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Posts published in October 2014

They’re not all alike

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Washington

The tragedy of this latest school shooting, Friday morning at the Marysville-Pilchuk school, is as they all have been, a sad and appalling loss of human lives, and especially of human lives with so much potential ahead.

And yet one different kind of lesson seems to come out of this new shooting, and it is this: Don't lump them all together and imagine that all, together, stand explained.

We've had enough school shootings that a standard profile has developed. An outsider kid, a trenchcoat-wrapped loner with few friends at school and a fascination with guns and other weaponry, coupled with a super-heroic (or anti-heroic) complex, roars into the school like a would-be Terminator and opens fire with his automatic (or semi-automatic) weapon on whoever happens to be around, killing and wounding as many as possible. The mass murder is the point; the identity of the victims doesn't matter.

Little of that explains this case. The student here, according to numerous reports (including those from families of the victims), was Jaylen Fryberg, a freshman football player, voted class “prince,” sometimes a class comic, and popular with both other students and adults. He was pegged by adults as a prospective community leader.

His weapon was not an automatic or even a rifle, but apparently a small handgun. He did not fire randomly, and he did not fire at anyone in authority. Walking into the school cafeteria, he took aim at specific people, people he knew – the two boys he shot were cousins of his – ad his motive may have been very specifically personal – one of the girls shot had apparently angered him for declining to go on a date.
None of this lessens the tragedy or the loss, or the shock in the community.

But there is this: It seems a little closer than some of the other shootings to being at least somehow explicable, a little less random.

And maybe too there's this: Let's not assume that all these shootings are all the same. They are all distinctive and consequently none have been entiurely predictable.
Maybe that's just a little more true in this case.

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)

Reviewing job of a coroner/death investigator (Boise Statesman)
An overview of Idaho’s mental health system (Boise Statesman)
Lead poisoning at gun ranges, from Seattle Times (Boise Statesman)
Inside the problems of Odyssey Charter School (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Reviewing the Simpson-Stallings race (IF Post Register)
Wine returning to the Lewiston area (Lewiston Tribune)
Voters guide for Canyon County (Nampa Press Tribune)
Superintendent of Public Instruction race roars on (Nampa Press Tribune)
Big fossil found near American Falls (Pocatello Journal)
Talking to ministers on gay marriage (TF Times News)
Governor candidates talk about education (TF Times News)

Some parents opt out of Common Core (Eugene Register Guard)
Kaiser plans expanded health at Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
What to do on fire-damaged forest acreage? (KF Herald & News)
Parties battle it out for legislative control (KF Herald & News)
A look at big-campaign finances (Medford Tribune)
More reviews of weed killer spraying (Portland Oregonian)
Another look comparing Merkley and Wehby (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon the center of the GMO label battle (Salem Statesman Journal)
The genealogical society looks for home (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing the Marysville shooting (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Everett Herald)
Cowlitz homeless population may be dropping (Longview News)
Local impact of classroom size ballot issue (Longview News)
Assessing impact of Marysville on gun initiatives (Seattle Times, Longview News)
Looking at effects of gun initiatives (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Drawing out the numbers on crime’s impact (Vancouver Columbian)
What about tax free tobacco on reservations? (Yakima Herald Republic)

Has the ground changed?

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

Think for a moment of political news, background and impressions, falling from the skies upon the electorate, like rain. It may be the rain that soaks you and makes you wet and miserable or it may be the rain causing flowers to bloom and crops to grow. Depends on your perspective.

A good deal of such rain has fallen in Idaho’s campaign seasons this year. From the batch of scandal-like problems associated with Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (private prison, broadband for schools and more), to the financial issues attached to Treasurer Ron Crane, to the personal assessments of Secretary of State candidate Lawerence Denney, to the many missteps of Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Sherri Ybarra, and others too, there’s been a lot, especially of the negative kind. Republican candidates, who are the kind that almost always, in the last 20 years, have emerged winners in the November elections, have provided a lot of it.

This rain of bad headlines, gaffes, missteps and so on has been seized on by people watching Idaho’s elections, and with reason. Such problems have, in years past, derailed any number of Idaho candidates, and some of the complaints and criticisms have been serious enough to go to the heart of the jobs these people are seeking.

