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Mar 19 2015

What it’s like to run a pot shop

At #MJBAJobFair 2015 on a panel about working in a legal pot shop, the Mayor of Cannabis City, James Lathrop, shares what it has been like to open and operate the first marijuana retail store in Seattle.

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Mar 19 2015

On the front pages

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)

Looking at Harris Ranch expansion (Boise Statesman)
Reformers press ahead at Lewiston youth homes (Lewiston Tribune)
Legislative leaders struggle with adjournment (Lewiston Tribune)
Schools at Latah graduate more than state on average (Moscow News)
WSU seeks new entryway project (Moscow News)
Teacher pay bill both rises, falls in Idaho House (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
House floor considers transportation bill (Nampa Press Tribune)
Anti-bully bill moves in legislature (Pocatello Journal)
Another version of concealed carry bill emerges (Pocatello Journal)
Issues raised with new high school grad system (TF Times News)

Balderas named new Eugene school superintendent (Eugene Register Guard)
6th UO student may have meningococcal virus (Eugene Register Guard)
New call center opens at Eugene in April (Eugene Register Guard)
House votes against drone-aided hunting (KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Ghost hunters investigating Klamath county building (KF Herald & News)
Medford board questions history textbook (Medford Tribune)
Jackson County proposes new library building deal (Medford Tribune)
Public records law in Oregon called weak (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Brown will talk drones on visit to Pendleton (Pendleton E Oregonian)
New bill would background nearly all gun transfers (Portland Oregonian)
Looking at religious uynaffiliated in Portland (Portland Oregonian)
Using goats to go after weed problems (Salem Statesman Journal)

Mt Baker ski area won’t reopen as planned (Bellingham Herald)
Dog leashing rules change on Bainbridge Island (Bremerton Sun)
Heavy dusts, some wildfires expected in east (Kennewick Herald)
Salmon, others at risk over ocean warming (Longview News)
State Auditor Kelley’s home searched by feds (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Port Angeles now has pot shops (Port Angeles News)
Clallam continues developing pot rules (Port Angeles News)
Seattle mayor seeks $900m transport levy (Seattle Times)
Spokane inmate acted as pimps from jail (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane cops have varied racial distribution (Spokane Spokesman)
New judge named at Clark County (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima County starts work on redistricting (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 18 2015

Three groups of truths

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

The counter-attack by the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce boosters of the Idaho National Lab, orchestrated by the Department of Energy, against former Idaho governors Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus for blowing the whistle on current Governor Butch Otter’s attempt to give a waiver from the 1995 Batt Agreement on the importation of two shipments of commercial spent fuel rods for research purposes is missing some key points.

For those still trying to understand objectively what this is all about, there are three phrases they should keep uppermost in mind. Phrase one comes from the Tom Cruise movie a few years back, A Few Good Men. Cruise plays a young Navy JAG officer and he is grilling on the witness stand in a trial a tough Marine colonel played by Jack Nicholson.

At a key moment he challenges the colonel to tell the truth. Nicholson rears back and with the meanest demeanor of total disdain snarls back at Cruise, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Phrase one.

Phrase two is one of the best statements ever uttered by former President Ronald Reagan: Trust but verify!

Phrase three is a political truism: Politics most often is about dealing with perceptions which are based on emotions which often trump facts.

Critics of Andrus and Batt are busy engaging in raising “straw dog” arguments that play with words and semantics, all designed to divert attention from the real issues. Or, they’ll find one nit that may be incorrect and immediately conclude that invalidates their entire thesis.

So one can read that spent fuel rods are not waste and that research on the commercial spent fuel rods is all part of an expanding research role for the site that will generate a couple hundred million dollars over ten years, and, oh yes, more jobs And don’t those former governors know that the spent rods are solid materials, so they can’t possibly migrate to the aquifer and pollute it?

