Posts tagged: Marty Trillhaase
When his obituary was mistakenly printed, Mark Twain wrote, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Much like that, in response to Marty Trillhaase's May 9 editorial and on behalf of all Idaho Democrats, I have to say, sorry, Marty, the Democratic Party is, in fact, alive and well. Trillhaase based his article on a poll from a former operative of the McCain-Palin campaign. If his numbers are correct, when compared to the latest Boise State University public policy survey, instead of being down, Democrats are actually up from where we were just last year. And the reason is clear - and Trillhaase alludes to it - Idaho Republicans do not represent most Idahoans on the issues/Larry Grant, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party. More here.
Question: Would you describe the political health of the Idaho Democratic Party as “alive & well”?
Idaho is still in the economic doldrums. Unemployment is higher than the national average. A large number of people are in poverty. Many homeowners are under water on their mortgages. Yet the state budget is chalking up surpluses. How come? Simply put, the surpluses are a mirage. They would not exist if lawmakers hadn't cut schools, higher education and health care programs more severely than necessary. A few professionals tried to warn them. Among them was the state's former chief economist, Mike Ferguson/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you agree with Marty Trillhaase that deep cuts made to public education, Medicaid, and other essential Idaho services were ill-advised and unnecessary?
You can't blame Idaho school Superintendent Tom Luna's anti-teacher “reform” package for driving Lewiston High School's Agatha Trickey out of the classroom. Trickey, who is going to apply her math background toward another degree to become an actuary, is not the first teacher to suffer burnout early in her career and quit. In fact, this happens so frequently it's practically a syndrome. Anywhere from a third to half of newly minted public school teachers leave the profession after five years. Full of idealism and enthusiasm, young teachers quickly learn there is a lot of drudgery to this work. The hours are long. If you do it right, teaching can take your evenings and weekends/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you know of a burned-out teacher who has left the profession in the last 5 years?
You could call the just-concluded Idaho legislative session the worst in 121 years of statehood. And you'd be wrong. Worst doesn't begin to describe it. The men and women who sat out the winter under the Capitol dome have delivered a government that is radically different: Lawmakers become lawgivers - Time was, if lawmakers wanted to pass a sales tax or shift schools from local to state support, they asked you. They coaxed you. They won your support. And they took their time. Today's lawgivers descend from Mount Heyburn and inform the rest of us how life is going to be/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you consider the 2011 Legislature to be the worst in Idaho history? Or do you agree with Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation that it was the best in Idaho history?
Anyone who's seen the picture of General Douglas MacArthur lording over the defeated Japanese on the deck of the USS Missouri at the close of World War II can appreciate the plight of Idaho's moderate Republicans. The moderates are the guys seated at the table, signing surrender terms. The terms may be generous in the short term. The long term, however, beckons the slow but certain strangulation of the pragmatic, centrist-oriented wing of Idaho's dominant political party. Already under siege from the ideological faction that gave you bills to nullify the U.S. Constitution and put a gun in every college student's hand, Idaho's moderate Republicans lost the war earlier this month. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the party apparatchiks could close the state's GOP primary to all but card-carrying Republican voters/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are there any moderate GOP legislators remaining in North Idaho?
Sixty days after this dreadful legislative session ends, round up at least 47,432 signatures from registered voters - or 6 percent of the electorate - and demand a referendum on Luna's legislation. That would provide what Luna denied you -empowerment. A chance to be heard. It would be only the fifth time that the voters could repudiate or sustain the actions of their Legislature - the others being sales taxes (1936 and 1966), right to work (1986) and term limits (2002). This would become the defining issue of the 2012 state election. The GOP legislative majority and its agenda would be on trial. Majority vote wins/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Does it make more sense to seek a referendum on Tom Luna's education “reforms” or to try to recall him?
It's nice to have a good laugh now and then - a real guffaw can change your outlook from gloomy to upbeat. Politicians use comedy to get the attention of voters, to relieve tension during legislative debate or to insult an opponent a la Don Rickles. Rep. Dick Harwood is no exception. The St. Maries uber Republican, fresh from the squaw-is-not-an-insult tour a few sessions ago, is taking his latest act to the people. He's currently appearing on a double bill with Tom Luna and his education reform review. And they're taking the Statehouse by storm. Harwood on Wednesday kicked-off his latest salute to common sense by introducing a bill that would effectively eliminate lawsuits against the state and its megaload policy/Murf Raquet, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
Question: Which North Idaho legislator do you consider to be the most off the wall?
