Writings and observations

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)

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First Take

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.

The governor has no doubt that Simpson can get his new bill through the House, but barring another complete reversal by Senator Risch, he sees no way in which Simpson can overcome the opposition of both Senator Risch and Governor Otter unless they both suffer defeat in the upcoming election. In his estimation Otter appears vulnerable but as much as he would like to see Nels Mitchell take out Jim Risch he recognizes that is a much longer shot.

Andrus knows Simpson as a ranking member of the House Resources committee and the chair of the Interior/EPA Appropriations subcommittee, has some powerful tools or leaverage he can bring to bear in dealing with the White House and Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, but the old war horse also has chits he can call in and allies to bring to the fray not the least of which is the Idaho Conservation League.

Skillfully led by Rick Johnson, the ICL has also worked with Rep. Simpson and his staff to achieve a bill with many compromises that would be acceptable to all. When newly elected Senator Risch, who had previously endorsed Simpson’s efforts reversed field because of some “liberal additions” to the bill, none of which he could cite because therre weren’t any, the ICL recognized that Andrus was correct: the only way one might ever have legislation would be to follow the precedent he set in Alaska by designating the lands in need of protection national monuments. Then the public might see the Simpson legislation passed by both the Senate and House.

While it is easy to see that Congressman Simpson has some leaverage over the White House, it is hard to see where he has any leaverage over Senator Risch. At this point in time Andrus sees no way that Simpson can turn either Risch or Otter around and barring Simpson pulling a rabbit from the hat Andrus, the ICL and their allies will continue to argue that the only path forward is the President utilizing the Antiquities Act.

While Interior secretary Jewel is loathe to have the Administration dictating a national monument, she recognizes the end game will include the President taking action and word is the department has quietly been preparing all the necessary paperwork.

What most complicates Simpson’s renewed efforts is the simple fact Andrus does not trust Jim Risch as far as he can throw him. Where there is no trust, there will be no deal avoiding monument status.

If one is a betting person they ought to put their money on the old war horse and his last charge. It’s a promise he has made to himself and to the people of Idaho and it is one he will keep. There may be miles to go before he sleeps, but the Boulder/White Clouds will be protected. Bet on it.

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Carlson

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)

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First Take

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.  

The best speaker among the high office holders is Rep. Raul Labrador, which explains why he’s a popular figure with the national press. I have seen him a couple of times in town hall meetings, and he’s superb with his presentations. It’s no wonder why he attracts large crowds.

Some people might not like Labrador’s politics, but he wins points with style. “He’s likeable,” Kituku said.
Kituku also gives high marks to retiring state Superintendent Tom Luna. Kituku has differences on policies, but gives Luna credit for the ability to effectively articulate his views and connect with audiences.

So, there are a few role models out there and newcomers – especially – would do well to follow their examples. Most candidates do not enter races with captivating speaking skills, but they can be sharpened. In today’s world, a speech coach might be at least as important to a candidate as a campaign manager.

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Malloy

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)

Dangerous synthetic drugs found in Boise (Boise Statesman)
Andrus urges White Cloud monument (Boise Statesman)
Large upscale downtown apartments planned (Boise Statesman)
Looking at Balukoff and his campaign (Lewiston Tribune)
Record-breaking coho found in Idaho rivers (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow allowing lots with tight access (Moscow News)
Reviewing Idaho House race (Moscow News)
New Nampa library will have same hours (Nampa Press Tribune)
COMPASS working on five-year transportation budget (Nampa Press Tribune)
A bunch of legislative forums today in Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislative candidates discuss issues (Pocatello Journal)
Minico students barred from lunch across street (TF TImes News)
ACLU jumps into Declo discrimination case (TF TImes News)

Property taxes in Lane will rise (Eugene Register Guard)
Merkley seems well ahead of Wehby in race (Eugene Register Guard)
Transient rooms tax yields more than expected in Klamath (KF Herald & News)
KF will get a Sportsmans Warehouse (KF Herald & News)
Last governor debate at Medford (Medford Tribune)
Student said SOU rally was misinterpreted (Medford Tribune)
Forest review: Residents want more use (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Drivers license issue backers rally at Hermiston (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
UO strategizes on its $2b fundraising plan (Portland Oregonian)

Were student asked to help teacher running for legislator? (Everett Herald)
County death investigator reaches $125k settlement (Everett Herald)
Gas prices dropping in Washington (Longview News)
Reviewing Clallam auditor contest (Port Angeles News)
Risk of child poisoning at shooting ranges, pt 3 (Seattle Times)
Commute in Seattle getting worse (Seattle Times)
Review foster family difficulties, part 3 (Spokane Spokesman)
Liberty Lake passes expansive rule on minors, pot (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver Council won’t address Clark charter (Vancouver Columbian)
AGs go after sex trafficking online (Vancouver Columbian)
Write-in for Pierce prosecutor doesn’t want t run (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima pressing for more airlilne traffic (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

I am hoping that my ballot is in the mail today. I am ready to vote.

