Time spent with a cat is never wasted time.
Is it legal for the Speaker of the Idaho House to push a bill through the State Legislature on behalf of a development company only after that company fires a political opponent and hires a political ally?
The answer is yes.
Is it ethical? You be the judge.
Back in 2007, a California development company pushed for a bill that would allow it to pay for an interchange on I-90 with the sales tax collected at a yet-to-be-built Cabela’s store located next to the interchange.
The bill appeared to be going nowhere. Then the company asked Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney for advice. Soon after, the company fired its lobbyist, a established moderate Republican who opposed Denney’s run for speaker, and hired Julie Ellsworth, a Denney supporter and former House member who lost her seat four months earlier.
The appearance of impropriety prompted calls for a “cooling off” period, a mandatory two-year break between legislating and lobbying.
Denney would have none of it. “I have no desire to dictate who can and cannot get a job working as a lobbyist,” he opined.
Days later, Denney changed his mind, announcing that he would co-sponsor a “cooling off” bill. He did so tepidly. ‘‘I’m still not sure it’s necessary, but in this business, perception is reality,’’ he said.
Unfortunately, the bill came too late in the session. It died in committee without a hearing.
The next year, a similar bill was referred to committee at the beginning of the session where it sat for months before dying without a hearing.
Give Denney credit. He’s right. Perception is reality in the business of government. Idaho’s Secretary of State’s office has a long tradition of honesty and impartiality. The Gem State doesn’t need that tarnished with cronyism and malfeasance.
Idaho needs somebody with the reputation of fairness and honesty.
"Mark Patterson is an attempted rapist and a Republican Idaho State Representative who has represented District 15 in the B seat since 2012."
The Lewiston Tribune opined that Idaho Dems have not used the revelation of Rep. Mark Patterson’s despicable criminal victory to our benefit. We believe that’s a pretty narrow view of how political parties should attempt to elevate their own.
Our candidates are outstanding, honest public servants. They don’t need to be compared to the worst that the Idaho GOP has to offer. We’d rather see them compared to the best the Idaho GOP has–that’s when our candidates really shine.
But, make no mistake, Patterson is absolutely wrong for Idaho. And, Idaho’s GOP have failed us again by refusing to condemn this man’s thin excuses for hiding the past. The Idaho GOP leaders who endorsed Patterson–U.S. Rep. Labrador, Rep. Lawerence Denney and Rep. Mike Moyle–have made a profound statement with their silence.
Here’s IDP Chairman Larry Kenck’s response to the Lewiston Tribune:
Turnabout: Larry Kenck - Idaho Democrats’ vital signs just fine
Twenty years of GOP control have left Idaho children with fewer opportunities. Idaho leads the nation in percentage of minimum-wage jobs. We trail the nation for what we invest in our children’s education. State cuts to schools have forced rural schools to cut school days and doubled the school districts that run override levies (41 up to 89) to meet basic needs.
The Idaho Democratic Party is dedicated to bringing balance back to Idaho and ending 20 years of failed GOP policies. We work to create a brighter, more prosperous future for Idaho families and small businesses.
In 2014, our candidates will be experienced leaders in business, in their churches, in volunteer organizations. They will be public servants dedicated to putting Idaho families ahead of personal ambition.
As a party, Idaho Democrats are strong and we are getting stronger.
So, Marty Trillhaase writes that we missed an opportunity to jump into the fray regarding Republican Rep. Mark Patterson, who was twice charged with rape – pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit rape in one case, prevailing at trial in the other.
First, kudos to the press for giving Patterson the attention he deserves. Clearly, this Republican leader has a disgusting history. Idahoans now are asking: Why does the Idaho Republican Party support the likes of Rep. Mark Patterson?
Second, we agree with Trillhaase that this man should resign.
Third, we respect the ability of Idahoans to make the right decision. They now have the information they need regarding Rep. Patterson to vote him out.
We disagree with Trillhaase’s suggestion that we “should be all over Patterson and his party.”
True, Patterson is a reminder of the 2012 resignation of former Republican Sen. John McGee, who “disturbed the peace” with a female staffer in the Senate. Patterson reminds us of Republican Sen. Chuck Winder’s suggestion that women don’t know if they’ve been raped or not.
