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Posts tagged as “governor Otter”

First take/sage grouse

The biggest news in Idaho last week was the determination by the federal Department of Interior that sage grouse would not be declared as endangered, in large part because of actions the states have taken where the grouse are extent. Some changes in federal environmental rules, reflecting the state activities, were put in place. A number of western governors cheered the development. Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter was not one of them. He, in fact, was displeased enough to file a lawsuit over the federal decision. Was this simply a matter of Obama Administration enthusiasts banding together for a big new federal rule? Before you conclude so, consider this statement from Oregon state Representative Cliff Benz, a Republican who represents a massive area on the east side of his state facing the Idaho border:

The decision not to list the Grouse under the ESA means that protection of the bird on private, and to a certain extent, federal land in Eastern Oregon will be regulated by Salem and not Washington, D. C. This means that when a land owner wants to change the use of his or her land, in a way that might affect core grouse habitat, they will be able to address the issue with Oregon, and not federal, people. Although change of regulation or arguing about the application of rules at the state level is difficult, it is not impossible. Changing regulations at the federal level is extraordinarily difficult and expensive, so avoiding a listing under the ESA and the massive wall of federal regulations that would have accompanied the listing, is a huge victory for Oregon.

Said Rep. Bentz (R-Ontario): "It is impossible to thank all of those who worked so hard for this hugely positive result, but I want to specifically thank Harney County Judge Steve Grasty, Oregon Cattlemen's Association Vice President John O'Keeffe, Drewsey rancher Carol Dunten, and from the Governor's office, Richard Whitman, (Senior Natural Resources Advisor), for the enormous amount of work, and time, and in many cases, unbelievable patience they devoted to the effort."

(photo/Jeannie Stafford, US Fish & Wildlife Service)

Coffee wars


8th Street: Dawson & Taylor is at the green awning on the left/Randy Stapilus

This sounds minor and it is minor, probably, but there seems a need to weigh in on the Otter coffee battle. (As though Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter doesn't have enough battles to deal with at the moment.)

The story, which won't be recounted in full here (you can get a good rundown from Kevin Richert at the Idaho Statesman) essentially is that. Otter's current office, during Statehouse remodeling, is located in an old post office building at the corner of 8th and Bannock streets in downtown Boise. Periodically he slips out for a cup of coffee. Mostly, that has been at Dawson & Taylor, a Boise-owned coffee shop roughly catty-corner from his office. more recently, though, he has been frequenting its' across-the-street competitor, Thomas Hammer, which is based in Spokane. One day recently, Otter was accosted by Dawson's proprietor, who chewed him out, using some non-broadcastable language in the process, for not contributing to local business. (The proprietor later apologized.)

Putting aside the Miss Manners elements of this, there's something interesting about the two coffee shops. As it happens, I know them both fairly well, as a customer, and like them both. Both are friendly places that serve good coffee, and both have good free wi-fi (two key considerations). But as shops they're quite different.

Dawson's - which I've described as my Boise regional office when in town - is funky, informal, artsy, often noisy and seems to draw shifting groups of regulars. Hammer is quieter, simpler, more chrome-and-glass, more uptown, and draws a different clientele - though defining the difference is a subtle matter. There's some temptation to call Dawson's the Democratic coffee place and Hammer the Republican - especially after the Otter incident - but too many people I've seen in both break the types. I've had coffee with plenty of both kinds of party people (as well as non-party people) in both places, up to and including the last visit. But . . . there's a difference, somewhere, between Dawson's people and Hammer people. My guess is that people who have frequented both places can discern a difference, and there's a socio-political analysis here.

Maybe Otter can help. Maybe I need another couple cups of coffee.

ALSO There's this from the Boise Picayune, which extends the story a little further.