Temptation comes in many sizes and shapes – sometimes in the form of a chocolate mint after a long session with an editorial board. Gov. Jim Risch and his entourage, including his wife, Vicki, were leaving The Spokesman-Review lobby early Monday afternoon when the first lady spied a mint in a plastic dispenser on the front counter. The governor, his wife, state Sen. Dick Compton and three aides had spent the previous hour lobbying the Idaho Editorial Board to support the governor's property tax relief plan that'll be discussed in a special session Friday. They made a good impression. As the party was leaving, however, the first lady heard the siren call of the mint. But there was a complication. The mint was part of a fundraising effort for Child Search Alert: National Missing Children Center. It sold for a quarter. But the first lady didn't have two bits on her. "Oh, take a mint. We'll pay later," said Compton, avoiding a glare from the receptionist. This, despite the sign posted on the plastic container: "For those not sure this candy is not free. Payment is required. And thanks for helping." The governor knew better. Quickly, Jim fished a George Washington out of his wallet and bought four mints, for Vicki and other members of his party. This Huckleberry woulda been better if he hadn't. Imagine the headline: "Governor, sweet-toothed first lady stiff missing children over 25-cent mint." Good judgment has enabled the governor and his first lady to thrive for so long in the blood sport known as Idaho Politics.
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.