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Posts published in October 2014

Doctor pulls the plug

harris ROBERT


Dr. Monica Wehby is a smart person.

While we speculated that her campaign going dark in July and August was a strategy to let things die down before a big post labor day push, it could alsoWehby v Merkley have been her exercising her discretion to let things play out during the summer and see how things the polling looked in September. Sort of like filling a patient full of antibiotics and seeing how they deal with the infection before taking more serious measures.

Her training makes her analytical, weighing the options, determining the cost and possible outcomes, and not prone to taking courses of action that are expensive yet likely to lead to undesirable results.

She also isn’t a career politician, while that’s a good thing in many ways, it also means she doesn’t have a much to lose by quickly ceding an election she can’t win. A “strong showing” is meaningless to someone who isn’t interested in running for office again.

This week Dr. Wehby didn’t show up for the Willamette Week candidate interview. Her campaign also refused a televised debate between her and Sen. Merkley sponsored by KGW and the Oregonina. The type of even that a candidate like her would beg to feature. But debates and joint appearances take prep time, and while I don’t doubt she could handle the debate with Sen. Merkley if she prepared well, debates are challenging and uncomfortable.

This all leads to one conclusion. She just isn’t into it anymore. She’s minimizing her energy. Maybe making appearances at the local Chambers of commerce, or glad handing at community events. An investment of time at friendly events, but not much psychic energy or putting herself into situations that are uncomfortably confrontational. She’s a short timer in politics and she wants to spend time and energy on thing that matter to her. Her patients and her practice.

If correct, her course of actions is a rational one for a non politician. This is the exact reason why the OR GOP would have been better off with Jason Conger as it’s nominee. This was always going to be a difficult pick up for the GOP. Back in April, we argued that a Conger losing candidacy would be better than a Wehby losing candidacy for the OR GOP. If a loss was inevitable, at least Conger would have a reason to fight to the end. He’d want to build on this campaign and seen as a tested candidate with a ground game and volunteer base to make a run for statewide race in the future. While if Dr. Wehby lost, she would likely fade from the scene and not leave any guiding philosophy or infrastructure for the GOP to use going forward.

At this point, it appears Dr. Wehby may be fading from the scene even before the election. A rational decision by a trained decision maker. And frankly, one many of us would make as well given today’s politics.

Will Native Americans turn out?

trahant MARK


Montanans have long recognized the importance of the Native vote. Speaking at the National Congress of American Indians in September 1956, U.S. Rep. Lee Metcalf called political participation Native people’s best hope because “Indians are their own best spokesmen, their own best diplomats, but they can only exercise these roles effectively only in proportion to their … combined strength and their concerted voice.”

In other words: The more Native folks who vote, the more power and say we will have over our future.

Montana is an a great example of that promise. And, there is a long list of success stories: The elections of Sen. Jon Tester, Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Tribes, as well as Governors Brian Schweitzer and Steve Bullock (who’s in office now).

You can even argue that because of that success at the ballot, Montana produced the best relationship between tribes and a state government, in well, possibly forever.

As former Gov. Schweitzer once said, “Indians have played a major role in my Administration from day one. They lead departments, provide sound policy advice, run programs, and work tirelessly on my behalf to stay connected to tribal leaders, members, and communities throughout Montana.”

Former Sen. Carol Juneau recently wrote in Char-Koosta News about the state’s leadership role. “We now have three Indian majority senate districts and six Indian majority house districts in Montana that give Indian country a real voice in the direction of our state,” she said. “We have a much stronger state-tribal relationship being built because of this political power.”

Think about the significance of Native Montanans strength and voice. America Indians make up less than seven percent of the state’s population, but have have a say, even determining election winners.

So that’s how it ought to be. Only it’s not always that way — even in Montana. (more…)

On the front pages


The 30-year sentence given the would-be Portland bomber was substantial, though it may strike some as a little too light. While on one hand no one died in the 2010 incident - in which a college student was in part set up by federal agents with a fake bomb - his intent to carry through with mass murder was clear. At his sentencing hearing, he was reported as being shocked to hear himself talk in such an enthusiastic way about the actions he was planning to take. The case could make for a useful study of mass-killer mindsets, since some of the fog (in this case) seems to have risen.

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)

Rose Beal, rights advocate, dies (Boise Statesman)
Developer asked to add more mixed uses (Boise Statesman)
Transportation secretary visits UI (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Nez Perce gill netting raises concerns (Lewiston Tribune)
Profiling Moscow's new fire chief (Moscow News)
Commission candidate Freeman back as write-in (Nampa Press Tribune)
New police chief named for Middleeton (Nampa Press Tribune)
Rain makes mud of Pocatello road project (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello mosque begins operations Friday (Pocatello Journal)
Crop disaster designations in 11 counties (Pocatello Journal)
National Republicans run Balukoff attack ad (TF Times News)
Bujak afoul of lawyer ethics rules, court says (TF Times News)
TF commission race centers around pensions (TF Times News)

Portland bomb plotter gets 30 years (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gaazette)
Candidates face off in Corvallis ward 6 (Corvallis Gazette)
OSU students reshuffle on parking (Corvallis Gazette)
New-style crosswalk signal at Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Still unclear future on water/electric land (Eugene Register Guard)
KF talking about pot tax numbers (KF Herald & News)
Reviewing construction at Henley Elementary (KF Herald & News)
How GMO politics may shape OR elections (Medford Tribune)
Some wolves may be delisted as endangered (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Bond for local collection planned for 2015 (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Feds allow for extending CRC debts (Portland Oregonian)
Legislation would toughen restraining orders (Salem Statesman Journal)

