Writings and observations

carlson CHRIS


There are three solid reasons why the voters should reject Governor C.L.”Butch” Otter’s bid for a third term. They constitute major failures on his part to fulfill the basic “three E” requirements for anyone serving in the office.

A governor takes an oath to uphold the State’s constitution which clearly states the primary purpose of the state government is to provide for a uniform and equal public education of the state’s young. The governor has failed miserably as the record reflects nothing less than a deliberate evisceration of state support for both k thru 12 and higher education.

This evisceration has led over 80% of the state’s school districts to pass over-ride levies to increase one’s local property tax to replace what the state has taken away. For residents of those districts it is nothing less than a tax burden shift and a tax increase brought about by a govenor who claims he has decreased taxes. Facts say otherwise.

Idaho’s former state economist Mike Ferguson has presented irrefutable evidence showing that after decades of the state spending on education at roughly 4.4% of annual personal income starting in 2000 a steady decline began and accelerated under Governor Otter’s watch to where the figure is now 3.4%, a 20 percent cut under Otter and his Republican predecessors.

Idaho now ranks 51st in the country – dead last below even Mississippi – in state support for public education.. What was even more surprising to many was that the Governor endorsed his Education Task Force’s recommendation to ADD back $350 to $400 million dollars that had been drained away from education, then he turned around and in his next executive budget recommended even less, the equivalent of 3.3% of personal income.

That’s disingenuous at best and at worse blatant lying.

In the meantime the Governor spearheaded a number of measures he claimed were designed to stimulate the economy but were nothing more than general fund give aways to big business and they came at the cost of education.

Set aside that these incentives have developed few if any good paying jobs. Butch tries to make a virtue out of growth in minimum wage jobs while not acknowledging that these jobs cannot and do not provide a sustainable living wage for people.

Additionally, these incentives often come at the expense of Idaho’s existing business who both directly and indirectly end up subsidizing the new boys on the block.

Years ago when Hewlett-Packard was looking around the country for a location to build a new assembly plant they came calling on then Governor Cecil D. Andrus. Andrus told them what a great labor force they would have and what a great life with all sorts of recreational opportunities available to pursue on the weekend.

He pointedly said there were no give aways or subsidies because they would come at the expense of existing businesses. H-P was welcomed as long as they understood they had to pay their fair share like all Idaho business. H-P came because they understood a competitor five years down the road would not come in and be given goodies that were not available to them.

They understood the term a “level playing field..”

The governor’s third major failure is especially surprising for a Republican: Butch has failed miserably to protect Idaho’s water. Perhaps you noticed a little news item around October 1st which said the Department of Energy had failed to make another deadline on the clean up of nuclear waste materials at the National Lab site out in the Arco desert?

The lab of course sits above the priceless Snake Plain Aquifer, a major source of irrigation water for Idaho farmers. This was a major milestone that was missed and not one peep came from the governor’s office.

There’s a memorandum of agreement that specifies penalties for missed deadlines but did anyone hear the governor saying Idaho would impose them?

Nor have Idahoans heard much from the Governor supporting Congressman Mike Simpson’s efforts to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from trying to eliminate the distinction in the Clean Water Act between navigable waters (which they oversee) and non-navigable waters, like ground water (which the state oversees).

Simpson has been fighting for four years to leave the language as is and to thwart this latest bureaucratic intrusion. In 2010 this effort was brought to the attention of the Governor and the response was basically nothing until this past August when he issued a presss release supporting Simpson.

If Idaho farmers think they have a friend in Butch, they better think again.

Hopefully all Idaho voters will look at Butch’s record and conclude he has done nothing to merit a third term.

Share on Facebook



Cylvia Hayes may be becoming the most controversial – or at least one of the two or three most – first ladies in American gubernatorial history, and that’s putting aside the unusual circumstance of her not being (yet at least) married to the governor. There’s now two separate hot news stories about her background (the green-card marriage and her involvement in a Washington property which may have been used in an illegal pot grow), plus questions about the relationship between her consulting business and role in the governor’s office, and now Governor John Kitzhaber’s call for a state ethics review of that latter situation. Up to this point her background has seemed unlikely to have any real effect on the governor’s race; could that be reaching a tipping point?

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)

Legal clear for same-sex marriage in Idaho (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Smith Group Auto mvoes location (IF Post Register)
Governor’s race ads in sharp conflict (IF Post Register)
New Horizons school bus transport in dispute (Nampa Press Tribune)
ID Democrats lead in funds in several races (Nampa Press Tribune)
Voting begins in Idaho begins today (TF Times News)

Cylvia Hayes and the pot grow site (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette)
New Eugene apartments not aimed at students (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield, Cottage Grover on pot tax (Eugene Register Guard)
New director sought for Klamath airport (KF Herald & News)
Merrill former recorder imprisoned (KF Herald & News)
Jackson Co library hours enhanced (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Medford Ward 2 council race (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston plans withdraw from service district (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber seeks review of Hayes’ ethics (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Still no changes in state abaonded car efforts (Portland Oregonian)
State employment department records hacked (Salem Statesman Journal)
West Salem traffic awaiting end to upgrades (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing the open Kitsap auditor race (Bremerton Sun)
Hospice operation at East Bremerton closes (Bremerton Sun)
Still difficult partking at local college (Longview News)
Guns on ballot: background check measure winning (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
UW dinner meetings in open-meeting gray area (Seattle Times)
Reviewing 5th district US House race (Spokane Spokesman)
Growing deer nuisance in Spokane area (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver school board blasted on meetings (Vancouver Columbian)
Washington seeing record apple crop (Yakima Herald Republic)
Reviewing 14th district House race (Yakima Herald Republic)

Share on Facebook