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Posts published in “Day: April 2, 2015”

“The Dummies”

carlson CHRIS


EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see below for a response by a reader referred to in this column; and a response from Carlson.

Hollywood has its Oscars; New York has its Emmies and its Pulitzers. Boston has its Eppies. As of today, Medimont has its “Dummies” - a ten inch lead question mark.

Dummies can be awarded anytime, anyplace for any reason at the sole discretion of the awards panel whose identity is kept secret to protect their lives from being ruined by an avalanche of nominations. Idaho has become such fertile ground.

While political in nature, that is not a requirement. The only condition is nominees have to live in Idaho.

The envelopes please.

The first ever winners of a “Dummie” are Idaho State Senators Maryanne Jordan of Boise and Grant Burgoyne of Boise---the two and only members of the Democratic Party on the Senate Judiciary committee. The prize is awarded because, as the Lewiston Tribune’s Marty Trillhaase put it, not only were Republican Senators like Majority Leader Bart Davis, asleep when Governor Otter’s nomination of State Police chief Colonel Ralph Powell to a second term came before them, the two Democrats had to be snoring.

There is no excuse for missing the opportunity to make the ISP Chief and his governor at least be embarassed if not downright ashamed of conduct unbecoming one serving such high offices. This is the police chief who told the media he would be conducting an investigation of Correction Corporation of America’s deliberately over-billing the State of Idaho 26,000 hours for supposed management of the maximum security prison outside of Boise.

A year later, when asked where things stood, he reveals that there was no investigation undertaken because he decided that over-billing was a civil matter, not criminal. Where was Senator Burgoyne, an attorney no less? Isn’t any theft over $500 a felony and by definition criminal? This theft was in the millions.

When did the chief make this decision? Was it ever discussed by he and the governor or any member of the governor’s staff? Did he discuss it with CCA’s lobbyist who just happens to be a former chief of staff for Otter? What did he know and when did he know it?

Why was his renomination not in the original package of Otter’s renomination of his cabinet sent in early January? Why should the public posit any further trust in an ISP Chief who if he truly acted of his own volition is worthy of nomination for a “Dummie” award himself, and if he was directed to do so, is covering for a governor who, like the chief himself, puts personal interests ahead of their public trust?

Some would excuse Senator Jordan as she was just appointed. Perhaps, but she reportedly has a lick of common sense. People wonder why Democrats are so few in number in Idaho and growing fewer? Look no further than this. They cannot take advantage of a golden opportunity even when it slaps them in the face. Snore on.

The second winner of a coveted “Dummie” is State Representative Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, serving her third term. Rarely does one see a legislator so brazeningly vote against the interests of their own district. She voted against funding for the Idaho Youth Ranch near Cottonwood, a facility on the military model that instills discipline and responsibility in wayward youth that can still be turned.

The ranch is a classic example of pay a little now or pay a lot more later - a concept she does not appear to understand. Also, she was one of only a handful of votes against increased funding for education and more pay for teachers. (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)

Otter reviews horse racing bill (Boise Statesman)
Renewed push for Craters of the Moon park (Boise Statesman)
College of Western Idaho looks for more tax funding (Boise Statesman)
Higher speed limits could cause big rig blowouts (IF Post Register)
Republican newsletter offends Muslims (IF Post Register, Pocatello Journal)
Lots of disputes in wake of horse racing bill (IF Post Register)
Lewiston children's home blocks new admissions (Lewiston Tribune)
Inslee signs bill allowing WSU med school (Lewiston Tribune)
Transportation bill alive with Otter out of way (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon sheriff against expanding jail (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nafziger's men's store closing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Simpson, Labrador split on rural funding bill (Nampa Press Tribune)
Air rescue base opens at Portneuf Medical Center (Pocatello Journal)
New concealed carry bill goes to governor (Pocatello Journal)

School funding bill moves from House to Senate (Astorian)
New gun registration bill drawn much debate (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Medford reviews dispensary location rules (Medford Tribune)
New large brewpub planned for Medford (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing property taxes for local data centers (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Extended statute of limitations sought for race (Portland Oregonian)
Hayes looks for funding for legal battle (Portland Oregonian)
Salem Hospital and OHSU near deal (Salem Statesman Journal)

Allegiant Air strike stopped (Bellingham Herald)
Port Orchard cops for justified in shooting (Bremerton Sun)
Deal made for Harrison hospital (Bremerton Sun)
School cameras to be added at Edmonds (Everett Herald)
State auditor doesn't show at legislative hearing (Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian, Olympian, Longview News)
Sites considered for Manhattan Project Park (Kennewick Herald)
Inslee signs WSU med school bill (Spokane Spokesman, Kennewick Herald)
Snowpack still very low (Kennewick Herald)
Tenino residents march for ousted cop chief (Olympian)
Expedia expected to move from Bellevie to Seattle (Seattle Times)