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Posts published in October 2014

On the front pages


The biggest story on regional front pages today was the Supreme Court's decision not to decide a batch of appeals from various circuit courts on same-sex marriage; the tenor of headlines throughout was that the court had in effect set a nearly-inevitable path toward such marriages nationally. The impact was varied among the three northwest states. Washington allowed such marriages by law, so the court actions have not had significant effect there. Oregon's constitutional ban was thrown out by an appellate court whose decision was denied review, so the Supreme Court action provided additional confirmation of that action. The decision had no direct effect on Idaho, where the state's ban is being challenged in court but still is under review at the appellate level, and so was not considered by the Supreme Court.

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)

Working on repairing Table Rock at Boise (Boise Statesman)
Revieing student debt at BSU (Boise Statesman)
Overview of state treasurer's race (Boise Statesman)
Death in Lewiston may have resulted from flu (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow residents may be billed for tree trimming (Moscow News)
Governor candidates talk Medicaid expansion (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa considers police use of military vehicle (Nampa Press Tribune)
School tries master-level schooling (TF Times News)

300 more students at OSU this year (Corvallis Gazette)
Eugene sued by fired cop (Eugene Register Guard)
Warren visits Oregon for Merkley (Eugene Register Guard)
Teachers at Eugene agree to contract (Eugene Register Guard)
Fee to visit Crater Lake may double (KF Herald & News)
Reviewing Jackson commission race 3 (Medford Tribune)
Harry & David owner looks for employees (Medford Tribune)
Forming a Morrow County Democratic party (Pendleton E Oregonian)
SAT scores soft in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Employment claims cost state near $1 million (Salem Statesman Journal)

1st independent public tribal school opens (Bremerton Sun)
Washington prepares plan for ebola (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Bremerton Sun, Kennewick Herald)
Funds sought to studr slide (Everett Herald)
Stillagaumish tribe gets resource center (Everett Herald)
Colleges changing testing rules (Kennewick Herald)
Big pot farm planned near Longview (Longview News)
Thurston sheriff seeks restoration of budget (Olympian)
Clallam considers new pot law (Port Angeles News)
Vancouver considering new code for taxis (Vancouver Columbian)
ACLU seeks 2 Yakima latino majority districts (Yakima Herald Republic)

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)


idaho RANDY

Would be interesting to know who was the cool head who came up with the idea of ending the impending war between the University of Washington and Washington State University over medical education, and developing a powerful alliance of the two instead.

Whoever it was, it was a smart move.

UW has a highly-regarded and large-scale medical school operation, featuring both doctor training and medical research, to protect: A unique position in the region they would not want to lose. But there's also a doctor shortage in the region, and a growing Washington State University (and its board leadership) was seeing no good reason not to step into the gap. The opportunities for conflict between the two institutions were obvious.

But that was a loser's game; both sides were better positioned to block the other than to advance its own agenda. Just that was most likely going to happen in 2015.

Now, with an agreement signed by the presidents of the two institutions, they can and will go to the legislature with a comprehensive plan to increase medical education in the state, with WSU providing a major component of that. The two institutions will parcel out the pieces of the program, as (for example) UW increases its presence in Spokane with help from WSU. Their efforts may even be less costly this way.
The lobbying clout of the two together may be enough to push their plans through the legislature.

The need is clear. The nation is facing a doctor shortage, and it may be especially serious in areas away from major metros, like eastern Washington and Idaho state (which has no medical school and relies on its agreements with Washington to supply a number of its new physicians).

This agreement may be the first step in the Northwest's role in meeting that need.

