Posts tagged: Randy Stapilus
A few words here about the Idaho Statesman‘s new editorial page editor, Robert Ehlert. Some correspondents have had some snark to point his way; they surely aren’t alone, so let’s put it out there. Ehlert has had a few years since working for news media (including several metro-level newspapers), during which time he first worked in the office of a congressional office – a natably partisan, conservative and ambitious Californian named Dan Lundgren – and then as head of Robert Ehlert Associates, the nature of whose consulting work remains a little hazy. The argument goes like this: Ehlert was hired by the Statesman to make nice with the state’s conservative Republican political and business establishment and serve as its apologist. I mention this not to join in that line of argument but, for time being at least, quite the opposite/Randy Stapilus, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What qualities do you want in an editorial writer for you newspaper?
A breezy new book explores how individuals made the Gem State what it is. But for the intervention of an elderly Nez Perce woman on behalf of Lewis and Clark in 1805, what later became Idaho might have wound up in British hands. So argue Randy Stapilus and Marty Peterson in their new book, “Idaho 100: The people who most influenced the Gem State.” The woman was Wetxiwiis, who spoke up to cool the passions of Nez Perce who argued that the sickened Meriwether Lewis and the broken-hipped William Clark should be killed. Pronounced Wet-k’hoo-wees, her name means “one returned from a faraway country.” She reminded her tribe that whites had helped return her to the Weippe Prairie after she’d been kidnapped by other tribes. The explorers sent by President Thomas Jefferson deserved the same courtesy, she said/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (2004 AP file photo: J.R.Simplot and his wife, Esther)
Question: Who do you think are the 5 most influential North Idahoans today, besides Duane Hagadone, who'd have to be No. 1?
A long-held principle in electoral politics: Until the votes are counted, there are no absolutes – no 100 percent chance of winning, no zero percent chance of losing. Even in a race that looks like a slam dunk, there’s a little room for long-shot possibility. So the newly-posted Facebook page from 2nd district Democratic challenger Nicole LeFavour, “Why Nicole can win,” makes for provocative reading. Widespread wisdom is that six-term Republican incumbent Mike Simpson is solidly positioned for a seventh term; is there an argument to the contrary? (Bearing in mind, it would be political malpractice for her not to pitch one.) To start: Idaho’s congressional districts change this year, and the second now includes more of Boise than before, including nearly all its Democratic-leaning voters. “Some consider this district stronger for Democrats than Idaho’s first congressional district was when Walt Minnick was elected to U.S. Congress in 2008.” Maybe. But Minnick won in unusual conditions, and lost two years later/Randy Staplius, Ridenbaugh Press. More to come.
Question: Who is the best bet to score an upset win in an Idaho election?
The Idaho Democratic convention may generate a few headlines but the Republican next weekend in Twin Falls may tell a larger story, when it makes decisions on picking a new chairman and approving platform and resolutions. The chairmanship is opening with the end-of-term departure of Norm Semanko, and there’s not only no obvious heir, but also no now-obvious battle lines. The chair fight in 2010 was not about different gradations of “conservative,” or even ideology, but more about ins vs. outs. The outs (under Semanko’s banner) won. … The divisions this year seem not nearly as sharp as two years ago. A bunch of names have been floated. Some are not prominent statewide (the county chair of Elmore County, for example). At least one is well known – Dean Sorensen, a former legislator who (fairly or not) for some bears the “moderate” tag, not a good sign for election inside this party. A dark horse could yet emerge. Then there’s Lawerence Denney …/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Would you like to see House Speaker Lawerence Denney resign that seat and become chairman of the Idaho Republican Party?
As you hear politicians talk about the economy this season, and next, bear in mind this question: Which economy? Idaho’s statewide unemployment rates, for example, get substantial notice in news reports when they come out each month, but county jobless rates often are a little more obscure. (We’ll bypass for the moment the many questions associated with what those statistics include, and don’t.) As of March, for example, the statewide unemployment rate was 7.9%. (It fell by two-tenths of a point the next month; March is the most recent month for which all county statistics are available.) But it was not the same everywhere. In Adams County, it was 18.6%, while in Owyhee County – in the same region of the state, also a rural area and barely an hour’s drive away – it was 4.9%. If all of Idaho were at 4.9%, it would not be said to have a significant unemployment problem at all; at 18.6%, Idaho would have slipped into serious depression. This broad range isn’t unusual/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Do you follow unemployment statistics closely?
Read through the news summary fast and you might get the impression that a measure passed by the Idaho Republican Party this weekend calling for replacing its presidential primary elections with caucuses might be an extension of the party-limiting wave the Gem GOP has been working on the last couple of years. The party-registration to vote in primary efforts, for example (which is going to go into effect) and the idea of allowing county Republican party officials decision which candidates can go on the ballot in Republican primaries (dropped for now, but it may be back). The proposal to end Idaho Republican Party use of the presidential primary, and likely cancelling that specific election altogether, is another matter/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Will Idaho's presidential choice be more interesting now that the state GOP has embraced a caucus system and Super Tuesday?
The New York Times last weekend posted a map showing which parts of the country are overall at higher or lower risk of disasters, and the Northwest is much the lowest. The safest metro area in the country, it turns out, is Corvallis. And of the eight safest metro areas in the country, seven are in either Washington or Oregon (Corvallis, Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Spokane, Salem and Seattle). The lone holdout was Grand Junction, Colorado/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Will people move to the Northwest because it is a safe haven from most natural disaster?
