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Posts published in November 2014

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)

ACHD supports new Collister connection (Boise Statesman)
Wolf reintroduction debate continues (IF Post Register)
16 INL wrks exposed to radiation in 2011 (IF Post Register)
Idaho Youth Ranch to move from Rupert to Middleton (Nampa Press Tribune)
State health exchange opens on Saturday (Nanpa Press Tribune)
Melba schools will try $9.5 million bond (Nampa Press Tribune)
Amy's Kitchen preparing for Pocatello opening (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho temperatures plunge (Pocatello Journal)
Jerome prepares for new jail in 2015 (TF Times News)
CSI looking for $1m for student attraction effort (TF Times News)

Ballmers continue $50m to UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield still ponders future of burned mill (Eugene Register Guard)
Big winter storm coming (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
Gold City official accused of harassment (Medford Tribune)
Looking at marijuana retail (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Monsanto will pay $2.4m on GMO case (Pendleton E Oregonian)
ODOT presses for more road repair money (Portland Oregonian)
Salem might ease rules on residential chickens (Salem Statesman Journal)

Ferry abruptly powerless, explained (Bremerton Sun)
Port Orchard street budget questioned (Bremerton Sun)
Big winter storm about to arrive (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Kenmore Air, only scheduled service at PA, leaves (Port Angeles News)
Tacoma ferry out till next summer (Seattle Times)
Idaho may have to rebid for school broadband (Spokane Spokesman)
Long snow waits possible at Snoqualmie (Yakima Herald Republic)

To be or not to be

carlson CHRIS


Dear CH---

You commented recently on your Facebook page how courageous you thought the young 29-year-old California woman was that moved to Oregon and availed herself of Oregon’s Doctor assisted suicide law on November 1st.

With all due respect to your right to hold a differing view, you could not be more wrong. It does not take courage to opt out of life prematurely. It is an an act motivated by fear, a desire to control the end of one’s life, and when glamorized by the former Hemlock Society, now rebranded as Compassion and Choices, a publicity stunt that sends the wrong signal to our youth.

Always it is by definition a selfish act that passes one’s pain onto their loved ones. It is an act of cowardness and the furthest thing away from courage.

What is the true act of courage is to look death in the eye and fight valiantly to one’s natural end

As you know, nine years ago I was diagnosed with a rare and always fatal form of a carcinoid neuroendocrine cancer. I was in stage IV and given the proverbial six months. I sent all my tests, my CT’s, my MRI’s, my blood work, x-rays and body scans to M.D. Anderson, the world renowned Cancer Care center in Houston, Texas.

They refused to see me. It was hopeless, they said and they did not want to waste their time or resources. If Washington’s Initiative 1000 had been passed into law at that time, I would have easily qualified.

Instead, I worked with my team of doctors, developed an attack strategy and I’m still here. I fought like hell, and I still fight. There isn’t a day that has gone by in the last nine years that I haven’t felt pain. Initially, I lost 75 pounds, looked like death warmed over and most were sure I was gone. Gradually, though, between the experimental radioactive particles placed on my liver and the monthly “golden “rear”” shot I take of a sandostatin that is my chemotherapy, the tide started to turn.

Here I am nine years later. In that time I’ve seen the births and watched with joy the growth of our grandchildren. I had built my wife’s dream retirement home in north Idaho and was able to watch with tears in my eyes as our Marine Corps captain, our son, was wed to a wonderful daughter-in-law at the Botanical Gardens outside San Diego.

Such events have made the pain and suffering truly manageable. There are thousands like me who fight on against all odds and while most of us are never cured we can and do reach a period of stasis in which we manage the disease for a number of years and move on.

To think that I might have missed such events because I’d opt out of life early out of fear is just unthinkable.

I don’t argue with the notion that one can take their life if they wish to do so. The ability to purchase sleeping pills and turn on a car in an enclosed garage is virtually pain free and doesn’t need the assistance of a doctor nor does it bring the state into the matter.