On the front pages


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)

Looking at BSU tuition increases and costs (Boise Statesman)
Scientists go to work on wildfires (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing teacher certification options (Lewiston Tribune)
Nampa considers police militarization (Nampa Press Tribune)
Your Health Idaho getting new technology (Nampa Press Tribune)
Students dislike healthier food (TF Times News)

Lane College celebrating 50 years (Eugene Register Guard)
Removing the last from Lakeview uranium mines (KF Herald & News)
Mental health services expanding in Jackson (Medford Tribune)
What are Eagle Point schools doing on guns? (Medford Tribune)
Profiling gov candidate Dennis Richardson (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing marijuana initiative (Salem Statesman Journal)
Oregon Corrections Enterprises recovers (Salem Statesman Journal)

Revising plan for central Kitsap college (Bremerton Sun)
WSU campus at Everett nears its build (Everett Herald)
Olympia considers how to fix downtown (Olympian)
Wolves create backcountry tensions (Seattle Times)
Reviewing I-594 on gun sales (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Renewing Idaho's Clark Fork delta area (Spokane Spokesman)
New street levy planned for Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Reviewing class size initiative (Tacoma News Tribune)
Overview of Flemming-Young county council (Tacoma News Tribune)
Bias charged in review of oil terminal (Vancouver Columbian)
Sheriff stays out of reace to replace him (Vancouver Columbian)
Arguing for logging as fire prevention (Yakima Herald Republic)
Man in the High Castle films in Roslyn (Yakima Herald Republic)

Legislature under the radar

idaho RANDY

All 105 Idaho state legislative seats are up for election next month, and if that was all you knew, you might assume wholesale change at next year's session. The legislature isn't all that popular, right?

There will be, of course, few changes. Many seats are unchallenged, or barely challenged. Even by the modest standards of recent elections, we'll see few Idaho legislative races even of much interest, let alone competitive. Surprises happen, and every election features a few. But a handful (all for House seats, none in the Senate) are worth your attention as the campaign rounds the last turn.

Just one district has as many as two of these notable races: District 5, for both of its House seats. This is a rare legislative district where the House delegation is split. Republican Cindy Agidius and Democrat Shirley Ringo, both of Moscow, hold those seats. Ringo's is open, with her run for the U.S. House instead, while Agidius is running for re-election.

This Latah-Benewah area is a politically marginal district. Moscow provides one of the stronger Democratic bases in Idaho, and Democratic votes can emerge from the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in Benewah, but the rest of the counties run Republican. Substantial campaigns here have to be taken seriously, and both seats are seriously contested. Democrat Paulette Jordan, who lost to Agidius by only 123 votes in 2012, is back again, working hard and apparently outspending the incumbent. The open seat race, between Republican Caroline Nilsson Troy of Genesee and Democrat Gary Osborn of Troy (with independent David Suswal of Deary in the mix), also has a competitive feel.

The single most significant legislative race in Idaho surely is for House A in the west Boise District 15, where third-time legislative candidate Democrat Steve Berch is opposing incumbent Lynn Luker. You could point out that Berch has lost twice before and Luker is a well-established four-term incumbent Republican, liked in his party, in a district that has elected only Republicans for two decades.

But Berch earlier this year won a seat on the Boise Auditorium District board, which strengthens his hand, and he is a relentless campaigner building on a strong campaign effort two years ago. His particular skills, and intensity, may work better aimed at an incumbent; and Luker has become more controversial recently with his introduction of bills he describes as promoting religious freedom. All this is important because District 15 may be on the cusp of becoming a purple district, located as it is next door to the string of deepening blue Boise districts. If Berch wins, the door could be kicked open. (more…)

On the front pages


Big news story in Idaho today was the Friday night gubernatorial debate, which was a four-way debate including two minor party candidates but somehow focusing on Republican incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter and Democrat A.J. Balukoff. News stories led with Balukoff's shots at Otter, mainly over economic and state spending issues, and Otter's replies.

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 governor candidates on economy (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
BSU football swag sales decline (Boise Statesman)
Whitebark pines at risk in northern Idaho (Boise Statesman)
Barley crop in Idaho turned out poorly (IF Post Register)
Idaho hospitals prepare for ebola (Lewiston Tribune)
St Stanislaus church closes after 150 years (Lewiston Tribune)
UW, WSU reach new deal on medical schools (Moscow News)
Caldwell gets a Pita Pit (Nampa Press Tribune)
Former Blaine school trustee charged (TF Times News)
Balukoff picks up support from Jerry Evans (TF Times News)

Cottage Grove parents oppose drug tests (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath area drought conditions continue (KF Herald & News)
Hwy 140 reroute will cost $22m (KF Herald & News)
Oregon rejects Wyoming protest of coal port denial (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton, Hermiston work on student absentees (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Merkley vists campuses on college funding (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Richardson's conservative record reviewed (Portland Oregonian)
Salem hospitals and ebola (Salem Statesman Journal)

