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.


 
"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. "Mike Blackbird paints 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 that put him and so many others in that battlefield . . . 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.


 

Oct 17 2014

OOPS two

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Ah, Ebola. Seems like only yesterday we imported our first case of this terrible, headline-grabbing disease. Our very first. It’s so fresh in the mind I can still see and hear ol’ Rick Perry and the loud “SWOOSH” made by his running to the national TV cameras.

“We’re proud – (proud, I say) – that a Texas hospital has been chosen to treat the nation’s first Ebola patient,” he said through a big Texas good ol’ boy smile. “Texas is proud – (proud, I say) – of our best-in-the-country hospitals and the tremendous people we have giving such wonderful care.”

He turned from right to left. Then left to right so the cameras could catch that sculpted Texas chin. Then he departed – stage right. Of course.

Since then ol’ Rick’s been on the campaign trail in three states and off to France for . . . . . well, I don’t know what for. You can bet it’s something to do with running for president in 2016. Or at least HE thinks so.

So let’s recap what’s happened in that “state-of-the-art” Texas hospital since the old boy hopped a jet after his phony, office-chasing welcome mat for Ebola was broadcast worldwide.

First, the patient died. But there’s more. Seems the Dallas staff of one of the “best-in-the-country” hospitals sent the patient home with antibiotics when he showed up with all the symptoms of – wait for it – Ebola. The old “take two and call me in the morning” shuffle as I recall my own emergency room visits. Rick, of course, didn’t check out details or the history of how that Ebola patient got Ebola or what the hospital’s nonexisent software bridge between the doctor’s and nurses’s computers had caused before he rushed to center stage. As I said, detail.

Then a nurse there came down with Ebola. Then a second. Same place. Center for Disease Control folks got so mad they wouldn’t let new patients anywhere near Texas – pulling one out to ship to Atlanta and another to Emory Medical Center. Several C-D-C higher-ups even muttered publically something about “incompetence” at the Texas “best-in-America” hospital. Ricky, of course, was in France and didn’t pick up on that. OOPS.

Ebola is a terrible, dreaded disease with a near 70% death factor. Also deadly is the uncontrolled, lemming-like disease of running for president. Once infected, most “patients” seldom survive. In this case, France or no, a second nationally broadcast “OOPS” moment for Perry should be enough for permanent residence in the political graveyard. Oh, he may not realize he’s deceased for awhile. What with all the zombie phobia these days. But I have to think he’s among the “walking dead.” Again.

Perry’s is not the only voice politicizing what is really a terrible international health issue. John McCain and his hand puppet L. Graham blame the administration – read president – for not appointing an Ebola “czar.” McCain – who has previously loudly complained about the existence of “czars” in Washington – not only looks foolish but has omitted one serious fact. He and the puppet helped block the last Surgeon General nominee, keeping the job vacant for many months. They claimed 36-year-old Dr. Vivek Murthy was “much too young” for the job – despite an exemplary scholastic and medical record.

Putting the lie to that claim was the fact that the good doctor had once written of his belief that “gun violence is a public health issue.” Damned right! But the NRA pulled the string tight on some political “privates” and Murthy’s nomination died aborning. The jobs still vacant. Thanks, John.

Ebola must not be a political football. It’s a damned serious theat everywhere. Though it’s odd to note no Ebola cases in Germany, Japan, England, Russia, Canada, South America, Mexico et all. Wonder why.

The plain fact is McCain, Graham, Perry and other Republicans have joined other fear mongers scaring the hell out of millions of Americans. A few Democrats, too. Rather than use the power of their public offices to throw governmental clout and tools into the battle to control the disease, they daily fling outrageous charges of failure and danger in all directions.