Indeed, Patterson prompts a discussion of other areas of women’s issues. We ask again why Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter pays women in his cabinet far less than men. Or we ask again why Republican Sen. Monty Pearce told a qualified woman seeking appointment to the Fish and Game commission to apply for the nursing board instead.
We reject the notion, however, that one party’s miscreants should be used to elevate another party’s candidates. Our candidates stand apart as excellent people when they are in crowds of excellent people. Idaho Democrats do not have to stand next to Patterson to stand out.
We also know that many of our Republican friends and neighbors feel just as disgusted and betrayed as we do. We are willing to give Republican leaders – who are well-positioned to pressure Patterson to resign – the time they need to come to the right and righteous decision.
As time goes by and Patterson remains in office, it is not the Idaho Democratic Party that has failed Idaho. It will be Republican leaders, failing once again, on a basic question of ethics, integrity and values. They will have failed as they have failed our schools and families and our economy.
Let us be clear. Rep. Mark Patterson should resign. Now, what does the Idaho Republican Party have to say about it?
Kenck is chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party.
RELATED READING: Stapilus: Who Is Mark Patterson?
This isn’t a matter of tracking down every last detail about a relatively junior member of the Idaho House. I raise all this here because you likely cannot find a similar gap in the record for any other Idaho legislator, current or recent, or even not so recent. It’s a gap unlike anything I can recall in four decades of watching the coming and goings of elected officials.
Who is this guy?
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WILDER — About 20 people gathered Monday near Chula Vista Acres in Wilder to begin a three-day, 30-mile walk from that spot to Meridian City Hall in the name of immigration reform, today's Idaho Press Tribune reports.
“The walk is symbolic,” said Ruby Menendez, a member of the Idaho Community Action Network. “We are collectively taking a path, current voters and future voters, to recognize that real change, lasting change to our immigration system will build a future together.”
The event is a collaborative effort between the ICAN, the Coalition for Immigrant Rights of Idaho and the Community Council of Idaho. The group walked to Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Monday and held a vigil Monday night and will continue walking to Nampa all day today.
On Wednesday, they plan to arrive by 1 p.m. at Meridian City Hall for a press conference and rally, and will deliver “thousands of petitions” to Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador’s office to pressure him to vote in favor of the immigration reform bill.
And Labrador sees any compromise at this time as "pandering to Hispanics."
“In fact, the biggest mistake we can make as conservatives is to pander to the Hispanic community and to think that the only way we’re going to get votes is to vote a certain way on immigration,” Labrador said at the monthly ‘Conversations with Conservatives’ event. “Because what we start doing is, we start pandering and we start giving goodies out to people, then we’re going to get into a bidding war with the Democratic Party.”
Labrador said that inciting a bidding war with Democrats over issues such as immigration would only result in Republicans losing because “Democrats are always more willing to give goodies to a certain group than we are.”.
The congressman went on to say he wishes that Republicans would stop basing legislation and policies off of politics because the American people want immigration legislation based on the principle of a secure border.
A bit of history:
On June 5, Labrador, a former immigration attorney, informed his colleagues that he was leaving the bipartisan group negotiating a House immigration bill because he was not satisfied that taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for immigrants in the country illegally in their legislation.
Rather than agree to detailed language on healthcare, the group decided instead to essentially punt the issue and hew to the contours of the Senate Gang of Eight legislation, which makes clear that undocumented immigrants in a provisional legal status cannot receive federal benefits from the 2010 healthcare law.
There will be an open seat on the Caldwell, Idaho City Council.
Since David Clark just announced this last night, it appears that the news outlets haven't picked up the story yet. (as of 9:50 a.m. MST)
From his Facebook page:
Dear friends and family, life is full of adventures and challenges and I am going though an adventure right now. For the past few months, I have been communicating with a company called www.web.com. They build websites, social media and SEO for businesses. It has been a great partnership and they have recently offered me a permanent position in their Houston, Texas office as a Sales Branch Manager, responsible for the entire Houston area. I will have many people under my wing and this is a big step for me.
