Sunday, October 31, 2010

Please Vote Tuesday

Most mid-term elections have abysmal turnouts of registered voters. There are many important issues, as well as political offices up for grabs, not to mention two up for grabs write-in contests.

Two such contests, pit Jai Nelson, Republican Primary winner against incumbent, Rick Currie. Currie lost in a three way election, with the split vote. This is a classic glass half-full or half-empty scenario. Nelson claims Currie had over 60% of the voters against him, while clamimg victory with less than 40% herself. The third losing candidate, threw his support behind Currie, as a write-in.

The other contest pits Phil Hart, Republican/Libertarian/Constitution Party incumbent against Howard Griffths, who threw his hat into the ring when several integrity issues surfaced during the Summer past. I cannot remember an election season with any more drama than this one, also a write-in canidacy.

For the first time in 15 years, Kootenai County clerk, Dan English has opposition. The lone elected Democrat on the county payroll, Dan's selfless dedication to his position was unchallenged until a sore loser in a city of Coeur d'Alene council election spurred fringe operatives from the extreme right to place the blame for their guy's defeat on the election department. An allegation that was discounted by the courts.

Wherever you are on these and other issues, let's have a great turnout to celebrate our unique system of overthrowing governments. By voting.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pay It Forward

October 30th 2010 at 6:pm, the American Legion Auxiliary will host its annual
“Pay It Forward” dinner. The dinner was started as a means of collecting food items for the ABC Food Bank located in Athol and in remembrance of Ellie, who believed the way to return a favor is to “Pay It Forward.” All of the supplies to cook the meal are donated from local merchants. The price of admission to the dinner is a donation of food or cash to the Food Bank.

This dinner was started in remembrance of a dear friend. Ellie taught me to return a favor by paying the favor forward. The last year that Ellie was in Germany she left her fully decorated Christmas Tree, households goods, and bedding with Norma Jean and her family. Her only request was to pass the gift on to someone else in need.

As we move into the fall and winter season, the economy is very slowly improving. There are friends and neighbors who are in need. Pay It Forward by donating what you can."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Open Letter to the Timberlake Community

Oct 22, 2010
I am not personally involved in the recall efforts against commissioners Rudebaugh and Fish,however, I was a direct witness to their behaviors (both public and behind closed doors) and completely support and understand why the petitioners want them removed from office.

Rudebaugh and Fish are currently circulating a flyer that falsely states that “the only real reason the petitioners want a recall is because of a strong personal attachment to the former fire chief,a desire to have the former management structure returned, and a $500,000 permanent levy” on the citizens." These claims are false and simply represent more of the scare tactics these two men used to get elected in the first place. It is a well known fact that I am not returning and there are no plans for a levy or the return of the previous management structure.

The fire district is in very poor shape both in terms of equipment and personnel, and its future should be seriously discussed and decided by the citizens, in the form of town hall meetings supported by a community survey, which was the original plan crafted on December 16, 2009 in a work session of the entire board, including these two new commissioners. That meeting gave me unanimous direction to send out a newsletter and survey, to schedule town halls, and proceed with the commissioner supported plan to test public support for some form of levy to address the problems posed by a dilapidated fleet of vehicles. However the newsletter was halted by these two commissioners one day before it was to be mailed.

The August 2010 Timberlake Fire newsletter stated “In mid February, the chief acting on his own without Board approval, removed many pieces of equipment from service.” The board was informed that removing the apparatus was an option one week prior, and none of them objected. In fact, Rudebaugh gave specific direction to do it. Soon after that happened, he put a gag order in place, and then violated his own gag order by leaking information to a friend who called the press, and then acted surprised and strongly objected when the information appeared in the paper. I couldn’t believe it.

I would also like to confirm statements that the management contract was my idea. In March, I researched this as an option and discussed it with other chiefs since I was privately considering another employment opportunity and wanted to ensure that the district would have continuity of professional management in the interim. I brought up the idea of a “management contract” to the commissioners as one of several “short term” alternatives to help the district survive within its current funding, even though the district's long term problems would not be fixed unless we either decreased service or increased funding.

It was understood by all that this was one of several alternatives, and that what was needed was for the board of commissioners to discuss all options in a public forum and obtain feedback to gauge which options the public would support. Unfortunately, commissioners Rudebaugh,Fish and outgoing commissioner Quillin chose instead to move forward with a management contract by acting behind closed doors. All of the planning and options were supposed to be transparent and open, but it was not. It was very dirty politics and it upset a lot of people. In closing, I would just like to thank the citizens of the Timberlake Fire Protection District for two
wonderful years in which it was my honor to serve as your fire chief.

