Writings and observations

news

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)

New options for Boise downtown (Boise Statesman)
A look back at the legislative session (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Woodgrain Millwork expands in Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa police not getting requested pay raises (Nampa Press Tribune)
City uncertain about AG probe of finances (Pocatello Journal)

Oregon pot industry prepares to open (Eugene Register Guard)
Aerial herbicide rules still debated at Salem (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing a study on growth at Klamath County (KF Herald & News)
VA staffing lacks persist at Oregon facility (Medford Tribune)
What to do about pot edibles? (Portland Oregonian)
Democrats dominating legislative session (Portland Oregonian)

State budget realigns park spending (Bremerton Sun)
Gangs at Everett drawing in younger children (Everett Herald)
Oregon debates over sentencing law changes (Longview News)
Lead in guns threatening health of cops (Seattle Times)
UW looking into color blindness cure (Seattle Times)
Spokane schools will oust unvaccinated students (Spokane Spokesman)
many government text messages disappear (Tacoma News Tribune)

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First Take

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

When I started to cover the Idaho Legislature decades ago, the Idaho Statesman had a picture poster on its Statehouse office wall that dominated above everything else there. It was a picture of Chief Joseph, of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce. It was there in a place of pride for decades, and no one ever seemed to question that it was rightly there.

A lot of Idahoans, including many who take the history of Idaho seriously, claim the legacy of Chief Joseph. It’s not hard to understand, considering the man’s fame, his vigorous history of leadership, eloquence and many other admirable qualities.

This comes up because Oregon has been considering replacing its two statues of notable historical figures (John McLoughlin and Jason Lee) now in place at the U.S. Capitol at the National Statuary Hall. (Idaho’s choices, George Shoup and William E. Borah, might also merit reconsideration.) A study commission considered alternative choices, and it picked Chief Joseph along with suffragette Abigail Scott Duniway. The legislature now is deciding whether to give its approval.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter followed up last week, writing to Oregon legislators that “Chief Joseph’s story and legacy in the Northwest is indeed historically notable. But a close examination of history may indicate a more significant historical tie to Idaho than any other state in our region.”

Chief Joseph was a northwesterner, but pinning him down to any one state may be too difficult.

He had Oregon roots, born and raised and lived as a young man in what is now the Wallowa country of northeastern Oregon, around the Oregon city of Joseph, which was named for him. While “treaty” Nez Perce concentrated in north-central Idaho by the early 1860s, Joseph generally stayed with the “non-treaty” tribal members in the Wallowas for more than another decade. To the end of his days he considered that Oregon country his home, and for decades of forced residence in Idaho and elsewhere, he never quit trying to return.

But his Idaho connection was significant too. Joseph probably spent substantial time over the years in the Idaho side of the Nez Perce reservation, though he was based in Idaho relatively briefly. It was then, however, when he emerged as a leader of the Nez Perce who made their spectacular escape to Canada, pursued and periodically embattled by the U.S. Army. That event crossed hundreds of miles in Idaho, then into Wyoming and Montana, where the army finally cornered them and forced them to surrender. Montana was where Joseph was said to have delivered (though in fact he probably never did) his much-quoted message that, “I will fight no more forever.”

Joseph was not allowed to return either to Oregon or Idaho, but instead was held in Kansas and Oklahoma until, in 1885, he was sent to the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington. He sought to return to the Wallowa country to the day of his death in 1904, but permission never came.

Chief Joseph became a nationally famous figure during his lifetime; he met with presidents, and was the subject of poems and books by the turn of the century. Few Native American figures have been so positively regarded for so long. His famous surrender message likely was crafted mostly by an army officer, but his eloquence on other occasions was clear.

The truth here seems to be that Joseph was a man with a homeland, located in the center of the Northwest, that would be denied him for most of his life. There has to be some irony in the idea that so many places now would like to claim him for their own.