Here are some truths that the INL booster types cannot handle: Continue Reading »

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Mar 18 2015

On the front pages

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)

Redfish Lake marina docks need replacement (Boise Statesman)
More solar power ahead for Idaho Power (Boise Statesman)
Extra $92 million appears in Idaho revenues (Lewiston Tribune)
Sea changes may impact salmon diets (Lewiston Tribune)
Administration head Luna may resign (TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow police consider diversity training (Moscow News)
County officials look at Syringa park (Moscow News)
Concealed carry bill goes through more changes (Nampa Press Tribune)
Major snow geese die-off in east Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
Contractors often not bound by public records law (TF Times News)

Judge looks at release of hatchery fish (Eugene Register Guard)
Large investor in UO apartment complex (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath area hit with ‘extreme’ drought (KF Herald & News)
Massive Medford police, gunman standoff (Medford Tribune)
Drought is on, but so is E Oregon planting (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton okays $1.7m for airport (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Attorney plans Oregon right to work initiative (Portland Oregonian)
United Streetcar falls short of expectations (Portland Oregonian)
Unemployment in Oregon falls to 5.8% (Salem Statesman Journal)

Part of Bellingham port area may be rebuilt (Bellingham Herald)
Bremerton plans heavy work on thoroughfare (Bremerton Sun)
Plans call for raising Narrows tolls two times (Bremerton Sun)
Water committee in Longview considers options (Longview News)
Study finds $15 wages not hurting restaurants (Seattle Times)
UW study finds breast biopsy results often wrong (Seattle Times)
Hotel finances raise questions at Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark area seeks $9.3m for capital efforts (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima asks review of city districts decision (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 17 2015

Dangers of ignorance

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

February, 1865, emissaries from the North and South were meeting secretly, trying to set terms for ending America’s Civil War. Killing continued on the battlefields. But talks continued in private meeting places. And it was the results of those talks that brought an end to the killing in April, 1865.

Imagine this alternate scenario. Imagine that 47 members of the then-U.S. Congress wrote to Confederate President Jefferson Davis in February, 1865, warning him any deal he cut with President Lincoln to end the war would not be binding – that Lincoln would not be president forever – that the next Congress could (and likely would) void any agreement arrived at in the current negotiations.

That didn’t happen to Lincoln. But it has to Barack Obama. In an effort almost perfectly defined in the word “sedition,” 47 Republican senators very publically wrote the leaders of Iran that any agreement reached in current multi-nation efforts to keep Iran from owning nuclear weapons could – and might – be ended by Congress. Further, such agreement negotiated would not likely last beyond the Obama presidency.

Reaction – nearly all of it surprise, anger, disgust and negative for what those 47 did – is raining down in this country and in many abroad. The action was unprecedented, dangerous, unnecessarily divisive, wrong, just plain stupid. And it might’ve been illegal.

Ironically named for a Republican, the Logan Act, created in 1799, has seldom been used. In sum, it prohibits U.S. citizens from negotiating directly with other nations on behalf of the American government. It specifically prohibits “correspondence … with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government … in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.” Whether the Act would apply in this case depends on which lawyer you’ve talked to last. Some “yes.” Some “no.”

Several incidents where Logan could’ve been applied have occured in recent years though no one was charged. One was when Rev. Jesse Jackson went to Cuba and Nicaragua in 1984, while President Reagan was involved in his secret deal with Iran to trade American prisoners for military hardware. Jackson was threatened, but that was it.

The second was Idaho’s own international publicity seeker and professional interloper – the late former Republican Cong. George Hansen. He trotted off to Iran in the ‘80’s to be a one man negotiating team. He got lots of publicity but – like most everything he did – the effort was mostly for self-aggrandizement. No charges.

This most recent attempt to kneecap the President also touches Idaho in a direct way. Both U.S. Senators signed on. I’ve known each for more than 40 years. The participation of James Risch doesn’t surprise except his name is out there on this and his usual modus operandi is to do his deeds behind your back. This time – 3rd name, right column, second page.

Mike Crapo’s participation is also not surprising though, a few years ago when he seemed to be thinking more clearly, he likely would’ve kept a lower profile and not publically signed such an odorous document. This is another personal disappointment in how far to the right he’s drifted since his more effective earlier days as a Senator and – previously – in the Idaho Legislature. This time, 4th name, right column, second page.

Though real damage to our international credibility and trustworthiness has been done, it’s unlikely there’ll be legal action against the 47 miscreants. Some should. But it won’t. They’ve undercut efforts of this president and others to follow him. Their arrogance has publically demonstrated how little they really know about our U.S. Constitution – to say nothing about the totality of their own job descriptions and the balance of powers of American government.

