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Posts published in April 2015

Free speech on city social media

frazier DAVID


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.

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)

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)

Keeping it in the pants



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. (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)

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)

The inevitability of Hillary?

carlson CHRIS


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. (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 vetoes instant racing repeal bill (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
St. Luke's battle over Jefferson St closing (Boise Statesman)
Raises okayed for Idaho Falls Power people (IF Post Register)
Bonneville, Bingham link for economic development (IF Post Register, Pocatello Journal)
Biggest Lewiston port container operator departing (Lewiston Tribune)
WA Senate approves budget proposal (Lewiston Tribune)
Nampa holds off decision on old library (Nampa Press Tribune)
Otter signs anti-bullying bill (TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)

State Senate education bill passes (Eugene Register Guard, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Republicans criticize ethics plan (Eugene Register Guard)
Rules about tent tiedowns in city on hold (Eugene Register Guard)
Drought declared for Klamath, other counties (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Oregon Tech confronts possible revenue shortfall (KF Herald & News)
Klamath pot dispensary rules in review (KF Herald & News)
Medford schools get debated textbook (Medford Tribune)
Legislature moves restrictions on gun sales (Medford Tribune)
Farmers urge legislation on power line impact (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Legislature considers Oregon fracking ban (Salem Statesman Journal)

Senate releases budget plan (Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Looking at Common Core testing in Washington (Everett Herald, Bellingham Herald, Bremerton Sun)
Arlington polymer firm abruptly closes (Everett Herald)
Yakima area drought worsening (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
KapStone talks could yet resume (Longview News)
Woodland allows recreational pot grow business (Longview News)
Seattle home prices rise 18% in last year (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Daily snow record set in Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane mayor pushes council decision on salary (Spokane Spokesman)
Oregon bill would drop I-5 HOV lane (Vancouver Columbian)
Councilor Smith at Vancouver won't run again (Vancouver Columbian)
Union Gap plans city center developments (Yakima Herald Republic)

Love and leftovers

strickland MICHAEL


Anyone interested in the world generally can't help being interested in young adult culture - in the music, the bands, the books, the fashions, and the way in which the young adult community develops its own language. - Margaret Mahy

Romantic and bittersweet, Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay captures one girl's experience with family, friends, and love. I first met Sarah at an author signing at The Cabin in Boise. After perusing her work, I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in some of the books I saw.

In this debut novel in verse, Marcie is dragged to New Hampshire for the summer and soon realizes that her mom has no plans for them to return to Marcie's father in Idaho. As Marcie starts at a new school, without her ragtag group of friends called the Leftovers, a new romance heats up, but she struggles to understand what love really means.

Tregay, who I lives in Eagle, Idaho -- “with my husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots” (according to her website) -- effectively captures the angsty life of a 16-year-old. Booklist said “after her father leaves her mother for a 27-year-old man, Marcie and her depressed mom move from Idaho to a family summer home in New Hampshire.”

The protagonist falls for J. D., a boy who is an irresistible cross between Prince Harry (his hair) and David Beckham (his abs), writes reviewer Ann Kelley. Only problem: Linus, her emo-rocker boyfriend 2,000 miles away. Seven months later, Marcie moves back to Idaho with her father, confesses to Linus, and has to deal with the fallout. Marcie funnels her pain into writing poetry— “there is no three strikes / when it comes to dating. / One heartbreak and that’s it.”—and her poems, which vary in form, are what compose this verse novel.

While the subjects cover typical teenage problems, including breakups, friendships, and parental issues, Tregay adds depth with her ability, in just a few words, to palpably express both the emotions of love and the physical longings that go along with it, the Booklist review says. This first novel may make teenage readers’ hearts beat a bit faster.

The poetry in the books is used skillfully and enhances a plot that keeps the reader engaged. Filled with the turbulent emotion of teen years, IM conversations, and emo love songs, Love and Leftovers is great for reluctant readers and poetic souls alike.

Love and Leftovers is an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. Kirkus Reviews said that Tregay’s choice to write in verse works well, her spare but effective language artfully evoking what otherwise might be a conventional high-school romance.

Perfect for fans of romances like Anna and the French Kiss and those by Sarah Dessen as well as readers of poetry, Love and Leftovers is a beautiful and fresh take on love.

In the Briefings


The double-crested cormorant is a waterbird associated with inland waterways as well as on the coast. They catch fish by swimming and diving, and nest in trees, cliffs and on the ground on predator-free islands. Cormorants are protected by international treaty and federal law. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)


Spring seemed to arrive in the Northwest in mid-March, but the end of the month pulled it away in favor of resumed colder temperatures. Given April’s history, that could last a while.

As the Idaho Legislature seemed to be moving toward an adjournment early in April, many of its members seemed to pull back on quick and easy resolution of the remaining financial issues (especially transportation). The spring groundhog says: Look for another week, or maybe two or beyond, of this.

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)

Bill would aid public defender system (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
More about police and mental illness cases (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon Co expects wildfires this summer (Nampa Press Tribune)

Local schools helping refugees from Mexico (Medford Tribune)
Massively more sea lions at Oregon ports (Portland Oregonian)
Cherriots considers Saturday buses (Salem Statesman Journal)

Compromise reached on Snohomish courthouse (Everett Herald)
Boeing tax bill reaches legislative climax (Everett Herald)
How WSU got its med school permissions (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic)
Spokane transit looks to Proposition 1 for help (Spokane Spokesman)
Traffic on Columbia bridges rising again (Vancouver Columbian)