Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Democratic candidate for governor Keith Allred said today that he’s against the proposed mega-loads of oil equipment proposed to travel along Idaho’s narrow and scenic U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, for which current Gov. Butch Otter has been an enthusiastic proponent. “In an Allred administration, these trucks wouldn’t get permits,” Allred said. “There simply are not good enough answers to the questions Idaho citizens have raised about these shipments.” You can read Allred’s full announcement here.
For some reason, I don’t think Gov. Butch Otter would have appointed Christina Crawford to the Benewah County Board of County Commissioners, if he’d known she was going to support his opponent in the next general election. Democrat Keith Allred’s office contacted Huckleberries Online to say that she has done just that. Shea Andersen of Allred’s office writes: “We’re happy to receive the endorsement of Benewah County Commissioner Christina Crawford today.” Here’s the statement of Crawford, who’s the daughter of famous actress Joan Crawford: “Keith Allred is our best hope for a brighter Idaho future. He understands our issues: taxes, jobs, education and he is willing to work for everyone, not just the powerful few. I support him as candidate for Governor.”
Question: What do you make of Christina Crawford’s gubernatorial endorsement?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter brought in former presidential candidate Mitt
Romney to stump for him today in Idaho Falls and Boise, in an effort to
pump up support among LDS voters in southern and eastern Idaho. Idaho
Falls businessman Frank VanderSloot, who hosted the Idaho Falls campaign
stop at his Melaleuca Inc. headquarters, rallied the crowd in Boise,
saying Otter’s Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, has been sending
eastern Idaho Mormons the message, “I’m Mormon so vote for me because
I’m one of you guys.” VanderSloot said, “My answer to that is, well,
Harry Reid is a Mormon”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP file photo of Mitt Romney)
Question: What do you make of Butch Otter’s move to bring a well-known Mormon politician to Idaho on behalf of his campaign?
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Mitt Romney flank Otter’s wife, Lori Otter, in the back row against the flag’s red and white stripes Wednesday in Boise. Religion emerged front-and-center at a campaign event for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in Boise, attended by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney, a Mormon, is popular in Idaho, where about a third of the 1.5 million residents also belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. Story here. (AP Photo/John Miller)
- Idaho Records/Sherry Adkins, SR
- Wednesday Scanner Traffic/DFO, Huckleberries Online
- Showers arrive in Spokane, more over weekend/Mike Prager, SR
- Sex predator has Sandpoint on edge/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee
- 2-fer: High school football: Greg Lee’s Pick 6/Spokesman-Review; and: Coeur d’Alene High ranks No. 2 in latest prep football poll/Ryan Collingwood, LMTribune
- 3 boys allegedly abducted by father found safe in Butte/Spokesman-Review
- 3YO boy ‘critical’ after baby-sitter pushed him for urinating/Brian Walker, Press
- Agreement for fences on Sanders Beach would end suits/Tom Hasslinger, Press
- Colleges combine forces to seek Ed Corridor building/Brian Walker, Press
- Farm Bureau: Minnick 1 of 5 with perfect voting record/Dan Popkey, IS
- Ash aphids return to Coeur d’Alene/Alecia Warren, Coeur d’Alene Press
- Landers: Readers share stories of moose on the loose/Spokesman-Review
Gov. Butch Otter says on Friday he’ll sign a temporary rule proposed by the state Board of Pharmacy to add the chemicals used in “Spice,” a form of synthetic marijuana, to the state’s controlled substances list. The state Legislature then will consider making that move permanent when it convenes for its regular session in January. Click below to read Otter’s full announcement.
In his latest post, Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman writes: “In his latest TV ad, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred conflates two of his main campaign talking points. He criticizes Republican Gov. Butch Otter for presiding over a $128 million budget cut to public schools, while pushing a tax increase.” He writes more here. And then asks whether the message is on point.
Question: Is the criticism leveled by Democrat Keith Allred about Gov. Butch Otter in this ad legitimate?
