Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: December 16, 2014”

An investigative legacy?

malloy CHUCK

In Idaho

Assuming this term will be Gov. Butch Otter’s last, it would be a good time for him to be thinking about his place in Idaho’s history. That is, of course, if this ends up being his last term.

But legacy building is taking an ugly detour as a result of the Idaho Education Network broadband contract, which was thrown out in court and the private-prison contract with Corrections Corporation of America, which is under investigation with the FBI. Administration of contracts could be one of the big issues heading into the next legislative session. Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone, who chairs the House State Affairs Committee, has told the Post Register he is looking into investigating the IEN issue.

One person who is not letting the broadband issue go away is Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, who is giving the administration plenty of heartaches. Earlier this month, the Midvale Republican circulated a statewide column discussing the broadband contracts and pointing fingers in high places.

“I am not going to let this go away and I don’t think the people of Idaho should let it go away,” said Boyle, who has gained the attention from fellow conservatives and Democrats.

As one of the more conservative members of the Legislature, Boyle says “no” to a lot of things. The broadband contract was not one of them. She sees the value of connecting schools, libraries and state agencies with high-speed Internet and didn’t blink at the $60 million contract.

“Correctly done, it brings the world to Idaho students and citizens, especially in the rural areas,” Boyle said in her commentary. “However, when it becomes illegal and corrupt, I must speak out.”

As with the national debt, the costs for the illegal contracts keep climbing in the form of withheld federal funds and legal fees. And it’s all as a result of former Director of Administration Mike Gwartney, Otter’s right-hand man early in his governorship, changing the terms of the contract – eliminating Syringa, which was supposed to share in proofing the broadband connections. Quest’s name was left on the contract.

Boyle sees the arrangement as an example of “crony capitalism,” which gives special favors to campaign donors. In this case, Boyle says, “the children of Idaho will be the losers” in the deal.

Boyle says her commentary was only a start. The solution is for the Legislature, and possibly the state Department of Education, to investigate further. She has an ally in Democratic Sen. Grant Burgoyne of Boise.

“The Legislature needs to stand up and make sure the money is appropriated and spent properly,” he said.
On the CCA contract, he said, “how did we get in a position where we went for a long period of time with the contractor submitting false billings to us?”
Burgoyne and Boyle are miles apart on many legislative issues, but he admires Boyle for keeping the issue in the forefront.

“Representative Boyle has always stepped up and told people exactly what she thinks,” Burgoyne said. “She’s courageous and outspoken. She does not mislead anybody about what she thinks and her intentions. Those are very good attributes.”

Somewhere, the late former U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth – Boyle’s longtime mentor, employer and friend – must be smiling.

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)

Boise could get easement for Dry Creek trails (Boise Statesman)
When Anheuser-Busch buys small brewery . . . (Boise Statesman)
Lewiston legislators look ahead to session (Lewiston Tribune)
Clearwater Paper does $100m stock buyback (Lewiston Tribune)
Former Pullman church land will be redeveloped (Moscow News)
Syringa Court case returns to court (Moscow News)
Health & Welfare sells North Nampa property (Nampa Press Tribune)
Amount of SBA loans in Boise area increases (Nampa Press Tribune)
Cows on the loose in Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho Falls LDS temple may close for a year (Pocatello Journal)
TF council okays Banner building as new city hall (TF Times News)

Pay raise considered for UO president (Eugene Register Guard)
Hospice relocations considered at various sites (Eugene Register Guard)
Movie 'Wild' premieres in Ashland (KF Herald & News)
Pacific Connector Pipeline debated at meeting (KF Herald & News)
New tribal health clinic sited for 2015 (Pendleton E Oregonian)
School leaders: Gov's budget still not enough (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Could Tums help with ocean acidification? (Portland Oregonian)
Portland-Uber conflict continues (Portland Oregonian)
Planned Salem bridge to be named for Courtney (Salem Statesman Journal)

Inslee offers partial preview of budget (Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Snohomish Co shutdown becoming possibility (Everett Herald)
Reconsidering rules for pot in rural areas (Everett Herald)
KapStone delivers health ultimatum (Longview News)
Olympia may shut a park and its well (Olympian)
On the economics of WA state auto license plates (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Tunnel could be impact key water main (Seattle Times)
Boeing may see cost overrun on tanker (Seattle Times)
People statewide favor WSU med school in poll (Spokane Spokesman)