Two state ferry runs limited (Bremerton Sun)
Court asked to review Hanford consent decree (Kennewick Herald)
UW, WSU shake up medical training (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Kennewick Herald)
BC carbon goals conflict with gas exports (Seattle Times)
Kootenai races center on land use issues (Spokane Spokesman)
C-Tran seems end to light-rail deal (Vancouver Columbian)
Voter registration deadline coming up (Vancouver Columbian)

Squeeze job

frazier DAVID


At the risk of sounding too logical the GUARDIAN questions how Boise City Councilor Maryanne Jordan plans to squeeze a 10 foot 3 inch wide city bus into a 10 foot traffic lane. In a recent letter to the ACHD, she asserted 10 feet was plenty of room for traffic lanes.
The question arose after the Ada County Highway District board signed off on a traffic lane plan for Capitol Blvd with Chairman John Franden getting the rest of the board to agree to 11 foot traffic lanes. Jordan wrote the board asking them to reconsider their 11 foot decision and shave off one foot of each lane and donate the space to bicycles.

We found a typical bus and measured the front from mirror to mirror to establish the 10 foot 3 inch width. Even with 11 foot lanes, bus drivers have only 4.5 inches of “wiggle room” on either side in the downtown area. Pitty the poor cyclist who gets too close to a mirror in one of those tiny traffic lanes.

This latest round of bickering between Jordan and the ACHD points up an even larger issue. Boise streets, sidewalks, and blocks are rather small. New buildings like the Zions Bank really belong on at least twice the space.

The 8th Street parking garage is too small for standard size vehicles to do anything less than play “bumper cars” trying to park. The Grove Hotel is so big it intrudes into the sidewalk and forces closure of a lane of traffic. Reality dictates we need some open space downtown and that includes between cars, buses and bikes on the streets.

Painting more stripes does not a wider street make.

On the front pages


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)

Possible Boise-Atlanta flights on Delta (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Uber auto driving service launches in Boise (Boise Statesman)
Idaho ag disaster cited by USDA (IF Post Register)
Renewal for a reactor at INL (IF Post Register)
Supreme Court reviews Idaho Medicaid rates (Lewiston Tribune)
Nez Perce confluence gill nets remain (Lewiston Tribune)
Pot store to open Saturday in Pullman (Moscow News)
Washington court upholds estate tax changes (Moscow News)
Amendment locks in legislative rule review (Nampa Press Tribune)
Denny Curtis, Burley civic leader, dies (TF Times News)
District 26 has full run of contests (TF Times News)
Schools touting benefits of student uniforms (TF Times News)

Wineries seeing excellent year (Corvallis Gazette)
Two wards hold town hall at Corvallis (Corvallis Gazette)
Eugene says Uber service there violates rules (Eugene Register Guard)
Supreme Court rules for Lane Co over Comcast on taxes (Eugene Register Guard)
John McCain shows up to stump for Wehby (Eugene Register Guard)
Review new water regime for farmers (KF Herald & News)
Klamath school bond canvasses voters (KF Herald & News)
Jackson Co sheriff will retire, endorses (Medford Tribune)
Talent city sets tax on pot (Medford Tribune)
Pot initiative arguments heating up (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State lands agency updates salmon rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Why delays in cabling interstate stretches (Portland Oregonian)
Salem hosts both Senate campaigns (Salem Statesman Journal)
Forest Service clarifying photo rules (Salem Statesman Journal)

New sub rescue vehicle arrives at Keyport (Bremerton Sun)
General Dynamics ramps up at Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Bremerton Salvation Army expands building (Bremerton Sun)
Battle over DOE rule in tidal project (Everett Herald)
Port Angeles city spending hit in audit (Port Angeles News)
Clallam would limit sites for growing pot (Port Angeles News)
E coli returns to Mercer Island (Seattle Times)
More jets planned for build at Renton in 2018 (Seattle Times)
WA Democrats plan contraception bill (Vancouver Columbian)
Reviewing legislative campaign finances (Vancouver Columbian)