Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in February 2014

What happened to common sense?

carlson CHRIS


So now what do the governing bodies of Idaho’s private colleges--- Northwest Nazarene University, the College of Idaho and BYU-Idaho--- do? The Idaho Legislature, taking leave of all common sense, and abetted by a governor who approaches all issues from a purely ideological standpoint (One doesn’t have to think when ideology has all the answers.), swallowed whole hog the latest gambit by the National Rifle Association to make the Second Amendment an absolute right as opposed to the qualified right the Supreme Court has ruled it is.

By over-whelming majorities they kissed the NRA’s ring and passed legislation allowing students over 21 who have taken an eight-hour enhanced training course to carry concealed weapons on a public college campus.

Even the patron saint of the NRA, Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in the precedent-setting case (District of Columbia v. Heller) establishing the individual right to keep and bear arms in order to defend one’s home or self, and separated that right from the Constitutional language appearing to tie the right to keeping and maintaining a militia, even the great Scalia wrote that it was a qualified right. He then went on to state that government could in the interest of public safety restrict carrying and bearing arms from high use public places such as courts and schools.

So the NRA pooh-bahs decide to push legislation that will further restrict the “qualifications” Justice Scalia says government can impose in the interest of public safety even when it runs counter to another sacred belief, that of local control. You see NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre, sincerely believes that had their been an armed and trained in proper firearm use one individual in the building when a Virginia Tech student went on a killing rampage that took 38 lives, the perpetrator would have been shot dead and many lives saved.

One can neither prove nor disprove it. All those in Idaho charged with the in loco parentis role of providing a safe learning environment in our public colleges and all those charged with providing police protection in those places believe otherwise. (more…)

Otter, Little review the Idaho scene

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter converses with Dakota Bates, who chairs the ISU College Republicans, as Mike Webster, Otter’s eastern Idaho field representative, listens. (photo/Mark Mendiola)


mendiola MARK


Top elected Idaho Republicans did not fritter away their time on the Friday afternoon before the evening Bannock County Republican Lincoln-Reagan Banquet Feb. 21 at Pocatello’s Clarion Inn, which drew about 250 of the party’s faithful, including the state’s GOP elite from Boise and Washington.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lt. Gov. Brad Little discussed education issues at Idaho State University shortly after U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo warned business people at a Mystique Performing Arts and Event Center lunch in Chubbuck of the nation’s worsening fiscal crisis.

Questions about the controversial “guns-on-campus” bill wending its way through the Legislature in Boise were among several questions fielded by Otter and Little in the ISU Student Union Building ballroom. On the previous Thursday, they spent time with Dr. Arthur C. Vailas, Idaho State University’s president.

Vailas told them he had been notified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it does not allow nuclear research and development on campuses where guns are allowed because of security concerns. “I had never heard that,” Otter said, noting about 60 percent of ISU’s R&D is nuclear-related.

Another complication if guns are allowed despite the opposition of the state’s university presidents and law enforcement officials is ISU’s Meridian campus is shared with a high school, and state law forbids guns to be carried at high schools, the governor said.

Asked if he would sign a “guns-on-campus” measure if it is passed by legislators, Otter says he never signals his intentions as lawmakers finalize a bill’s provisions, mentioning he has been a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

Little defended the controversial Common Core curriculum being implemented by school districts nationwide that is supported by governors and superintendents. While the U.S. Department of Education puts money into it, it’s really driven by the states, the lieutenant governor said.

In November 2010, the Idaho State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards. In January 2011, the Idaho House and Senate Education Committees gave final approval to adopting Idaho Core Standards in mathematics and English. Some Idaho school districts have implemented those standards, Little noted.

Many Idahoans are concerned that Common Core is part of a national curriculum and the federal government is developing a massive data base on each student in the United States, Little said, noting his father and grandfather had to meet standards to graduate from high school.

Otter noted that of Idaho’s $2.85 billion budget, 68 percent of it goes toward K-12 programs. The State Board of Education has set a goal that 60 percent of Idahoans 24 to 35 will get a degree or certification by 2020.

