Writings and observations

carlson

Some varied thoughts given recent events:

1) There’s something rotten in Denmark. Most folks are familiar with this line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet which has become a metaphor for corruption at the heart of a particular matter. In this instance it applies to the Idaho Treasurer’s office.

Enough serious questions have been raised regarding the management, or lack thereof, by Ron Crane that Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden ought to name an independent group of six to ten individuals to undertake an independent investigation and report back within 90 days with concrete recommendations.

Otter and Wasden could name someone like former Deputy AG Clive Strong to head up the panel, add a couple of sharp legislators like Idaho Falls Republican Senator Bart Davis and soon-to-be Pocatello Democratic Senator Mark Nye , and also add a couple of financial experts to sort through the charges and counter-charges and then present to the public a clear and simple picture of what has been occurring. Indeed, how much money has the state lost as a result of Crane’s alleged cronyism and mismanagement. There is indeed something rotten but spell it out clearly.

2) Questions in Need of Answers or Is Idaho about to buy another Pig in a poke? Before Governor Otter became a full-time career politician he held a major position in the Simplot Corporation. As such he should know the importance of putting together a sound and solid business plan that answers basic questions meant to satisfy lenders, developers, contractors and the public.

This is especially true when “public/private” ventures are formed which invariably provide nice financial gain for the private interests but somehow posit all the risk on the public half. After the problems and shenanigans surrounding the State’s involvement with the private prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and its debacle in contracting with ENI to deliver broad band to Idaho schools one would think the Governor might be a bit more cautious.

But no, the governor is once again jumping before thoroughly vetting the state hooking up with a company comprised of private investors and a “face-savor” arrangement with Rice University to provide Idaho with a program leading to a Doctor of Osteopathy degree.

The program would be housed in the Meridian Office of Idaho State University, which the Board of Education has designated as the lead school for medical program offerings. ISU would provide support services.

Someone ought to be asking why the State of Montana, after a truly thorough due diligence process, rejected this same proposal. Has anyone seen a detailed business plan? Can anyone name all the investors and what the expected rate of return for each investor is?

How much profit is made off of each student? Why is there no formal residency arrangement for graduates to head into after completing this program? Why wasn’t the Idaho Medical Association consulted? If the program fails, who has most of the risk and how many dollars?

There are still too many unanswered questions, yet the Board, at the governor’s insistence, has already sanctioned the arrangement. There’s something fishy here also.

3) Bernie is correct about media bias. Over 400 superdelegates to the Democratic convention – largely current and former officeholders and party-officials, signed on with Hillary Clinton before the first primary. The media, led by CNN, dutifully started listing these as fully committed delegates when in fact they knew a substantial number of these folks switched to Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention. Yet they still claim to be fair and unbiased.

4) Helen was not the first. Overheard a customer in a café tell his companion the first and only female ever to serve in the Idaho congressional delegation was Helen Chenoweth. That just ain’t so. The first female member of Congress from Idaho was “Hell’s Belle” Gracie Pfost, from Nampa. She served ten years (1952-1962) representing Idaho’s First Congressional district.

She derived her colorful nickname because of her strident support for the federal government, as opposed to private power companies, being the builder of a high dam that would have completely flooded the most beautiful part of Hells Canyon.

Mrs. Pfost had two other firsts: 1) The first congressional candidate ever to defeat an opponent in the log rolling event held in conjunction with “timber day” events at county fairs; and, 2) She was in 1956 the Democratic half of the first ever all- female contest for a congressional seat across the nation, with the late, great Louise Shadduck being the Republican half.

Gracie won but six years later in 1962 she lost narrowly to former Governor Len B. Jordan in a race for one of Idaho’s seats in the United States Senate.

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Carlson