Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: October 6, 2014”

Who passed, who flunked debate

carlson CHRIS


Political debates are rarely enlightening or much of a factor in a voter’s thought process before voting. The October 3rd gubernatorial debate in the Coeur d’Alene Public Library was a delightful exception.

Ever since I read a UCLA study on debates (Among its major findings was that 80% of a viewer’s decision on who won is determined by the NON-VERBAL signals candidates convey), I’ve been a skeptic.

Granted, whether a candidate conveys “command presence” or a sense of humor, and can smile while sticking a metaphorical stiletto into an opponent’s argument, or wears a bow tie or bolo tie, as opposed to a power red tie, these are all part of image conveyance. To learn, though, that what they say and whether they can cogently convey their thoughts to the voter, has little to do with “who won” was a bit depressing.

When my former student, Kathy Kahn, who is an outstanding teacher at St. Maries High School, invited me to attend with her, I had to go.

This debate, the first between three major candidates, was a legitimate “test” for each..

The Democratic nominee, A.J. Bulakoff, a successful Boise businessman and a long-time leader on the Boise school board, had to convince teachers, like Kathy, that he was truly a supporter of education, that he was for restoring program funding and raising teachers’ salaries decimated by Governor Otter’s cuts.

Otter had to defend his rationale for the cuts by convincing voters that despite the cuts Idaho was still holding its own in national test scores and that Idaho’s educational system was producing employable graduates. Otter needed to shift the public focus away from education to his view that Idaho’s economy and its people are doing well.

The Libertarian candidate, former Republican and Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak, had to convince the audience that a third party candidate could succeed in winning the governorship and then actually leading the state without a party to support him.

Balukoff gets an A; Bujak gets a B; and, Otter gets an F.

In a polite but firm way “A.J.” went after Otter’s record on both education and the economy, citing the fact that Idaho general fund support for education on a per pupil cost basis had fallen to the point where Idaho now ranked 50th in the nation.

Otter’s lame excuse was to come back with the nonsensical “it’s not how much money you spend, its how you spend the money.” A.J. drove home the points that Idaho is not producing employable graduates nor are many of the system’s students actually graduating from college.

A.J. referenced a meeting he had recently with a firm that wanted to locate in Idaho but simply could not find enough workers who knew how to write computer code programs. Idaho does not teach the necessary class in its schools.

He won Kathy’s vote and achieved his goals for the debate. He demonstrated commendable knowledge of all the issues well covered by a panel of two businessmen asking the questions, whether it was the need to expand Medicaid funding or to create jobs by focusing on working with existing small businesses rather than employ more questionable tax giveaways.

John Bujak also did well both in making his case that he as a conservative could work successfully with Republican legislative leadership and in going after Otter’s deviance from basic Republican principles. He also hit hard at the number of scandals that have occurred on Otter’s watch. (more…)

On the front pages


Biggest regional story today not on this list: Reports (from unnamed sources) that Hewlett Packard is on the verge of splitting itself into two companies, which seems to be a favored response for some businesses operating in tough environments. The story was strongly noted in Seattle, but also at Boise and Corvallis, each of which are home to substantial HP facilities. What would the split mean to those facilities? Unclear.

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)

Paul Revere of the Raiders dies (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing shrinking state funds for higher ed (Boise Statesman)
Ash aphids passing through (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman pot shop holds opening day (Moscow News)
Gateway transmission line plans continue (Nampa Press Tribune)
State investigation on Hixon closes (Nampa Press Tribune)
Wilder mayor turns activist on immigration (Nampa Press Tribune)
Looking at 1st district US House race (TF Times News)
No enterovirus cases found in Magic Valley (TF Times News)

Corvallis mayor candidates in debate (Corvallis Gazette)
Top two primary hot item on ballot (Corvallis Gazette)
UO develops more research on brain (Eugene Register Guard)
Medford may approve pot tax shortly (Medford Tribune)
Rehab or closure for Portland veteran coliseum? (Portland Oregonian)
Legislature will consider climate change bills (Salem Statesman Journal)
State redefining manager roles (Salem Statesman Journal)

First Bremerton pot store opening this week (Bremerton Sun)
Belfair water pipeline becomes 2-part project (Bremerton Sun)
Aid still coming for Oso recovery (Everett Herald)
Debate over Snohomish sheriff contest (Everett Herald)
Discussion of class size ballot issue (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Farm labor shortage, amid record crops (Kennewick Herald)
Reviewing renewal of downtown Longview (Longview News)
Fact check: No gun registry in I-594 (Olympian)
Data transponders for tsunami in bottles (Port Angeles News)
Seattle Key Arena still pulling in bucks (Seattle Times)
Oregon's pot initiative differs from Washington (Seattle Times)
Spokane transit promotes more buses (Spokane Spokesman)
Tacoma launches new water filtration plant (Tacoma News Tribune)