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Eye on Boise: Statesman editor takes helm of ‘Idaho Reports’

BOISE – Idaho Public Television announced that Greg Hahn has been hired as the new producer and host of “Idaho Reports,” the weekly program that reports on happenings in the state Legislature during its winter sessions.

Hahn, who most recently was news editor for the Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise, filled in as moderator on the program last year after former host Thanh Tan left for a job with the Texas Tribune.

IPTV conducted a national search for Tan’s replacement, and Hahn was selected.

He covered the Legislature for about a decade, first for the Twin Falls Times-News and then for the Statesman; he’s also reported on stories from Burley to Baghdad to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Hahn holds a degree in anthropology and film from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. Outside the legislative-session program, Hahn will work on documentaries and other stories.

GOP wants changes

The Idaho Republican Party has issued a statement noting the state’s citizen redistricting commission’s failure to meet its deadline last week to draw new congressional and legislative district lines, and calling for re-examining the makeup of the evenly split commission.

“It doesn’t surprise me that a six-member commission made up of equal parts Republicans and Democrats could not reach an agreement on a single map,” Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko said. “For the sake of the taxpayer and to accurately reflect the political will of the people, I hope the Legislature will consider the idea of revisiting the makeup of the Commission so 10 years from now we won’t have a repeat of this year, in which precious money, resources, and time were spent only to reach a stalemate.”

Finman: ‘We were close’

GOP Redistricting Commissioner Lorna Finman was wistful after the commission adjourned without meeting its 5 p.m. deadline last Tuesday. “I think we were actually pretty close,” she said. “We were just a district and a few precincts away from pulling this off.” She said, “We just didn’t get down to reality in time. I think another two or three days and we could’ve had it.”

Democratic Co-chairman Allen Andersen was less optimistic. “A lot will depend on Commissioner (Evan) Frasure if he does in fact resign, and who they replace him with.” Frasure said at the close of the panel’s work that health concerns, including a heart attack four years ago, might prevent him from continuing to serve.

While GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito said he thought the commission could settle on plans fairly quickly if the court orders it back to work, Andersen said, “If they’re going to keep holding to the maps that they have so far, it’s going to take a lot longer.” Andersen said he’s still unwilling to allow Pocatello to be divided into multiple legislative districts.

‘Under the bus’

Amid criticisms from both sides that the other was taking a “my way or the highway” position, Frasure revealed that one of his proposals put GOP Rep. Jim Guthrie, of McCammon, into a district with three other Republicans. “I just threw Jim under the bus … by me offering to compromise to follow the Democratic plan,” he said.

A light moment

A light moment in redistricting negotiations came last Sunday, as commissioners worked through the Labor Day weekend: Democratic Commissioner Julie Kane distributed a copy of a “Dilbert” cartoon that she said fit what was going on.

In it, a co-worker asks Dilbert, “Did you see my email objecting to your plan?” Dilbert replies, “No, but I saw your email objecting to what I assume is your hallucination of my plan.” The co-worker says, “You seem defensive,” to which Dilbert retorts, “Have we narrowed down the problem to me?”