Writings and observations

carlson

It appears Rep. Raul Labrador (R-1st CD-Idaho), despite being a darling of those enamoured with the Tea Party wing of the Grand Old Party, missed one of the fundamental principles of the movement encapsulated in the phrase “We don’t like politics as usual.”

This past week Labrador and his fellow Tea Party type, former State Senator Russ Fulcher, announced one of those cynical “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” that is a classic form of politics as usual.

After telling many of his supporters that he was not a place-holder for Rep. Labrador, that he was in the Governor’s race to stay, he and his friend, Raul, are now in cahoots together trying to pull off a job switcheroo.

Surprise! Fulcher is now running for Labrador’s congressional seat with Labrador’s endorsement. Can you ask “is that a quid pro quo? You betcha. Fulcher gets the endorsement and Raul has one less conservative to overcome in the primary.

Everybody is happy because the politicians each have something. It’s only the voters who get suckered that get hurt, the people who took Fulcher at his word that he wanted to be governor, and wrote checks because they believed him.

Labrador has to be chuckling to himself all the way to the bank. He thinks it is a no lose for him, but a little knowledge of Idaho history might have given Labrador at least some pause.

If history is any guide, voters take exception to this kind of cynical game and often to the surprise of those who play the game, the voters do remember and both politicians, if they hold a current political office, get punished.

The most cited example of this form of gamemenship came in November of 1945. On November 10th, 1945, Republican United States Senator John Thomas died while still holding the Senate seat. Then Idaho Governor Charles Gossett, a Democrat, must have seen a senator staring back at him in the mirror on Armistice Day morning when he was shaving.

He met with Lt. Governor Arnold Williams, also a Democrat, and the two cut a deal. Gossett would resign the governorship, which he did on November 17th, presumably having waited until Senator Thomas was buried in the Gooding cemetery, and Williams, who had become governor upon the Gossett resignation, named Gossett to fill the vacancy created by Thomas’ passing.

Retribution by the voters was swift and fatal. Voters tossed both out of office: Gossett lost to Rep. Henry Dworshak less than a year later on November 5th, 1946, and Williams, despite being the first Mormon in Idaho history to sit in the Governor’s chair, was soundly beaten by State Senator C.A. “Doc” Robins, MD, from St. Maries and the first governor to hail from north Idaho.

The moral of the story is clear: “Voters do not like seeing such games being played for it truly does smack of politics as usual.” Fulcher and Labrador can deny it until the cows come home but that won’t change how most will view this development.

Lt. Governor Brad Little should benefit from this move by Labrador for it demonstrates just how political as opposed to principled Labrador is.

Likewise, David Leroy should benefit because he is skilled enough to make sure every voter in the First District understands that Fulcher is an opportunist who just wants a government paycheck and would prefer the anonymity of being one of 450 members of congress rather than the leader of his state.

In the end the voters do win because they see what chameleons the two men really are.

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Carlson

carlson

For those who know, understand and follow Idaho politics an important variable is the calculus one has to factor into the Idaho scene derived from what is happening to the south of Idaho in the corridors of the Utah state capitol and the offices of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

While the days of bishops “testifying” about a brother standing for office on the Sunday before an election have long passed, or permitting the undeclared use of a stake house to make and assemble yard signs, Mormons in Idaho vote heavily on the Republican side of the ledger. Thus, the LDS vote looks monolithic, but it isn’t. It is just dyed in the wool Republican.

Nonetheless, the LDS vote can and is impacted by where and whom respected business and political leaders support. Exhibit A in Idaho would be Frank VanderSloot, the founder and chair of Idaho Falls’ Melaleuca Corporation. The Sandpoint born and raised VanderSloot is a billionaire who openly concedes he enjoys being influential on the Idaho political scene.

He is a generous donor primarily to Republican candidates and a player not only on the Idaho political scene, but the national scene as well. He served as the national chair of the Mitt Romney for President Finance committee and contributed over a million dollars from his personal fortune to the Romney campaign. They remain close.

A sub-plot being played out behind the scenes is the gubernatorial contest between developer and medical doctor “Tommy” Ahlquist and First District Congressman Raul Labrador for the favor and support of VanderSloot.

Ahlquist appears to have scored a coup with the announcement last week that Damond Watkins, the former government affairs director for Melaleuca and the Republican State National Committeeman, was going to chair the Ahlquist campaign. This though does not necessarily indicate who VanderSloot will back.