Perhaps there was a fitting irony when one of Iran’s leaders – with a proper American university pHd in government – had to publically correct the 47 and accurately define for them the limitations members of Congress have in such international affairs. In fact, of the two dozen or so at the top of Iran’s political system, about half have attended U.S. educational institutions. More of them speak and understand English than any of the 47 speak or understand things Iranian. Continue Reading »

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Mar 17 2015

On the front pages

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)

Telemedicine/abortion bill moves ahead (Boise Statesman)
New bonds will fund a number of school projects (Boise Statesman)
‘Constitutional carry’ bill stopped (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
State, county officials urge Lowell plan change (Nampa Press Tribune)
Canyon P&Z looks at beekeeping rules (Nampa Press Tribune)
Might this be an early fire season? (Pocatello Journal)

Oregon starts new motor-voter effort (Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
UO trustee questions sexualized cheer dances (Eugene Register Guard)
Another business joins in Lakeview biofuels (KF Herald & News)
Medford pot halt hasn’t stopped dispensary (Medford Tribune)
Judge orders another look at Roseburg forest plan (Medford Tribune)
Another firearm background check bill surfaces (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Looking at Portland-area dog bites (Portland Oregonian)
Amanda Marshall under investigation (Portland Oregonian)
Naughton named administrative services chief (Salem Statesman Journal)

Many school bills still float in legislature (Bremerton Sun)
Federal case finds fire department discriminated (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish jail reforms generating savings (Everett Herald)
Woodland struggles with pot issue (Longview News)
I-405 tolls could hit $10 (Longview News)
President of Whitman College will lead Evergreen (Olympian)
Inslee bill seeks to tax and regulate e-cigs (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Olympic peninsula seeing snow, flood, harbor sewage (Port Angeles News)
How one Seattle school is growing grad rates (Seattle Times)
Spokane sees 43 construction projects (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver push for safety with oil trains (Vancouver Columbian)
Bill would seek to preserve DNA (Vancouver Columbian)
Decision time coming on how Yakima clerk operates (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 16 2015

Split

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

Two years in a row this has happened: Oregon Republicans meeting informally, in two places, in recognition of two distinct views of what their party is about.

One of these is a long-standing Oregon tradition: The Dorchester Conference, founded in part by former Senator Robert Packwood, held each year (for many years) at Seaside. It is an informal event in that it isn’t a state Republican Party event; it is rather a gathering of Republicans who come together to talk about the future of their party, and the state. It dates back decades, and regularly has featured the state’s top Republican candidates and office holders. It typically attracts around 500 people, sometimes a little more.

The other event, held deliberately at the same time, is in only its second year: A “Freedom Rally” held in the Portland metro area (this year in Portland). It seems to be attracting more people – an estimated 1,500 this year – but its message is more narrow on the political band: Social conservatism on order, what’s often shorthanded as God, guns and gays. They are a specific reaction to Dorchester, where the attending majority has been moving in more socially moderate directions; abortion rights and same-sex marriage have found support there. And the group was more than just issue activists. The state’s one Republican in higher office, Representative Greg Walden, spoke there, and about 10 Republican legislators showed up as well.

(Since the two events were just about an hour and a half apart by road, some people likely tried to hit both of them.)

Read the news reports on the two events and you’ll get two very different perspectives on what the Republican Party is about, and why this party in Oregon’s minority is having such a difficult time. A number of speakers at Dorchester underlined it: As long as the Republicans in Oregon are more deeply split than the Democrats are (and they are), they’re going to have a hard time winning much.
And if you hear the same thing at the two events in 2016, they’ll likely prove prescient.

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Mar 16 2015

In the Briefings

Friday Harbor
 
Measurements were collected from the dock at Friday Harbor Labs, which also is used for experiments that simulate future ocean acidification levels. Water was also collected from the pumphouse, the small brown building in the background on the left. (photo/J. Meyer, University of Washington)

 

The Washington legislature is reaching its cutoff points; by the end of this week, Washingtonians should have a clearer idea of what will be up for final action and what won’t. In Oregon, the legislature has slowed its pace a little, and may cool a little more this week as Republicans return from their pair of unofficial annual gatherings.

Idaho legislators have been hoping to aim for session shutdown by the end of next week, but that’s looking increasing unlikely amid battles over highway funding and teacher pay.