Ebola is here. On our soil. It’s going to get worse. It’s not going away anytime soon. National Institutes of Health and CDC leaders need to stop with the soothing platitudes and the “we’re-in-control” falsities and give the public honest facts and evaluations based on medical knowledge rather than ass-covering or political fright. The White House needs to stop with the same tones of overconfidence and bring to bear the most qualified help from any source available in the nation. Or the world, for that matter. Now! Continue Reading »

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Oct 17 2014

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)

Did Bieter ask for firing ACHD executives? (Boise Statesman)
Overview of how Idaho economy is doing (IF Post Register)
CCA negotiations handled by Otter staff (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Idaho Falls considers urban renewal district (IF Post Register)
Student dean at UI retiring (Lewiston Tribune)
Profiling Senate 5 candidate Carlson (Moscow News)
Jerome cheese factory pays $88k EPA fine (TF Times News)
Ybarra talks about failure to vote, repeatedly (TF Times News)

Hyatt Hotel planned for Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Another levy for Eugene schools returns (Eugene Register Guard)
18th Cover Oregon security glitch reported (Portland Oregonian, KF Herald & News)
“Free speech zone’ blasted by SOU students (Medford Tribune)
Transport district argues to maintain levy (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Jackson Co commission 3 race (Medford Tribune)
Wyoming coal junket rejected by tribe (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Poll: People don’t think government spends well (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Colorado tax revenue from pot overestimated (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Reviewing the battle over GMO labeling (Portland Oregonian)

New leader at Harrison Medical Center (Bremerton Sun)
Upgrades at Bremerton sewer plant (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing Kitsap County prosecutor contest (Bremerton Sun)
Lakewood releases plan for new high school (Everett Herald)
Cowlitz prosecutor contest heats up (Longview News)
Industrial area needs $350m of rail work (Longview News)
Long-time Justice Utter dies (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Reviewing race for Clallam County auditor (Port Angeles News)
Funding strong for Clallam development officer (Port Angeles News)
Starbucks announces pay raise, customer gifts (Seattle Times)
Forks people question Navy electronic warfare (Seattle Times)
Vera Power back-billing customers (Spokane Spokesman)
Looks like warm winter for Northwest (Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic)
Selah looking at utility tax increase (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 16 2014

Through the crosstabs

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

Political managers spent a good deal of time reviewing polls, but they don’t spent a lot of time with the “top line” figures – how, say, two candidates stack up against each other in a race. That can be useful information (notably when put in the context of other polls and for trend lines), but the most helpful material often has to do with the other questions and the answer breakdowns.
Oregon Public Broadcasting and Fox-12 (through DHM Research) polled Oregon from 8-11 on candidates and ballot races. The top lines were not much different from what we’ve seen elsewhere: Governor, John Kitzhaber (D) over Dennis Richardson (R) by 50%-29, Senate, Jeff Merkley (D) over Monica Wehby (R) by 47%-26%. No terrific shocks there.
But here’s some of the rest of what it shows.
Is Oregon on the right or wrong track? As a political matters, that’s good for figuring out how incumbents will do. “Right track” is gaining, for the first time in a while; in the new poll, 50% responded that way (37% said “wrong track”), compared to 48% in September and 43% in April. Optimism looks to be gaining on Oregon.
They’re not super familiar with the candidates, though. Just 62% identified Kitzhaber as the Democratic nominee for governor, not great for a three-term governor, but Richardson’s number was even less impressive; 34% knew he was the Republican nominee. (43% thought the Republican in the race was someone else.)
On the Senate side, just 46% identified Merkley, a six-year incumbent, as the Democratic nominee, and 42% named Wehby as the Republican nominee. That’s better than Richardson, but apparently a lot of those people didn’t like what they heard about her (there have been a bunch of bad headlines0, since the poll showed her getting a smaller percentage than Richardson.
Back to top lines, the ballot issues were a mix of results, and in all don’t add up to a strong philosophical direction. Marijuana legalization seems to be doing pretty well but is no slam dunk (52%-41% in favor), while expanding drivers licenses without proof of legal residents looks to fail big time (about 2-1). the “top two” ballot approach is almost a wash with plenty of undecided (which suggests failure); and the GMO labeling proposal has a slight edge but really is too close to call.
Draw some conclusions from all that if you can.