Supporters of Congressman Labrador point out that he announced his campaign for governor at three stops around Idaho, one of which was the Melaleuca facility. A spokeswoman for VanderSloot made it clear this did not constitute an endorsement, that the facility is available for rent. If Labrador paid the rental fee that answers the question, but if his campaign did not then the usual rental fee should be reported on the first public disclosure report as required.

Though a member of the LDS Church, some observers believe Labrador will not run well in Idaho’s Second congressional district due to some self-inflicted wounds. First, he questioned whether the National Lab west of Idaho Falls and a major employer in the area should be getting federal funds at the excessive rate he perceived.

Secondly, he unwisely backed a primary challenger to the popular and long-time congressman from the district, Mike Simpson, who hasn’t forgotten nor forgiven the blunder. For those two reasons alone Ahlquist might do well in the second district even if the savvy Watkins were not his chair.

Other observers think Ahlquist will not do well anywhere in Idaho. They cite a variety of factors, but they all come down to his being a wealthy, out-of-state doctor who parlayed his fees into partnering in a Utah-based development company that owns over a dozen office buildings around the west.

These critics believe Ahlquist will be susceptible to a carpet-bagger charge and to trying to buy an Idaho election. He is already running the classic “tell your story” biographical tv ad in the Boise valley with a huge enough buy that has alienated some. His pledge to spend one more dollar than what it takes to win also did not resonate.

He has hired a talented team and found an exceptional leader in Watkins, but a slick state-wide mailing and the patronizing use of “Tommy” strikes some as too cute by half. There’s little doubt that even his moniker is the result of polling and review by focus groups to gauge whether folks will be more responsive to “Tommy Ahlquist” as opposed to say “Doc” Ahlquist.

The evolving political scene in Utah may also limit the time VanderSloot will spend on Idaho matters as well.

Reportedly Mitt Romney is seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year since Orrin Hatch, who will be 84 next March, is not going to run for an eighth term. There are also reports that Josh Romney, Ann and Mitt’s middle son (they have five boys), is preparing to run for governor in 2020.

With Congressman Jason Chaffetz announcing his retirement from politics, the former chief of staff to Governor Jon Huntsmsn, Jr. will be conceding the competition between the Huntsman and Romney families to the Romney’s.

The former Massachusetts governor was harshly critical of Donald Trump’s candidacy (though he made a bid to be Trump’s secretary of state – a move that puzzled everyone), but if anything has consolidated his position with the RNC which is now headed up by his niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel. Needless to say they have differing views of President Trump.

The bottom line though is that Romney’s plans could have an indirect impact on Idaho’s gubernatorial race.

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Carlson

carlson

Republicans and Independents across Idaho will be thrilled to learn I have left the Democratic Party and filed to re-register as an independent.

Yes, I know some Democrats will say “good riddance.” Like many Idahoans, they know I vote often as an independent, have never voted a straight party ticket, that friendship and the person take precedence over party.

I call myself a “business” or “Andrus Democrat.” I’m a fiscal conservative and a social liberal who believes government exists to help the many who through no fault of their own need assistance. We have to pay as we go, though. On the federal level we simply cannot sustain the unbalanced budgets we make and the money we spend while pretending we’re not saddling our children with debt that will restrict inevitably their quality of life.

Character counts and the person is more important than the party. This has led me to vote for the Republican candidate for president four times in the 13 presidential elections since I was first eligible. I also have voted for and contributed to reasonable and responsible Republican conservatives where the Republican was clearly the superior candidate like Senator Mike Crapo, Governor Butch Otter, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and State Senator Shawn Keough.

Under their breath many Democrats have called me a DINO (Democrat in Name Only). I freely confess I thought seriously about registering as a Republican to vote in their May primary because that’s where most of the action will be. However, I could not rationalize the hypocrisy.

For too many years I could easily explain why I thought the Republican party was just wrong on too many issues I cared about. Unfortunately, at the same time Idaho Democrats moved away from the lunch-bucket carrying, hard-working, outdoor-loving Idahoan who understood and subscribed completely to the message of Cecil Andrus: “First you have to make a living, then you have to have a living worthwhile.”

Andrus turned that message into four successful elections to Idaho’s governorship and John Evans turned it into two winning elections.