I believe there are issues at the beginning of life and at the end of life that should be left to the person, their family, their doctor, and their spiritual counselors. I firmly believe that we will never be able to legislate fair , equitable and balanced laws respectful of everone’s rights on all life issues. (more…)

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)

Dubois scrambles with possible sheep station closure (Boise Statesman)
State broadband contract killed in court (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Idaho's will be the only new state-run exchange (Boise Statesman)
Nampa bus route may settle by lottery (Nampa Press Tribune)
Much colder weather coming Thursday (Nampa Press Tribune)
Reviewing Idaho Falls kannel ordinance (Pocatello Journal)

Lane County might send car fee to ballot (Eugene Register Guard)
Student enrollment at OIT dips 3% (KF Herald & News)
Enrollment at SOU in Ashland raises about 1% (Medford Tribune)
Good year for wine, board says (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislature may lock in low-carbon fuel rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Heavy storm moving into area (Portland Oregonian)
Uber car sharing expands to PDX suburbs (Portland Oregonian)
English teaching hits more benchmarks (Salem Atatesman Journal)

Challenges rebuilding highway 530 post-mudslide (Everett Herald)
Washington pot prices fall, compete with black market (Longview News)
New Cowlitz prosecutor prepares (Longview News)
Another cold storm may be on its way (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Guns selling hotter at shows in WA since election (Olympian)
Port Angeles bond faces school board (Port Angeles News)
Amazon prepares to build yet again in Seattle (Seattle Times)
Money disputes enbroils bishop, law firm (Spokane Spokesman)
Idaho broadband contract killed in court (Spokane Spokesman)
Apple crop still growing in WA (Yakima Herald Republic)

Not in a single month

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Ten years ago this month, a cardiologist told me I was a prime candidate for dropping dead at any moment because my heart was clogging up, as if Elmer’s glue was flowing through my veins. I checked into the hospital the next day, and doctors were cracking open my chest for a five-way heart bypass that saved my life.

I’m telling this story because November happens to be American Diabetes Awareness Month – a time to focus attention on a growing disease that hits 30 million people in America and more than 80 million people who are diagnosed with a ticking time bomb called “pre-diabetes.” If we do nothing, it is projected that one in three people will have diabetes by 2050 and I can only imagine what that will do in terms of health care costs.

As I celebrate my 10-year anniversary of my new lease on life, this also is a good time to reflect on what I have been through, what could have happened and maybe offer some hope for those who are battling this disease. A clogged up heart was only one of the complications I have experienced since being diagnosed with diabetes 15 years ago. I lost a toe in 2001, essentially lost my vision two years later and left my job as an editorial writer with the Idaho Statesman.

Nobody dies directly from diabetes; it’s the complications from this silent killer that can make death a welcome relief in the later stages. Heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, amputations and nerve damage are among those complications. If I didn’t have the bypass surgery 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be around to tell this story. Instead … I’m 64 years old and feeling great. My heart is strong and healthy, my eyesight has fully recovered. I don’t know if my recovery was the result of the grace of God, or dumb luck, but I’ll take the result.

Diabetes is a horrible disease, but it is not a death sentence. It can be managed and some of the effects can be reversed (I’m living proof). There’s plenty of help for those with the disease, including the American Diabetes Association. The ADA also provides expertise in management and offers tips for a healthier lifestyle – such as more walking and smarter cooking. So, it’s isn’t all gloom and doom – although there’s enough information that can scare the daylights out of people. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and two of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. The rate for amputations for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes. The national cost for treating the disease is estimated at $245 billion.

The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are entities that are working to find a cure. Aside from that, there are no grand government solutions. Individuals have responsibility to help themselves. It starts with the home and parents promoting a healthier lifestyle for their kids, who will be part of this world in 2050.

November is a good time to talk about all of this. But healthier living cannot be confined to a single month.

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)

Collister/State interchange may be shifted (Boise Statesman)
Clarkston asked to 'ban the ban' on pot (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow looks at North Main Street lots for business (Moscow News)
First hard freeze expected in region (Moscow News)
Boise has VA claims backlog, no firings expected (TF Times News)

First hard freeze expected in region (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette, Pendleton E Oregonian)
OSU gains but UO loses in overall enrollment (Eugene Register Guard)
$16k fines assessed in bee kill (Eugene Register Guard)
Glenwood store fined for barring service dogs (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath schools buy propose-powered buses (KF Herald & News)
Natural gas project events scheduled (KF Herald & News)
Review Medford's stalled efforts at revitalization (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston cops to 'move along' panhandlers (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Walden calls on area forests to accept local concerns (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Portland proposes new road fee (Portland Oregonian)
Riley win gives Democrats 18 Senate seats (Salem Statesman Journal)