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Idaho Idaho column

news

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)

Legislature prepares to adjourn (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Boise councilman proposees obesity rule change (Boise Statesman)
Live racing will continue at Les Bois (Boise Statesman)
BYU-I president departs (IF Post Register)
Madison school district decides to administer ISAT (IF Post Register)
Washington sees $10m shortfall for wildlife (Lewiston Tribune)
Anti-bully law effective on July 1 (Moscow News)
Washington state has Palouse water concerns (Moscow News)
Moscow bus system might lose federal money (Moscow News)
Debate continues on NNU’s Oord layoff (Nampa Press Tribune)
JFAC’s Cameron says he might not run again (TF Times News)

School board releases emails on superintendent (Eugene Register Guard)
Arlie developer faces bankruptcy issues (Eugene Register Guard)
Lower Klamath wetland running out of water (KF Herald & News)
Property owner gets $200k in dog barking case (Medford Tribune)
Magazine case defendants still soliciting? (Medford Tribune)
Trap failure kills about 400 steelhead (Medford Tribune)
Local lawmaker proposes raising speed limits (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Umatilla sets medical pot locations (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New degree-driven university funding plan (Portland Oregonian)
New vaccine bill generates more debate (Portland Oregonian)
Brown signs $7b schools budget (Salem Statesman Journal)

Cantwell moving on oil train bills (Bellingham Herald)
State House passes new medical pot bill (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Bellingham Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Kitsap crisis center to open July 2016 (Bremerton Sun)
Scientists find ‘warm blob’ in north Pacific (Seattle Times)
Budgeting for drought relief draws much debate (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

‘Tis silly season once again. Well, we used to call it that. Now, given the burgeoning crop of intellectually vacant, politically unknowing and governmentally deficient rabbits wanting to be Commander-In-Chief – without knowing what the job entails – it probably should be renamed “Threat To The Republic” season.

The first two “out-there-hares” to escape the hutch probably won’t finish near the top about 15 months from now when Republicans convene. One wants to bomb Iran back to parking lot status while denying global warming; the other is a serial plagiarizer who wants to eliminate half the federal government and deny foreign aid to any country for any reason.

A lady “hare” about to take the plunge blames liberals for California’s massive water problems. And global warming. Her various “positions” make it abundantly clear why – while seeking to promote women to upper management several years ago – a major company tossed her out of that upper level for continued incompetence. A fellow traveler – a former brain surgeon, no less – believes prison makes you gay – sees no difference between gay Americans and people practicing bestiality and being a pedophile – believes “the Affordable Care Act is the worst social idea in this country since slavery.”

Others of equally detached “thought” are whizzing around looking for a pet billionaire or two to pick up the tab for their assuredly abortive presidential candidacies. It’s an uncommonly unqualified field of some 18 or so seeking nothing more than to raise their profiles for subsequent speech, book and video sales post 2016, ala Newt and Santorum.

Looking to reality beyond these characters, Pew Research Center has been sampling again. Overall result is that more than 39% of us are moving away from the two parties and into “Independent” status. Highest level in more than 79 years of research. Asked which party they might “tilt” to a bit, a third said “Democrat” and about 20% said Republican.”

But here’s the meaty part. In the last year, negative impressions of government have displaced the economy atop Gallup’s continuing monthly polling of what we believe the most important national problem to be. For the first time in it’s lengthy history, Gallup found positive feelings for the two major parties has dropped below 40%. “Independent” continues to rise.

The single most important factor feeding the growing voter independency is young people. Under age 34, 48% consider themselves independents. At the same time, trend lines for older, white Americans have flattened. Bad news for the GOP. Other survey data shows more young folks are moving away from Republican leanings. Democrats get a bit of a bump but “Independent” twice as much. Republicans flat.

When pushed by Gallup questioners to pick one of the two established parties, those under age 34 go Democrat 51% – Republican 35%.

More bad GOP news. Those parts of the population growing most quickly – Hispanics, Asian-Americans, the non-religious and those with college degrees – vote far more Democrat than others. For Republicans, the core group of white, silent generation and white evangelical Protestants is in numerical decline.

While we have a couple of independent U.S. Senators, most most states don’t recognize Independent as a legitimate group – able to field candidates and register voters. So the “tilt” factor is still important for the two parties we do have. But that’s changing. Oregon has recognized Independent with party status. Other states are moving in that direction. It may take a decade or two but it looks like momentum is there for a national third party in all respects.