Jack Krill
Former Fire Chief, Timberlake Fire Protection District

Thursday, October 21, 2010

View From The Top

Winter hours have arrived for local bar/restaurants. The floating Patio will close Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday through Sunday, until spring.

Ralph's Internet Cafe is open 8-8 Tuesdays through Saturday and 8-4 Sunday and Monday.

The Bay Cafe is open for Breakfast and lunch from 8:00am until 2:00 pm. Norma Jean tells us that you must try the new dish. Eggs Benedean.

JD's has their regular hours, 7 days per week.

The Buttonhook will be closed for the remainder of the Winter, unless the patio closes early. The buttonhook can open for special occasions and private parties by reservation. Contact Herb for that use at 683-9107.

The Bayview Mercantile is operating on winter hours as well, closing at 8:00 pm.

Marinas are open and taking slip reservations for next year, and/or covered moorage now. Call 683-2243. Or MacDonalds at 683-2211.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wacky Election Year

This year might possibly go down as one of the wackiest ones in recent history. We have a congressman, Walt Minnick, democrat, dissing Obama. OK, not so unusual in this the avoid Obama year for dems.

Then we have two write-in campaigns in local races, both which actually have a chance to succeed. Jai Nelson, Darling of the Libertarian right polled just barely more than Curry and Filios in a three way primary race, causing Filios and Currie to team up in a write-in for Currie. None of the candidates polled more than 37%.

Then the bizarre candidacy of Phil Hart, late of the Constitution Party. Serving on the taxation committee in the state legislature. He owes a bunch to the federal government, and his own state, for which he legislates tax laws... AND, he passes the litmus test in the investigation of his conflict of interest. Plus, it is discovered that he allegedly stole enough logs from state lands to build his rustic mansion in Athol. Howard Griffiths, a man that we here in Bayview know and respect, couldn't stomach this travesty, as a republican himself, and starts a write-in, too.

Kootenai county clerk, Dan English, a thoroughly respected administrator, suddenly becomes a cause celeb from the same libertarian right that Jai Nelson springs from. As if the 15 year veteran wasn't there all along, the wackos eventually became enraged at the heresy of an admitted democrat that could actually hold office in this county. Of course many of his detractors don't even live in Kootenai county, but then that is why the term Carpet Baggers was coined, wasn't it.

For those of us in northern Kootenai County, the recall election in the Timberlake Fire Protection District. Two commissioners, most recent electees, Rudebaugh and Fish, enraged many in the district for firing a popular chief, then contracting for management with an adjoining district, ignoring that folks around here like to manage there own affairs. Local control is the foundation of conservative politics and the transfer of responsibility to Northern Lakes appears to have engendered widespread resentment.

Even local volunteer organizations are not exempt from the craziness that pervades our region. Here in Bayview, the so called Chamber of Commerce disses local businesses and caters to a special interest group that is anti-expansionist. This roiled up group appears to be spinning out of control. We hear that the coming election of officers in November,is in trouble. they can't find anyone that wants to hold these offices and many of the current board members can't wait to escape.

All in all, if in the firing line, duck, then go vote. Staying at home this year not only would be a travesty of monumental proportions, it would suggest that you just don't give a damn. That of course won't stop the non-voters from bitching, once the dust settles.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

For Unbelievers

Many people cruise out to Bernard Peak in hopes of spotting the elusive mountain goats that some think is an urban legend. Well no, it's not. We really have goats here. (permission granted if you want to download this picture for your own enjoyment,) Tom Musson & I sailed out for a tour of the south end of the lake and lo & behold, they were everywhere. The two pictured were only about 50 feet above the water. I used as much zoom as I dared, since I was on a rocking boat.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

County Clerk

This is an interesting contest, as no serious challenger has stepped up for Kootenai County Clerk in the 15 years Dan English has been there. I question the motives of Hayes who probably was a fine police chief, but has no training for the vast sub-departments of the clerk position. This smacks of pure partisanship. The very idea, allowing a democrat to hold office in Kootenai County apparently offends some of the fringe of rational politics. Or perhaps Hayes just needs a job. Any job.