Funny, isn't it, how some of the biggest fiscal tightwads have no difficulty spending your tax dollars when it's something they want. This time, it's Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Last year, Hoffman bemoaned the Democratic Congress back-filling almost half of the $128 million Idaho lawmakers cut from public schools. … It was Hoffman who said Idaho Public Television is nice enough, but it's not within the “proper role of government,” and ought to be cut. … And Hoffman championed depriving Idaho's retired public employees of a meager 1 percent cost-of-living increase because it cost too much. … Yet it is Hoffman above all others who wanted the state to burn through potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend his quixotic notion of nullification/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Why is it that Tea Party legislators and backers are quick to slash budgets and yet embrace a concept like “nullification” that could cost the state hundreds of thousands in fruitless litigation?
JEERS … to Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St.Maries. Bet you expected public officials to look after your rights. Not so. Harwood would rather defend multinational oil companies. Case in point: the megaloads. There's every reason to question unprecedented large, wide, tall and heavy rolling roadblocks of oil and mining equipment bottling up segments of U.S. Highway 12. But Harwood would block megaload skeptics from petitioning their government for redress of grievances. He'd do it by pricing them right out of the courtroom. Introduced Wednesday, Harwood's bill says anyone who sues to block a megaload must post a bond equal to 5 percent of the shipment's value. If a megaload is worth $10 million, for example, that's $500,000. And if the lawsuit fails, the Idaho Transportation Department gets a payday. Rather a big gamble just to exercise your legal rights, don't you think?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Should private citizens have to post a bond of up to $500,000 to sue to stop ConocoPhillips megaloads?
mid all the weekend revelations about Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna's effort to create a multimillion-dollar market for his friends in the online education industry is something hiding in plain sight: Luna didn't just concoct eliminating 770 teaching jobs, crowding more kids into smaller classes and steering some of the savings toward providers of online courses. That's simply not credible given how long Luna has been in bed with the people running that industry. All of which suggests Idaho's top educator is guilty of political fraud. When did you hear Luna talk about this massive reorganization of your tax dollars away from teacher salaries and into the pockets of his friends in the online education industry? Not during his re-election campaign/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Did Superintendent Tom Luna have a moral obligation to Idahoans to unveil has radical education reform proposals during his 2010 re-election campaign?
Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune, takes House Speaker Lawerence Denney to task today for not only failing to properly punish state Rep. Phil Hart for his tax dodging/timber stealing ways but also for allowing the ethics process to be closed from the public in the future. Trillhaase writes: “Denney's impotence is the one constant in this mess. Denney had it within his prerogatives to strip the timber-stealing tax scofflaw of all committee assignments - letting him cool his heels on the House floor - until Hart paid his taxes and settled up with the state for the timber.”
Question: Have you changed your view of House Speaker Lawerence Denney as a result of his handling of Rep. Phil Hart's several missteps?
Jeers … to Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. You hear a lot of talk from these two Republicans about fighting budget deficits. That is, until it means standing up to Idaho’s richest 1.3 percent taxpayers. Saturday they joined with 35 of their Republican colleagues to preserve Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples making at least $250,000 a year. Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell voted to end the high-end tax breaks. The Senate vote followed the Dec. 2 House action, where U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, also supported continuing payoffs for the rich. Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers didn’t vote/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Should tax cuts continue for everyone, including the richest 1.3% in the country?
To hear Idaho Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter tell it, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should stop short of cleaning up a century’s worth of mining contamination in the Silver Valley. Apparently, the Superfund label and the cleanup efforts are hurting the valley’s image. “I have heard from legislators, local officials and the people of the Silver Valley, and I share their frustration and concern about the EPA’s overreaching and hugely expansive proposal for future cleanup efforts in the valley,” Otter wrote. The state’s four-member congressional delegation has since joined the chorus. But imagine if Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal followed that approach with the recent BP oil spill. Don’t bother extensively restoring the Gulf Coast. All that publicity is bad for the fishing and tourism industries. Just declare the oil all gone/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are Butch Otter & Idaho’s congressional delegation right in resisting efforts by EPA to further clean up the Silver Valley’s mining waste?