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Mar 16 2015

On the front pages

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)

Legislators debate over new gambling options (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, Moscow News)
Oil, other hazards on trains in Canyon Co (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho gas prices rise suddenly (TF Times News)

Some downtown businesses moving out (Eugene Register Guard)
TriMet looking at some fare raises (Portland Oregonian)
Republicans consider future at Dorchester (Salem Statesman Journal)
Massive storms cut power (Salem Statesman Journal)

Shortfall in Kitsap logging funds (Bremerton Sun)
Repairs ordered for leaking oil trains (Longview News)
Federal lawsuit covers jailing mentally ill (Olympian)
Tolls may go variable to $10 on north I-405 (Seattle Times)
Transit centers considered for I-90 at Spokane (Spokane Spokesman)
Mass of exec retirements at Washougal schools (Vancouver Columbian)
Reviewing pluses, minuses of cop body cams (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 15 2015

Tsunami redux

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Couple of weeks ago, I wrote about we folk living with the tsunami “Sword of Damocles” off our Pacific shores here on the far west edge of Oregon. A reader/friend accused me of making light of the daily threat and said – given the 9.0 Fukushima quake – there had to be major facts I was omitting.

He’s right. I did omit. I was “making light.” So, here’s tsunami redux – the “story-behind-the-story.”

Should we get hit with a 9-point shaker, it’ll likely be because the Cascadia Subduction Plate on the ocean floor about 50 miles out and the San Juan Plate from the north either collide or one suddenly moves atop the other. The same deadly results will probably occur either way. At the moment, Oregon State University geologists and others have evidence those plates may’ve already met and are locked. They believe that likely means pressure is building up which has no apparent means of escape short of a real blast when it can no longer be contained. Underwater seismograph evidence.

Which means, we could have a real “barn burner” of a blast – possibly that 9.0. Or more. And what would that mean?

Well, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) surmises all bridges along the coast … ALL bridges … will fail! Further, most of the bridges for 50-70 miles inland between us and Interstate 5 – which runs north and south between Washington and California – will go, too. Hundreds of major landslides. Most – if not all roads from I-5 to the coast – would be impassable. ODOT believes we on the coast would be isolated for up to three years!

We coastal folk couldn’t go north or south. We couldn’t go inland, either. Again, ODOT predicting we’d be completely cut off for three years or so.

Want more? Bonneville Power estimates all coastal communities – from Astoria to Brookings – could be without power for three to five years before the electrical infrastructure could be rebuilt. How would that affect your daily lives?

More? Well, water, sewer and other necessary services would be destroyed within the first few minutes of a major quake. No public entity is willing to even hazzard a guess about how long it would take to replace all that, too.

So, yes, I was underplaying the effects of a tsunami a couple of weeks ago. Truth is, it would be Hell! But there’s one thing that keeps most coastal dwellers calm. Most – yes. MOST – don’t know what you do now. I’ve talked to many – in church – at service clubs – socially – and the projections from ODOT and Bonneville and other agencies don’t come up in the conversations. Even when you ask. Sort of “What-I-don’t-know-can’t-hurt-me,” I guess. Or, “Que Sara.” Continue Reading »

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Mar 15 2015

Oregon Republicans: Next . . .

jorgensen W. SCOTT
JORGENSEN

 
In the Capitol

From a speech delivered at this weekend’s Oregon Republican Dorchester conference at Seaside.

Once upon a time, there was a political party in a state that was so far out of power for so long, it was literally lost in the wilderness. Let me elaborate.

Out of 90 total legislative seats, this party and its members held only 15. It had not controlled the Legislature for 75 years. Some counties in this state hadn’t sent a member of that party to the Legislature in almost 85 years. That’s most peoples’ entire lifetimes.
This party didn’t have much luck with statewide offices, either — out of the state’s past 10 governors, eight had been from the opposite party. They didn’t fare any better with federal offices, as the party hadn’t elected a U.S. Senator in almost 40 years.

The party I’m talking about is the Democrats, and the state I’m talking about is Oregon.

That’s right, folks — Oregon was once a one-party state, as it arguably is now, but with Republicans completely in charge of everything.

We get so caught up in the here and now that we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture and the long-term historical perspective. But the fact is, Democrats in Oregon were much further out of power, and for much longer, than Republicans are now.

This was the political landscape approximately 62 years ago, at the start of the 1953 legislative session.
It’s hard to imagine what must have happened between then and now. It begs the question: How did the Democrats turn it around? What did they do?

Well, for starters, they recognized that they had a problem and decided to do things differently. They placed greater emphasis on things like candidate recruitment, succession planning and crafting a message that resonates with the average Oregonian.

The results were almost instantaneous.

In the 1954 elections, Oregon Democrats went from 11 seats in the House to 24. They picked up some seats in the Senate.

At the federal level, they gained a Congressional seat when Edith Green defeated a young newscaster by the name of Tom McCall.