The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is endorsing Butch Otter for re-election as Governor of Idaho. “Butch Otter has earned the NRA-PVF endorsement for his solid pro-gun record,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “His commitment to preserving our Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage makes Butch Otter the clear choice for Idaho gun owners and hunters”/National Rifle Association. More here.
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter works the heels of a calf while team roping at the Caldwell Night Rodeo in Caldwell this summer. From the rims of their Stetsons to the shotguns on their shoulders, Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter and Democrat Keith Allred appear to be running as much for Idaho’s cowboy-in- chief as they are for governor. As different as Otter, a 30-year politician and businessman, and Allred, a former Harvard University professor who ran a nonpartisan reform group, seem in real life, both are tapping images that harken back to the Old West to send powerful messages to voters come Nov. 2 about their characters: individualism, a sense of purpose, common sense _ and the spurs to give the economy a little giddy-up. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield, File)
As Idaho voters make clear their displeasure with cuts to public education spending, the men running to lead the state’s schools for the next four years are campaigning in relative obscurity.
A poll of 625 people likely to vote in the Nov. 2 election shows that 56 percent think per-pupil spending on K-12 public education is too low. The poll, conducted by The Spokesman-Review and six other daily Idaho newspapers, also shows that 23 percent of voters remain undecided about the race for superintendent of public instruction, possibly because some don’t know who’s running.
While GOP incumbent Tom Luna leads Democratic challenger Stan Olson 47 percent to 30 percent, the poll shows that 18 percent of respondents don’t recognize Luna’s name – giving him by far the lowest name recognition of any incumbent running in a statewide race this year. Olson, the just-retired Boise School District superintendent, is unknown to 53 percent of poll respondents. Full story. Ben Botkin, Times News
Are you happy with public education in Idaho?
Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise breaks down the claims in the new television ad by Democrat Keith Allred, who is running against incumbent Gov. Butch Otter, here
Question: What do you think of Keith Allred’s new TV ad?
New poll out today in the Statesman showing a much tighter race. Particularly the Governor’s race. Otter and Minnick are both below 50%. And Otter’s numbers are soft. Republican Gov. Butch Otter leads Democrat Keith Allred 45 percent to 29 percent in a statewide poll commissioned by the Idaho Statesman and six other Idaho newspapers. But only 44 percent of those polled said they had a favorable opinion of Otter, and 20 percent remain undecided/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune, & Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What do you make of the stat that only 44% have a favorable opinion of Otter and so many are undecided?
- Thursday Poll: 83 of 104 (79.61%) respondents say that Gov. Butch Otter picked poorly when he decided to accept an invitation to answer questions on a Boise radio show rather than debate Democrat Keith Allred in Lewiston. Only 14 of 104 (13.59%) respondents voted that Otter choose wisely. 7 respondents were undecided.
- Weekend Question: Do you think City Attorney Mike Gridley told Brannon attorney Starr Kelso to shove his papers (where the sun doesn’t shine)?
The same day he declined to participate in a live debate in Lewiston, Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter agreed to take part in a radio call-in show in Boise. Andrew Paul, program director for 670 KBOI radio, said Otter will spend an hour with host Nate Shelman the afternoon of Oct. 7, taking questions from a live audience as well as via telephone. He’ll be followed by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Keith Allred and independent candidate Jana Kemp. All three candidates had been scheduled to take part in a debate at the Lewiston Community Center the evening of Oct. 7. Otter’s campaign, however, cancelled his participation Monday morning. The debate was sponsored by the Lewiston Tribune, Moscow-Pullman Daily News and KLEW-TV/William Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: What do you make of Gov. Butch Otter turning his back on the only possible debate with Keith Allred in northern Idaho to be on a Boise radio station show?