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Oct 16 2014

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)

Otter’s staff worked on CCA deals (Boise Statesman)
Same sex marriages begin in Idaho (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune)
Coho salmon will be harvested Friday (Lewiston Tribune)
Jobs growing, trained work force lags (Lewiston Tribune)
Campaign finance filings in Latah Co (Moscow News)
New heart facility will open in Caldwell (Nampa Press Tribune)
Ybarra voted twice in last 17 elections (TF Times News)
Poll shows Democrats closing, but still short (TF Times News)

Keeping watch for cougars (Corvallis Gazette)
DeFazio, Robinson battle in debate (Eugene Register Guard)
UO study: higher rape risk in campus Greeks (Eugene Register Guard)
General election ballots arriving (KF Herald & News)
This year’s fire season called ‘lucky’ (KF Herald & News)
Medford Ward 4 candidates on the issues (Medford Tribune)
Young voters may be key on ballot issues (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Ethics issues filed on Kitzhaber, Hayes (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon banks worried about pot business money (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Hayes client got foreclosure relief (Portland Oregonian)
Reviewing Senate race (Salem Statesman Journal)

EPA seeks Navy landfill operation (Bremerton Sun)
Gass prices fall around kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing Kitsap clerk campaigns (Bremerton Sun)
Backlast seen against marijuana sales (Everett Herald)
Debate held between DelBene, Celis (Everett Herald)
Lewis Co denied water to pot grower (Longview News)
New Port Angeles high school plan revealed (Port Angeles News)
Tharinger has big finance lead in House race (Port Angeles News)
Electronic warfare sparks debate at Forks (Port Angeles News)
Mark Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill church (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Gay marriage underway in Idaho (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane mayor will reject $7k raise (Spokane Spokesman)
Spokane valley house candidates well known (Spokane Spokesman)
Questions about structuring port alliance (Tacoma News Tribune)
Vancouver’s Leavitt boycotts prayer breakfast (Vancouver Columbian)
La Center sees decline in gaming revenues (Vancouver Columbian)

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Oct 15 2014

Arguing for a 2/3 threshold

frazier DAVID
FRAZIER

 
Boise
Guardian

The DAILY PAPER had a page one story today about the effort to gain a 2/3 approval of voters for the City of Boise to go into debt for 10 years. The measure previously failed.

The STATESMAN story is fair, well balanced and accurate. It also dwells on the efforts of GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier to force local governments to play by the rules–something they didn’t do prior to 2004. We don’t know whether to take credit or blame, but Boise City has a record of extravagant requests. Frazier has a record of saving the city millions upon millions of dollars, forcing them to either pay cash or tone down their dream projects.
Modern suburban fire station in Boise, Idaho.
Through legal court victories we saved citizens about $15 on the police building (City Hall West), as much or more on the airport parking garage, and voters turned down a $38 million debt for a new library in favor of pay-as-you-go projects for three new branch libraries which are very successful.

Regardless of your thoughts on the $17 million bond sales pitch to move fire stations, build new ones, and construct a training facility, its a good thing the bond failed in the past.

Why? Because we minority of voters sent City officials back to the budgeting of OUR money and guess what? They have come up with a lower price tag and a shorter term bond debt. Thanks to a change of the former firemen retirement fund to be included in the state Public Retirement program, much of the revenue to repay the debt will come from within.

While we don’t oppose this bond, we have some concerns about financial issues directly relating to Boise’s fire department: Continue Reading »

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Oct 15 2014

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 ahead to serving gay couples in Idaho (Boise Statesman)
Idaho preparing for ebola (Boise Statesman)
Interior Secretary Jewell on sage grouse tour (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
New teacher licensing plan draws Lewiston blasts (Lewiston Tribune)
Washington state looks into wolf shooting (Lewiston Tribune)
Cameras at Moscow roads part of research project (Lewiston Tribune)
Plenty of punching at governor’s debate (Moscow News)
Did WSU instructor use state help for his business? (Moscow News)
Gay marriage comes to Idaho (Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Ybarra missed 15 of last 17 elections (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello schools consider another levy (Pocatello Journal)
Union Pacific adds new heavy-weight surcharge (TF Times News)