The next cycle, in 1956, could very well be remembered as the year that they turned it all around.

They took control of the House and forced a 15-15 split in the Senate. At the statewide level, they elected their first governor in almost 20 years, Robert Holmes.

The federal level proved equally successful, as they took two more Congressional seats, giving them three out of four. They also held both of Oregon’s U.S. Senate seats after that election.

The sole Republican exception to this route? Mark O. Hatfield, 34-year-old state legislator who was elected Secretary of State.

The truth is, Oregon Republicans have a strong and proud tradition of leadership. It’s a tremendous legacy, to say the least.

We follow in the footsteps of many great men. They include Charles McNary, a longtime U.S. Senator who ran for Vice President in 1940.

There’s also Doug McKay, who served as governor and was later Secretary of the Interior under my favorite president, Dwight Eisenhower. He was our last governor to resign, and did so to take that position. That’s quite a contrast from recent events. Continue Reading »

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Mar 15 2015

On the front pages

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)

Nampa library, new version, opens (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
The growing cost of seeking open records (Boise Statesman)
Counting the homeless in N-central Idaho (Lewiston Tribune)
Looking at laws on public executive sessions (Nampa Press Tribune)
Should be mostly enough water this year (Nampa Press Tribune)
Magnida fertilizer plant progresses at Power Co (Pocatello Journal)
What’s ahead for schools after bond election (TF Times News)

Legislature slows, resumes more normal pace (Eugene Register Guard)
Dorchester Republicans map route from here (KF Herald & News)
Capturing, maybe to kill, nuisance animals (Medford Tribune)
Oregon wine industry said to be worth $4b (Medford Tribune)
Long-term holds for material witnesses (Portland Oregonian)
What kind of funding for Oregon schools? (Portland Oregonian)
Wolf populations re-establishing in Cascades (Salem Statesman Journal)

New big Whatcom park, trails, planned (Bellingham Herald)
Getting expensive to seek public records (Tacoma News Tribunne, Bellingham Herald, Olympian)
Trial this week on jailing the mentally ill (Bellingham Herald)
About $338k in garbage bills unpaid at Bremerton (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewig local legislators so far (Bremerton Sun)
Teenager survey on pot: Little danger seen (Longview News)
Olympics included in drought declaration (Port Angeles News)
Is Seattle’s Capitol Hill losing artistic nature? (Seattle Times)
UW medical seeks certification for face transplants (Seattle Times)
WSU Spokane plans major expansions (Spokane Spokesman)
With staff cuts, Pierce jail won’t serve cities (Tacoma News Tribune)
Legislature considering school funding levels (Vancouver Columbian)
What to do about WA medical pot? (Vancouver Columbian)

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Mar 14 2015

Belated good news

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

The news is good. Very good.

But attached to it comes the ugly question: Did anyone figure this out earlier? If not, why not? And if so, why was the information kept under a rock?

The story here is about something gone bad abruptly gone good: the statewide contract for providing broadband service contracts for high schools. That contract, developed and signed through the Otter Administration, was the subject of bitter wrangling and battling and court fights, and finally last year was voided entirely by a state district judge. School districts around the state were warned, as recently as a few weeks ago, that their broadband access might be cut off, and no one knew exactly when it might be restored.

Hoping to patch the problem, the Idaho Legislature actually moved quickly to spend $3.6 million to keep the broadband signals alive. The money would go to the state Department of Education, which would distribute it to local school districts, each of which would have to find its own broadband supplier. It sounded like a band aid on a bullet wound.

But no: It has worked. And not only that, it has worked so well that it puts the statewide effort to shame. The broadband will not only survive, but do so in much better form than would have been the case. The Idaho Ed News site noted, for example, that “The short-term contracts — signed by school districts in the past couple of weeks — carry a projected price tag of slightly less than $2 million. Over that same time period, the defunct Idaho Education Network broadband system would have cost the state more than $3.2 million.”

Almost two-thirds of the districts and charter schools found less costly local sourcing. And many of those local sources provided much more robust broadband: “Fifty-five districts and charters were able to secure more bandwidth under their new contracts. The Jefferson County Joint District, for example, saw its broadband capacity increase from 84 megabits per second to 20,000 Mbps.”

The results have been so good that the legislature – quite rationally – now is likely to scrap the whole idea of a statewide system and just provide funding assistance for the locals.

Certainly, the local districts and the Department of Education deserve a good deal of credit for all this.