Asked about possible repeal of the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (at today’s gubernatorial debate) — the amendment that established popular election of U.S. senators — Gov. Butch Otter said, “I want Idahoans to elect our U.S. senators. I have said time and time again, and I’ll say it again, my focus is on the 10th Amendment. … I certainly understand the frustration, but repealing the 17th Amendment is just not in the scope of political reality. It’s theoretical.” Challenger Keith Allred responded, “Here at the City Club in Boise, Butch Otter tells you that he thinks Idahoans should elect their own senators, but when he goes across the state line to speak” at a Tea Party rally in Spokane he says the 17th Amendment was among the nation’s “biggest mistakes”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here
- Otter: ‘Had to do soul-searching that was necessary’
- Allred: ‘We’re doing poorly on both’
- Candidates differ on tax deals
- From funding questions to opponent’s strengths
- Who had ‘better lobbyist’ …
Question: Anyone see or hear the debate? Reaction?
Idaho voters looking to make an informed decision about candidates for this year’s race for governor and House representative will now have less information with which to cast their vote. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced Monday by e-mail that he has canceled plans to debate his Democratic opponent, Keith Allred, in Lewiston Oct. 7. Debbie Field, Otter’s campaign manager, had given verbal confirmation to the Lewiston Tribune in July that he would participate in the debate. No explanation was given for the cancelation, and Field did not immediately return calls for comment. Otter does have three other debates scheduled with Allred, though it could be called into question now whether they will happen or not. Rep. Walt Minnick, of Idaho’s First District, also canceled a debate against opponent Raul Labrador. He is scheduled for only one other debate/University of Idaho Argonaut Editorial. More here.
Question: Are you surprised that Demo Walt Minnick is playing the same game that top Repub politicians are known for — sidestepping a debate w/an underdog foe?
I’ve been watching with interest the current Coeur d’Alene Press poll re: the Idaho governor’s race. Democrat Keith Allred has been leading for the last 36 hours or so — 47% to 42%, with the rest undecided or pulling for another candidate. Yeah, yeah, I know — newspaper polls are very unscientific … and this is probably the work of local Democrats who voted early and often. Still, it’s funny. On the other hand, Otter is leading Allred by 19% in a statewide poll commissioned by KREM, KIFI, & KTVB here.
Question: What value do you see in newspaper polls — or even the one that runs daily here at Huckleberries Online. (Before you answer cynically that there is no value, consider. Partisans go out of there way to stacked the vote … and followers regularly retweet results here.)
Idaho has joined Michigan in a “friend of the court” brief siding with Arizona in its appeal from a federal judge’s initial ruling invalidating portions of the state’s far-reaching immigration law; 11 states have now joined in the appeal. Gov. Butch Otter said, “It’s our affirmative duty to protect states’ rights, and that’s particularly important when a lawsuit seeks to punish a state for doing what the federal government has failed to do – protect our borders and American citizens.” Click below to read his full news release.
Incumbent Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter still leads the race for Idaho’s next governor. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Idaho finds that Otter holds a sizable 52% to 36% advantage over his Democratic challenger, Keith Allred. Just seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are not sure. Numbers have hardly changed since July, when Otter held a 53% to 36% lead. The Republican held a 32-point advantage over his Democratic challenger – 60% to 32% - in the first Rasmussen Reports survey of the race in late March/Rasmussen Reports. More here.
Question: What do you make of the latest figures?
Item: Truthiness takes over Idaho governor’s race: Allred’s campaign says ‘Keith cut property taxes.’ Otter’s counters that ‘he had nothing to do’ with it. Neither is exactly right/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman
More Info: Back in 2006, Dan Popkey interviewed lawmakers about how it happened. They made it clear that Allred helped persuade the Legislature to tie the exemption’s value not to the Consumer Price Index, but to the Idaho Housing Price Index. “Keith brought it to our attention,” Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, a member of the Senate tax panel, said then. “I don’t think we even knew there was a housing index.”
Question: Sounds like Allred’s side is more correct than Otter’s. Or am I reading this right?
Gov. Butch Otter and top Republicans in the Idaho Legislature are accusing Keith Allred, the Democratic candidate for governor, of taking too much credit for a 2006 plan that reduced property tax bills for homeowners. Allred’s campaign is calling it an odd attack, and some Republicans in the Idaho Senate say Allred did play a part in getting the plan passed. “He was involved on a very minimal basis,” House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, said in a news release. “There is absolutely no way he can carry the banner on this one and take credit.” In 2006, state lawmakers approved a plan that increased the homeowner’s exemption on property tax bills from $50,000 to $75,000/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.