If I’d become a RINO I would have been the poster child for Bonneville County Republican chair Doyle Beck’s drive to further restrict those voting in the closed Republican primary to true blue Republicans. If Beck has his way, the next iteration of tamping down the vote (and thereby increase the clout of your better organized, ideological kin) will be to move to a caucus system whereby one has to show up and stand up for the candidate of their choice.

Beck would go a step further. He would require signing a loyalty oath to the party’s platform with its some 76 largely absurd positions. Among those sterling positions are such “progressive” ideas as repeal of the 17th amendment which provides for direct election of U.S.senators, and return to the gold standard.

As an independent no one will be telling me what positions I have to take. Beck’s narrowing of the GOP base is inevitably going to lead to the demise of the party, yet he is pushing for Idaho Republicans to seek a caucus system.

The irony is the biggest, most obnoxious RINO out there is President Trump. He is a liberal, not a conservative, a deficit spender, not a budget hawk and before long his base will wake up to how much he is subsidizing the rich at the expense of that base. He is truly a narcissistic, lying, two-faced, ignorant individual who all Americans should feel a sense of shame over his representing us. President Trump has no guiding philosophy, no character, no sense of history, no decency nor any honor.

To have become a RINO would have associated me with the party he professes to be his. Frustrated as I am with the D’s, I simply could not get on their horse. For the rest of my trail ride I’ll b e on the horse called independence. You should think about getting on the same horse.

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Carlson

carlson

Baby-boomer parents who ever read bedtime stories to their children often delighted in reading books by “Dr. Seuss.” They had a lyrical, often rhyming quality to them and the accompanying illustrations added to the joy.

If Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter truly loves Idaho, and wants to have some kind of noteworthy legacy, its time he took his cue from Marvin K. Mooney and exits stage right. He should resign and turn the governorship over to his loyal Lt. Governor Brad Little.

The positive reasons are many.

· It would make Little the incumbent and give him a leg up over First District congressman Raul Labrador in next May’s primary.

· It would provide Little with a legislative session to show what he could do for the state and his ability to work with leadership.

· Little would carry-on some of the Governor’s initiatives, most especially a continuation of restoring educational funding.

· It would give Little the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues as well as his knowledge of state agencies, and that he knows how to instill positive response.

· Little is heads and tails above all the wanna-be’s in terms of qualifications. No other Republican nor is there any Democrat more prepared to take over.

· Having accompanied Governor Otter on almost all his “Capitol For A Day” visits, Little knows Idaho and almost every single community across this state better than any of the others.

· Little is the best, one-on-one retail campaigner of the lot.

There are also some negative reasons for Otter to abdicate:

· Otter’s office and his cabinet are mostly in “glide mode” – doing little or nothing as they wait to see who the next governor will be.

· Its obvious, given the snafus and turmoil coming from the governor’s office of late that Otter’s hand on the steering wheel has lessened considerably. Some say Otter is just mailing it in, that his heart is no longer in administering or managing.

· Labrador, given his prominence in the Freedom Caucus and their decisions that so vexed President Trump, will find that the current Administration will not work with him (they take names and keep enemie’ lists). Little will be able to work with the Trumpsters.

· Little listens and works to bring people together by fleshing out what they agree upon first. Labrador is an ideologue with pre-conceived thought of his own as to what has to be done.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss here is a revised version of his classic. “Clement Leroy” is the beginning of Governor Otter’s full name:

“The time has come/The time is now.

Just go. GO. GO! I don’t care how.

You can go by foot. You can go by horse or cow.

Clement Leroy, will you please go now!

You can go with your Tony Lamas’.

You can go on your ATV.

You can go with your stetson on.

But please go. Please.

I don’t care. You can go with your chuck wagon.

You can go on your mountain bike.

If you like you can go in your tennis shoes.

Just go, go, GO! Please do, do, DO!

Clement Leroy, I don’t care how.

Clement Leroy, will you please GO NOW!

You can go in a surrey. You can go by canoe.

You can go in the state cadillac, if you wish.

If you wish you may go by a wolf’s tail that you shot at and didn’t miss/Or stamp yourself and go by snail mail.

Clement Leroy! Don’t you know the time has come

To go, GO, GO!

Get on your way, Clement Leroy! Give the office to Brad Little today! I don’t care how you go, just GET!