But loose-end questions remain. Spreading a service over a larger area usually means reductions in costs, so why did the statewide system cost so much more and deliver so much less than the patchwork local efforts?

Why did not one figure this out long ago?

Did no one, in developing the statewide school broadband system, look even casually at the idea of local provision and consider what the relative savings might have been? (Or might it have been that no one simply saw a financial incentive in doing it that way?)

Or if someone did figure all this out long ago . . . why is none of this coming to light until now?

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Mar 14 2015

On the front pages

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)

Garden City waterfront district almost done (Boise Statesman)
Who’s living in WSU president’s cottage? (Lewiston Tribune)
Fire smoldering near Kendrick area (Lewiston Tribune)
New UI provost named (Moscow News)
University of Washington fraternity accused of racism (Moscow News)
opening day today for new Nampa library (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa senator pushes for marijuana extract oil (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Congress delegation seeks Lake Lowell plan change (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU replaces school symbols (Pocatello Journal)

Early spring throw bees off season schedule (Eugene Register Guard)
Keno landmark tavern closes (KF Herald & News)
Medford officials in conflict of interest on casino? (KF Herald & News)
St. Mary’s school buys campus from landlord (Medford Tribune)
Farmers take issue with electric line route (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Wyden questioned by Umatilla students (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing bills from NE Oregon legislators (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Motor-voter law changes situation for parties (Portland Oregonian)
US Attorney’s relationship in-office reviewed (Portland Oregonian)
Civic leaders Gretchen Kafoury dies (Portland Oregonian)
Legislators still push for tougher vaccine law (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing hardware trade negotiations, ports (Bellingham Herald)
Gun club operations may be reviewed (Bremerton Sun)
Boeing defending state tax breaks at Olympia (Everett Herald)
Inslee declares drought emergency in 3 areas (Spokane Spokesman, Yakima Herald Republic, Longview News)
Seattle plans to take over large area for pocket park (Seattle Times)
Boeing CEO made $29m in 2014 (Seattle Times)

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Mar 13 2015

To govern, to obstruct

ridenbaugh Northwest
Reading

An opinion piece released on March 13 by Representative Mike Simpson, R-ID.

“The American people used their votes last year to demonstrate a strong objection to gridlock while giving a modest endorsement to the direction Congressional Republicans offered as an alternative to Democrat policies in Washington. Their confidence, however, was conditional on an expectation that Republicans would work aggressively to move our country forward.

“Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues in Congress see the election much differently. They view gridlock and obstructionism as a means to appease the politically pure and point fingers at anyone who seeks a different solution. While I agree with my colleagues on the conservative principles in this debate, I’d rather be advancing solutions to stop the President’s overreaching policies and putting forward Republican answers that thwart the Administration’s ability to rule from the executive branch.

“Instead, a faction of my Republican colleagues see obstructionist tactics like shutting down the government, or one of its most important agencies, as just another tool in the construction of a manufactured crises. This small segment of Republicans voted to shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a vote two weeks ago at the deadline – and they represent the most irresponsible, unrealistic, and ineffective segment of our Republican caucus.

“Even worse, they’re imposing a losing strategy while we are actually winning in the courts – the legitimate, and Constitutional, venue for resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches.

“These members have no credible policy proposals to stop the President’s unlawful actions, instead they hold our national security hostage with shutdown threats, and then label any Member who opposes their strategy as “capitulating” to the President.

“They represent a segment of our caucus that would rather shut down the government than show the American people we can actually govern. They represent a segment of our caucus that would preach border security while defunding border patrol. They represent a segment of our caucus that defies the Constitution while preaching a strict adherence to its very principles. They represent a segment of our caucus that wrongly thought a government shutdown would spell the end of Obamacare. They got their shutdown. But we still have Obamacare.

“The majority of the Republican caucus has given ample opportunities for this loud minority to play-out their strategy. However, this small faction has failed to achieve any conservative victories and led our party so far astray that the Democrats have been able to exert influence in the absence of a united Republican party.

“My pro-shutdown colleagues are the same folks who pushed for immigration reform only to abandon the notion – leaving the American people on hold with a broken system, ineffective border, and overreaching President looking for any excuse to write executive actions.

“My pro-shutdown colleagues project Constitutional principles but they’re conveniently forgetting their own Constitutional responsibilities to fund the U.S. Government and, ‘provide for the common defense.’