A meaningful political analysis has to go one step further, though. Even flood-level amounts of rain won’t make the crops grow or the flowers bloom if it does not fall on receptive soil. Rain falling on concrete simply runs off, at least in the short term.

Idaho’s electorate (to carry the analogy one uneasy step further) used to be gently rototilled, open to new information and ideas and news, willing to adjust its views. It has become less so in the last couple of decades - much more hard-packed, less receptive, than it used to be.

People looking for changes in, say, the governor’s race, need to look not just at the rain but at something that would churn the hard-packed soil, to make it more receptive to changes in the environment.

Maybe it’s there and just not very visible, but so far I’m not seeing much change on the ground. Nor am I picking up many indicators of it.

To explain this a little further, here’s a small plot of Idaho political ground where conditions may be more receptive: The race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. One factor is the many problems Republican Ybarra has faced, and the steady campaign of Democrat Jana Jones. (more…)

On the front pages

news

The overwhelmingly dominant news story today was the high school shooting in Marysville, one that seems to break the usual pattern of these events: The shooting apparently was not random or aimed at a large number of people, but was specific and personal, a more conventional murder. That will not make it less shocking.

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)

Gas prices fall at Lewiston area (Lewiston Tribune)
Two dead in Marysville school shooting (Moscow News)
More reports of sexual assaults at WSU this year (Moscow News)
Candidates closing in on last campaign days (TF Times News)

Action speeds up on I-5 cable barriers (Salem Statesman Journal, Corvallis Gazette)
Two dead in Marysville school shooting (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Corvallis Gazette, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Much debate over drivers card issue (Corvallis Gazette)
Barnhart decries ads on killers early release (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Trail Alliance digging at Spence Mountain (KF Herald & News)
Property taxes rising at Klamath (KF Herald & News)
Jackson sheriff defended in campaign fraud case (Medford Tribune)
House district 58 candidates both from little Cove (Pendleton E Oregonian)
DuPont Pioneer funds $4.6m against GMO issue (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Analysts look at predicting legislative races (Portland Oregonian)

Two dead in Marysville school shooting (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Three new mental health facilities planned (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing tornado damage in Longview (Longview News)
Pot ad features King sheriff, blasted by other sheriffs (Longview News)
Lacey budget maintains staff, programs (Olympian)
Ridgefield bans marijuana sales (Vancouver Columbian)
GOP officials filing ethics complain on funds transfer (Vancouver Columbian)

Wal-Mart, zipperheads, Idaho Republicans

Bond DAVID
BOND

 
Rant

Being a second-generation Republican – Dad served the 6th District of Washington State as an “R” in the House for many terms, and was deemed a “troglodyte” by that state's (also Republican) governor for his obstinance over raising taxes and his opposition to motorcycle helmet laws (“If the fools want to kill themselves, why is that our business?”) -- this is a tough thing to say:

We are pulling a straight Democrat lever come next month's county and state elections. Apologies to Butch and Lori Otter, who we respect and admire: If we thought our vote would matter we would throw it Butch's way. But the reality is that loonies are running the asylum, and it's time to kick the bastards out.

Never in Idaho politics has extremism so suffused Idaho's governance. The Religious Right ought to re-think its agenda. They're acting a lot like intolerant Muslims, and they are downright vicious. Toss 'em out.

There is so much cronyism going on in Shoshone County with this lot that your public profession for your love of Jesus Christ trumps your ability to run a calculator. If we may quote from the book of Matthew, it was Jesus himself who said:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Once again, let's toss the Pharisees out. If we have to replace them with Democrats, sorry Dad, so be it.

On to Zipperheads, the rude bicyclists who infest our community in summer, buy nothing, and drive their bicycle-hauling Volvos and Priuses down Moon Pass at 50 miles an hour. Our column in the Shoshone News-Press was killed by an ex-Californian who is one of them. Forty years of reporting in northern Idaho silenced by this bozo, who has run for ever paying public office and never been elected.

We were feeling a tad chastened by this – maybe we got something wrong about these moochie, earth-loving humanoids – until breakfast this morning at the Snakepit on our way back from Spokane.