Right now, Idaho boasts a high school graduation rate that is relatively high at 88-89 percent, but only 38 percent of high school graduates go onto college and even fewer graduate, making Idaho’s college graduation one of the nation’s lowest. (more…)

On the front page


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)

Quiet negotiations over 'add the words' (Boise Statesman)
Magic Valley water curtailment stopped (Boise Statesman)
Board of Ed criticizes campus guns (Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal, Moscow News)
Idaho Democrats seek FBI look into CCA (Lewiston Tribune)
Debate over proposed Lochsa land exchange (Lewiston Tribune)
WA Supreme Court on text privacy (Moscow News)
Tom Dale will run for Canyon commission (Nampa Press Tribune)
Dispatch fee funding okayed by Caldwell, Canyon (Nampa Press Tribune)
Legislator: 'Add the words' efforts ineffective (Pocatello Journal)
Panida Theater board fires staffer (Sandpoint Bee)
Ski season running longer (Sandpoint Bee)
Campus gun bill protests (TF Times News)
Bill on eminent domain, irrigation districts (TF Times News)

Vaccination efforts, low turnout (Eugene Register Guard)
Florence mulls 1-year moratorium on pot shops (Eugene Register Guard)
Moore candidacy for Klamath commission (KF Herald & News)
Campaign on Jackson County GMOs organizes (Ashland Tidings)
Merger of White City, Mountain View schools (Medford Tribune)
Foothills developments advances (Medford Tribune)
Wolf population rises in Oregon (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Debate over wedding services initiative (Portland Oregonian)
Effects of OR pot revenue on kicker (Portland Oregonian)
Cover Oregon tax credits extended (Salem Statesman Journal)

Why did Everett school bond fail? (Everett Herald)
Hanford tank waste an issue for Inslee (Kennewick Herald)
Layoffs after Umatilla chem plant demolished (Kennewick Herald)
Court says text messages are private (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Longview OKs zoning for pot (Longview News)
Strong smelt harvest expected (Longview News)
Supreme Court on biomass plant pollution (Port Angeles News)
Nippon Paper mill stopped over tech issues (Port Angeles News)
Seattle viaduct work won't finish till 2016 (Seattle Times)
Seattle regulates car service driver numbers (Seattle Times)
ID Democrats seek FBI review of CCA (Spokane Spokesman)
Chambers Bay may get new development (Tacoma News Tribune)
Oil transit companies won't attend new forum (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima job picture improving (Yakima Herald Republic)

‘Who is going to be harmed’?

ridenbaugh Northwest

After commenting a couple of weeks ago that the Idaho legislature was mistaken not to pass legislation to "add the words" to provide employment, housing and other other protections on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, Republican former Governor (1995-99) Phil Batt followed up with this opinion article widely reprinted in Idaho newspapers.

The Idaho Legislature has once again decided to take no action to include sexual orientation under our anti-discrimination statutes. Instead, lawmakers seriously considered state approval of anti-gay incidents if they are done because of religious convictions.

These procedures and the protests generated by them have attracted the attention of major news outlets in large cities and even that of London newspapers.

Idaho leaders have said this is of no interest to present or prospective business opportunities in our state. In my career as a legislative leader and as a governor, I found otherwise. Large Idaho corporations, and particularly Hewlett-Packard and Boise Cascade, were very much concerned about Idaho’s reputation regarding tolerance.

The long presence of practicing Nazis in North Idaho caused negative press coverage of our beloved state worldwide. HP executives and other Idaho businesspeople helped force these scumbags out. However, the main credit goes to North Idaho citizens, who detested their abominable presence.

When an Idaho congresswoman said people of color would not live in North Idaho because it was too cold for them, we got another wave of bad publicity. She recanted her views and our good name was again restored.

Our Idaho executives told me that the state’s reputation is important to their businesses. If it is damaged, sales are hurt. Perhaps more important, it becomes much more difficult to attract outstanding, well-qualified and forward-thinking people to apply for Idaho employment.