“My pro-shutdown colleagues supported John Boehner for Speaker, before opposing him, then supporting him again, and now criticizing him. By undermining Republican leadership at every turn, the pro-shutdown minority has compromised our ability to pass conservative priorities that focuses on governing efficiently and effectively.

“The truth is my Republican colleagues and I have a critical and extremely short window of time to prove to the American people that we can govern responsibly. This brief window is our chance to demonstrate to the American people that they should look to a Republican as the next President of the United States. It’s also our chance to show that we prefer the Ronald Reagan model of taking 70-80% of what we can get…and then fighting united to get the rest in the future.”

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Mar 13 2015

On the front pages

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)

Nampa library nearly ready to open (Boise Statesman)
Will Idaho wheat go to Cuba? (Lewiston Tribune)
Judge rejects Clearwater road management plan (Lewiston Tribune)
WA teenagers say pot easy to get (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Palouse neighbors concerned about skate park (Moscow News)
Legislators create new urban renewal committee (Nampa Press Tribune)
Senate narrowly okays driverless car testing (Nampa Press Tribune)
Broadband contractors say state owes $6m (TF Times News)
Clif Bar does grooundbraking at TF facility (TF Times News)
KMVT-TV at Twin to be sold to Gray Television (TF Times News)

Another sickened UO student (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene picks Balderas as new superintendent (Eugene Register Guard)
Swan Lake pumped storage plan at KF still a go (KF Herald & News)
Klamath college promises another year for diploma (KF Herald & News)
Medford considering pot odor issue (Medford Tribune)
Conflict of interest claimed in Coquille casino plan (Medford Tribune)
Oracle lawsuit bumped to state court (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Sexuality conference at Pendleton blasted (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Profiling Brown’s approach as governor (Portland Oregonian)
Bicyclists may be allowed to run red lights (Portland Oregonian)
Why was state bounched from Kitzhaber inquiry? (Portland Oregonian)
Brown signs carbon reduction bill (Salem Statesman Journal)
Bill would simplify some name changes (Salem Statesman Journal)

Surveyed teens say pot easy to get, not harmful (Bremerton Sun)
Legislative overview story (Seattle Times, Yakima Herald Republic, Bremerton Sun, Olympian, Longview News)
Bill would allow tax breaks for good jobs (Everett Herald)
Kalama goes after abandoned properties (Longview News)
Legislators consider nonprofits in political campaigns (Olympian)
WA legislators review Montana coal plant closure (Olympian)
Vaccine exemption bills die at legislature (Port Angeles News)
More teens get into e-cigarettes (Seattle Times, Vancouver Columbian)
Thomas Daly named to head Spokane Catholic diocese (Spokane Spokesman)
Kootenai sheriff deputies get pay raise (Spokane Spokesman)
More worker injuries in Seattle tunnel (Tacoma News Tribune)
Congressional delegation helps starfish wasting (Tacoma News Tribune)
Puyallup tribe buys cancer clinic (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark Co officials deliver annual address (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima plaza has parking problems (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Mar 12 2015

The battle is about to get ugly

trahant MARK
TRAHANT

 
Austerity

The battle over federal spending is about to get ugly. Real ugly.

It’s been a Republican promise to balance the federal budget within a decade. And in an election campaign that promise look soooo easy. Cut a penny here, another there, and somehow, magically, revenues match spending and there’s a balanced budget. Since Republicans now control both the House and the Senate this should be a done deal, right?

But that’s not how it happens in the real world. In the federal system there are all kinds of fiscal obligations that move through the system automatically. If a person is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid … then the money is spent. Congress doesn’t have to appropriate a cent. The automatic side of the budget is growing because Baby Boomers are older and drawing more benefits such as Social Security.

But that’s only the beginning of this complex spending debate.

The money spent on American Indians and Alaska Natives is a tiny fraction, far less than one percent of the overall budget. Yet every idea to cut federal spending ends up significantly impacting tribal communities, making it impossible for tribal leaders to plan ahead, and disrupting ongoing initiatives ranging from education to economic development. The president’s budget would benefit Indian Country.

And while there are supporters of Indian Country initiatives in Congress, the bigger issue is the overall budget and how much pressure there will be to trim spending for all every federal agencies.

The president’s budget does address the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the spending plan would have “no net effect” on the deficit in 2015 but would reduce deficits between 2016 and 2025.

