Sali's support

It wasn't quite the orchestrated show of GOP support that surrounded Lt. Gov. Jim Risch's launch into the U.S. Senate race, but 1st District Rep. Bill Sali is boasting some big-name backing in his bid for a second term.

In a Saturday news release, Sali said State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna, House Speaker Lawerence Denney and State Treasurer Ron Crane will co-chair his re-election campaign.

Said Sali: "I think their support is a reflection of the growing support I have gained among Idahoans since taking office. I have been working hard to carry on the legacy of leadership established by Helen Chenoweth and Butch Otter, and it’s humbling to have that work recognized by these statesmen."

BSU goes into quick damage control

A public relations rule of thumb suggests that you make sure bad news is only a one-day story. Many bigwigs who aren't named Larry Craig try to adhere to that policy.

The lesson of the one-day rule wasn't lost on the folks at Boise State University, who quickly retreated from an unpopular decision to ban a 21-gun salute at a Veterans Day ceremony.

News of the decision broke in Thursday's Statesman. By day's end, BSU said it would accommodate the request style="text-decoration:underline;">(click here for today's story).

Here's a concept: Election results on Election Night?

We knew going into Tuesday's elections that Eagle was the city to watch.

We couldn't have guessed how long we'd have to watch.

City officials didn't start releasing election results until 5 a.m. Wednesday — nine hours after the polls closed. I'm sorry. That's ridiculous.

I'm all for taking the time to check and recheck to get it right. I also realize the red-hot issue of Eagle Foothills development brought out the voters in droves, as a slow-growth ticket of candidates challenged the status quo. Anyone watching things in Eagle could have predicted a big turnout. Yet Eagle seemed overwhelmed and unprepared.

Boise elections: A big win for the secularists? Give me a break.

Bryan Fischer from the style="text-decoration:underline;">Idaho Values Alliance was in rare form today. His daily blog offers an unorthodox take — actually, a tirade — about Boise's city elections.

"ELECTION RESULTS: BOISE SETS SECULARIST COURSE

"Further evidence that Idaho’s capitol city is sliding into the iron grip of left-leaning politicos comes from yesterday’s election results, in which the incumbents who conspired together to remove the Ten Commandments monument from Julia Davis Park, refused to give their own citizens a voice in the matter, and spent $130,000 in taxpayer funds obstructing their right to vote all won handily.

The election scorecard

OK, let's look at Tuesday's city election results compared to Statesman endorsements.

At this hour, we stand at 13-5 — with one Star City Council race decided by a scant one vote, and the Eagle mayor's race headed to a runoff. style="text-decoration:underline;">(Click here for all the numbers.)

The breakdown:

Boise: We endorsed incumbent Mayor Dave Bieter and council incumbents Elaine Clegg, David Eberle and Alan Shealy. All four won, and easily.

Nampa: We endorsed three council challengers: Curtis Homer, Bob Henry and Lance McGrath. Homer won, as did incumbents Stephen Kren and Pam White.

Searching the Web so Larry Craig won't have to

From the "He-Didn't-Really-Say-It,-Did-He?" department comes this quote from our own Sen. Larry Craig.

In a guest opinion hailing a seven-year ban on Internet taxes, Craig writes: "I’ll tell you right away that I’m no expert on the Internet, but I learn more every day."

I bet.

In the interest of helping out, I perused the first couple of pages of Google's estimated 1.66 million hits under "Larry Craig." (That in itself is a telling number, since "Mike Crapo" merits only a paltry 115,000 hits and "Bill Sali" checks in at 236,000.)

No. 13 on the Larry Craig Google search: an MSNBC headline, "Craig resigns over airport bathroom sex sting." No. 14 is a Fox News headline, "Idaho Senator Larry Craig Resigns."

Sali and the shield law (UPDATED)

Today we catch up, belatedly, on another unusual 'no' vote from 1st District Rep. Bill Sali.

Sali was among just 21 House members to vote no on style="text-decoration:underline;">HR 2102, a federal "shield law" governing journalists' ability to protect the anonymity of unnamed sources. The bill passed the House on Oct. 16; to his credit, 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson voted yes.

I can hear the Sali defenders now. "Oh, now Sali's done it: he has voted against a media bill, ticking off all those reporters and pundits who have never liked him in the first place."

First off, I'll defend a Sali no vote when he has a good explanation for it (as I did recently, when I said I could understand his no vote on the SCHIP expansion bill and the cigarette tax increase that went with it). And second, and an effective shield law isn't just a media bill. In protecting journalists' ability to report on sensitive stories, a good shield law honors the public's right to know.

Here's how Sali spokesman Wayne Hoffman explains this no vote: "The Congressman was concerned that the bill would encourage the leaking of classified material. At the same time, there’s a concern that the bill would set so high a bar as to discourage investigations and prosecutions of such leaks."

I can appreciate Sali's concerns, but I don't just don't agree with his interpretation of HR 2012. This is no get-out-of-jail (or stay-out-of-jail) card for journalists. Reporters could be forced to reveal their sources for reasons of national security; if disclosure is "necessary to prevent imminent death or significant bodily harm;" and if disclosure is in the public interest, "taking into account both the public interest in compelling disclosure and the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information."

This is a balancing act, as HR 2102 seems to recognize.

In an editorial last week, the San Jose Mercury News pointed out that 33 states already have shield laws, and argued effectively for a federal shield law. The paper pointed out that in some cases, such as the investigation into the Balco steriods story and the Wen Ho Lee spy case, unnamed sources are essential to the news-gathering process.

"Most journalists use confidential sources sparingly and as a last resort. And information they provide is usually supported by follow-up documentation or further interviews. In many instances, providing a source confidentiality is essential to the important watchdog role the press provides in our democracy," the Mercury News wrote.

Amen. That role is important even during — and especially during — a nebulous and ongoing war on terror.

Get out the vote ...

... and support your local blogger.

Two of them, in fact.

Meridian-based blogger Joel "Bubblehead" Kennedy (blogging at style="text-decoration:underline;">The Stupid Shall Be Punished) tells me that he is a finalist for a 2007 Weblog award, along with style="text-decoration:underline;">The MountainGoat Report.

This being endorsement season, I can't seriously go 12 hours or so without writing an endorsement, right? I heartily endorse both blogs. Bubblehead serves up a great mix of topics: a little politics, a little lifestyle, an occasional TV or movie review, and more news about submarines than you can reasonably expect out of landlocked Meridian. MountainGoat is one of the most astute political bloggers in the state.

Bieter goes low profile

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has skipped four campaign-season neighborhood forums since Oct. 24, and he looks bad in the process.

He looks like a candidate who has decided that there is no longer any upside in debating his challenger, City Council member Jim Tibbs. He looks like someone who has made a careful political calculation: Bieter enjoys the advantages and name ID of incumbency, which may more than offset Tibbs' high profile as a longtime Boise police officer. Bieter also enjoys about a 5-to-1 fundraising advantage, style="text-decoration:underline;">as our Kathleen Kreller reported this morning.

Endorsement tales from Kuna

From the notebook on the Kuna city endorsements ( style="text-decoration:underline;">click here for our choices in Tuesday's elections)

• One of the four mayor's candidates was a no-show with the Statesman — on purpose.

Said City Council member Richard Cardoza (and yes, in an all-caps e-mail): "SINCE I DO NOT AGREE THAT THE IDAHO STATESMAN OR ANY OTHER NEWSPAPER SHOULD
ENDORSE A CANDIDATE, I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE EDITORIAL BOARD
MEETING. I BELIEVE EACH CANDIDATE SHOULD STAND ON HIS OR HER OWN PRINCIPLES

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