If Gallup and Pew Research findings are correct, the political party rankings a few years out may be Democrats first, Independents second and Republicans third. A few years more, Independents could lead the pack. Think what that could mean for allowing more qualified candidates to rise on merit from a wider field rather than having the two-party horse race playing to narrow constituencies.

Overall quality of candidates for national office has diminished in both parties in recent years. This time, one party has one candidate – the other, a goofy battalion of rabbits with little knowledge of – or appeal to – a sizeable, viable base. And most are without any well-thought-out vision or plan or even understanding of the job they seek. We, as a nation, need more. We face major national and international problems that must be intelligently addressed. What we have is a pool of candidates for the job that defy the use of the word “intelligent” to describe their skills.

At the moment, meaningful, knowledgeable, articulate independent candidates are rare and the system is stacked against them. In a few years, conditions may be radically different. As a registered Independent in
Oregon, I pray we see that day. And soon.

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Rainey

news

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)

Still struggling with gas tax at legislature (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Little progress in VA wait times (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Community outcry airses over NNU prof’s dismissal (Nampa Press Tribune)
Contractor picked for Canyon jail expansion (Nampa Press Tribune)

New Hilton groundbreaking set for June (Eugene Register Guard)
Property owners battle Lane Transit on purchase (Eugene Register Guard)
State will decide on tuition hike at OIT (KF Herald & News)
Medford wants accounting from Travel Medford (Medford Tribune)
Shortfall found at state Fish & Wildlife (Medford Tribune)
Bill would make district vaccine rates public (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hayes role in housing plan disputed (Portland Oregonian)
Snowpack in state remains light (Portland Oregonian)
Chief Joseph’s Oregon role discussed (Salem Statesman Journal)

Large grant allows Puget Sound acidification study (Bremerton Sun)
Legislative transportation negotiations continue (Bremerton Sun)
Crime rate in Longview fell last year (Longview News)
Legislators split over competing budget plans (Seattle Times)
Many more town houses crop up in Seattle (Seattle Times)
House approves funds for new Columbia bridge (Vancouver Columbian)
Legislators consider more mental health beds (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

frazier DAVID
FRAZIER

 
Boise
Guardian

Mike Murphy isn’t a quiet kinda guy. He will let you know how he feels right off the bat, just like he did on a Boise Police Facebook page a couple of years ago when he was critical of a copper.

The issue — which dealt with Murphy’s treatment as a taxi driver — is mostly forgotten, but his unfriendly comments got him blocked by BPD. He was also blocked from the Mayor’s site when he was critical of Hizzoner. None of the comments were profane, libelous, or slander…just critical. Murphy is now a BSU student.

Murphy recently shared an account of a series of events in HONOLULU where the argument was made that in these days of social media and digital communication, a PUBLIC page like Facebook or Twitter is common communication and subject to the First Amendment protection of free speech. In short, Facebook is little different than standing on the corner or attending a council meeting and voicing one’s opinion. Note: this discussion regards government operated sites, not private sites like the GUARDIAN or personal pages.

The GUARDIAN talked with Chief Bill Bones who talked with Murphy and City legal staff regarding free speech. Bones subsequently has instructed that EVERYONE who was ever blocked from commenting be reinstated on the PD Facebook pages. Legal tells us they have, “ensured all departments (including the mayor’s office) are up to speed on the issue.”

Both Murphy and Bones offered essentially the same quote about each other: “He seems like a very decent person and it’s good to have a public forum conducted in a civil manner.”

The GUARDIAN checked with other agencies and found a surprisingly tolerant attitude regarding website comments. Idaho State Police tell us only a couple of people have been banned for “inappropriate” postings (such as a photo of a child in a lewd conduct case). Meridian coppers have encouraged a “lively discourse” as long as there are no threats or other illegal conduct such as slander and libel. Ada County follows the same guidelines.

