Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: February 8, 2015”

This week in the Briefings


Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on February 4 introduced The AWARE Act to ensure that farm animals used in agricultural research at federal research facilities be included in the definition of “animal” under the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act ensures that certain minimum standards of humane care are adhered to in federal and private research facilities. However, the Act defines “animal” in a way that egregiously excludes farm animals used in agricultural research. Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick spoke with leaders from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at a press conference. (photo/Representative Blumenauer)

The Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss was duly reported around the state Sunday evening and Monday morning, and then quickly dropped. (What Seahawks?) Some advocates, however, pointed put that overall the team had played two spectacularly sucessful seasons in a row, and a Super Bowl return in 2016 does not seem an unreasonable prospect.

Oregon’s political picture was upended last week with the continuing difficulties of Governor John Kitzhaber – a press conference that went awry, a subsequent call for his resignation from the Portland Oregonian and later a couple of recall proposals. The pressure is not likely to let up in the week ahead.

In Idaho, school broadband concerns – and the growing probability of a shutdown of school broadband in the state – took front stage last week. Elsewhere, the legislature began moving toward budget-setting, which may be a closely related topic.

One big port hit

idaho RANDY

The biggest story of the week in the Northwest, and one not getting especially strong news coverage, is the now-arrived massive Pacific Coast port shutdowns, extending across a vast distance north to Alaska and south through California.

And not just a regional story, but national. The members of Congress beginning to scurry about calling for help – from the White House among other places – are not misplacing their concerns.

Here’s one comment, one of many like it around the net as last week ended, from the Retail Industry Leaders Association: “A breakdown in contract negotiations between labor and management at America's west coast ports is threatening to turn a slowdown into a full-scale strike, and an economic headache into a full-blown crisis that impacts the entire American economy.”

Ports on the west coast carry an estimated 43.5% of all container cargo in the United States – something like a trillion dollars in trade. You have to assume that in the Pacific Northwest, the percentage is much higher. Businesses will not be able to get supplies or get to market; consumers will not get goods. The economy could screech to a halt.

The battle between the Pacific Maritime Association (which represents the 29 big pacific ports, including Seattle, Portland and Tacoma) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers has turned poisonous. Each essentially is accusing the other of bad faith, and making essentially personal shots at the other. And each seems to have grievances with the other that seem to reach beyond the merely emotional.

Getting past this won’t be easy.

Time has come for the national government to weigh in. All these cheerful economic numbers – like the excellent employment news released last week – could come to an end if this loggerheads on the Pacific Coast doesn’t.

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)

Pilot error killed guard chopper pilots (Boise Statesman)
Locals move to North Dakota for high paying oil work (Lewiston Tribune)
Deseret Industries building anew in Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pine Ridge Mall tries to revive itself (Pocatello Journal)
E Idaho horse race backers try to save industry (Pocatello Journal)
Notably warm winter in eastern Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
More building permits in Twin Falls (TF Times News)

Burley Designs baby carrier profitable again (Eugene Register Guard)
Pub may be coming to UO student union (Eugene Register Guard)
Democrats not rushing to Kitzhaber's defense (Eugene Register Guard)
Jackson Co finances faring well (Medford Tribune)
Kitzhaber's private life emerges (Portland Oregonian)
School buses aging, creating hazards (Portland Oregonian)
$135m sought for pre-kindergarten (Salem Statesman Journal)

Options considered for new Marysville I-5 interchange (Everett Herald)
Former United Way director contests firing (Longview News)
Reviewing local food inspections (Olympian)
Local channels went dark on Tacoma cable (Tacoma News Tribune)
Gun rights advocates rally ay statehouse (Vancouver Columbian)
Farm piece-work rates at Supreme Court (Yakima Herald Republic)