Much rain in the weather forecast (Corvallis Gazette)
Corvallis tablet computers have system problems (Corvallis Gazette)
Springfield School bond would upgrade schools (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath sheriff goes after food stamp fraud (KF Herald & News)
Senate candidates hold sole debate at Medford (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Medford War 3 race (Medford Tribune)
Cylvia Hayes former home intended for pot (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston won’t try to tax pot (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Cover Oregon consultant blasts in report (Portland Oregonian, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Governor debate features first lady, issues (Portland Oregonian)
PERS case goe to court, gets hearing (Salem Statesman Journal)

District court seat race in review (Bremerton Sun)
Planners try to draw lessons from Oso slide (Everett Herald)
Legislative ethics board: 12 free meals okay (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Olympia backs gun registration measure (Olympian)
Sequim city hall work underway (Port Angeles News)
Seattle cops targeting sex buyers (Seattle Times)
State kicks out Seattle school test scores (Seattle Times)
Battle over 4th district House seat (Spokane Spokesman)
Seattle, Tacoma ports sign agreement (Tacoma News Tribune)
Funding the Clark County charter fight (Vancouver Columbian)
Controversial Boykin set as breakfast speaker (Vancouver Columbian)
State House seat 14-2 sees active campaign (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 14 2014

Three reasons for ‘no mas’

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

There are three solid reasons why the voters should reject Governor C.L.”Butch” Otter’s bid for a third term. They constitute major failures on his part to fulfill the basic “three E” requirements for anyone serving in the office.

A governor takes an oath to uphold the State’s constitution which clearly states the primary purpose of the state government is to provide for a uniform and equal public education of the state’s young. The governor has failed miserably as the record reflects nothing less than a deliberate evisceration of state support for both k thru 12 and higher education.

This evisceration has led over 80% of the state’s school districts to pass over-ride levies to increase one’s local property tax to replace what the state has taken away. For residents of those districts it is nothing less than a tax burden shift and a tax increase brought about by a govenor who claims he has decreased taxes. Facts say otherwise.

Idaho’s former state economist Mike Ferguson has presented irrefutable evidence showing that after decades of the state spending on education at roughly 4.4% of annual personal income starting in 2000 a steady decline began and accelerated under Governor Otter’s watch to where the figure is now 3.4%, a 20 percent cut under Otter and his Republican predecessors.

Idaho now ranks 51st in the country – dead last below even Mississippi – in state support for public education.. What was even more surprising to many was that the Governor endorsed his Education Task Force’s recommendation to ADD back $350 to $400 million dollars that had been drained away from education, then he turned around and in his next executive budget recommended even less, the equivalent of 3.3% of personal income.

That’s disingenuous at best and at worse blatant lying.

In the meantime the Governor spearheaded a number of measures he claimed were designed to stimulate the economy but were nothing more than general fund give aways to big business and they came at the cost of education.

Set aside that these incentives have developed few if any good paying jobs. Butch tries to make a virtue out of growth in minimum wage jobs while not acknowledging that these jobs cannot and do not provide a sustainable living wage for people.

Additionally, these incentives often come at the expense of Idaho’s existing business who both directly and indirectly end up subsidizing the new boys on the block. Continue Reading »

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Oct 14 2014

On the front pages

news

Cylvia Hayes may be becoming the most controversial – or at least one of the two or three most – first ladies in American gubernatorial history, and that’s putting aside the unusual circumstance of her not being (yet at least) married to the governor. There’s now two separate hot news stories about her background (the green-card marriage and her involvement in a Washington property which may have been used in an illegal pot grow), plus questions about the relationship between her consulting business and role in the governor’s office, and now Governor John Kitzhaber’s call for a state ethics review of that latter situation. Up to this point her background has seemed unlikely to have any real effect on the governor’s race; could that be reaching a tipping point?