Such is the case for a couple of my grandchildren. Max is gay. He attended Boise schools. He felt marginalized and troubled by some of the treatment he received from students and teachers. Ultimately, he dropped out, obtained his GED and moved to San Francisco. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Trader Joe's coming Friday (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Closed talk on CCA prison agreement (Boise Statesman)
Legislature on advisory board for treasurer (Boise Statesman)
WA starts issuing pot permits next week (Lewiston Tribune)
JFAC OKs $1 million to fight gay marriage (Moscow News)
Board of Ed study on high wage jobs (Moscow News)
Obermayr tries again for Latah commission (Moscow News)
How Materne got to Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
School budget 'flexibility' reviewed (Nampa Press Tribune)
Treasury oversight board progresses (Nampa Press Tribune)
Children/faith healing bill gets no hearing (Nampa Press Tribune)
ISU's hillside I to be replaced (Pocatello Journal)
Campus gun bill will raise security costs (Sandpoint Bee)
Gooding charter school sees mercury spill (TF Times News)
Idaho Youth Ranch will leave Rupert in 2016 (TF Times News)

Police, landlords working on issues (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Indian mascot bill goes to governor (Corvallis Gazette Times)
New Lane County administrator picked (Eugene Register Guard)
Homeless center Whoville closes this spring (Eugene Register Guard)
Eugene library branches could remain open (Eugene Register Guard)
Not enough money to accept Klamath Project bids (KF Herald & News)
Tribes in NW blasting pot legalization (KF Herald & News)
Dispute over gravel business at Gold Hill (Medford Tribune)
Southern ed service district loses Grants Pass (Medford Tribune)
Splits among Republicans at Dorchester (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston will oppose pot outlet (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Future of Hermiston ag station (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Oracles reduces its Cover Oregon staff (Portland Oregonian)
Wolf tracks found on Mount Hood (Portland Oregonian)
Lottery reform bill fails (Portland Oregonian)

New Snohomish precinct delayed (Everett Herald)
House Democrats: charge OR residents sales tax (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Plan to reduce liquor tax (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Vancouver labor dispute tensions remain (Longview News)
Nippon Paper plant at PA idled (Post Angeles News)
Seattle considers universal pre-school (Seattle Times)
Seattle police misconduct cases reviewed (Seattle Times)
Spokane incinerator power bill fails (Spokane Spokesman)
Pro-death penalty advocates blast Inslee plan (Tacoma News Tribune)
Franciscan Health leader retires (Tacoma News Tribune)
Schools built by lottery money? (Tacoma News Tribune)
Yakima: share pot revenues with cities (Yakima Herald Republic)
Sunnyside plans center remodel (Yakima Herald Republic)

Rich bitchin’

rainey BARRETT


When someone has an asset or significant advantage in life, it may’ve come from hard work, inheritance, luck or just serendipitous circumstance. Most of us don’t give such a situation much thought and go on our way.

But when someone so advantaged - regardless of how that advantage was acquired - brags about it or expects the rest of us to construct a special pedestal from which the wealthy can gaze lord-like over the rest of us, I get pissed. Such is my state at the moment.

We poor plebeians are suffering a torrent of billionaire bitching as some of them suddenly come out from the secured grounds of their compounds to complain we don’t appreciate them sufficiently. We’re being told they don’t deserve our scorn - that we’re treating them the way Nazis treated Jews - we “have-nots” should stop complaining about the “have’s” and spend more time admiring their success - voting should be based on “one-dollar-one-vote” - people who pay no taxes shouldn’t be allowed to vote - yadda, yadda, yadda.

Much of the arrogant blathering has been so ridiculous as to make me wonder how in hell they were smart enough to make a pile of bucks. Maybe Daddy left it to ‘em.

One of the craziest voices is that of Bud Konheim, CEO of a luxury fashion brand. I’m not going to give the bastard a dollop of publicity so if you want to know which one, look it up.

He says 99% of Americans should stop complaining and realize how lucky they are. He says our “poverty level is wealth in 99% of the rest of the world. Exact quote: “The guy’s making, oh my God, $35,000 a year. Why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China. Anyplace. The (in America) guy is wealthy.”

If you’re trying to make sense out of that blather, don’t bother.

Konheim’s disconnect from reality interested - and revolted - Yale School of Management prof Jeffrey Sonnenfeld who said such “thinking” shrieks of “insensitivity and grandiosity.” “It makes you wonder about other decisions he’s making,” Sonnenfeld said.