We were warmly greeted by the morning waitress who said, “We loved your column about rude bicycle riders.” Apparently, the Snakepit has to deal with these people every day, being a trail-head for the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. All these cyclists want is free water from them. She points them to the cooler, where the bottled water is, at a buck a pop.

Lastly, on to Wal-Mart. It's a place everybody wants to pick on. Let us step aside from that noise. (more…)

The speech

jorgensen W. SCOTT
JORGENSEN

 
Conversations with Atiyeh

Last January, former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh was the keynote speaker at an event put on by the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce at Happy Valley City Hall. Attendees included elected officials such as Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn), Rep. Bill Kennemer (R-Canby) and Sen. Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River).

Gov. Atiyeh was introduced by Verne Duncan, who has the unique distinction of having served in both the Idaho and Oregon legislatures. Duncan had worked as Oregon Superintendent of Schools during the Atiyeh administration.

The theme of Governor Atiyeh’s speech was “How to Use Statesmanship and Compromise.”

Atiyeh described the circumstances surrounding his initial decision to run for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Running for the Legislature

In his remarks, Governor Atiyeh provided much useful advice for the elected officials and would-be, potential and future officeholders present at the event.

Vic's Words of Wisdom

Governor Atiyeh shared many of the principles that contributed to his success in the nearly three decades of public service that he gave to Oregon and its citizens.

The Virtues of Common Sense

The full transcripts of his remarks that day make up an entire chapter in my new book, Conversations with Atiyeh. It can be ordered by clicking here.

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)

Otter talks with CCA on contract in 2013 (Boise Statesman)
Variable enrollments at state universities (Boise Statesman, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Another Jones-Ybarra debate, in Idaho Falls (IF Post Register)
Reviewing Idaho Fish & Game’s 75 years (IF Post Register)
Looking at building plans for WSU med school (Moscow News)
Otter paid, took footage from gay rights video (Nampa Press Tribune)
Simplot’s Nampa plant stays open longer, till 2015 (Nampa Press Tribune)
Magic Valley food banks need more food (TF Times News)
Write-in campaign for Lincoln Co commission (TF TImes News)

Rained hard on Wednesday, more ahead (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette)
Big campaign treasuries on GMO issue (Eugene Register Guard)
Studying links between ground and surface water (KF Herald & News)
H&N publisher Heidi Wright leaving, Mark Dobie incoming (KF Herald & News)
Oregon has been cutting time in class (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Release of GMO task force report (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Larger number of auto-wildlife collisions (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Problems with weed spraying by state agencies (Portland Oregonian)
Lawsuits with Oracle merged (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton budget plan released (Bremerton Sun)
Renowned Four Swallows restaurant closed (Bremerton Sun)
Many errors in school bus traffic rules (Everett Herald)
County puts sewer repair on homeowner group (Everett Herald)
Tornado rips middle of Longview (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian, Longview News)
Former PUD execs fined (Longview News)
Reviewing local judicial campaign finance (Port Angeles News)
Amazon stock falls with earning report (Seattle Times)
Paul Allen will continue $100m against ebola (Seattle Times)
Judge won’t allow release of stripper license info (Tacoma News Tribune)
Cowlitz Tribe may get federal acreage (Vancouver Columbian)
Analyst: Yakima basin still needs more water (Yakima Herald Republic)

We ain’t who we were

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Men. Hang in there! Especially you unmarried ones. The numbers are shifting in your favor. Just wait for it.

There are currently 103 million folks over the age of 18 in this country who aren’t married. That’s 44.1% of all of us.

But, here’s the good news, guys. Of the 103 million singles, 53.6% are women - 46.4% men. Works out to 100 unmarried women for every 87 men. And the gap is widening. Sociologists have several theories. More women pursuing professional careers - many deciding against being mothers - some in same sex relationships which were not so numerous in the 2010 census - some not wanting to be married - some in long-term relationships while remaining single - more women living longer than men.

In fact, we’re told about 56 million households are maintained by unmarried men and women. That’s some 46% of all households.

There are about 17 million Americans over the age of 65 who aren’t married - some 16% of all single folks. A lot more women than men there.

Also, this statistic. In a population of just over 300 million, about 33 million people live alone. And that figure has increased about 10% in the last 40 years.