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)

Legal clear for same-sex marriage in Idaho (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Smith Group Auto mvoes location (IF Post Register)
Governor’s race ads in sharp conflict (IF Post Register)
New Horizons school bus transport in dispute (Nampa Press Tribune)
ID Democrats lead in funds in several races (Nampa Press Tribune)
Voting begins in Idaho begins today (TF Times News)

Cylvia Hayes and the pot grow site (Portland Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette)
New Eugene apartments not aimed at students (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield, Cottage Grover on pot tax (Eugene Register Guard)
New director sought for Klamath airport (KF Herald & News)
Merrill former recorder imprisoned (KF Herald & News)
Jackson Co library hours enhanced (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing Medford Ward 2 council race (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston plans withdraw from service district (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber seeks review of Hayes’ ethics (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Still no changes in state abaonded car efforts (Portland Oregonian)
State employment department records hacked (Salem Statesman Journal)
West Salem traffic awaiting end to upgrades (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing the open Kitsap auditor race (Bremerton Sun)
Hospice operation at East Bremerton closes (Bremerton Sun)
Still difficult partking at local college (Longview News)
Guns on ballot: background check measure winning (Vancouver Columbian, Olympian)
UW dinner meetings in open-meeting gray area (Seattle Times)
Reviewing 5th district US House race (Spokane Spokesman)
Growing deer nuisance in Spokane area (Spokane Spokesman)
Vancouver school board blasted on meetings (Vancouver Columbian)
Washington seeing record apple crop (Yakima Herald Republic)
Reviewing 14th district House race (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 13 2014

Being a politician

malloy CHUCK
MALLOY

 
In Idaho

Nels Mitchell says up front in his campaign against Sen. Jim Risch that he is not a career politician. “In fact, I’m not a politician at all.”

Breaking news: Mitchell is a politician. He’s a career lawyer and there’s no way he could survive in that field without being a politician. So there’s Exhibit A in building a case (beyond a reasonable doubt) that he is, indeed, a politician.

Exhibit B is his campaign manager, Betty Richardson. She has an outstanding reputation as a lawyer and she’s a pretty good politician as well. Richardson was unsuccessful in her run for 1st District Congress against Butch Otter in 2002. But in 36 years covering politics (not all in Idaho), I’m hard pressed to think of any candidate I’ve seen who was better prepared.

Exhibit C is in Mitchell’s actions. As he blasts networks such as FOX News for creating anger and outrage, Mitchell releases a video of MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow – the left wing’s answer to Rush Limbaugh – slamming Risch for suggesting that the national debt is the biggest problem in Idaho. Mitchell says he does not want to match Risch with snide comments. Yet, after a televised debate in Boise, Mitchell nailed Risch for “creating a sideshow,” using “theatrics” and spouting “half-truths” and “shrill insults.”

So, Mitchell is not a choir boy and don’t look for him to star in a remake of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” But he is an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate person and an intriguing candidate. Running against Risch, the ultimate “career politician” presents challenges. It also presents advantages, since there’s no shortage of people who dislike Risch, perhaps the most polarizing figure in Idaho politics. Mitchell says his internal polling shows that Risch has not closed the deal in this election.

So he’d better learn to be a politician quickly if he is to peel off undecided voters. Maybe he could watch a few clips of Huey Long to learn how to rile up a crowd. Mitchell, at 60, acknowledges that he has some rough edges as a politician. After all, he did not mold his life and career to run for the U.S. Senate, as Risch has. About a year and a half ago, Richardson, former Gov. Cecil Andrus and others encouraged him to run and initially he did not take the bait – that is, until Congress shut down the government. “That was the tipping point,” he said.

Another motivator was the feeling that Risch should have an opponent. No other Democrat was interested in challenging a well-funded incumbent. Last year, in an interview with the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board, Risch talked in glowing terms about how much he enjoyed life in Washington and social perks, such as attending events at Ford’s Theater and his wife attending a luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama. I was in the room when he said (as reported by the Statesman’s Dan Popkey), “You know, I really enjoy this job. I really like this job.” Being governor is hard work and can wear a person down. “You can’t do that job permanently. This, you can do ad infinitum.”
Mitchell says that Washington is broken with a system run by lobbyists and career politicians. He says he’d serve one term, which is understandable for a 60-year-old man. Six years in that rat race is enough even for those much younger.

Mitchell says, Democrats share part of the blame for the dysfunction. He’s not impressed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He calls the implementation of President Obama’s health care plan as “an embarrassment,” and views the president’s foreign policy as short-sighted.