What I really like about voting early is that it’s an inoculation against all the TV and Internet ads. Once I have voted, I know that I am just wasting campaign or special interest money.
So here we are two weeks to go until the formal Election Day and counting of ballots.

Remember two years ago Indian Country voters outperformed. As I wrote then, this smallest demographic slice of the population made a difference in the outcomes in Montana and South Dakota races for the U.S. Senate (the only two states Nate Silver called wrong).

In 2014 these are my three elections to watch: Alaska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Two of those states have tight Senate races (the latest Real Clear Politics look at the average of all polls estimates a Republican pick-up of 8 seats, enough for a Senate majority.)

South Dakota is now polling within the margin of error for a four-way race. That means the race is essentially tied and it will be won by the campaign that’s best organized to get their voters to the polls.
Former Gov. Mike Rounds, the Republican in the race, is viewed unfavorably by more than half of those surveyed, 51 percent, and that could lead a lot of conservatives to vote for Gordie Howie, an independent. In the most recent poll, Howie is earning about 5 percent support. As more of the national talk, however, focuses on either independent Larry Pressler or the Democrat Rick Weiland, I think this makes Howie more likely to get Tea Party support. So watch: if Howie gets more than 5 percent, that will come from Rounds and make it more likely that Pressler or Weiland wins.

And which one? That really depends on Indian Country. Will there be a turnout and consistent vote for one or the other. President Obama won nearly 3,000 votes from Shannon County in 2012, 93.4 percent of the vote. Can that number grow as voters consider changing the name of the county to Oglala Lakota County? My guess is that Weiland will get the majority of those votes, but the bigger question is can he get a large percentage, 80 or even 90 percent? (If you look through the 2014 election map and every blue county is an American Indian homeland.)

The other thing to watch is early voting numbers. The bigger the early returns, the more likely outcome favoring Weiland.

Turning to Wisconsin. The hot race in this state is for governor — and there are several issues that impact Indian Country, including mining policy. Polls show this as a tight race. Two factors that are hard to see how they will play out is the increased number of jobs and the drop in gas prices. Both are good news — so it’s a matter of perception (Are the governor’s policies responsible? Or does the president get credit?)

The Native Vote Program for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters has a goal of increasing the Native American turnout by 6 percent. To put that challenge in perspective: The turnout of Native voters was only 34 percent in the last governor’s election while the general turnout was 52 percent. That means there is a lot of room for growth. Especially with early vote. (Just think: With early voting, a community could even hit 100 percent turnout.)

I’ll have a lot more to say about Alaska this week. The First Alaskans Institute’s Youth and Elders Conference is underway in Anchorage (Shoni Schimmel speaks today, yay!) and Thursday is the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. Both are big deals — especially during an election year.
Gotta run. Idaho needs my ballot mailed back.

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Trahant

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)

Coho largely restored by Nez Perce (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing the legislative rulemaking amendment (Boise Statesman)
Looking at online schooling (Moscow News)
Pullman starts with budget hearings (Moscow News)
Percentage of college-bound students fell in 2013 (TF Times News)
Dog shooting still dogging city of Filer (TF Times News)

US House 5 a cooler race this time (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene deals with sick leave rule specifics (Eugene Register Guard)
Kitzhaber’s campaign battered by scandals (Medford Tribune)
Medford schools may try all-day kindergarten (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Portland ‘re-entry court’ (Portland Oregonian)
The 5th U.S. House district race, uneven (Salem Statesman Journal)

Expensive, negative state Senate race in 35th (Bremerton Sun)
Annual salmon run is about to start (Bremerton Sun)
Review of Y.S. House 2 contest, Larsen favored (Everett Herald)
Forks people uneasy about Navy electronic war plan (Longview News)
Centralia Power plant top WA greenhouse gas producer (Olympian)
Examining how a legal pot operation works (Port Angeles News)
Port Angeles may make deal for smart parking meters (Port Angeles News)
Lead poisoning at Belleview gun range (Seattle Times)
Second part of problems with foster care (Spokane Spokesman)
I-90 overpass to get local funding (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing two-R 4th district U.S. House race (Tacoma News Tribune)

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First Take

jorgensen W. SCOTT
JORGENSEN

 
Conversations with Atiyeh

Of the three interviews I did with former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh prior to his passing last July, my favorite was the one from late March.

That hour-long talk makes up the fourth chapter of my recently released new book, Conversations with Atiyeh, and is called “Boy Scouts, Football and the Legislature.”

The first part of our conversation was about the governor’s lifelong involvement with the Boy Scouts organization. He joined as a young boy, but continued his involvement well into adulthood and beyond.
Vic beamed with pride as he talked about his son Tom achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Governor Atiyeh talks about the Boy Scouts

We also discussed his football career. Vic played at Washington High and the University of Oregon through good years, bad years, and everything in between.