But that’s not enough for those in Congress who demand a balanced budget. And even the sequester was not enough to do that.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told a Senate panel that “the reality is that balancing the budget for any sustained period is probably not in our immediate future.” The budget would have to shrink by $5.5 trillion in ten years or eight times the size of the sequester plan and 65 times the Ryan-Murray budget deal (which didn’t last long).

You might think those numbers would be big enough, deep enough, to scare off even committed Republicans. And that’s true — when it comes to Defense spending.

Defense News quoted Sen. John McCain saying he will do “whatever it takes to avert sequester on defense. I will not agree to any budget that does not stop sequestration. We just had testimony this morning that will put the lives of American men and women in uniform in danger if we continue with sequestration.”

So that’s fight number one. Republicans who want to live up to a balanced budget pledge versus Republicans who want to end the sequester — at least as far as military spending. In a lot of ways this will be a contest of wills between the House and the Senate.

So which budget will prevail? The president’s budget — at least in terms of overall spending — has no chance. Congressional budgets will be unveiled shortly and then the fight begins and we can start to wonder what kind of last minute deal will be needed to keep the government operational.

As I said, the battle over federal spending is about to get ugly.

Mark Trahant holds the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the free Trahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

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owb1444

WASHINGTON-OREGON-IDAHO Our acclaimed weekly e-pubs: 35-45 pages Monday mornings getting you on top of your state. Samples available. Contact us by email or by phone at (208)484-0460.

 

 
RIDENBAUGH BOOKS
 


 
This will be one of the most talked-about Idaho books in Idaho this season: 14 years after its last edition, Ridenbaugh Press has released a list of 100 influential Idahoans. Randy Stapilus, the editor and publisher of the Idaho Weekly Briefing and author of four earlier similar lists, has based this one on levels of overall influence in the state – and freedom of action and ability to influence development of the state – as of the start of 2015.
 
100 Influential Idahoans 2015. By Randy Stapilus; published by Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 202 pages. Softcover. List price $16.95.
100 Influential Idahoans 2015 page.

100 Influential Idahoans 2015
Idaho
 
 
"Essentially, I write in the margins of motherhood—and everything else—then I work these notes into a monthly column about what it’s like raising my two young boys. Are my columns funny? Are they serious? They don’t fit into any one box neatly. ... I’ve won awards for “best humorous column” though I actually write about subjects as light as bulimia, bullying, birthing plans and breastfeeding. But also bon-bons. And barf, and birthdays." Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons. by Nathalie Hardy; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 238 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
Raising the Hardy Boys page.

 

Hardy

 
"Not a day passes that I don’t think about Vietnam. Sometimes its an aroma or just hearing the Vietnamese accent of a store clerk that triggers a memory. Unlike all too many soldiers, I never had to fire a weapon in anger. Return to civilian life was easy, but even after all these years away from the Army and Vietnam I find the experience – and knowledge – continue to shape my life daily."
 
Drafted! Vietnam in War and in Peace. by David R. Frazier; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton OR. 188 pgs. Softcover. $15.95.
The DRAFTED! page.

 

Drafted
 
Many critics said it could not be done - and it often almost came undone. Now the Snake River Basin Adjudication is done, and that improbable story is told here by three dozen of the people most centrally involved with it - judges, attorneys, legislators, engineers, water managers, water users and others in the room when the decisions were made.
Through the Waters: An Oral History of the Snake River Basin Adjudication. edited by the Idaho State Bar Water Law Section and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 300 pages. Softcover. $16.95.
See the THROUGH THE WATERS page.


 
Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh died on July 20, 2014; he was widely praised for steady leadership in difficult years. Writer Scott Jorgensen talks with Atiyeh and traces his background, and what others said about him.
Conversations with Atiyeh. by W. Scott Jorgensen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 140 pages. Softcover. $14.95.
The CONVERSATIONS WITH ATIYEH page.

Atiyeh
 
"Salvation through public service and the purging of awful sights seen during 1500 Vietnam War helicopter rescue missions before an untimely death, as told by a devoted brother, leaves a reader pondering life's unfairness. A haunting read." Chris Carlson, Medimont Reflections. ". . . a vivid picture of his brother Jerry’s time as a Medivac pilot in Vietnam and contrasts it with the reality of the political system . . . through the lens of a blue-collar, working man made good." Mike Kennedy.
One Flaming Hour: A memoir of Jerry Blackbird. by Mike Blackbird; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 220 pages. Softcover. $15.95.
See the ONE FLAMING HOUR page.


 
Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.