The new leader of the Idaho Senate, Republican Brent Hill of Rexburg, has developed a generally broad respect among Idaho legislature-watchers. He seems, based on his statements and initiatives, to be relatively non-ideological and willing to work with unexpected allies. That’s a broader picture than you might have expected from this year’s round of leadership races, with the Senate top job open for choice/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here. (And: Idaho’s Senate leaders won’t rubber-stamp House conservatives/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman)
Question: Which house of the Idaho Legislature will you look toward for leadership in 2011 — House or Senate?
“So when someone creates a bomb he can swallow, do we get stomach-pumped at the airport? How about a suppository bomb?” — Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press Twitter account.
Earlier this morning, long-time Idaho political observer Randy Stapilus pointed out Democrats in Idaho fared worse than their brethren throughout the country in the big Republican victory. Noting that Congressman Walt Minnick is one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, he said that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred and superintendent of public schools candidate Stan Olson were solid candidates who got stomped. Then, he points out that Democrats will some of the few seats they have in the Idaho House, concluding: “The point is this: Idaho Democrats are going to have to figure out a different way of doing things if they want to move beyond fringe status. Will they?”
Question: Is there any way for Idaho Democrats to return to respectability?
There’s this, to begin with: The Greyhound bus run scheduled to
depart Portland at 11:50 p.m. left at 11:50. That is exactly what the
big clock on Union Station north of downtown, and next door to the
Greyhound station in PDX, said as the bus cleared the building. The bus was scheduled to arrived at the bus station just west of
downtown Boise, more than 400 miles away and after eight intermediate
stops, at 10:05 the next morning. It pulled it at 10:04, and I stepped
off the bus at 10:05. The precision was impressive. I hadn’t been at all sure what to expect. But what emerged over the
course of the ride is an argument that “riding the bus” ought not to be
considered a second-class (or worse) option/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: When did you last ride a Greyhound bus?
Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press explains why Dirk Kempthorne was summoned to Washington to testify re: oil spill: During Kempthorne’s tenure, which ran for two and a half years up until January 2009, the agency had a string of problems. The New York Times reported this in September 2008 (after he’d been in charge more than two years): “As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal — including allegations of financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct… . The reports portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administration’s watch.” More here.
Question: Which adjective would you use to sum up Dirk Kempthorne’s career as a politician?
Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, pictured, (first elected not all that long ago, in 2008), evidently isn’t happy about his annual salary of $121,618. (Well, that was before he called it “a good salary,” maybe after rethinking his words.) Speaking to the House Ways and Means Committee a few days ago, he pointed out that he is paid less than 121 local school superintendents around the state – that’s not just larger urban district, but getting down into small rural ones with few kids, teachers or staff. And he compared his pay to the $9 million that Cliff Lee is paid by the Seattle Mariners to play baseball/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Do you get paid what you’re worth?
You’ll note here a number of ponderables. Will left-leaning Democrats, at the end, vote for Minnick or go out and campaign for him, provide the army any candidate needs on the ground? (Don’t expect more than a handful of Republicans to go that far.) Can Labrador bring in support from across his party that runs deeper than lip service – that involves cranking in serious money and serious organizational help to match up with Minnick’s resources? to these and other relevant questions, we have no solid answers yet. We can only watch and see; but the race may turn, in at least in part, on the answers. This remains, then, one of the most watchable races in the Northwest/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
DFO: This may be the best break down of the race b/n Demo incumbent Walt Minnick and Republican Raul Labrador.
One of the touchier issues candidates for office have to deal with is the interest group questionnaire – not the kind of questions that newspaper usually will ask, which generally allow for open-ended explanations, but rather the yes/no type: “Do you agree or disagree with this?” Back when advising candidates, our usual counsel was: Don’t answer those, even those of your allies. It’s an invitation to allow other people to put words in your mouth. Better (even safer) to insist, generally, to explain your own views in your own way/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: How should a candidate decide which questionnaires to fill out?
Item: Not enough to do? Harwood wants Idaho to declare sovereignty from federal government/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
More Info: The Idaho Legislature is in a slow state right now, for understandable reasons - more needs to be done on the matter of budgets and revenue before the pace can pick up to normal. But that seems to be allowing all sorts of … creative … stuff to take up some of the quiet time and committees. Like the special from Representative Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, introduced today (Tuesday) in the House State Affairs Committee (the vote was 13-4). It would have Idaho “declare its sovereignty” from the federal government. Declare its sovereignty? As in independence, as in sovereign nation? Well, no.
Question: What do you think of Rep. Harwood’s proposal that Idaho declare itself sovereign from the federal government?
A correspondent (who asked to remain anonymous) pulled together some comparisons of daily newspaper page size, on occasion of the Boise Idaho Statesman’s switch today to publication on the press of the Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune - which is cutting the page size. But it has been cut before, and it has been a process. A big process it has been, too. In 1986, space on a page of the broadsheet Statesman covered 323.1 square inches. As of today, a page is 233.7 square inches. And we should note here that the Statesman is far from alone in the trimming; few if any daily newspapers publish today in the dimensions they did 20 years ago/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: How much are you bothered when a newspaper literally shrinks in size?
The news yesterday that The Society of Jesus (usually called the Jesuits), Oregon Province, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, is leading to a question of some significance: Who owns Gonzaga University and Seattle University, which are considered Jesuit institutions? Predictably, the Jesuits say they are separately owned, and the plaintiffs suing them - this is a continuation of the long-running string of pedophile cases - say they are integrated enough that their assets, too, should be up for grabs/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: How important is the financial health of Gonzaga University to you?