New Kitsap prosecutor moving in (Bremerton Sun)
Bremerton mayor targeting auditor budget (Bremerton Sun)
New Snohomish budget would raise pay and taxes (Everett Herald)
Cowlitz prosecutor ousted in final tally (Longview News)
Olympia strip club closes because of unpaid taxes (Olympian)
Clallam commissioner, prosector narrowly win (Port Angeles News)
Lower class size measure appears to win (Seattle Times)
UW regents offer public access for dinner meetings (Seattle Times)
FBI reports increase in 2013 Spokane crime (Spokane Spokesman)
Pierce County backs training for strippers (Tacoma News Tribune)
125 years for Washington state (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima council considers top budget plans (Yakima Herald Republic)
First hard freezes expected in area (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Newhouse off to DC, while Didier doesn't concede (Yakima Herald Republic)

The real Idaho winner from 2014

carlson CHRIS


Someone who was not even on the November 4th ballot: Idaho’s senior U.S. Senator, Mike Crapo. The reasons are many.

With Republicans gaining control of the Senate, the Senator’s seniority places him in a position to exert ever more influence on America’s fiscal policies, its huge debt, its subsidy-riven hodge-podge of tax loopholes otherwise known as incentives, and its financial institutions..

Because of some quirks in the Senate’s arcain seniority system the former Idaho Falls State senator will have to wait two years before becoming a full committee chair. Republicans actually term limit senators who become committee chairs to six years in holding the chairmanship of a committee.and they can only chair one major committtee at a time.

So even though Senator Crapo is the ranking Minority Member on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has more seniority and has two years of being a chairman of some committee left on his tenure sheet.

Senator Crapo’s growing power is the result both of his intelligence and his hard work. His other committees include the Budget, Environment and Public Works committee as well as the Finance committee. These committees place him at the very vortex of an issue he rightly feels is still to be address----controlling the nation’s profligate spending and laying out a path to reduce the debt and eventually put the country back on a pay as you go basis.

Crapo played a critical non-partisan negotiating role while serving on the Presidential Task Force headed up by former Clinton Chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, and former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson that listened to all sorts of experts and then cobbled together recommendations that would stave off fiscal disaster.

Crapo, along with fellow Senators Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma chose couragiously to brave the wrath of the Republican hard core right by acknowledging that a part of the path forward would have to include some small amount of revenue enhancements. To Grover Norquist that spelled a tax increase and no matter how critical some amount would be needed along with the spending cuts as part of the “we all have to swallow some castor oil and sacrifice something” plan, all three were heavily criticized for putting the nation’s interests ahead of a party interest. Can you imagine that?

All three deserve their own chapter in a new edition of Profiles in Courage. (more…)

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)

Property tax statements ready for arrival (Moscow News)
Nampa working on downtown streetscape (Nampa Press Tribune)
Elm Park Water System links to TF water (TF Times News)

Reviewing long trail to opening pot shops (Medford Tribune)
Student transfer law comes under review (Portland Oregonian)
Democrats plan to push harder at Salem (Portland Oregonian)
Salem council considering pay increase (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bainbridge gets new urgent care facility (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish developing Ebola plan (Everett Herald)
Everett putting together plan for streets (Everett Herald)
Inslee looking for more green initiatives (Olympian)
Running out of building space at UW (Seattle Times)
Work generated by street levy begins in 2015 (Spokane Spokesman)
Washington celebrates 125 years (Tacoma News Tribune)

Candidates and ballot measure

idaho RANDY

Across the nation, election night 2014 was hailed (or decried, depending on perspective) as a Republican romp, and a few watchers called it a conservative triumph.

The first part was unquestionably true: With few exceptions (such as to Washington's south in Oregon and California) Republicans did extremely well nationwide, and while their gains in Washington were not enormous in size, they were significant.

Translating that to gains for conservatism is a more problematic matter. Most of the winning Republicans, in Washington and in many other places, did not campaign on down-the-line conservatism. Perhaps clearer however was the matter of the ballot issues.

A string of minimum-wage issues passed, severa in red states, around the country. Oregon and Alaska (and Washington, D.C.) passed legal pot measures mirroring Washington and Colorado from two years ago.

And in Washington . . . Voters turned their backs on the Measure 591, which would “prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.” It lost decisively.

Instead, the same cadre of voters which boosted Republican totals backed a measure specifically calling for more extensive background checks for gun sales.

The voters also narrowly – and apparently, since a recount may happen – passed a measure restricting school classroom sizes, a measure with little financial backup, so little that even Democratic Governor Jay Inslee said he voted against it.