- Idaho, 30 other states get millions for school assessments/Idaho Reporter
- College of Idaho credit Minnick for $1.3M stimulus grant/Idaho Reporter
- Simpson, Risch react to Obama speech on Iraq/Idaho Reporter
- Vaughn Ward named CEO of Post Falls hospital/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
- Voters to decide on 3 constitutional amendments/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
Question: What do you make of this latest dust-up? How much credit should Democrat Keith Allred take in this important change that reduced property taxes?
Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today’s meeting of Gov. Butch Otter’s transportation funding task force, which voted unanimously to accept a new state-commissioned cost-allocation study showing car owners are overpaying for Idaho roads while heavy trucks underpay, but expressed strong reservations about raising fees for trucks. Here’s Otter’s reaction to today’s task force action:
“The cost allocation study is a helpful starting point, not an end. We have to put its findings in context. The study will help inform policy makers as we determine the need and how to address it. But we also must answer such policy questions as whether to include GARVEE funding, whether to include federal funding or whether to look at state funding alone in determining a path forward under the study.”
And here’s the reaction of Otter’s Democratic challenger, Keith Allred, who’s called for cutting Idaho’s gas tax by 3 cents a gallon and raising truck fees to make up the difference: “Idaho families can’t afford to subsidize the heavy trucking industry in times like these. We need a governor who works for Idaho families, not his political contributors.”
The Idaho Transportation Department has joined ConocoPhillips in appealing to the Idaho Supreme Court a local judge’s decision to revoke its permits for four huge truckloads of oil refinery equipment to travel winding U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston to Montana, saying the decision could “end up restricting commerce and limiting business opportunities.” Meanwhile, the high court granted a motion from ConocoPhillips to expedite the court appeal, rather than take the usual time - averaging 450 days - to hear a civil appeal. However, it set oral arguments for Oct. 1. That’s expedited for a Supreme Court appeal, but it’s not quick enough to allow Conoco to move the four giant shipments before paving starts on the second lane of the Arrow Bridge on Highway 12, as it had hoped.
Because the loads are so wide they’ll take up both lanes of the bridge, that means the earliest they could move - if everything went Conoco’s way - would be late October, when the paving job is scheduled to be completed. The first lane already has been paved; Conoco has been paying the ITD’s contractor to hold off on the second lane while the permits were tied up in court. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com; read ITD’s filings here and see the Supreme Court’s order here.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Transportation Department joined an oil refiner in asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a judge’s decision that’s halted shipments of oversized equipment over U.S. Highway 12. ConocoPhillips has already appealed 2nd District Judge John Bradbury’s move to revoke state permits, claiming it will lose up to $9 million and suffer production disruptions at a Montana refinery. In its appeal Monday, the Idaho highway agency argued Bradbury erred on several fronts. Its director, Brian Ness, wants state high court justices to let ConocoPhillips move ahead, contending his agency has taken steps to provide for safe transport of the big gear on U.S. 12. Environmental groups and others oppose ConocoPhillips shipments and more than 200 separate, planned wide-load transports by Exxon Mobile Corp. that are bound for Canada’s oil country.
Meanwhile, in a news release, ITD Director Brian Ness said the department decided to appeal today in part because it felt 2nd District Judge John Bradbury’s decision revoking the ConocoPhillips permits limited the department’s discretion, which could “end up restricting commerce and limiting business opportunities.” He also said he felt the department reached its decision regardless of the fact that ConocoPhillips already had shipped its oversize loads to the Port of Lewiston in May. Click below to read the full ITD news release.