Normally it would take a lot for me to tear up my Caldwell roots for a move like this, however web.com delivered. The offer was too sweet to say no. Therefore, I accepted their offer and I am moving to Houston Feb 11. I know this is a shock to some of you, but this is a natural progression in my career right now. Life here in Idaho for the family will remain somewhat the same. Marcee will run the event center and the social media business will be ran out of Houston. Another major change for me is resigning from my passion, the Caldwell City Council. This was the most difficult decision to make, but it needed to be made in order for the Citizens of Caldwell to be served right. My last council meeting will be February 4th.
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For many Republicans, this is a good weekend to get away from it all.
With hundreds of thousands of Democrats traveling to nation's capital for President Barack Obama's inauguration activities, Republicans and supporters of last fall's GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, are leaving town, or staying put and trying to avoid the crowds.
After failing to recapture the White House for a second straight presidential election, many are not exactly in a partying mood.
"It's a good time to lay low," said John Feehery, the president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and a former top congressional aide.
As Democrats prepare to mark Obama's second inauguration on Monday by bundling up along the parade route or dressing up for balls, Republicans are spending the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with quick vacation getaways, quiet time at home or trips to the movie theater.
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Follow us at http://twitter.com/123idaho
Efforts to save the nation from going over a year-end "fiscal cliff" were in disarray as lawmakers fled the Capitol for their Christmas break. "God only knows" how a deal can be reached now, House Speaker John Boehner declared.
President Barack Obama, on his way out of town himself, insisted a bargain could still be struck before Dec. 31. "Call me a hopeless optimist," he said.
The nation’s decision makers continue to wrestle with the consequences of going over the “fiscal cliff” at year’s end, which may translate to cuts in federal funding in many state budgets.
The trickle-down effect could cause more problems for state courts that have fallen victim to massivefiscal cliff budget shortfalls during the recession, according to G. Alan Tarr, a professor of political science at Rutgers-Camden.
“When revenues decrease as they have during the recent recession, states have to look for places to cut in order to balance their budget,” says Tarr, an internationally noted constitutional scholar. “Some states cut across the board and others pick out areas in which funds aren’t being well spent. In any case, state courts tend to get hit, which precipitates concerns about the administration of justice.”
Tarr opines on the issue in his article, “No Exit: The Financial Crisis Facing State Courts,” recently published in the Kentucky Law Journal.
Tarr directs the Rutgers-Camden Center for State Constitutional Studies. He has consulted with numerous state legislatures and Supreme Courts on the complexities of state constitutions. says a majority of funding for state courts – which makes up about 2 or 3 percent of a state budget – accounts for salaries for judges, clerks, and other core personnel. Therefore, Tarr says budget cuts to the courts tend to take the form of reducing personnel.
“The cuts in turn have forced state court systems to adopt measures to reduce costs, such as cutting hours and employees, which jeopardizes the administration of justice,” Tarr says.
In his article, Tarr notes that in fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011, state budget shortfalls have totaled more than $530 billion, leading to dramatic reductions in funding for state courts.
If cuts have to be made at the federal level as a result of the so-called fiscal cliff, they will include funding that goes to the states, creating more of a burden on entities like the courts, Tarr says.
“The problem for state courts is that there are many other worthwhile uses for this revenue within the state budgets,” he notes. “The courts are competing against education, Medicaid, and other state functions.”
Tarr says the American Bar Association became very concerned about funding for state courts and in 2011 formed a task force to look at the fiscal issues affecting the courts and what could be done about them.
“There are two possibilities,” he says. “The states can increase the portion of the state budget that goes to the courts, or can increase the pool so that they get the same percentage, but there’s more revenue.”
In any case, Tarr says there is no light at the end of the tunnel for underfunded state courts.
“The state courts are, for the foreseeable future, going to continue to face declining funding,” he says. “They’ll have to find ways to work more expeditiously to continue to deliver the administration of justice.” read more »
Many people have asked where they can go to sign the Luna recall/referendum petition.
Here is a list of local locations:
Read more at: recalltomluna.org
Randy Stapilus has an interesting piece on the decline and fall of education in Idaho.
Here are some excerpts:
As an independent body supposedly put in place to advocate for the best interests of education, the Board of Education has in recent years been nothing more than a lap-dog for Idaho’s governors, especially Otter, who have been eviscerating education budgets, K-12 and higher ed, for years. Ponder this fact: the recently proposed Idaho higher education budget takes state support for colleges and universities back to where it stood in 2000. At the same time, mom, dad and the kids face sky- rocketing tuition and fees.