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Frazier

news

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)

Highway funding bill still moving around (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Crapo takes hest on federal lands vote (IF Post Register)
Lewiston Port plans layoffs after container loss (Lewiston Tribune)
Pullman moves to make parks ADA compliant (Moscow News)
Army vets still see long wait for VA health (Nampa Press Tribune)
Deer Flat management plan signed (Nampa Press Tribune)
AG investigating Pocatello city finances (Pocatello Journal)

Eugene school chief applying for Roseburg job (Eugene Register Guard)
Medford police found justified in shooting (Medford Tribune)
Feds consider re-listing spotted owl as endangered (Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune)
Pendleton ag research may lose federal money (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hayes role in state policy had Kitzhaber OK (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State schools leader Saxton will quit in June (Portland Oregonian)
Long delays still there for VA patients (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Swinomish sue BNSF on oil rail issues (Bellingham Herald)
WA snowpack running a fifth of normal (Bellingham Herald)
Seattle help for addicts, prostitutes has worked (Bellingham Herald)
Harrison hospital whistleblower gets $1.38m (Bremerton Sun)
Long wait times still persist at VA (Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun, Kennewick Herald, Olympian, Longview News)
Heroin use extending more to teens (Everett Herald)
Detailed Oso landslide map approved at legislature (Everett Herald)
Pasco starts school superintendent hunt (Kennewick Herald)
Mental illness focus of legislators’ plan (Olympian)
Inslee rejects pay part of GOP budget (Olympian)
House passes gun notification bill (Spokane Spokesman)
Cantwell urges new rules on oil transport (Vancouver Columbian)

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First Take

Bond DAVID
BOND

 
Rant

Collectively, we American homeowners and business owners owe the banksters about $13.2 trillion in debt. This includes the $10 trillion owed by people living in single-family homes.

This, in a banking system that charges 7 percent compound interest on money it pays no interest on. Since we cannot divide by zero, let’s pretend the banksters are paying 1 percent to the U.S. Fed. That’s a 700 percent mark-up.

Would you tolerate such a mark-up on a refrigerator, or a new truck or snow-machine? Of course not. But those of us locked into mortgages just have to buck it up.

And if the banksters drive your neighbour out of his home because of a lost job in this Great Recovery, watch these criminals drive your own property value down.

The banksters don’t shovel the walks of these empty houses. They won’t mow the lawns. They will not shovel the rooftops. They will let the pipes freeze to blow out in late winter. Their repossessed houses stink.

Truth be told, I’d rather have a couple of gang-bangers living next door to me than a Wells Fargo- or Chase Manhattan-owned house. At least the crankers shovel their sidewalks, even if it’s at 3 a.m. with the boom-box pounding.

I got a lot of life’s lessons from an old Indian gentleman I crewed with on the Nanaimo Harbour Patrol. Gilly could lasso a loose log from a boom off the fan-tail with one hand while he hand-rolled a ciggie with the other in pouring rain. In rough weather when he wasn’t sure I was competent to keep the ship stable, he consigned me to make the coffee. This, to him, was an important drill. One burp, every 15 seconds, on the percolator over the ship’s stove, no more, no less. Which meant holding the percolator at just the right height over the stove.

“Keep it in the pants,” Gilly would say, with his hand-rolled cigarette hanging out of one side of his crinkled lips. He was talking about woman issues, viz Lysistrata, the ancient Greek comedy written by Aristophenes, wherein the women kept their flies zipped up until the men quit going to war.

Being all of 14 years old, I didn’t have Gilly’s wisdom nor that much curiosity about girls. I liked boats better. But I got his point.

“Keep it in the pants.”

What if we went on a mortgage strike? Just quit, en masse, making payments for one month. What are the banksters going to do with 10 million homes and businesses they have on the hook? Maybe they could sell them back to us at their actual market value, or at least start mowing the lawn.

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Bond

news

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)

Crapo vote on federal land offloading examined (Boise Statesman)
Highway funding bill clears Idaho Senate (Nanpa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
Lewiston port traffic stalls (Lewiston Tribune)
Profiling once-blasted Rep. Chaney (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ethanol plant permissions hit slowdown (Nampa Press Tribune)
Moore back as regional emergency dispatch chief (TF Times News)
Legislators okay some liquor license expansion (TF Times News)

