’t stand much of a chance in this state. But many of the criticisms are justified and the editorial writers have a right to question his fitness for office.

Holli Woodings, Denney’s Democratic opponent, describes the basis of her campaign. “What this comes down to for me is who can best continue this legacy of fairness we have had in the secretary of state’s office for decades,” she said, referring to retiring Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and Pete Cenarrusa before that.

During his six years as speaker, Denney “fairness” was a one-way street. He was the leader of the Republican Party, especially the more conservative side of his party, and part of his purpose was to help GOP conservatives keep the upper hand. He earned the nickname “Boss Denney” after advising one organization to fire its legislative lobbyist and hire a friend and former state representative, Julie Ellsworth, to the position. He fired committee chairmen who didn’t follow the conservative path and fired one of the most conservative legislators ever to serve, former Rep. Delores Crow, from the redistricting commission, for apparently not being conservative enough and lack of communication. He spearheaded passage of closed primaries, which gave conservative Republicans an even greater advantage and served to make a bad election system worse.

In Denney’s world, “moderate” Republicans were no better than Democrats. It’s no mystery why former Rep. Leon Smith of Twin Falls, one of the committee chairmen who was fired by Denney, has endorsed Woodings.

So, if Denney wins the secretary of state’s race, he will have to transform himself from a partisan politician to an ambassador of fairness. That won’t be easy. (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)

More people show at Nez Perce Co fair (Lewiston Tribune)
Record grain harvest in northern Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow-Pullman climate-awareness march held (Moscow News)
ID minimum wage half of living wage (Moscow News)
BioLife Plasma plans Nampa opening (Nampa Press Tribune)
COMPASS looks at I-84 plans (Nampa Press Tribune)

Efforts to bring back monarch butterflies (Medford Tribune)
Renaming a bridge for Al Densmore (Medford Tribune)
Containing the Scoggins Creek fire (Portland Oregonian)

Green Mountain Mining hours expand (Everett Herald)
Voting post card goes out to voters (Everett Herald)
Longview had a hot summer (Longview News)
Charity costs at hospitals declining (Olympian)
Tacoma considers how to keep text messages (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oregon considers response to pot initiative (Vancouver Columbian)
Reviewing House race in District 17 (Vancouver Columbian)