Butch, Butch, Butch! Will you leave the office?

Clement Leroy Otter, I don’t care HOW!

Clement Leroy Otter, will you please GO NOW!

I said GO and GO I meant. . . .

The time had COME,

So Clement Leroy Otter WENT!

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Carlson

carlson

At an age when most men of means are sitting on a beach somewhere soaking up the sun’s therapeutic rays, or in a box seat watching their beloved Rockies (Cubs, Giants, Mariners) at spring training in Arizona, former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Governor David Leroy, 69, is planning on a return to public service.

If elected Idaho for sure will be the beneficiary, and even the nation.

After a term as the state’s chief legal officer, and one as Lt. Governor, the Lewiston native and University of Idaho undergraduate (and Idaho Law School graduate), at the time a rising Republican star, decided to take on former Idaho Governor and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus. Most observers thought Andrus would easily walk to a third term, not recognizing how tough a comeback can be for anyone seeking a return to the governorship after a ten-year absence.

It was the closest gubernatorial race in years. Leroy lost by just 3300 votes. He could have demanded a recount but instead graciously accepted the outcome. He then took a policy position as the nation’s Nuclear Waste negotiator before returning to the private sector to become a successful attorney.

Public service though is in his blood. In 1994 he sought to win the seat he is seeking now, but lost the GOP primary to his former campaign manager, Helen Chenoweth. For Leroy public service is a calling for which he is well-suited. He runs for the right reasons, not as a gratifying exercise in ego.

He runs because he sees himself as a problem solver. He is particularly intrigued by Republican control of both houses of Congress, of the White House with Donald Trump as POTUS, and, a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. He sees opportunity for principled members of Congress to get past harsh partisanship and gridlock.

He calls himself a constitutional conservative, has deep admiration for President Abraham Lincoln (He has become a true Lincoln scholar) and sees himself as a uniter not a divider. He is no hide-bound ideologue. Rather, he applies his intellect and thoughtfulness to issues demanding solutions.

He will bring to the table maturity, experience, sound judgment and a sense of history. Some may say his time has past, but he can point to a president today in his 70’s and the three major Democratic challengers in the 2016 election would have been 70 or older by inauguration day (Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders). Seventy has truly become the new 45.

Leroy has also been a long-time admirer of former Idaho Governor and U.S. Senator Len B. Jordan, a true principled conservative Republican if there ever existed one in Idaho.

By announcing within a couple days of the currrent incumbent, Raul Labrador, signaling his intention to run for governor in 2018, Leroy is hoping to pre-empt the field. He quietly started planning his bid months ago, banking on Labrador not seeking re-election to Congress.

He has tied down loyalists across the district and should have no trouble financing his bid. He expects a challenger, someone like young GOP 4th District State Representative Luke Malek. A sleeper could be First District State Representative Heather Scott. Leroy should win regardless of who challenges him either from within the GOP or the Democrats.

Leroy has another attribute that does well by him – a sense of humor. In September of 1989 in what was a fortuitously clear, cloudless day with no wind, I climbed Mt. Borah. At 12,662 feet it is Idaho’s highest and the second highest, after Mr. Rainier, in the Pacific northwest. I carried with me an Andrus bumper sticker which I slapped onto a plastic tube at the top in which folks that make the climb can leave notes and messages.

I had a message I wanted to deliver to David Leroy who in the 1986 race had made much of his youth and vitality in a not too subtle contrast between Andrus’ age and his. Knowing that Leroy was thinking of a rematch I took an educated guess that if I left a message for him in the tube someone would read and report it to him within several weeks.

My message read: “By Chris Carlson, done on behalf of his friend, Governor Cecil D. Andrus, as a message to David Leroy. There are thousands like me who will climb any mountain and do whatever it takes to return the champion to the ring for another term. You better think long and hard before seeking a rematch.”

Three weeks later he called saying he understood I’d left a message for him on top of Mt. Borah. We shared a good laugh and not coincidentally was there a rematch. Ironically, the roles are reversed today, but the message is the same. A veteran who knows politics is going to be tough to beat. A political natural has returned.

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Carlson

carlson

Baby-boomer parents who ever read bedtime stories to their children often delighted in reading books by “Dr. Seuss.” They had a lyrical, often rhyming quality to them and the accompanying illustrations added to the joy.

If Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter truly loves Idaho, and wants to have some kind of noteworthy legacy, its time he took his cue from Marvin K. Mooney and exits stage right. He should resign and turn the governorship over to his loyal Lt. Governor Brad Little.

The positive reasons are many.

· It would make Little the incumbent and give him a leg up over First District congressman Raul Labrador in next May’s primary.

· It would provide Little with a legislative session to show what he could do for the state and his ability to work with leadership.

· Little would carry-on some of the Governor’s initiatives, most especially a continuation of restoring educational funding.

· It would give Little the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues as well as his knowledge of state agencies, and that he knows how to instill positive response.

· Little is heads and tails above all the wanna-be’s in terms of qualifications. No other Republican nor is there any Democrat more prepared to take over.

· Having accompanied Governor Otter on almost all his “Capitol For A Day” visits, Little knows Idaho and almost every single community across this state better than any of the others.

· Little is the best, one-on-one retail campaigner of the lot.

There are also some negative reasons for Otter to abdicate:

· Otter’s office and his cabinet are mostly in “glide mode” – doing little or nothing as they wait to see who the next governor will be.

· Its obvious, given the snafu’s and turmoil coming from the governor’s office of late that Otter’s hand on the steering wheel has lessened considerably. Some say Otter is just mailing it in, that his heart is no longer in administering or managing.

· Labrador, given his prominence in the Freedom Caucus and their decisions that so vexed President Trump, will find that the current Administration will not work with him (they take names and keep enemies’ lists). Little will be able to work with the Trumpsters.

· Little listens and works to bring people together by fleshing out what they agree upon first. Labrador is an ideologue with pre-conceived thought of his own as to what has to be done.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss here is a revised version of his classic. “Clement Leroy” is the beginning of Governor Otter’s full name:

“The time has come/The time is now.

Just go. GO. GO! I don’t care how.

You can go by foot. You can go by horse or cow.

Clement Leroy, will you please go now!

You can go with your Tony Lamas’.

You can go on your ATV.

You can go with your stetson on.

But please go. Please.

I don’t care. You can go with your chuck wagon.

You can go on your mountain bike.

If you like you can go in your tennis shoes.

Just go, go, GO! Please do, do, DO!

Clement Leroy, I don’t care how.

Clement Leroy, will you please GO NOW!

You can go in a surrey. You can go by canoe.

You can go in the state cadillac, if you wish.

If you wish you may go by a wolf’s tail that you shot at and didn’t miss/Or stamp yourself and go by snail mail.

Clement Leroy! Don’t you know the time has come

To go, GO, GO!

Get on your way, Clement Leroy! Give the office to Brad Little today! I don’t care how you go, just GET!

Butch, Butch, Butch! Will you leave the office?

Clement Leroy Otter, I don’t care HOW!

Clement Leroy Otter, will you please GO NOW!

I said GO and GO I meant. . . .

The time had COME,

So Clement Leroy Otter WENT!

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Carlson

carlson

One of the worst things too many politicians do is pander to their constituents, telling them what they want to hear, not what they should hear. It is endemic and it is epidemic not to mention also insulting to the intelligence of the voter.

It is especially disgusting when the pandering politician knows it is just kabuki theater designed to keep their supporters mollified in the belief that their congressman or senator is looking out for their best interests.

A recent example was the introduction of a bill, S. 132, on January 3, 2017 by Idaho’s two senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, that restricts the President’s ability to utilize the Antiquities Act to preserve special and in some cases, sacred lands deemed worthy of extra protection, The bill mandates “local approval” and congressional authorization for any new monument designations.

The bill effectively gives higher standing to the comments of those living in and adjacent to these national interest public lands. In doing so it illegally creates a second class of citizenship, with those living next to or inside the boundaries of these public lands having a greater say and sway with the federal land management agencies.

Such legislation panders to the myth, the mistaken belief that public lands in a state like Idaho, in which the government owns 61% of the state’s acreage, belong more to those making a living directly or indirectly from those lands.

Many Idahoans simply refuse to acknowledge that a condo dweller in upper Manhatten has as much interest in Idaho’s public lands as does any Idahoan. Bills such as the Crapo/Risch proposal¸ that require public hearings as well as a public vote before a president can act, serve only to perpetuate the myth of neighbor ownership.

