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New Yorker uses Idaho as model for pragmatism

It isn’t often that a New York Times opinion columnist holds Idaho up as a model of how to do things. But bicycle enthusiast Randy Cohen did that recently.

Cohen, who writes the Times Magazine’s Ethicist column, admitted that he rolls through stop signs and stoplights and sometimes rides on sidewalks. But he doesn’t “salmon” (ride against traffic). Then, he reasoned that his “rolling stops” were legal in some places. Like Idaho. Indeed, an Idaho bicyclist is allowed to slow down and roll through stop signs, if it is safe to do so.

Argues Cohen: “Laws work best when they are voluntarily heeded by people who regard them as reasonable. There aren’t enough cops to coerce everyone into obeying every law all the time. If cycling laws were a wise response to actual cycling rather than a clumsy misapplication of motor vehicle laws, I suspect that compliance, even by me, would rise.” Cohen would really wax poetic if he knew that Idaho also allows bicyclists to cross against a red traffic light after stopping, if the coast is clear.

Idaho more progressive than New York? Who woulda thunk it?

Supporting progress

Jennifer Drake and Sara Meyer, the young moms who organized the successful campaign against Coeur d’Alene’s recall attempt this spring, are back with a new group, Citizens for a Positive Coeur d’Alene. The goal of the group is to combat the unrelenting opposition to Coeur d’Alene progress from at least two warring Kootenai County Republican factions.

Drake tells Huckleberries: “It is our goal to create a forum wherein many individuals can come together and respectfully discuss issues that matter to our community.” And: “It will start with Facebook, but we will have a website, email, and definitely meet ups for people to chat face to face. We will discuss ways to be positively involved in the community, and I’m sure a big part of the discussion will involve upcoming elections.”

The battle for Coeur d’Alene’s soul – and future – is joined.


Dan Richards was stripped of his California Fish & Game Commission presidency on a unanimous vote Wednesday. Richards? In February, he shot a mountain lion in Idaho. But his successful – and legal – hunt angered animal-rights activists in California (where mountain lion hunting is illegal) who finally got their pound of flesh … Yeah, that was Jessica Robinson of NPR interviewing Jeff Ward after the Kootenai County Reagan Republican luncheon for U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador in Post Falls Tuesday re: the attempt by rival GOP members to claim the Reagan Repub name. Stay tuned … Bumpersnicker (on a red vintage car at the recent Pinehurst Car Show): “Goldwater for President.” Wonder if “Mr. Conservative” released his tax returns back in the day?

Parting shot

“The overgrown junior high schooler in me has to ask: What kind of costs are incurred during a routine trip to a restroom? And what reporter – going above and beyond in the name of the public’s right to know – will file a federal Freedom of Information Act request for the expense forms?” – opinionator Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman re: ex-U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s defense that he was on official business when he visited that public potty at the Minneapolis airport. And, therefore, entitled to use campaign money in his legal defense. How can Craig make that argument with a straight face?

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