I did a story a couple of years ago in which I covered Deedee Beard and the elections department. At that time, I went away in awe of the professionalism that Deedee and her boss, Dan showed during the election cycles. It pains me to see a fine public servant such as Deedee maligned for partisan purposes. Hanging the 3 vote loss to Kennedy on the elections department is the height of demagoguery at best. To send such a fine person as Deedee into retirement in the way some did is just plain awful.

As to this election, I commonly use a very simple formula for selecting whether to fire an office holder, or hire a new one. My formula is,"If if ain't broke, don't fix it." Folks, the office of Dan English and his perch as county clerk ain't broke. I urge everyone to ignore party affiliations as I have in this and one other case and vote for Dan, the best man for the job.

PS: I received a comment from Bill McCrory in which he correctly noted that I used Harris instead of Hayes. Mea Culpa. I had a brain cramp. The reason that I didn't publish Bill's comment was that he chose to use defamitory language in pointing my error out. He isn't the same gentleman that once helped me repeatedly through the pitfalls of computer ignorance that I once needed and received help with from him. Thank you for all of your help, Bill. Even the comment that you submitted, since it allowed me to correct the error. I forgive you for the anger that this issue spilling over from the litigation caused.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Two Cents

Well, the election is almost upon us and what an interesting year it is.I'm not going to cover all of the mess, but a part of it intrigues me,having never used the blank space for write in candidates in all the 50 years I've voted. That is one thing I'm changing that this year, not once, but twice.

First the race for county commissioner in Kootenai County. Three candidates ran in the primary with incumbent Rick Curry gaining 32% of the vote, Jai Nelson, darling of the libertarian movement with 37% and Chris Fillios at 32%. This was from a total of about 19% turnout of registered voters. Since the election, Fillios has enthusiastically endorsed the write in campaign of Rick Curry. This essentially means that 66% voted against Nelson and her marginal crew.

I believe that without the efforts of some extremists and had Fillios not run, Curry would have walked away with the election. He is one of the most effective commissioners we have ever had. He speaks truth, even if that truth isn't what you want to hear. He works effectively with all political affiliates and doesn't deserve to lose. What is more important, is we can't afford to turn our county government over to extremists. I urge a write in vote for Currie.

The other write-in will be for Griffiths. This is a republican that after all of the revelations regarding Hart came out, just couldn't stay out of the race. That is to his credit, a brave thing to do. To anyone that is listening at all, I need not repeat the sins of Hart. He is an embarrassment to Idaho, the republican party and Kootenai County. That his own party in the ethics investigation held to a straight party line is not to their credit either. He has allegedly stolen from the state, has refused to pay his taxes and has deeded his home and business to a living trust to avoid any responsibility. This is a man that doesn't understand morality at all.

We need to address the severe polarization of the left and right. We need thoughtful office holders that have principles and morals to represent us. I realize that a write-in vote is an uphill battle, but if I am going to represent that principle that I espouse, then this I must do. I urge every one that reads this to give these issues serious thought and vote your conscience.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lolo Pass Oil Shipments

There have been hundreds of trees cut down to tell the story of the boondoggle in shipping 175 ton half coker drums up highway 12, thence to and through Montana, which hasn't given permission yet either. Blocking off hwy 12, both lanes so that these monster loads can travel through Idaho to their final destination, the oil sands area of Calgary, Canada.

I have an off the wall suggestion that may actually work. It has been announced that many more over sized and over weight loads are planned for the future. Has anyone thought about flying over these routes rather than trucking them? No, I don't mean in a standard airliner. How about a rigid dirigible? I had read something about a new German built airship called the CL160. I even think there is one already here on the west coast.

The CL 160 as it's name implies, can carry a payload of 160 tons from point A to the end destination without touching the ground anywhere en route. True, 160 tons won't lift 175 tons, but those figures are so close, one wonders if the engineers that designed this machine hd a tolerance built in that would handle the additional weight. The airships use helium, not the hydrogen that the ill fated Hindenburg burned up with.

I urge the powers that be to look into this method of transporting extra heavy or extra large loads. How about we think outside the box just this once. Below is the source of the statistical information on these air machines.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My Take

When a sitting Democrat in this one of the most conservative states in the union runs for re-election, it gets interesting. Add a little spin and it goes off the chart. Fact: Minnick is a conservative, a Blue Dog Democrat. Fact: The speaker of the house of Representatives is Pelosi, a San Francisco ultra-liberal. Fact: The Republican party needs to regain the majority in the house.

These are the facts that face voters, many moderate republicans and conservative democrats. I like Congressman Minnick. I like the way he talks straight. I like the way he votes, and I like the way that he tries to turn his party toward the center.