So, here’s what we have. More people keeping their single status. More keeping it longer - more keeping it permanently. More people creating households of families without being married. More people living longer and not marrying or remarrying. Legal recognition of same sex relationships in more states - married or not. Number of children per household going down. Just some of the social shifts taking place.

Which prompts this question. Is there now - or will there be - a political effect because of all this? Hard to tell. But those who call themselves political “professionals” should keep these stats handy. Because, just as we’re changing racially as a nation, there are many sociological patterns shifting under our feet. These are just a few. Demographers are finding people are living longer. They’re better educated. They’re forming different types of family units. There are more interracial and same sex marriages. All these factors - and a few dozen more - are just as important as that change of racial balance. (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)

Whitman indicates HP may grow at Boise (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Questions about advance ed degree for Ybarra (Boise Statesman)
Senator blasts federal spending at Hailey airport (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing Jones-Ybarra contest (IF Post Register)
Clearwater Paper doing well, breaks records (Lewiston Tribune)
Otter ad footage from ;add the words’ film (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow schools see Dem, not Rep, candidates (Moscow News)
Canyon Co changes funding for historic sites (Nampa Press Tribune)
Downtown Nampa Pix theatre may be sold (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell candidates say their piece at forum (Nampa Press Tribune)
Gas and oil leases underway at Cassia Co (TF Times News)

Sexual violence office suggested for UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Lane Transit District plans marketing help (Eugene Register Guard)
State ends last Oracle software use (Corvallis Gazette)
Tax district supporting research center gains names (KF Herald & News)
Jackson sheriff quit campaigning over criticism (Medford Tribune)
Former Douglas commissioner owes back taxes (Medford Tribune)
Hayes consulted for critics of coal terminal (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Many more instances of wildlife-vehicle collisions (Portland Oregonian)
ODOT will quit use of dangerous guardrails (Portland Oregonian)
Republicans switching sides on cutting PERS (Salem Statesman Journal)

Poulsbo water rates could rise (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish settles contract issue for $232k (Everett Herald)
Voter money sought for school bus replacement (Everett Herald)
PUD officials broke ethics rules, study concludes (Longview News)
Increase in Cowlitz dual credit programs (Longview News)
Large group talks about downtown Olympia options (Olympian)
Seattle preschool effort drawing national reviews (Seattle Times)
UW growing its presence in Spokane area (Spokane Spokesman)
Properties condemned for Pierce foothill train (Tacoma News Tribune)
Reviewing US House 3 contest (Vancouver Columbian)
Reports argues Yakima water plan inadequate (Yakima Herald Republic)

Promises to keep

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

He’s 83 years young, still walks several miles twice a day, has bounced back from a lung cancer surgery earlier this year with no need for follow up radiation or chemotherapy, still loves to bird hunt and fly fish, and almost 20 years after leaving public office remains the most recognized, admired and respected bald headed politician in Idaho.

Always known for his candor and honesty, if anything with age he has become more feisty and outspoken. This past week he received The Frank and Bethine Church Public Service Award in honor of a lifetime of work on behalf of protecting the “crown jewels” of Idaho’s outdoors - the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Owyhee Canyon Lands, and the Birds of Prey.

He reminded his audience in his brief acceptence remarks he has always striven for balance, that having a resource based economy could be and should be compatible with protecting the state’s environmental assets. He repeated his long-time mantra - “first you have to make a living but then you have to have a living that’s worthwhile.”

He also served notice that there is one last charge on his steed he is going to make before riding off into the sunset: the Boulder/White Clouds will receive the recognition it merits by President Barack Obama invoking his authority under the Antiquities Act to declare the area a National Monument.

Governor Andrus made his statement knowing full well that earlier in the day his good friend, second district Congressman Mike Simpson, who led a ten-year long effort to work out an acceptable piece of legislation only to be betrayed by then freshman Senator Jim Risch, had announced that he’d asked the Administration to give him eight months to achieve passage in the next Congress of a new version of his previous legislation. (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)