He disagrees with Risch about the national debt being the greatest problem facing Idaho. “The biggest problem facing Idaho is the lack of living-wage jobs and our weak economy,” says Mitchell, promoting raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

The big challenge is convincing Idaho businesses that raising the minimum wage is a good idea, then getting it passed through Congress. It will take some masterful political skills to make all that happen, so maybe Mitchell should not dwell so much about not being a politician.

He’d be better off talking about why he’s the right man for the job.

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Oct 13 2014

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)

Fire department bond considered (Boise Statesman)
Reviewing Winmill ruling on sage grouse (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Restoring the Silverthorne Theatre at LCSC (Lewiston Tribune)
Moscow activists work against fracking (Moscow News)
Crowd opposes state taking federal lands (TF Times News)

Harrisburg plane part supplier may expand (Eugene Register Guard)
Medford may lift alcohol ban at some events (Medford Tribune)
Reviewing District 3 tight Senate race (Medford Tribune)
Oregon looks at ERA, ACLU says it’s not needed (Medford Tribune)
Looking at jail intake system in Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Limited access for Oregon death w/dignity (Salem Statesman Journal)

Reviewing Kitsap coroner race (Bremerton Sun)
Suquamish seafood business poised to grow (Bremerton Sun)
Olympia police back in schools (Olympian)
Washington state employee labor agreements cost $583m (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Voters will consider Tacoma mayor term limit (Tacoma News Tribune)
Spokane treasurer race focuses on experience (Spokane Spokesman)
Washougal reviews arguments against oil terminal (Vancouver Columbian)
What’s proper size for a school class? (Vancouver Columbian)
Candidates competing for auditor job (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 13 2014

In the briefings

merkley biden

 
Senator Jeff Merkley was campaigning on his home turf in east Portland when he and Vice President Joe Biden stopped in for ice cream at Salt & Straw Ice Cream on Alberta Street. (photo/Merkley campaign)

 
This was a week with a couple of actual financial scandals – or at least issues that might develop that way – on the part of Oregon political figures, but they went barely remarked. That was because something even more grabby emerged: The state’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, acknowledged that she had, in the mid-90s, married an immigrant for he could get his green card, for a $5,000 payment. The story dominated news play around the state, while another story – about the relationship between the governor’s office and Hayes’ consulting firm – got scant attention. (The other hot story that didn’t fully surface was about state Senate candidate Kim Thatcher and allegations of contracting fraud with the state.)

The string of debates between Idaho statewide candidates in Idaho last week – a number of them highly watchable and most available through online streaming – are noted in this week’s Politics section.

In Washington, the merger of marine cargo operations at the Seattle and Tacoma ports seemed the clear top story of the week in Washington state, even as campaign season reaches a peak. That may be a commentary on the relatively quiet nature of this year’s campaign season.

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Oct 12 2014

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)

Idahoans consider how their state is doing (Boise Statesman, TF Times News)
Comparing Escalante, Utah, and Challis (IF Post Register, TF Times News)
Discussing the WA gun initiatives (Lewiston Tribune)
Canyon Co not getting I-84 repairs Ada does (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell gets long-term recovery center (Nampa Press Tribune)

Governor’s race nearing its end (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing the Klamath Tribes treaty (KF Herald & News)
Drivers card issue extends to air travel (KF Herald & News)
What would be cost of GMO initiative 92? (Medford Tribune)

Kitsap commission race reviewed (Bremerton Sun)
Hood Canal Bridge impacts steelhead runs (Bremerton Sun)
Reviewing the WA gun intiatives (Spokane Spokesman, Everett Herald, Yakima Herald Republic)
Snohomish sheriff allows for online crime reports (Everett Herald)
Report on Olympia’s downtown homeless (Olympian)
Gender gap persists in tech businesses (Seattle Times)
Amazon moves into TV show production (Seattle Times)
Tacoma charter change would affect utility (Tacoma News Tribune)
Tacoma symphony gets new conductor (Tacoma News Tribune)
Committee will return to C-Tran reviews (Vancouver Columbian)
Overview of Yakima county prosecutor race (Yakima Herald Republic)
What’s cost of class size initiative? (Yakima Herald Republic)

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Oct 11 2014

The state says, and the court says

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Idaho

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban is one of those court decisions worth the read – you can find a copy at www.ridenbaugh.com/14-35420 opinion.pdf. It’s worth doing for understanding exactly what the state is arguing, and what the court said in response.