Governor Atiyeh talks about football

Our final topic was his 20-year legislative career. I asked him about his favorite memory from that time. He replied that it was the days of the famed “Phone Booth” caucus, when there were so few Senate Republicans that they could all literally fit in a phone booth.

One thing was clear to me in our talks—Governor Atiyeh felt good about his life and career.

Governor Atiyeh talks about his legacy

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Jorgensen

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)

Simpson wants 8 months to pass wilderness bill (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Overview state superintendent public instruction race (Boise Statesman)
GOP legislative candidates fully funded (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bannock assessor candidate chargs unethical behavoir (Pocatello Journal)
Simpson outraises Stallings in campaign (TF Times News)
Reviewing magic valley drug court (TF Times News)

Looking at Oregon’s pot ballot issue (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
UO tries academic emphasis in fundraising (Eugne Register Guard)
Looking at Oregon’s ballot issues (KF Herald & News)
Green candidate drops from District 2 Senate race (Medford Tribune)
Kitzhaber’s recent troubles (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing governor’s race (Salem Statesman Journal)

Legislators talk of restoring 2008 cuts (Bremerton Sun)
Court looks at new schools budget (Bremerton Sun)
DelBene far outspending Celis (Everett Herald)
City offices and more move from Everett floodplain (Everett Herald)
Thurston corrections contract signed (Olympian)
Heavier conflict in expensive 35th Senate race (Olympian)
South Sound and ebola (Olympian)
Investigative: Lead poisoning at gun ranges (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Veteran Spokesman journalist Dorothy Powers dies (Spokane Spokesman)
Power plants produce vast greenhouse gases (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian)
Reviewing vote on Vancouver charter (Vancouver Columbian)
East Clark Columbian bridge idea questioned (Vancouver Columbian)
Focusing on 4th district US House race (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

A reader points out that Idaho voters next month will decide whether to pass an amendment to the state constitution, and “The only info I have is in the “Idaho Voters’ Pamphlet” and it’s not enough”: She requests some guidance.

Okay: On this one, you can feel comfortable throwing a dart blindfolded at your ballot. Whether you pass it or fail it, it will make no difference whatsoever, not to Idaho voters, their government, or anything else. When I read that one of its main floor backers, Senator Curt McKenzie of Nampa, said it was among most significant pieces of legislation he’d dealt with, I hoped that his legislative career has amounted to more than that.

What House Joint Resolution 2, which passed both chambers with not a single vote opposed, does say is that the Legislature can authorize and holds final effective approval power over all agency rules and regulations. That would be significant if the legislature already had not been doing that. Legislatures take varying roles in dealing with agency regulations, but the Idaho Legislature has been overseeing and accepting and rejecting rules for decades – to my knowledge at least since the 70s, and probably long before that.

For many years, the legislature gave the rules a quick look, maybe throwing out two or three controversial ones in a normal session. Since the mid-90s, it has been applying a microscope to them, spending the first quarter or so of each session hunkered down over not legislation but administrative rules to decide whether they will stay there, or should be kicked out, or amended. Some studies have concluded that the Idaho Legislature has, for a couple of decades, had more power over and more closely reviewed the rules than any other legislature in the country.

So what is the new proposed amendment intended to accomplish? Basically, to allow the system Idaho has had for a couple of decades to stay in place.

Is there any reason to think it won’t? Legislative backers point out a couple of challenges to legislative rule approval at the Idaho Supreme Court; but the court has each time upheld the legislature. That’s too much locked-in precedent for such a change to happen easily.

But even if it did, the practical difference would be, as a lawyer would say, de minimis. Administrative rules can be set up only within the terms of state law, so the legislature sets the parameters to start with. If the rules color outside the lines, they can be challenged and thrown out in court. Legislators can also change state law as they please to rein in regulatory ideas they don’t like or impose those they do; there’s not a lot of limit on how specific law can be. (Laws can be held unconstitutional for vagueness but generally not for specificity.) Legislators also hold the power of the purse, and can (and often do) include statements specifically describing what money cannot be used for, or must be used for – which amounts to sweeping control of what an agency does. A legislator might argue that a governor can veto a bill, even a budget bill; but two-thirds of the legislature can override vetoes.

In an opinion article against the amendment Jack McMahon, a former chief deputy attorney general with deep background in how state government works, also points out that “the Legislature has inserted a ‘poison pill’ in the law making it virtually impossible to take away its power to review agency rules. The power is said to be so ‘critical and integral’ that if it is ever struck down, every agency rule adopted in the last quarter-century ‘shall be deemed null, void and of no further force and effect’.”

Given all this, the idea of administrative rules running riot over a helpless Idaho Legislature begins to sound almost a little paranoid.

So vote for it or vote against it and either way worry about it not at all. Fret if you will over your vote for irrigation company or sewer district; that may matter a lot more.

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Idaho Idaho column