So on two distinct issues the voters – the same voters helping out Republicans – went to the left of where most Democratic elected officials were willing to go.
Ponder that for a bit as you plot out the opening moves of election cycle 2016.

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)

Debate rises over firefighter pay (Boise Statesman)
Two in guard chopper crash were experienced pilots (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho having difficulty filling teacher ranks (Boise Statesman)
Future still unclear for Dubois shee station (IF Post Register)
Looking at state public defense system (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
About sexual misconduct charges at juvenile center (Nampa Press Tribune)
Figuring out crop losses from summer (TF Times News)

School land for possible YMCA sale appraised (Eugene Register Guard)
Crater Lake crayfish menace newts (KF Herald & News)
Legislature edges a bit to the left (KF Herald & News)
How things change with pot legalization (Portland Oregonian)

20-year Kitsap prosecutoe defeated (Bremerton Sun)
Longview still struggles with tap water troubles (Longview News)
Washington celebrates statehood 125 years (Olympian)
Chambers close to edge in partisan power (Olympian)
Highway 101 widened to 4 lanes Sequim-Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Navy say no action on digital warfare for a while (Port Angeles News)
Reviewing affordable care act a year later (Seattle Times)
Looking at rural doctor shortages (Spokane Spokesman)
Did Vancouver port violate closed meeting law? (Vancouver Columbian)
Republicans do well in Clark in this election (Vancouver Columbian)
Looking ahead to 2015 legislature (Yakima Herald Republic)
Gun show people uneasy with I-594 (Yakima Herald Republic)

The power of the R (in Idaho)

idaho RANDY

Don't say there was no difference in the received vote between Republican candidates who were noncontroversial and those drowning in negatives in the just-ended campaign. Yes, they all alike won, but the counts varied and even give us some measure of controversial-ness.

Atop the ticket, Senator Jim Risch, whose re-election campaign didn't draw massive public attention, despite strenuous efforts from his opponent, won about 285,000 votes. (I'm rounding off for simplicity.) Fellow Republicans Lawerence Denney for secretary of state won about 44,000 less, C.L. “Butch” Otter for governor about 50,000 less, and Sherri Ybarra for superintendent of public instruction about 68,000 less (barely avoiding a loss). You likely remember, or can Google, the many issues surrounding them.

This means about 40,000 to 60,000 Republicans did split off from an otherwise Republican ballot when presented with compelling arguments to do so. That's significant, and I'll return to them on another occasion. But an operating majority of voters, somewhere around 220,000 of them, were by comparison impervious to the arguments that peeled off other Republicans.

That point is being made not just from the left. Kent Marmon, a sometimes Republican candidate in Canyon County who often critiques the Idaho Republican establishment from the right, said on a Facebook post, “As I watched the election results unfold last night, I couldn't help but think that if Barack Obama moved to Idaho, joined the Republican Party, and ran for office as a Republican.... he could get elected. Issues apparently don't matter. Neither does anything else.”

Also on Facebook, a woman from Nampa (a Democrat) sent an open request to Republican friends: “Please name three (3) reasons you voted for Sherri Ybarra. I'm not being snarky. I genuinely want to know why you would pick Ms. Ybarra over Ms. [Jana] Jones. Serious answers only, please.”

She got about 90 replies, but from down the line Republicans . . . nothing.

Of the many apparently non-Republican respondents, a few said the election was “rigged,” which it was not, and others thought gerrymandering was involved, which it could not have been. One said, “I cannot find a Republican that will admit to voting for her.” But, evidently, a whole lot of them did.

Another: “My guess is that people who voted for her didn't even know what she was running for. They saw the "R" beside her name and colored the circle in. I don't think you will find an educated Republican who did vote for her.” And: “Based on what I heard said: 1) she's Republican. 2) there is a black man in the White House (who wants to take my guns). 3) she's 'good looking'."

A variation: “It simply was the 'obama/bogeyman syndrome' that many in Idaho believe. It started with the IACI labeling Mr. [A.J.] Balukoff as a "liberal" and using that simplistic tactic in all the races. Ibarra with "D" in front of her name would have gotten less than 10% of the vote (taking into account of really stupid voters who pay absolutely no attention to who their voting for) To hear some of the people on fb and KIDO and KBOI, you would think that AJ was the "antichrist" because of the lies spread about him.”

How close to the truth did these latter comments come? Good question. They're guesswork from outsiders speculating about the opposition camp.