Until recently one could remain philosophical about such proposals. After all it is hard to imagine any president deliberately signing legislation that would restrict his power. In what appears to be an incredibly stupid move, though, President Donald Trump appears about to prove how unsuited he is for the presidency.

He has ordered a review of 27 national monument designations made by his three immediate predecessors apparently with the idea he may actually try to rescind some by executive order and lessen the acreage of others. He thus is encouraging those who believe a president just might be dumb enough to give up some of his authority.

Here is what Senators Crapo and Risch don’t tell their constituents:

they don’t tell them that almost every national park had its beginnning as a national monument;

that almost all of these then national monuments were opposed at the time by the surrounding communities but today they are seen as the key to a clean thriving tourism economy—parks like Olympic, Grand Canyon, and Grand Teton were first national monuments.

That all but three presidents have created national monuments since 1906—the three non­-users were Ricard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Utah is leading the charge to limit a president’s usuage of the Antiquities Act, yet four of the five national parks Utah advertises traveling to visit started as national monuments.

Critics clamor for more public hearings yet the Bear Ears National Monument had the most public process in history.

The largest national monument declaration ever was NOT the Alaska lands designation of 56 million acres, it was actually a declaration by George W. Bush of an oceanic national monument in the Pacific.

During the last government shut-down Utah felt so strongly about the importance of the national parks to its tourism economy that they agreed to pay the daily cost (some $167,000) out of state funds to keep them open.

Despite false claims of restricted access to national monument lands regarding alleged arbitrary restrictions on fishing, hiking, camping, and even some hunting in adjacent “preserves,” monuments are open for recreational multiple uses along with some grazing. Understandably, logging, oil and gas drilling, and mineral entries are deemed incompatible activities.

Creating national monuments is not a new federal land grab – the monuments are carved out of alreay existing public lands.

National interest lands – parks, monuments, fish and wildlife refuges, seashores and wilderness areas – are all part of a natural legacy belonging to all Americans. Left solely to Senators and Congressmen, most too heavily influenced by contributors, this wonderful national heritage belonging to all of us never would have happened.

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Carlson

carlson

If one lives long enough, as the great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, “its deja vu all over again.”

The latest example is the squabble between legislative leadership and Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter over whether he vetoed the bill removing the grocery sales tax in a timely manner.

Current law allows the governor to take ten days after a legislature adjourns and after he has received the bill to decide whether to veto or not. Some still today contend that the ten-day clock begins ticking from the moment the Legislature adjourned, which in their defense appears to be what the Idaho Constitution says.

However, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled in July of 1978 in favor of language saying “upon receipt” in the Governor’s office. That supposedly settled the matter in favor of Governor Cecil D. Andrus in a lawsuit he brought against then Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa for failure to recognize his veto of two bills on the grounds that they weren’t vetoed within the ten days.

Of course by July of 1978 Andrus had been the Secretary of the Interior in the Carter Administration for 18 months, but the case had proceeded in the Court because of the question and the precedence it would establish.

In Cenarrusa’s defense he was acting on the advice of the then chief legal officer for the state, Attorney General Wayne Kidwell, a former Ada County prosecutor and State Senate Majority Leader. Therein lies the real background story that is missing from today’s media reports on this old matter being revisited.

The lawsuit cited two vetoes, but there was only one that really mattered: the veto of a bill within ten days of receipt in the governor’s office sponsored and driven by the attorney general to consolidate all attorneys working for the state under his office. This included attorneys working for cabinet agencies.

It was a raw, naked power grab by the attorney general who also harbored ambitions to run for governor in 1978 whether or not Andrus might be going for a third term.

Knowing his ambitions and hard Republican partisanship, Andrus did not trust the former state senator. Kidwell also had a hair-trigger temper. In the 70’s the AG’s office was on the same floor as the governor’s office. Upon learning of the veto, Kidwell, who should not have been surprised, nonetheless confronted the governor in the hall between their offices.

Playing the role of a “surprised” and personally hurt victim, Kidwell’s temper quickly rose and the confrontation devolved into an unseemly shouting match. Andrus, who can on occasion display his own temper, probably thought about decking the obnoxious attorney general, but restrained himself.

The irony is that earlier in Kidwell’s term as AG, in an extraordinary display of compassion, Andrus literally saved Kidwell’s political career.