At the Lewiston Tribune this morning, editorialist Marty Trillhaase gives House Speaker Lawerence Denney jeers in his weekly Cheers & Jeers column for waiting until Rep. Phil Hart gave him permission to remove Hart from the House Rev & Tax committee. Trillhaase chronicles Hart’s problems with the IRS, Idaho Tax Commission, theft of timber from school endowment land to build his house, and mentions that the artful tax dodger is back in court to fight the $53,000 he owes the state. He then mentions that none of this or even Rep. Eric Anderson’s demand for another ethics hearing could force Denney to do something about Hart. Denney only acted after Hart asked to be removed from the committee. Trillhaase concludes: “Long ago, any speaker worth his office would have condemned
Hart for what he is - a timber-stealing tax cheat. He’d strip Hart of
all committee assignments. And he’d be the one launching an ethics probe
instead of relying on the conscience of other lawmakers. Not this speaker.” Marty’s Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Do you think Lawerence Denney is an effective House Speaker?
JEERS … to the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, may be a tax scofflaw and a timber thief. But he’s their tax scofflaw and their timber thief. Woe to any Republican who says otherwise. Just to recap: Hart’s the guy who claimed income taxes were unconstitutional more than a decade ago and still owes more than a half-million dollars to the state and federal governments. He’s the same fellow who trespassed on state timber lands and took enough trees to build his home without paying - at least until recently. At least one Republican leader isn’t buying it. “I won’t support a guy who has these issues surrounding him because it’s not good for the Republican Party,” says State Committeeman Matt Roetter of Hayden. “Character matters. Being honest matters”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More below.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred is doing better in Republican-dominated eastern Idaho than one would expect. Polls show his support is strongest there. Allred also has picked up endorsements from prominent centrist Republicans, many of whom work in that region of the state. What could possibly explain it? It might be that Allred’s opponent, Republican Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter, traditionally has had problems in eastern Idaho. Or it just could be that Allred has struck a nerve with his centrist, problem-solving philosophy. No, says eastern Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot. It’s because Allred is playing the religion card. Allred is a Mormon and he’s encouraging other Mormons to back him for that reason, says VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca Inc./Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you take note of a candidate’s religion during his/her political campaign?
In his editorial today, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune defends the tax revenuer who created a nationwide stir by insisting that a couple of kids selling pumpkins to raise money for sports. Marty opines: “Gilmore’s getting a bad rap on this story. She didn’t shut down the business. Never even hinted at it. The children weren’t at home when she stopped by. Nor was she being selective. People who engage in farmers markets, roadside produce stands and flea markets are obligated to get a license and collect sales tax.” Then, Marty goes on to say it’s strange that Idaho cracks down on kids when it looks the other way on bigger tax cheats: multi-state corporations, special interests, Internet & catalogue sales, tax scofflaws, and, of course, our own Phil Hart: “The Republican representative from Athol has made a mockery of state and federal tax laws.” More here.
Question: In other parts of the state, Rep. Phil Hart’s name has become synonymous with tax cheat/timber thief. Why are local Republicans so tone deaf to such an outcry?
Debunk the postcard hoax that targeted Latah County Senate candidate Gresham Bouma. If the perpetrator behind it can be exposed, by all means do so. And if that person has violated postal or Idaho’s campaign finance disclosure laws, then he should answer for it. But let’s be clear: However deplorable the practice is, lying about a politician is no crime. In fact, it’s your right as an American. The First Amendment to the Constitution says so/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are you surprised to know that you can say almost anything about a politician and get away with it?
Since 2008, eight former and current auditors within the Idaho State Tax Commission have publicly accused their bosses, the political appointees on the tax commission, of cutting sweetheart deals with big corporations. The confidential deals have the corporations paying pennies on the dollar, the auditors say. And now it’s nine. On Oct. 3, Douglas Thornton of Lewiston, who spent 27 years with the commission before retiring, had this to say in a letter to the Lewiston Tribune: “A conservative estimate would be that these deals cost the state $40 million per year,” he wrote. “Why are the taxpayers and voters of this state not outraged that politicians have covered this up? Why have your elected officials not weighed in on this issue? Is it just apathy?”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Why aren’t Idahoans outraged that the sweetheart deals cut by the Idaho State Tax Commission with corporations costing the state $40M in revenues per year?
ccording to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 percent of Idaho’s legislators are 65 or older, second only to New Hampshire where half of that state’s lawmakers are 65 or more. You’d expect to see younger lawmakers in larger states where statehouse duty is year-round and the compensation reflects it. But how do you explain Idaho’s peers, where lawmakers also take time away from family and work to spend a few months in session? In Wyoming, 34 percent of the lawmakers are at least 65. In Montana, the percentage is 33 percent. In Nevada, it’s 32 percent and in Oregon, the number is 28 percent. A quarter of the legislators in Utah and Washington are 65 or older/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think the relative older age of the Idaho Legislature brings wisdom? Or individuals who have lost touch with such needs as education?