The Republican party seems to have only one major objection to his re-election. Well, two. They want Labrador, a Puerto Rican born citizen that makes a living as an attorney specializing in immigration issues. To me, that means he supports wetbacks. Note: (I don't feel it necessary to use politically correct terms that were invented on the left.) For the record, my first wife was born in Mexico and three of my children are half Mexican. This is not a bigot issue, it is whether our laws protecting against illegal immigration should be prostituted, in the ever lasting quest for new liberal voters. ... But I digress.

Illegal immigration isn't just about peasant farmers, their wives and five children. If this example can walk across the border, so can terrorists. In fact the terrorists could infiltrate English speaking Caucasians, or those that would pass for one, along with weapons as well.

The major issue with Minnick, according to pretty much every right wing conservative I've talked to, is that he is a vote for Pelosi. He has stated that he has made no decision on that matter. I expect that if it were a very close election that he would bolt the Pelosi gang. Last time up he was a congressional freshman. They are nominally told to shut up, sit down and learn the ropes.

To abandon a good man, a sound thinker for purely partisan politics, in my view, is wrong. Labrador is not half the man that Minnick is. I am crossing over to vote for Minnick, despite the fear factor. First, I believe that the one seat is not going to be a factor. This election is going to sweep many mistakes out of the House that were made in the coat tail election of Obama. Congressman Minnick should not fall victim to the throw the bastards out syndrome. It is sad that because the republican party activists control the primaries that a moderate can be elected in the general election but not by one's own party. I have a hunch that if that were not true, Minnick would run as the conservative that he is, and under the Republican party banner.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Even Doctors Spin

It must be the season during an election year. It seems even medical doctors can't resist spinning for a good cause. In today's Spokesman-Review (Saturday, October 2) Guest opinion, two prominent doctors with great intentions flagrantly spun the stats to prove their point. The article was about keeping medical schools and doctors in the less populated areas of the inland northwest. Dr's. Paul G. Ramsey and Warwick M. Bayly wrote a logical opinion piece about this retention in the community and in favor of Eastern Washington medical school campuses. The spin? Check it out.

"Where will you find your next doctor? The odds are good that your doctor is thinking about retiring in the next 10 years. There are roughly two primary care physicians in the work force in their late 50s or older for every one physician under 30. And that’s on top of a growing national shortage of physicians. The challenge of attracting doctors to hospitals and clinics will become more difficult. Among the hardest-hit areas will be rural regions such as Eastern Washington. Where will you find excellent medical care?"

This was their lead paragraph. They feature the gap between 30 year old and 50 year old physicians, suggesting that the field is populated with older doctors. This is all true, except for one thing. A young medical student graduates from college with a BS at age 22 or 23. He/she then goes to medical school for at least four more years, taking them to age 27 or 28. Then at least two years of residency or internship follows. In other words, these fine doctors have twisted statistics to make their point, which, incidentally is a valid one that doesn't need misrepresentation. The first chance a doctor has to practice medicine is about at age 30. This skews the average age factor in a huge way. Doctors, your goal is good. You don't have to spin to tell your story.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Numbers Game

Many bloggers judge the success or failure of their blogs by the numbers of visitors they attract. To an extent, it is an accurate measure of popularity.

I have noticed this last week that my numbers are down by about 30 visits per day. This isn't due to readers being turned off, but because I haven't raised hell about anything recently. People seem to feed on controversy and opinionated diatribes. Yes, I can and have been opinionated on many subjects, but hey the sun is out, a beautiful week of weather is present and all is well in Bayview.

The Ockoberfish derby will get under way tomorrow, after tonight's auction and German dinner for ticket holders. The week-end is predicted to be gorgeous right up until Monday, when reality intrudes.

In short, things are going right more than wrong and I'm at a mellow place. No, don't call 911. I'll revert as soon as someone or some group does something stupid.

Wait! I just thought of something. It turns out that a member of the Bayview Chamber of commerce nominating committee was heard to say that they didn't like Norma Jean Knowles who is attempting to run for Board member at large. Norma Jean is administrative officer for the marinas in town which of course would be something that a lakeshore community Chamber would obviously want to eliminate. This person is, of course a member in good standing of the Developmental Action committee, a group that for the most part is anti-growth and anti-business. Look for the entire slate of proposed officers to come from that group which seems to have captured the whole of the Chamber by driving off those less controversial. There. I did it. Well how long did you think I would behave, anyway.