Before the May GOP primary, I took Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Mike Crapo to task for skipping out on debates aired statewide on Idaho Public Television. The prospects are looking better this time around. Crapo’s campaign has tentatively agreed to an Oct. 19 debate — although the Senate’s adjournment date could pose a potential glitch. Otter’s camp has agreed to an Oct. 28 debate, just five days before the Nov. 2 election. According to the conventional wisdom, debates (help) a challenger by providing a shared podium with an incumbent. This is why incumbents often have considerable incentive to limit the number of debates — since the office holders already hold the edge in name identification and, generally in fund-raising/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
- Non-expendables: Don’t look for Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen/Dennis Mansfield
- Glenn Beck: An unlikely preacher/Fort Boise
- Do Idaho’s wilderness areas need safety signs?/John Robison, ICL
- Idaho 6th from bottom in 2nd quarter tax revenue/Dan Popkey, Statesman
- So much anti-federal wind comes from Idaho/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
- A view of federal lands policy … 50 years ago/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post
Question Why do you think incumbents Butch Otter & Mike Crapo are willing to debate this year?
ConocoPhillips says if it can’t get its four huge loads across U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston into Montana in the coming days, it won’t be able to make needed repairs at its Billings refinery until next summer and will lose $9 million. In a motion to the Idaho Supreme Court to expedite its appeal of a judge’s decision revoking the permits, Conoco argues, “The delay will impose millions of dollars of loss and will disrupt and compromise the production of the Billings refinery - all before the merits of the appeal are addressed.”
The average civil appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court takes 450 days from filing to opinion. An expedited case can move much more quickly, and Conoco argues that the record is complete in its case and the court can take it up right away with only minimal additional briefing. “Preparations have taken years to put into place” for the trucking of two gigantic new 350-ton coker drums from the Port of Lewiston to Billings, Conoco said in its filings, including scheduling the transport around repairs on the Arrow Bridge. Each drum is cut in half, making four giant loads that are so wide they take up both lanes of the two-lane highway and bridge. You can read Conoco’s filings here, which include a copy of the ITD’s Aug. 20 decision to grant the permits. And here’s a link to the plaintiffs’ response to the motion.
- Thursday Poll: 96 of 154 (62%) respondents said Gov. Butch Otter hurt Idaho education by offering & approving a budget that was too conservative. 55 of 154 (36%) said he wasn’t. 3 of 154 (2%) were undecided.
- Weekend Poll: Which talented team will emerge as football champion of the 5A Inland Empire League?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune writes: “CHEERS … to Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. He’s the incumbent Republican in a Republican state. He’s ahead of Democratic challenger Keith Allred by, depending on the poll, at least 11 points. So the prudent thing for Otter would be to dispense with Allred in one obligatory debate. Not this time. Otter has agreed to share the stage as many as five times in this campaign:
- Aug. 19’s debate at the Idaho Falls City Club.
- Sept. 15 at the Boise City Club.
- Oct. 7 at Lewiston, sponsored by the Tribune, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and KLEW. (Otter’s people say this is tentative. They’re still working out the schedule.)
- Oct. 13 at Caldwell, presented by Boise’s KTVB, Spokane’s KREM and Idaho Falls’ KIFI television stations.
- Oct 28 at Boise, broadcast statewide over Idaho Public Television and
co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Press Club.” More here.
Question: I join Lewiston Trib opinionator Marty Trillhaase in applauding Butch Otter for his series of debates against Democrat Keith Allred. But there be one debate in North Idaho?
Emmert International, the contractor for ConocoPhillips tasked with hauling the four huge loads of refinery equipment bound for Montana via U.S. Highway 12, still is paying McAlvain Construction, the contractor for the state who’s repaving the Arrow Bridge, to hold off on starting paving on the bridge’s second lane, ITD confirmed today. The oil company had planned to ship its oversize loads, which will take up both lanes of the bridge, in a narrow window between completion of paving of one lane, and the start of paving of the second. That window technically closed Monday, but Emmert has been paying McAlvain since then to “stand down” as it attempts to get permits to move the loads; an appeal now has been filed to the Idaho Supreme Court. If the loads don’t go now, the next time both lanes of the bridge will be open is October.
Jeff Stratten, ITD spokesman, said, “The bridge is scheduled to be completed in late October. The Idaho Transportation Department is not adjusting the completion date. The contractor could make up for the suspension of work by adding or extending shifts and adding additional workers.”