The setting was a meeting of the Idaho Land Board, the five constitutionally elected statewide officers who are the trustees of the State lands. They were voting on some minor matter and when the vote came Kidwell was on the short end of a 4 to 1 count.

It was then, according to observers present, that Kidwell started to lose control of himself. Despite their political animosity, Andrus, who could have sat back and let Kidwell irreparably lose it altogether, instead called for a 15 minute recess, stood up, walked around the table to assist Kidwell out of his chair, and escorted Kidwell into his office..

To this day no one knows what Andrus said to Kidwell, but it’s a pretty safe bet he told him to get control of himself and displayed some compassion for his political adversary. Andrus knew what few people were aware of, that the Kidwells had recently lost a child, and were understandably devastated by the loss. What is known is that Kidwelll regained his composure and went back to his office. He did not return to the Land board meeting itself that day.

In today’s highly partisan atmosphere in which people with differing views are treated as the enemy and considered evil, its hard to imagine that kind of true compassion.

Its all about power, who has it and how ruthlesssly they can wield it. Some critics of Governor Otter’s veto are now talking about trying to change the law, but the betting is they’ll not succeed. Now, as Paul Harvey used to say on his noontime radio show, you know the rest of the story.

Incidentally, Kidwell chose not to run for re-election in 1978 and was succeeded by David Leroy. Kidwell later served with distinction for six years on the Idaho Supreme Court from 1999 to 2004.

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Carlson

carlson

There is an emerging split among the normally unified resource industries of Idaho that so far has escaped wide public notice. It is, however, a matter that could have profound implications for those Idahoans who make a living off of natural resource conversion whether it is turning trees into lumber, graze for cattle into steaks, wheat into bread, or extracted minerals into metals.

It is a fight beween Idaho’s ranchers and farmers on one side, and on the other side are Idaho’s loggers, timber industry and contract haulers. The issue is who the Trump Administration should select for the critical deputy undersecretary position within the Department of Agriculture that oversees the Forest Service.

Now that former Georgia Governor “Sonny” Perdue has been confirmed as the department Secretary the battle is intensifying. Idaho’s ranchers and farmers are supporting one of their own, Melba rancher Layne Bangerter, 55, who worked for 13 years as the natural resource advisor to Idaho’s senior Senator, Mike Crapo. He played a key role for the senator in the negotiations that led to a successful resolution of the complex debate over preservation of the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Of more relevance today is Bangerter’s role as the chair of the Idaho Committee to elect Donald Trump president. In the course of the campaign, Bangerter reportedly hit it off well with Donald Trump, Jr., and also traveled with then vice presidential candidate, Michael Pence. Furthermore, Bangerter is a graduae of BYU and a bishop in the LDS Church..

An interesting aside is Bangerter years ago worked as a coyote trapper on Lt. Governor Brad Little’s ranch. Little is thus supporting an old friend, though he says either group’s candidate could do the job. To him the more important decision is how will decisions get made? Will the old concentrate in the Council on Environmental Quality’s hands model be taken up or will there be a true devolvement of authority to the cabinet and sub-agency level?

Those associated with Idaho’s timber industry are strongly backing Erica Rhoad, the House Resources staff director for the Subcommittee on Federal lands. Rhoad has a pedigree that would normally make her a lead pipe cinch to get the position. She started lining up support and solidifying her base within a few days after the election. Among her credentials are time spent working as the Federal Liaison for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Affairs, service on the staff of former California Congressman Richard Pombo, and director of policy for the American Forestry Association.

Perhaps her greatest asset, according to Bob Boeh, vice president of external affairs for the Idaho Forest Group, is her knowledge of the issues. Boeh says “we have nothing against Layne, we just feel there are so many major issues vital to the industry’s future coming so rapidly down the pike that there’s not sufficient time for Layne to get up to speed. Erica knows the issues and will hit the ground running.”

Boeh also reported that his company had signed a letter endorsed by 32 other industry related organizations and sportsman groups suppporting Rhoad’s appointment. The letter will go to Secretary Perdue as well as the Idaho congressional delegation.

Needless to say, Idaho’s ranchers and farmers, despite the fact that Rhoad grew up on a Colorado ranch and went to Colorado State, are putting together a letter of their endorsing organizations to be sent to Secretary Perdue and the Idaho congressional delegation. Senators Crapo and Risch are thought to be supporting Bangerter. First District Congressman Raul Labrador did not return phone calls to his office.