Officer cleared in Kitsap shooting (Bremerton Sun)
Tidal energy testing dropped, funds gone (Port Angeles News)
Seattle monorail extension back on ballot (Seattle Times)
Inslee urges oil train risk reduction (Vancouver Columbian)
Profiling Clark Commission candidates (Vancouver Columbian)
Pot prices expected to drop with more harvest (Yakima Herald Republic)

Bujak’s role in the race

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

John Bujak, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, is making the effort to pull off the biggest political upset since Jesse “The Body” Ventura went from the wrestling ring to governor of Minnesota. But if he doesn’t win, he’d be fine if Democrat A.J. Balukoff did.

As Bujak sees it, four years of gridlock from a Democratic administration would be preferable to electing Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to a third term in office. Bujak says eight years is long enough; 12 years invites more corruption.

“I’ve voted for Otter in the past and there are times that I’ve thought he was doing a good job,” said Bujak, a former Canyon County prosecutor. “But after so many years, being in government for so long and now running for a third term, he’s simply out of touch. And he has turned a blind eye to the corruption going on in his administration.”

Bujak says the controversies surrounding broadband contracts and the botched operation of a private prison system are examples of “cronyism and corruption” that have been part of Otter’s administration.

Although Bujak prefers Balukoff over Otter, that’s hardly an endorsement for the Democratic candidate. Bujak offers himself as a “conservative alternative” to Otter and a choice for disgruntled Republicans who can’t stomach voting for a Democrat. He’s also trying to appeal to independents that are fed up with the two major parties.

Bujak looks to Ventura’s campaign in 1998 as a “how to” guide for a third-party candidate to win a governor’s race. Bujak doesn’t have the flamboyance of the former star of the wildly popular World Wrestling Entertainment. But he has some of “the Body’s” flare in the courtroom and on the political stump. Bujak lashes out at the both parties that “serve special interests and … a party platform that is bigger than the state of Idaho.”

Televised debates were the “game changer” for Ventura’s campaign in 1998 and Bujak thinks the same thing could happen in Idaho this year. “He had about 10 percent (support) before the debates and ended up winning,” Bujak said.

Although he’s running on the Libertarian ticket, he doesn’t go “too far” down that party line. You won’t hear him talking about extreme positions of libertarians, such as closing public schools and opening the door for gambling, prostitution and legalization of marijuana. His views on issues are a mirror image of Sen. Russ Fulcher, who received almost 44 percent of the vote in his unsuccessful run for governor. Bujak says “no” to Common Core, wolves, Obamacare in any form, federal control of public lands and Medicaid expansion. Bujak calls those more traditional Republican stands, with a libertarian twist.

“If you like Fulcher on the issues, then you’d like me. I would not be running if he had won,” Bujak said. The difference is in personality. “I don’t know if Russ is as much of a fighter as I am.” (more…)

On the front pages


Former Idaho Senator Larry Craig has been reappearing in public venues a little more lately, in an Idaho state Republican volunteer role, at the Snake River Basin Adjudication closing ceremonies in August, and elsewhere. But the headlines related to his Minneapolis arrests and event departure from national politics stubbornly refuse to go away completely. A clean break with that piece of his past will happen only once the headlines do, which means closing out the financial obligations courts have imposed.

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)

Greenbelt advocate Onweiler honored (Boise Statesman)
Craig legal expense problems continue (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Lewiston Tribune)
Land board review Tamarack lease transfer (Boise Statesman)
DOE mossing cleanup deadline at INL (IF Post Register)
iPad state program dropped at Paul school (IF Post Register)
Report shows Lewiston area ports build jobs (Lewiston Tribune)
Senators blast on wilderness pictures (Lewiston Tribune)
Syringa case continues in court (Moscow News)
Court says Bujak violated Bar rules (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon food co-op seeks volunteer board
Fundamentalist LDS case ends in sentencing (Pocatello Journal)

Boise approves OSU-Bend 4-year site (Corvallis Gazette)
Lane County moving on pot tax (Eugene Register Guard)
Women discuss risks, survey at OU (Eugene Register Guard)
Wocus plant transplant seems to work (KF Herald & News)
Debate over plan for homeless at Railroad Park (Medford Tribune)
Experimental drone flights scheduled (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hanford radioactive leak allowed to continue (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wyden takes student questions at Pendleton (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Student loan defaults dinging some colleges (Portland Oregonian)
What happens to medical pot post-legalization? (Portland Oregonian)
PERS bills decline, but how much? (Salem Statesman Journal)

Pier at Harper starts its build (Bremerton Sun)
Partisan balance at issue in Kitsap county race (Bremerton Sun)
More questions over jail hanging case (Everett Herald)
PUD won't proceed with tidal project (Everett Herald)
More money in next year's Snohomish budget (Everett Herald)
Visit to national parks up to $25? (Port Angeles News)
Debate over zoning for pot activities (Port Angeles News)
Waste in Seattle Police overtime $1m (Seattle Times)
Reviewing Spokane prosecutor race (Spokane Spokesman)
Co-ops look at rail plan for West Plains (Spokane Spokesman)
State repayment of fed CRC money delayed (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima at odds with ACLU on voting options (Yakima Herald Republic)
Natural gas rates could rise 5.6% (Yakima Herald Republic)