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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)

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…)

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)

Two die in Idaho Guard copter accident (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Businesses using new state tax incentive (Boise Statesman)
What's behind Grossenbacher departure at INL? (IF Post Register)
Whitman co will work on shoreline program (Moscow News)
Middleton may move to volunteer fire force (Nampa Press Tribune)
Might ruling revive Idaho gay marriage ban? (TF Times News)

What now after Corvallis parking plan defeat? (Corvallis Gazette)
OSU enrollment hits 30k (Corvallis Gazette)
Beach no-smoking plan dropped by state (Salem Statesman Journal, Corvallis Gazette)
Lane's So Delicious dessert company sold (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene utility district manager quits (Eugene Register Guard)
Small earthquake noted near Lakeview (KF Herald & News)
One violator set air quality noncompliant (KF Herald & News)
Medford council may add space to trail (Medford Tribune)
Former Kim's restaurant space may go to casino (Medford Tribune)
Ceremony ends chemical disposal at Umatilla (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Banner Banks takes over American West (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State forestry sets new harvest zones (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Speeding up work on I-5 cable barrier (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Kitsap incumbent prosercutor regains lead (Bremerton Sun)
Private Bainbridge marina may be public park (Bremerton Sun)
Big growth for Lonview auto dealer (Longview News)
Sea lions eating more salmon than expected (Longview News)
Cowlitz prosecutor likely ousted (Longview News)
35th district House race still up for grabs (Olympian)
Many questions are Seattle medical pot (Seattle Times)
Clark county races still up in air (Vancouver Columbian)
Vancouver pot sellers consider Oregon impact (Vancouver Columbian)
Washington gun background check may become model (Vancouver Columbian)
Newhouse continues to lead Didier in 4th (Yakima Herald Republic)

What the hell just happened?

rainey BARRETT


Well, we had an election. Some of us are pleased with the outcome - some of us are renewing passports and searching the I-net for details of New Zealand’s immigration laws.

Speaking strictly of candidates and not political parties, I’ve never seen a slate of more unqualified, unknowing and woefully unskilled winners. Consider. One governor returned to office owned a company found guilty of numerous counts of Medicaid fraud. That may’ve been how he could afford to throw more than $24-million into his race. Two new members of Congress have felony convictions while a third was re-elected while still under indictment on multiple criminal charges yet to be tried.

There’s the new senator who authored - authored - a bill in both the Colorado legislature and the U.S. House to not just outlaw abortion but also essentially criminalize any form of birth control. Then he claimed he didn’t know that would be the result of his labors - then repeatedly denied any connection with either bill though both still carry his name.

Idaho voters elected a Supt. of Public Instruction who lied about her educational achievements, couldn’t remember when she was divorced or remarried, hadn’t voted in a dozen or so elections and said she had no knowledge of the state’s educational budget but would “study it” if she were successful.

Idaho also elected a new Secretary of State whose honesty and integrity have been repeatedly and publically criticized by his own party and who says he wants to enact new voting laws that would discriminate against and/or disenfranchise some of Idaho’s citizens. And Idaho voters re-elected a State Treasurer who ignored Idaho’s investment statutes while losing more than $10-million in the markets and whose practices were soundly criticized in an official audit.

Idaho’s governor was re-elected, too. Not content with just thanking voters, his acceptance speech included a promise to waste even more tax dollars in repeated attempts to override the federal court decision to allow same sex marriages in the state. He’s already failed twice.

The hog castration lady from Iowa will be a U.S. Senator though she showed repeatedly during the campaign she has limited knowledge of both the job and the role of government in general. And after a campaign in which she admitted always having an automatic pistol on her person - not only for personal protection but also for use at that moment when “government rights” interfere with her “rights.”

There’ll be far too many members of Congress with questionable backgrounds for moral or ethical reasons, criminal convictions, limited knowledge of the offices to which they’ve been elected, positions on issues that would discriminate against certain categories of citizens. Far too many conducted campaigns showing little knowledge of American government - which they will now represent.

But - we’ll survive. We always have. That survival, however, will likely come after a couple of years of deadlock, bad decisions, heated political and economic battles and some very real pain being inflicted on too many Americans. Especially minorities and the poor. Those factors are guaranteed. They were assured by those who voted - and those who didn’t.

The outcome seems to say a majority was disappointed with the direction of things and wanted to go in another direction. That’s as it should be in our Republic. However, the inherent problem with our system is that it doesn’t choose the new direction. Just stop going this way and - in the future - go that way. Seems a lot of winners weren’t chosen so much for what they said or promised but because they weren’t the guy in office. Voters said “No, we don’t want you anymore. We want him or her.” Not so much a choice of candidate as a choice of “something else.” (more…)