The dream of transferring public land to the state

In the Idaho Republican Primary, ideas that don’t go far in a general election or are largely dismissed from the general debate often find life.

At least one U.S. Senate candidate, Neal Thompson of McCall, is calling for transferring federal lands in Idaho to the state. Back in the 1990s, the idea had wider support as lawsuits over endangered species and water quality were shutting down the timber industry across the state.

Idaho was making the second highest profit on its state lands per acre even surpassing Oregon. Only Washington, with some of the most valuable timber in the country was making more.

WaterCooler gives creative class a Boise base and a boost

Boise downtown developer Mark Rivers is a believer in what author Richard Florida calls the creative economy ands he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is.

Today Rivers officially opens “The Watercooler,” a business development center in downtown Boise aimed at helping small start-up companies started by Florida’s “creative class,” young, highly educated, professionals, engineers, entrepreneurs, artists and business executives. These people are increasingly responsible for economic growth worldwide. Florida ranked Boise 9th in the United States for attracting creative people in his “The Rise of the Creative Class.”

Hess helped build foundation for Ron Paul's ideas.

Ron Paul won’t surprise me if he gets a lot of votes Tuesday in Idaho. His libertarian views are popular among many Idahoans even if they are not fans of the Libertarian Party. Paul is a former Libertarian Party candidate who recognized that he would gain more credibility by joining the Republican Party.

I suspect many of the people who are enthralled by Paul aren’t aware of the people who built the philosophical base of libertarianism in the United States. I have long been fascinated by one of them, Karl Hess.

Simpson removes SNRA development land from White Clouds bill

Rep. Mike Simpson has removed a provision from his Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill that would have given Custer County 94 acres of public land near Stanley it could sell for development.

The transfer of land in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area was one of the most criticized provisions of the complicated bill that would preserve 319,000 acres as wilderness and help promote economic development in central Idaho. Now the only SNRA land that would be transferred is a small parcel to the city of Stanley for low-income housing.

Custer County gets instead, $3 million in cash, under the new bill.

Bush uses Borah's words to bash Obama

He was the “Lion of Idaho.”

He kept the United States out of the League of Nations
after World War I.

William E. Borah took seriously President George Washington’s warning to stay out of foreign entanglements. His critics suggested that he and others who believed this were "little Americans.

"Call us little Americans if you will," he answered in his speech against the League of Nations in 1919. "But leave us the consolation and the pride which the term American, however modified, still imparts. . . . If we have erred we have erred out of too much love for those things which from childhood you and we together were taught to revere .. . because we have placed too high an estimate upon the wisdom of Washington and Jefferson, too exalted an opinion upon the patriotism of the sainted Lincoln."

Cocktail hour ends soon with summer heat

The winter season ended late this year and this weekend the summer season will unofficially begin here in the Treasure Valley.

Now communities like Sun Valley, McCall and in what people generally call the shoulder season or the off-season. Business owners catch their breath and prepare for the much larger summer rush, which seems to start earlier every year.

Jackson Hole, one of the longer established winter-summer tourism communities has the best name for this period. They call it the cocktail hour.

Weary waitresses, ski patrollers and marketing directors take off for vacation in Moab, Mexico or Maui, depending on the size of their tips, salaries or trust funds. Those with year-round jobs just try to make ends meet.

Climate change solution bigger than Endangered Species Act

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne pleased everyone from the Audubon Society to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday with his decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The listing was a scientific decision and Kempthorne followed the science. Then he proposed a few new rules he hopes will eliminate the impact on oil and gas drilling and Arctic shipping. He also wrote rules he hopes prevents environmentalists from suing to use the Endangered Species Act’s Section 7 provision, which requires unequivocally the federal government take no action to jeopardize the survival of the bear. He especially wants to keep them from suing to use Section 7 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Candidates join scientists in climate change consensus

If you want to vote for a presidential candidate that believes the threat of climate change is a bunch of hooey, you are going to have to vote for a third party.

John McCain made it clear Monday in Portland that he plans to make climate change one of his top international priorities if he is elected President. He is even considering placing tariffs on India and China if they continue to ignore the problems, The New York Times reported.

Merrill faces long odds in write-in race against Moyle

The odds are always long for a write-in candidate for any office. Former Eagle Mayor Nancy Merrill is hoping to beat the odds and beat one of the most powerful Republicans in Idaho House Majority Leader Mike Moyle.

She’s banking on Moyle’s foot dragging on road funding and allowing Ada and Canyon County residents to vote in a local option tax election to raise money for roads and transit projects to ease the traffic congestion most pronounced in his district. So what is the record of write in candidates? Not good.

However, there are success stories. I covered an election in a town of 2,500 in Wisconsin in the 1970s where two candidates on the ballot were beaten in a landslide when the current mayor agreed under pressure to accept a second term if supporters got enough people to write her in. Needless to say Edith Merila, the winner, was a popular mayor in Washburn Wisconsin.

Otter intervenes in Oregon fisheries panel politics.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council rarely gets much attention from Idaho because most of its decisions have little impact here. Idaho has two representatives on the council, Jerry Mallet, the former Idaho Fish and Game director, is the Fish and Game representative and Dave Ortmann of Coeur d'Alene is the Idaho representative appointed by Gov. Butch Otter. they are usually the only Idahoans who knows what the council does.

Idaho's salmon turn north when they leave the Columbia River so they are not long in the fishing grounds managed by this council, which is one of eight nationally.

But this year the council, which manages fisheries off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, all but shut down salmon fishing off the coasts of California and southern Oregon. That will have a billion dollar plus impact on the economies of California and Oregon. Suddenly people are paying attention.

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