Otter wants 9th circuit gay marriage review (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
New bridge will finish Eagle part of greenbelt (Boise Statesman)
Record coho caught near Lewiston (Boise Statesman)
Less expensive E-911 possible for Asotin County (Lewiston Tribune)
WSU develops plans on ebola, UI doesn’t (Moscow News)
Local officials call on people to get flu shots (Moscow News)
Whitman County candidates debate budgets, guns (Moscow News)
State getting ready for ebola (Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Teachers unhappy about tiered license plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing 2nd district US House race (TF Times News)
District 26 candidate forum held in Gooding (TF Times News)

Voters consider the top-two primary option (Eugene Register Guard)
KF sets a 10% pot tax (KF Herald & News)
Water year was hard on irrigators in southern OR (KF Herald & News)
King Co sheriff says Washington pot rules work (Medford Tribune)
Jackson Co adopts two business recruitment plans (Medford Tribune)
Irrigon officials battle over library building (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon Health contractor hiring questioned (Portland Oregonian)
Undocumented drivers on ballot (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing the Courtney, Milne Senate race (Salem Statesman Journal)

Inslee at Bremerton on green Navy efforts (Bremerton Sun)
Sequist says he was libeled by opponent (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish council reviews raises for executives (Everett Herald)
Boeing breaks ground on 777X wing effort (Everett Herald)
OR county wants to change access on Diblee Point (Longview News)
Cowlitz County jobless rate dropping (Longview News)
Reviewing 35th district races (Olympian)
Clallam prosecutor challenger outraises incumbent (Port Angeles News)
Discussion held on new Port Angeles high school (Port Angeles News)
Effort to extend monorail staggers (Seattle Times)
Spokane car dealer needs more downtown space (Spokane Spokesman)
University Place restricts parking for US Open (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark County candidates get state GOP funding (Vancouver Columbian)
Jobless rates at Yakima dropping again (Yakima Herald Republic)

Reviewing candidates for style

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, a native of Kenya and motivational speaker from Boise, follows Idaho politics closely, but his evaluation of candidates goes beyond their views on the issues.

Kituku wants to know how a person connects with an audience. Does the candidate stumble over words? Speak without a script? Use stories and humor in their presentations? Show passion? Inspire voters?

Kituku’s standards are high. His opening prayers are better than many keynote addresses. He has written books, made recordings and conducted seminars on public speaking. He’d be an outstanding speaking coach for any candidate wanting to sharpen his/her skills.

But he doesn’t get a lot of takers, because most candidates don’t give much thought to presentations – the part that often closes the deal with voters.
Intellectually, everyone wants to put substance ahead of style. But style is crucial, especially for newcomers challenging longtime incumbents. Steve Symms was loaded with style and flash when he ran against, and defeated, longtime Sen. Frank Church in 1980.

Cecil Andrus won two big races for governor, at least partly due to his ability to connect effectively with audiences. Four years ago, Keith Allred had substance in his run for governor against C.L. “Butch” Otter, but few style points and was no match for Otter in the general election.

This year’s Democratic candidate, A.J. Balukoff, a CPA by profession, speaks with Sabout corruption in the Otter administration and lack of focus on education, but without gusto. Balukoff’s bow tie, which was used in his early television ads, probably didn’t help him, according to Kituku. “I tell people they should stand out, but that does not mean looking silly.”

Kituku says Otter is no great speech-maker; the older he gets, the more he tends to ramble. But Otter has not lost a step as far as his ability to work a room. Strong handshakes, beaming smiles and friendly laughs make him as likeable as ever.

“That’s what I mean about connecting with people,” Kituku said. “Mitt Romney had some outstanding ideas and values, but he was not likeable.”

Recently, I was talking with Democratic Senatorial Candidate Nels Mitchell, and offered some first impressions of his speaking style. I hear words coming out of his mouth, but don’t feel anything coming from his heart. He may be a hit with Democrats and those who dislike Sen. Jim Risch, but in politics, lack of heart and soul equals lack of connection with undecided voters. Kituku has a similar view.

“Forget that one,” Kituku said flatly of Mitchell’s style.

He’s no kinder toward Risch, who Kituku says comes across as angry. “He does not connect well.”
Mitchell, a career lawyer, would do well learning from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, another career lawyer who turned to politics. As a candidate, and in his early days in office, Bieter was “horrible” as a speaker. Kituku saw a marked improvement in Bieter’s second state-of-the-city address – speaking without a script, telling stories and blending humor into his presentation.   (more…)