Second District Congressman Mike Simpson is backing Rhoad inasmuch as she once worked for him when with the Interior Appropriations subcommittee which Simpson chairs.

Shawn Keough, the executive director of the Idaho Logging Contractor’s Association, says her organization is officially neutral though she did acknowledge their national group, the American Logging Contractors Association, is one of the 33 signees to the letter Boeh referenced.

Former Larry Craig staffer Mark Rey, who held the post for eight years is strongly supporting Rhoad. He points out that she is exceptionally qualified because of her unique undertanding of the legislative process and the agency, how to make policy work with a large field organization, and her knowledge of the budget process by virture of her work on both the appropriations subcommittee and the authorizing subcommittee.

Despite these superb credemtials there is really only one constituent and literally he trumps all others—-Donald Trump, Jr. He has remained close and if he wants Bangerter in that post, Bangerter will get the nod.

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Carlson

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The New York Times has long had a motto: “All the News that’s Fit to Print.” In this time when increasingly the line between news and entertainment is obscured, supposed “facts” are fabricated, candidates blatantly lie, adversaries engage in a pattern of disinformation, a confused and angry public falls back on listening and believing someone they trust even if the recipient of that trust is untrustworthy.

Exhibit A is Bill O’Reilly, the recently fired Fox News commentator who engaged for a long period in illegal sexual predatory behavior with regard to the women who worked for and with him.

He walked away with a $25 million settlement.

His show’s ratings did not suffer a whit. He was ousted by the results of an independent investigation conducted by a law firm hired by Rupert Murdock. Presumably, Murdock acted because the firm discovered a much longer history and pattern of sordid abuse. That, coupled with advertisers leaving in droves, brought about his downfall.

O’Reilly is a perfect example of someone the gullible public has posited trust in for long time. For these folks the source of news tends to be others who share their beliefs and reinforce their prejudices. O’Reilly reinforced their fear-driven view of the world.

Even a news gathering organization like CNN (Cable News Network) that proclaims in its advertising to be “the most trusted news source” in the world falls short of the full transparency they demand of all others.

How do they and others in the cable news business fall short? They more often than not will pay, sometimes a truly princely sum, for the video of breaking news. Savvy folks with hand held telephone cameras often happen to be at the scene of a police shooting or some other tragedy. They know they have an “exclusive,” as does the news editor sitting at the news assignment desk in Atlanta, New York or D.C.

He or she gets a call from the owner of the exclusive who has quickly compiled the list of phone numbers of major video news companies and literally starts dialing for dollars. The deal is usually reached rapidly and on the air it goes.

Of course there almost never is a disclaimer that has CNN or Fox or MSNBC saying they paid for the footage and how much they paid. Quite simply, the public should be informed when a news organization has paid for video, or has paid the witness to appear on their network.

It would be a good step towards restoring some credibility for tarnished news gathering firms.

Another step would be for the folks at CNN and their competitors to publish the list of non-full time contributors, especially the so-called expert analysts. Regular guests on various programs where “more expertise” is required (such as a military operation) don’t give away that expertise for free. They are paid on a per appearance basis or have an “exclusive” contract that ties them to the news organization.

CNN uses retired Army General Spider Marks for example, and former NATO Commander Wesley Clark as expert commentators. People like former advisor (to President Obama) David Axelrod, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum more likely than not are paid to opine. If a news gathering organization is big on transparency should not it walk the talk?

Sure there are guests who appear who aren’t paid – folks who know they can leverage an appearance into their advertising to differentiate them from their competitors. Probably it may even be a majority of those “talking heads.”

Try to find out whether CNN even has a written policy on this subject, or whether the news editor has a budget he or she can quickly commit to use to buy compelling video. Try to find out if they publish somewhere a list of subcontractors and what they are paid. More likely than not all one can ferret out may be an aggregate number and it will be accompanied by a statement that it is a private business matter.

Furthermore, they’ll say some gobbly-gook about standard business practice.

But it isn’t. Neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times pays one red cent to anyone for the news it prints. They intuitively understand that if a story has received money for outing there’s a natural tendency to play the story long after the legs may have dropped off.

The Times can still claim that it true to its motto. The video cable news networks sadly can only say they are bringing to their viewers the “best news that money can buy.”

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Carlson