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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Finally, Public Workers Get Their Just Deserts

Some “concerned citizens” were fit to be tied last week after learning Kootenai County had shelled out $2,000 to feed and fete county workers. County officials fielded calls from constituents who complained that the annual appreciation breakfast Thursday was a waste of money, blah, blah, blah. Well, I think the county did a good thing - and so does tax-miserturned-commissioner Ron Rankin. His Rankiness not only participated in the event but also muttered a few kind words about the assessor’s office. Really. He knows county employees need a pat on the head, just like us working stiffs in the private sector. Many private firms reward good work through bonuses and Christmas parties. If the breakfast inspires employees to think up cost-saving ideas, its cost will be well worth it. In fact, Employee of the Year Carol Grubbs easily covered the breakfast expense by developing a joint purchasing system. So there.

No surprises in term-limit ruling

“Hot Potatoes” hates to say “I told you so …” (OK, OK, “Hot Potatoes” loves to say “I told you so”) but the U.S. Supreme Court has just shot down another term-limits proposal. The court outlawed an Arkansas initiative - similar to one passed by Idaho and seven other states in November - that would have required candidates to state their position on term limits for the election ballot. In an earlier ruling, the high court had said states can’t limit congressional terms. So, for those keeping score at home, Monday’s decision means term-limit supporters are 0-for-2 in U.S. Supreme Court cases. Consider that track record next time a paid signature gatherer asks you to sign a term-limits petition. For the record, the court ruling also means all four initiatives on the 1996 ballot failed, including three opposed by the voters. Curiously, Kootenai County was the only Idaho county to pass all four. That’s nothing to be proud of.

Fan mail

Bob McClure of Post Falls responded to a Hot Potato awarded to the Potato Growers of Idaho last week for blocking specialty license plates sought by Idaho colleges: “I’m sure not fond of ‘Famous Potatoes,’ but please don’t even suggest the possibility of ‘GO VANDALS’ on our license plates. These days, it’s unfortunate enough that a school chooses to call students vandals, without displaying words on our plates that appear to encourage vandals. Here in Idaho, most people know that it’s just college stuff, but in other parts of the country, less enlightened folks might just see the words as another example of North Idaho mentality.”

, DataTimes MEMO: D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125 or by sending e-mail to

D.F. Oliveria’s “Hot Potatoes” runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can comment on the items by calling (800) 344-6718 or (208) 765-7125 or by sending e-mail to

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