My, oh my. Look what Kootenai County Republicans have gone and done. They’ve made Ron Rankin, ol’ Mr. One Percent, a county commissioner nominee. From my window on Northwest Boulevard, I’d say Ron will be collecting a $40,000-plus commissioner’s salary at this time next year. Why? Chuck Sheroke, environmental activist extraordinaire, is his Democratic foe. The number of people who hate Chuck roughly equals the number of people who hate Ron. So, you go to the tiebreaker. Kootenai County residents are more concerned about property taxes than the environment (although Chuck might get a bump from a property owner’s attempt to develop Sanders Beach and from an advisory vote on hydroplane racing). No one epitomizes property tax restraint more than Rankin. We soon may see if the ol’ fox is capable of guarding the henhouse. At least, Rankin will support your right to gather petition signatures in the courthouse - unlike defeated incumbent Bob Macdonald.
Journalists push Craig to the middle
In recent weeks, I’ve twice seen U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, referred to in print as a “moderate conservative” - whatever that is. It couldn’t be that Larry simply is a fiscal conservative because he, along with the rest of the Idaho congressional delegation, received a 100 percent rating for 1995 votes from the Christian Coalition. And how do you explain the “moderate” label when Mr. Balanced Budget Amendment votes a few percentage points more conservative than U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, the Republican firebrand? Craig isn’t complaining - you can be called a lot worse things than “moderate” during election years. Ask the boys who slung the mud during the recent Republican presidential primaries.
One Percent makes strange bedfellows
One more reason the One Percent Initiative might pass this time around: People such as Lewiston Morning Tribune editorialist Jim Fisher are climbing aboard the bandwagon. Jim and I go way back. We both started work for the Lewiston paper on Aug. 22, 1982. He’s as far to the left as I am to the right. Yet, Jim wrote in his column on May 12 that he’s going to vote for the One Percent because the Legislature has failed repeatedly to provide the property tax relief Idahoans clearly want. Jim pointed out that Phil Batt, as Republican Party chairman, signed the initiative in 1991 and now lobbies against it as governor. Writes Jim: “I say these people are mules, and the only way to get their attention is with a 2-by-4. The One Percent Initiative is that 2-by-4.”
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