Part of it is a technical analysis relating to the Nevada part of the case, and not relevant to Idaho. But read the rest and you come away with a sense of just how thin Idaho’s legal ground here is.

The Idaho argument has the advantage of proceeding in the wake of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, paring the legal case down to the core. The main dispute: Whether there exists a clear and strong rationale for the Idaho rule (which includes both constitutional provisions and state law) – something beyond simply disliking the idea of gay marriage. Or declaring gay couples as second-class, which as the court said (following up on Supreme Court decisions) it cannot legally do.

The state argued, naturally, that there was. It said children raised in opposite-sex marriages would be better off. But the court found no specific evidence of that. The circuit also noted Idaho hasn’t blocked gay couples from adopting children.

“Idaho focuses on another aspect of the procreative channeling claim,” it added. “Because opposite-sex couples can accidentally conceive (and women may choose not to terminate unplanned pregnancies), so the argument goes, marriage is important because it serves to bind such couples together and to their children. This makes some sense. Defendants’ argument runs off the rails, however, when they suggest that marriage’s stabilizing and unifying force is unnecessary for same-sex couples, because they always choose to conceive or adopt a child. As they themselves acknowledge, marriage not only brings a couple together at the initial moment of union; it helps to keep them together, ‘from [that] day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.’ Raising children is hard; marriage supports same-sex couples in parenting their children, just as it does opposite-sex couples.”

And: “Just as ‘it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse,’ Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 567, it demeans married couples—especially those who are childless—to say that marriage is simply about the capacity to procreate.” Continue Reading »

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Oct 11 2014

On the front pages

news

Top regional story – though especially around Idaho – was the rapid-fire court action on same-sex marriage in the Gem State. As Friday opened, a temporary restraining order from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was in force, but that stay was lifted later in the day, and a half-dozen licenses were issued in consequence in Latah County. Improperly, though, since the 9th circuit court had issued a stay of its own in recognition of Kennedy’s, and hadn’t yet ended it. Before doing that, it is allowing both the state and plaintiffs to offer arguments. However, the 9th is likely to end its stay in time for license issuances on Tuesday. (Monday is the Columbus Day holiday.)

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)

Many wrecks found on Arrowrock Road (Boise Statesman)
Another step toward Idaho gay marriage (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Tribune will add reports from weeklies (Lewiston Tribune)
Reviewing the Democratic Party in Whitman (Moscow News)
Former Middleton council member pleads guilty (Nampa Press Tribune)
Campaign issue: 4-day schools (Nampa Press Tribune)
Some statewide races see Ds outraising Rs (TF Times News)
TF concerns of losing crop land to development (TF Times News)

More debate over Eugene train noise (Eugene Register Guard)
Doctors in Eugene area unionize (Eugene Register Guard)
Kitzhaber says he was ‘hurt’ over sham marriage (Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
State quashes bear hunting in spring (Medford Tribune)
Eastern Oregon U struggles with budget (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Pendleton council considers taxes and pot (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Governor’s race turns sharp-edged (Portland Oregonian)
Thatcher’s company under legal investigation (Portland Oregonian)
State employment department computer hacked (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton considers rule on panhandling (Bremerton Sun)
Ferry budget includes runs to Kitsap area (Bremerton Sun)
Review gun initiatives coming up on ballot (Bremerton Sun)
Stink bug invasion at Longview (Longview News)
Rancher tries preserving land from state, erosion (Longview News)
Extendicare deal may help facilities (Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Gay marriage nears in Idaho, happens in Latah (Spokane Spokesman)
Debate in Spokane over city executive raises (Spokane Spookesman)
Parkland complaints about strip club sign (Tacoma News Tribune)
Debate over cost of adopting Clark charter change (Vancouver Columbian)
Teacher at Stevenson investigated on methods (Vancouver Columbian)

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Oct 10 2014

Let’s get together

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

We’re still killing people in our homeland prisons. Death penalty it’s called. Makes no difference whether you support such extreme societal retribution or you don’t, it’s always a bit jarring to read morning headlines telling of another overnight execution.

