Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in July 2007


The Oregonian and Willamette Week, so often pacesetters in their arenas (we consider them generally the Northwest's best daily and alternative weekly newspapers), seem to have gotten themselves into a truly odd blind spot with their coverage of the business and related dealings of Senator Betsy Johnson.

The why of this gets harder to understand with time. Error in initial efforts is one thing, maybe excusable; ongoing errors, after attention repeatedly has been called to them, is something else.

The Loaded Orygun blog, which has done more error-calling on this - work that no mass medium has seen fit to do - than anyone else, on Tuesday posted another large corrective piece. It's recommended reading, and after reading it, you may be wondering just what it takes to get some of these vaunted organizations to admit to a mistake.

Sonic progression

There's nothing in the essential point of the Steve Kelley column in the Seattle Times today that a lot of people haven't been saying locally for months. Or sometimes in other media. But the Times has tended to be more diplomatic - coming off, maybe, as trusting.

Today, though: Kelley writes about the choice of a new head coach for the Seattle Sonics, and doesn't like it. In addition to other considerations, the selected coach has no real ties to Seattle, while the chief alternative had abundant local ties. Ordinarily not a big deal, this becomes a big consideration when the team's future - either in the Seattle area on one hand or in, say, Oklahoma City or Las Vegas on the other - is (to be generous) on the fence.

Kelley's lead paragraph: "We've been duped."

Prosperity and decline?

The latest run of interim census estimates by city - releases in Washington and Idaho have generated news stories in recent days - look for the most part normal. But what happens if you turn the lists upside down?

In Washington, for example, here are the 10 communities with the largest raw-number population drop so far this decade.

city 2007 decline re annex
Bremerton 35,810 -1,449 66
Burien 31,410 -471 0
Hoquiam 8,845 -252 0
Des Moines 29,090 -177 401
Shoreline 53,190 -106 0
Lake Forest Park 12,770 -101 0
Clyde Hill 2,810 -80 0
Medina 2,950 -61 0
Ione 420 -59 0
Clarkston 7,280 -57 2

The final column refers to population changes attributable to changes in city boundaries, generally annexation. (The numbers were developed through the Washington Office of Financial Management.)

Some of these population changes are about as you'd expect. Many of the state's resource communities were hit: Hoquiam, Clarkston and Ione, for example, on this list. (Aberdeen was estimated to lose 11 people.) Not really a shock.

A little more curious was the case of the south Seattle suburbs, Burien and Des Moines, though they're so tightly linked to nearby cities that the numbers may simply be a fluctuating fluke.

But did the mention of Medina jump out at you? You know, Medina, as in that little jurisdiction east of Seattle that serves as home town to Bill Gates, the richest (oops - second richest) man in the world? Medina is not going through any kind of depressed economy; not close. Nor, for that matter, are Shoreline or Lake Forest Park or Clyde Hill - all solidly "upscale" places, right there among the state's population losers . . .

Does the explosion of mega-houses in some of the places explain much of this? Are being being priced out? Or is something else going on?

SCID round II

Okay, so our projection about the frontrunner for the Idaho Supreme Court seat filled last month - we pegged Idaho Falls Republican Senator Bart Davis as the guy to beat - didn't pan out so well. (He didn't make the final cut of four by the Idaho Judicial Council.) But are we going to let that stop us on round II?

Of course not.

The Council this morning released the list of a dozen applicants for the high court spot to be vacated by Linda Copple Trout, who is resigning. (The last seat filled, by attorney Warren Jones, had been held by Gerald Schroeder.) There's less overlap than you might think between the old list of 19 applicants and this list of 12. Only one of the Council's final cut from last time, 4th District Judge Joel Horton, is back. The other two, both key figures in the state attorney general's staff, didn't try again.

(Least likely of the 12 ultimately to be selected by Republican Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter: Bill Mauk, a highly-regarded Boise attorney who also happens to be a former chair of the Idaho Democratic Party.)

In looking at the new list, it's worth bearing in mind that Trout is the only woman on the court, which gives some immediate interest to the four women on the list: one private practive attorney, Debora Kristensen, and three district judges, Kathryn Sticklen, Darla Williamson and Juneal Kerrick.

Our attention, however, went immediately to another name: Sergio Gutierrez, a judge on the court of appeals and previously a district judge. Well-regarded professionally, he also would be the first justice of Hispanic background on the high court (as he is the first on the Court of Appeals). It would be a solid choice both substantively and symbolically, something Otter probably will consider as he replaces the only woman on the court.

Of course, we've been wrong before . . .

Everyone’s welcome

Everyone else seems to be checking out, or posting, the blog ratings generated by Mingle2, which generates movie-style ratings for blog sites, based on the language found in them. So here's how we rate as of this morning:

Free Online Dating

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Same as some newspaper blogs, though we'd imagine quite a few of the more intense Northwest political blogs would rate an R. (Has the Stranger's Slog tried this yet? Might blow the Mingle2 circuits.)

We should note that a few days ago when we first tried out the rating system, we emerged with a PG.

Grant’s re-entry

Larry Grant

Larry Grant

The 2006 Democratic nominee for Idaho's 1st House district, Larry Grant, is formally back in. Grant for Congress has shot an e-mail this morning saying he has filed formal paperwork to that effect with the Federal Election Commission. (No link for the release, unfortunately.)

In normal cycles, we'd all be wondering at the early entry - nearly a year and a half till the 2008 general election. Not in this cycle, with primary opposition either in the field (Rand Lewis) or in development (Walt Minnick). And not with his counterparts in other districts, such as Democrat Darcy Burner in the Washington 8th, doing the same thing - on maybe an even more accelerated schedule.

What will all these campaigns look like when we get to October 2008?

Senate scorecard

After all the demurrals earlier in the season, the recent pile of interest expressions - in the Oregon Senate race - abruptly makes the field look a lot different than it was a month ago. Or is it different?

Maybe not so much. Let's run through the Democratic field of interest, in running against Republican Senator Gordon Smith, and see what emerges.

bullet Steve Novick. The one public figure who was running a month ago and running now, with financial yardsticks of interest coming up soon. (He's raising money - passed $100,000 about a month ago. Where is he now?) [UPDATE See also the comments below, but we'll note here as well Novick's campaign announcement this morning - Monday - that he has raised upwards of $190,000; a very decent amount for this stage of the cycle. He also notes some recent campaign hires, experienced types such as new campaign manager manager Jake Weigler, who departed as Governor Ted Kulongoski's deputy communications director to take the job.] More than just "declared," he's out there campaigning - his web site lists a bunch of appearances, statements and the like. And daily increasing the catch-up space for anyone yet to jump in.

bullet Ty Pettit. The other Democrat in the race, though barely mentioned and, his web site aside, barely visible, though he's been out there for a long time. (The few headlines on his web site all date from 2004, and mainly in support of John Kerry.) He has an interesting business background, but points to no active political work.

Novick is the only major figure to jump into the pool - Pettit's barely visible candidacy seldom draws even a mention. Here, in no particular order, are some of the others who have emerged as testers of water temperature and depth, with a few notes on prospects. (Not included: Others who've been mentioned in the past, such as Senator Ben Westlund, who either have rejected the idea or have done nothing to encourage the idea of a run in the last couple of weeks. Not that one of them might not have a change of heart, either.)