One writer said she had a number of Tea Party friends who “are very vocal on their own feed. This thread may not feel safe for them. But holy jelly donut – stand up for what you believe in, otherwise it's just a herd of lemmings talking to themselves in the mirror.”

So I'll pitch a request here, to party-line Republican voters (others, please hold off): Send me a note, at the email address below, noting the main reason or two why you voted for Ybarra, Denney and Otter. Call it a public service. Idaho will be better off if the whole of the state has a clearer idea why its next round of elected leadership was chosen, and few majority voters are clearly explaining that now.

I'll follow up next week.

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)

Simplot GMO potato approved by USDA (Boise Statesman)
Looking into National Guard helicopter crash (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Republicans look for recount in District 6 (Lewiston Tribune)
Study checks sea lions, chinook links (Lewiston Tribune)
Pocatello nears new comprehensive plan (Pocatello Journal)
Animal cruelty law in Idaho blasted (TF Times News)

What's ahead for Kitzhaber's 4th (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Reguster Guard)
Homeless whoville returns in new spot (Eugene Register Guard)
Irrigators looking for more security for water (KF Herald & News)
Senators seek to confirm ambassador from Portland (KF Herald & News)
Death of cow probably not wolf-related (Medford Tribune)
Study urges people to prepare for wildfire long-term (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston will consider panhandling rules (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Large number of coho in run (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Ethics commission declines answer to Kitzhaber (Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Del Smith, of Evergreen Aviation, dies (Portland Oregonian)
Oregon State Police getting new headquarters (Salem Statesman Journal)

Kitsap prosecutor race narrows again (Bremerton Sun)
Another death in Marysville school shooting (Seattle Times, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Man cops tased awarded $600k (Everett Herald)
Sheldon win in race in 35 concluded (Olympian)
Lewis-McChord named as troop quarantine location (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Simplot GMO potato approved by USDA (Seattle Times)
Two Spokane wine labels shut down (Spokane Spokesman)
Wildfires cut into Washington tourism (Spokane Spokesman)
Pressing for more Tacoma-area sidewalks (Tacoma News Tribune)
Stewart wins Clark Co commission seat (Vancouver Columbian)
AP declares Newhouse winner of 4th House seat (Yakima Herald Republic)

Who voted, and Indian country

trahant MARK


This was a tough election. Those who are against the Affordable Care Act, don’t believe in global warming, and think that President Obama is the cause of all our problems swept into office. We won’t know the final tally for a month or so, but the Republicans picked up at least seven Senate seats, added to their majority in the House and did well in state houses.

But this is how this election was supposed to be. This is how the sixth year of a presidency looks (even for the now sainted Ronald Reagan). The whole premise of 2014 was to get out enough voters together so that the country would not have to take another step backwards. So we didn't beat history.

Worse: We let a determined group of voters chart the next two years. These were voters that were older, more white, and more determined to reverse Obama.

The NBC Exit Poll showed how different this electorate was: Young people voted in smaller numbers than 2012. And, get this, even less than 2010. NBC said: “In today’s midterms, 37% of voters are over the age of 60 but only 12% of are under 30 years old. This 25 point difference is larger than the 16 to 20 point age gap seen in the last three midterms.”

But that same exit poll has this nugget about “a growing perception that the U.S. economic system is unfair. Sixty-three percent of voters said they believe that it generally favors the wealthy, compared to 32 percent who say it is fair to most Americans.”

That is important because it is a notion that can be used to build a policy argument, even in this political climate. (More about policy from me later this week.)

I’ll look more closely at the Native vote in the next few days, but I suspect that turnout was light there too. Cecilia FireThunder posted on my Facebook page saying, “I kinda looked at the numbers and we in Shannon and Bennett Counties did not do as well as we could have. Same thing happened with Tom Daschle, the organizers did not listen to us old timers on what they needed to do differently on the rez. Dems need to accept if they want our support in all things Democrat they have to listen to what works and its why we have to take part, not the candidates or single issues. Lets learn from these glitches and plan ahead every year all year round on Indian reservations in states with large NDN populations like SD where we have 9 reservations and Pine Ridge alone has at least 30,000 plus.”

So what did work? What should we celebrate this morning in Indian Country? Actually there are some bright spots.

There seemed to be enough Navajo voters turning out (even with the confusion on the tribal ballot) to return a Democrat, Ann Kirkpatrick, to Congress in Arizona. (more…)