Forty years ago, the kind of people then serving, Democrats and Republicans alike, would have resigned en masse if they had been blindsided like the present board was by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s radical reform proposals not to mention the unfunded mandate they represent for local school districts. read more »
Who said that you are entitled to it?
The constitution (granted, I never dun read it but a friend at the bar told me) merely says something about ensuring the general welfare.
It doesn't say that the government will stop somebody from robbing your house.
Think about it: for hundreds (or at least maybe dozens) of years Idaho survived the good old fashioned way. If somebody started trouble on your farm, grandma went out with the shotgun and pumped some lead in him.
So why do ya'll expect us to fund an Idaho State Police Department?
Watch this video for concrete proof of our position:
Someone needs to ask Wayne Hoffman!
It's 80 pages of purported waste and ineffectual government spending.
It's called the 2011 Idaho Report on Government Waste and it's put out by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit governmental watchdog group. Inside the huge report is page after page of citations, research and advice from experts who say various programs in Idaho's schools, pension programs and urban renewal plans are ineffectual across the state.
Wayne Hoffman is Executive Director of the group.
"I still read it and I get angry," Hoffman said. "I'm sitting here looking at all these expenses tax payers are putting their money into and I'm saying why? Why are we doing this and what can we do?" read more »
Why sports on 43rdStateBlues?
Community building is a key component of group blogs such as this one. And such refreshing changes of pace probably bring together commenters who wouldn't otherwise interact.
Further, as you will notice in 123idaho's crosspost on Daily Kos, the discussion quickly branched into related political topics including gangs and crime, quality of life in Boise vs. Palo Alto, the efficiency of California's governmnent, education funding in Idaho, salaries of football coaches in comparison to the rest of us, and more.
With two recent high profile coaching departures, Idaho Statesman columnist Brian Murphy calls him The One Coach BSU Can't Lose.
But Stanford has officially asked to interview Boise State football coach Chris Petersen.
Speculators have spoken of the 30 degree winters in the Bay area vs. the 70 degree winters in Boise.
Petersen makes $1 million now vs. $2 million on the table in Palo Alto.
And he is a northern California native.
Heisman candidate Andrew Luck will return to the Cardinal, and they have a real shot at winning a national championship.
Commenters under a Brian Murphy editorial in the Idaho Statesman discuss the likely possibility that Petersen will soon leave the Broncos and take the Stanford job: read more »
By Mike Journee
A Boise State University survey of Garden City’s health care needs found that inaccessible health care resources, financial hardship and a lack of insurance are the largest barriers to adequate resident health care in the community.
The community health needs assessment, conducted by Boise State School of Nursing students in conjunction with the Garden City Community Clinic (GCCC), is part of a GCCC effort to assess the health needs of the Garden City community in order to provide data that will help inform and direct the development of the GCCC.
The survey results and recommendations were presented to GCCC advisory committee and other community health care stakeholders, including consumers and providers, in a presentation today at the city hall in Garden City.
“We recognize that sustainable solutions require community engagement, so before we determine what the community needs, we decided we should ask,” said Hillary Roethlisberger, director of local operations at GCCC, which is operated by Genesis World Mission. GCCC provides medical services to low-income and uninsured patients by utilizing the volunteer work of health care professionals. “We will use this information to decide what programs to develop and how to do it so that we can continue to provide some of our hardest working residents – the working poor – with the care they need to continue to work.” read more »
Even in the heat of an election cycle, it is always good to take a break for some recommended reading.
EXCERPT (reprinted with permission):
In his introduction to Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film, and Television, Thomas Peele writes:
The tension in Take Me Out, results from deception. In an act of multicultural acceptance (with social class as the marker of cultural difference), Kippy Sunderstrom, Darren Lemming’s best friend and teammate, tells a lie. Sunderstrom writes a letter of apology to Lemming and attributes that letter to another teammate, Shane Mungitt. The reason for the apology is that Mungitt, at a press conference, refers to Lemming as a "faggot." Sunderstrom writes the letter, and says that Mungitt did, because he can’t believe that Mungitt actually feels that way. Sunderstrom believes that Mungitt only used the word as a result of his cultural difference, a cultural difference that Sunderstrom attributes to a lack of exposure to more contemporary ideas. The lie that Sunderstrom tells, though, backfires; rather than working to change Mungitt’s views about faggots and others whom he perceives as different from himself, it only puts Mungitt in a position to accomplish much greater violence. read more »
Daily Kos is such a popular forum that it has been called "an internet within the internet."