Then there’s billionaire Tom Perkins who believes the mass of us poor folk are making “progressive war on the 1% as did the Nazis on anti-Semitism.” Perkins also has proposed giving each of us as many votes in elections as we have dollars in the bank. He, of course, would get a billion ballots or two. Damn! The last 15 years of her life, my mother - with only Social Security and family care for income - paid not a dollar in taxes. But she never missed an election in her life. Doubt her citizenship record could be matched by ol’ Perk. (more…)

On the front pages


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)

Maximus workers surprised by job losses (Boise Statesman)
Limited funds for roads in Asotin (Lewiston Tribune)
Pot zones approved for Pullman (Moscow News)
Zoning design control may be limited (Moscow News)
WSU sets up undocumented student help board (Moscow News)
New Walmart at Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bill to allow 80 mph speeds advances (Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa teacher negotiations center on health (Nampa Press Tribune)
Grace, North Gem School Districts may merge (Pocatello Journal)
CSI might spend $100k to deal with gun bill (TF Times News)
New transparency at TF economic group (TF Times News)

Benton considers new jail plan (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Corvallis school board paying some legal costs (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Corvallis property maintenance draws crowd (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Titling undocumented drivers license ballot issue (Eugene Register Guard, Ashland Tidings)
Natural Grocers coming to Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Union HS remodel considered (KF Herald & News)
Hoppe plans circuit court run (Ashland Tidings)
Eagle Point shop owner plans commission run (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Medford teacher vote still ahead (Medford Tribune)
Tamastslikt wind turbine starts (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Hermiston officials planning ahead (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Debate over small town chicken ban (Portland Oregonian)
Mexican narco-lord arrest ripples to Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Local governments may get lottery funds (Portland Oregonian)
Salem develoiper faces big tax lien (Salem Statesman Journal)

Management at morgue changes (Everett Herald)
Senate Democrats would end tax breaks, fund schools (Everett Herald, Vancouver Columbian)
More urban growth acreage okayed (Kennewick Herald)
New welcome sign at Longview (Longview News)
Sheriff warns of jail bond loss impacts (Longview News)
Problems with Bertha began in Japan (Seattle Times)
PA Lincoln theatre will close (Port Angeles News)
Spokane Valley bans texting by council at meeting (Spokane Spokesman)
KPBX public radio moves to new digs (Spokane Spokesman)
School testing at Tacoma (Tacoma News Tribune)
Park at Gig Harbor opens (Tacoma News Tribune)
C-Tran shows off bus proposal (Vancouver Columbian)
Snowpack at Yakima now at average (Yakima Herald Republic)

Introducing … podcasts …

We'll see how this goes ... but the plan is to start posting podcasts here from time to time. We're trying out a service called, and if it works well our hope is to start including here the voices of a number of people, most (not necessarily all) associated with Ridenbaugh Press.

This first is really just a tester; don't judge it too harshly. Keep watch and we should be back with more, and better soon.

Not honorable, but right in some ways

trahant MARK


President Obama’s next budget, due to be released soon, will be good news for Indian Country.

The Washington Post describes the plan this way: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.”

So does this mean austerity will end in Indian Country? Unfortunately, no. But this budget is a new approach -- and it will have many implications in Indian Country.
Let me explain. It starts with this whole business of “austerity” or a government that shrinks itself and the economy.

The problem, essentially, in recent years is that Democrats have bought into the premise of austerity. There is this idea that a smaller government will somehow right the economy because the private sector will then create more jobs. Nonsense. There is far more evidence that when government invests in the economy there will be growth ahead.

The president’s budget adds an important twist to this debate by calling for sharp reductions in military spending. This will not be popular with Republicans (even though the U.S. spends $600 billion a year, more than the next ten nations combined on defense.)

There should be little debate among tribal governments about austerity. There is not much of a private sector in tribal nations to pick up the slack. So any significant reduction in government, whether it be welfare payments or support for law enforcement programs, reduces the number of jobs at home.

Spending for programs that directly benefit American Indians and Alaska Natives -- such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service -- are from the portion of the budget that’s considered discretionary spending. Every dollar has to be appropriated by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president. There has to be a “deal” to spend the money.

And discretionary spending is shrinking. Last year it totaled about $1.2 trillion and is projected to drop by $7 billion, less than 1 percent, in 2014.

The budgets that are growing are “mandatory” spending, money that’s automatic, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. (more…)