Astoria holds off dog park plans (Astorian)
more criticism of state’s new school tests (Eugene Register Guard)
OR House backs terminal experimental drug use (Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
Planning Vietnam memorial wall at Central Point (Medford Tribune)
Judge says union violated free speech (Medford Tribune)
Pendleton changes rules on statute decoration (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Departure of Portland port shipper significant (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Feds look at spotted owl enfangered listing (Pendleton E Oregonian)
More on the Hayes role in Kitzhaber administration (Portland Oregonian)
UO public records policy criticized (Portland Oregonian)
Death of former Senate leader Brady Adams (Portland Oregonian)
Debate over proposed ethics legislation (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bellis Fair wage case gives workers $1.3m win (Bellingham Herald)
Tax raise proposed for Ferndale parks (Bellingham Herald)
Kitsap Transit buys three more buses (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish cities rethinking disaster planning (Everett Herald)
Spotted owl may return as endangered species (Olympian, Longview News)
3 baseball fields may be removed at Longview (Longview News)
Not all tribes comply with gun background checks (Olympian)
Possible boating ban near golf open (Tacoma News Tribune)
No child changes planned nationally with WA impact (Bellingham Herald, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Tribune, Olympian)

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First Take

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Most any day now Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy for the presidency. It appears she is going to be nominated as the Democratic standard bearer almost by acclamation. Fully 2/3’s of self-identified Democrats say she should be their nominee – a simply astounding lead for any one any time who aspired for an open seat presidential nomination.

Virtually every potential Republican has two mantras in their campaign speeches: why they are the true conservative and why they can beat Hillary Clinton. The media is positively salivating at the prospect. Her every move is scrutinized, not just her every e-mail (Those that were not purged from her personal PC server, that is).

They know the Republican party has a storehouse of materials researched, vetted and prioritized which they will start rolling out long before they have selected their nominee. It will be a string of invective, innuendo and distortion unlike anyone has ever seen. To their surprise it won’t change many minds.

I have a theory that many voters have already made up their minds about whether there should be a return to the White House of the Billy and Hillary Show. Yes, no matter how one wants to spin it, that decision is going to be influenced for many by the thought, for good or for ill, that coming along to the White House with Hillary would be “First Spouse” Billy.

All they are waiting for, before making up their minds, is to see whether Republicans will be smart enough to nominate a reasonable, competent alternative.

I haven’t seen or analyzed any polls on this subject – I’m just going with the old gut check here, but, for the sake of argument, indulge me for a moment.

First, most men voters, especially white men, are not enamored of Mrs. Clinton. The reasons vary, but it basically is a “not that woman at this time and this place.”

Thus, it is safe to say that Hillary arriving at the White House will depend on her “sisters” delivering close to a 2/3’s majority for her, and that’s where the Hillary juggernaut will stumble, and ultimately be stopped. My guess is she will at best win the women vote nationwide by a 53% to 47% margin.

Her sisters will let her down not because they reject that it is a woman’s turn, nor that it is Hillary’s turn. Nor that she isn’t qualified or because they have concerns about Slick Willie.

Hillary will at best get a slightly better than split vote not because of her gender, but many women will decide Hillary doesn’t pass muster because she did not speak out more aggressively on the major issues of concern to women voters. What they will see is the following:

Hillary will speak out for increasing the minimum wage instead of talking to women voters about equal pay for equal work.

Hillary will denounce the growing income gap in America between rich and poor but won’t offer a solution. After all, she and Bill are now full-fledge members of the affluent class.

Hillary will shy away from addressing with specific solutions the horrible abuse women endure not just in far off foreign cultures but here in America. One United Nations study said over the course of a woman’s life 7 out of 10 women will either be raped, physically assaulted, molested or sexually harassed in their lifetime.

Hillary will not be able to win the confidence of the nation’s military leadership.

Hillary will galvanize the evangelicals by appearing to attack “freedom of religion” clauses in legislation.

For example she will say she supports repealing the opt out clause in contracts with Catholic hospitals.

When she stumbles, as inevitably she will, she will revert to form, blame the media and act out in her pattern of petulence and victimization.

It won’t sell with many women who, unlike men voters, have yet to really make up their minds. They will have a “show me” attitude and at this juncture I’m guessing she won’t be able to do so.

Am I the only “business Democrat” (fiscally conservative, socially liberal) out here in the hinterlands who would like to see his party at least have an honest to goodness open primary? To quote former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, can there be a choice, not an echo?

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Carlson