But such massive use brings downsides.
Sometimes, a blogger is lucky if a newly written diary stays on the screen for even a few minutes, due to the sheer volume of participation.
So the blogs' founder Markos Moulitsas wisely instituted a diary rescue feature. Through this method, select entries of importance can get another run on the big screen.
That's why all of us here at 123idaho were delighted during a recent search to find that at least a couple of our diaries regarding the Gem State were picked up by Daily Kos in-house writer Meteor Blades in his Green Diary Rescue thread.
A lot of important things happen in Idaho. And it is always good when our state receives international attention for issues other than the ones that keep late-night comedians in business.
From a Daily Kos Green Diary Rescue last summer:
123idaho wondered if we are making the best decisions for Idaho’s families and natural legacy?: "Whether your summertime rituals involve an annual hike up a favorite trail or Sunday evenings at the old fishing hole, the great outdoors are one big reason most of us choose to live in Idaho. From our pristine lakes and rivers to abundant, accessible public land to clear blue skies, we are blessed with scenic and recreational riches. We also know that these gifts were given to us to use wisely, and that we are called to be stewards of the air, land and water that both feed our souls and help us keep food on our tables. Just as we all shoulder a great deal of individual responsibility for our actions, as lawmakers, we know that decisions made in the Idaho Legislature can affect our environment. Are we making the best decisions?" read more »
Now stop staring:
No one has been able to say how long U.S. Forest Service Officer Scott Cairnes and Deputy Derek Hamm stood watching the trio, but in Cairnes’ report he wrote that he saw Dennison and Adkins engage in three sex acts and then Adkins and Walsh began to fondle Dennison.
Welker is referring to the 1st Congressional District Candidate's position statement on illegal immigration.
"I agree with Dan," added Angela Ippolito-Cross "I regret that I have but one vote to give Mr. Labrador."
But apparently, Republican words regarding their candidate are not worth the blog windows they are printed on.
UPDATE: White Man's Party: The Strange Career of Republican Racism talks about this problem. It is a must read.
Our post Hostility to minorities is held by the far right majority of the Republican Party was picked up by several reference sites, including Topix.com.
In this discussion, kodbager writes (among other things):
Here's a valid question. As a "minority" ... just what the hell is it that really distinguishes YOUR want's and wishes from that of MINE??? read more »
Maybe Harry Reid should consider adding the thought: I don't know how any woman could be a Republican, OK? ... Do I need to say more?
A Minnesota Republican Party operative yesterday waded into one of the signature political issues of our time: "Who's hotter — Republican women or Democratic women?" writes Rachel Rose Hartman on Yahoo News. read more »
No matter the group, one can almost feel the seething disgust the GOP has for people they don't like.
Simply put, there is one party that welcomes people of all colors and faiths, and there is one that does not.
Harry Reid really touched a nerve when he said: "I don't know how anyone of Latino heritage could be a Republican, OK?" ... "Do I need to say more?"
Out of necessity, 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Raul Labrador, who was born in Puerto Rico, weighed in:
“Harry Reid’s latest race-baited words are simply unacceptable to all members of the Hispanic community and I fully expect his party and Walt Minnick to condemn these terrible comments immediately.” he said
Calling Reid's comments "ill-tempered," and "ignorant," Labrador issued the following statement:
I cannot believe an elected leader of Harry Reid’s stature can continue to make racist comments about huge numbers of Americans. Harry Reid’s latest race-baited comments are simply unacceptable to all members of the Hispanic community. Denigrating the entire Republican Hispanic community, including myself, is simply outrageous. Contrary to Senator Reid’s beliefs, the Latino community is perfectly capable of making choices of political affiliation that are in its best interests, including being Republicans. read more »
And see the crosspost with a poll on Daily Kos:
Labrador Scores! Labrador Lies! Labrador Spins!
After commenting under the original story below, we realized that this issue deserves its own cohesive post.
Why do we feel like this, now three part saga, is going to have many more parts?
To begin with:
LABRADOR SCORES read more »