Texas has done it again. That’s nine for the year. While Texas is the “death penalty capital” of the country, about half the 50 states still kill someone from time to time. Happens often enough reporting of the details shouldn’t be unsettling. But it usually is.

Oregon hasn’t killed anyone for awhile. Not because the law doesn’t allow for it. The governor just won’t let it happen on his watch. Not sure what the legal entanglements are for having a law on the books that the chief executive won’t enforce. But, hell, we have sheriffs ignoring black letter law for all sorts of things. And that Nevada BLM freeloader backed down the government with no retribution so far. In fact, a lot of folks – in law enforcement and out – seem to treat laws as “suggestions” rather than requirements for some sort of action. Pickin’ and choosin’ so what’s one more governor, right?

But how ‘bout that death penalty? You for it? Opposed to it? Don’t give a damn either way? I think most folks fall into that last category. Haven’t given the subject a lot of quiet time to think on it and have no hard-and-fast feelings. Many who’re for it have personal experiences related to some horrible crime or know someone who has. And a lot of folks opposed have religious or other personal reasons. Unlike that old sure-to-arouse topic of abortion where people are hard one way or the other, the subject of killing bad guys (and bad women) seems mushy by comparison.

Every time I hear someone sound off on “state’s rights” or “get the government out of my life,” several subjects come to mind. The death penalty is one. How we vote is another. Drivers licenses, too. There are a few others on my list but the point is this: some times having 50 states do things we all do 50 different ways makes more of a mess of our democracy than it should.

Take driver’s licenses. I’ve had to apply for a license in quite a few states over the years. Aside from whether a school zone is 20 or 25mph or a particular states top speed on an Interstate, all the questions have been pretty much the same. Never had a single one about driving in snow which would make those same Wyoming tests valid in Florida.

The point is, some careful standardizing of a few minimal issues could result in a single license. Might develop some sort of short study requirement for unique local laws but that could be handled on the I-net and we could all avoid the dreaded DMV.

Same thing for insuring our vehicles. One set of standards for all. Liability is liability and most other driving issues are nearly all the same no matter where you live.

And voting? Just look at the current 50 state voting situations. Nearly a dozen of ‘em are trying (unconstitutionally I believe) to disenfranchise minority citizens because nutball Republicans want to win more elections. Sorry, my Republican friends, but there ain’t a state with a Democrat majority where the same thing is happening. Not one.

If more states like mine (Oregon at the moment) would go to our nearly foolproof system of voting-by-mail, using a single set of national voting eligibility requirements, we wouldn’t have civil rights lawyers running to the courts to protect the guaranteed rights of hundreds of thousands of minority citizens. In all the years Oregon has conducted hundreds and hundreds of elections – local-state-federal- you can count confirmed cases of voter fraud on less than the fingers on your right hand! And our turnouts for those elections have been notably higher than nearly any other state. Year after year after year.

Back to the death penalty. Is it a “state’s rights” issue? Or a moral issue? Should you be more likely do die for committing a crime just because you live in Texas rather than Idaho or Utah? Does that make death penalties more a “geographic residence” issue than a criminal one?

Take Idaho. Please! (Sorry, Henny.) Idaho has all the requisite laws to kill bad guys but doesn’t do it very much. There’s a guy named Creech who’s killed several folks over the years. Inside prison and out. He first went to Idaho’s version of death row in the 1970’s where he killed again. Still there. And he’ll likely die there. Sentenced to death several times. In Oregon, as long as the current governor continues being our governor, Mr. Creech could get yet another four year guaranteed reprieve after the November elections. Which our current governor will win. See what I mean by “residence” issue? Continue Reading »

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A truly down-home ad for Oregon Senator Merkley.

 

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.


 
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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.
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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)

 
 
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WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

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


 

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