RNC, Palin, tubing and more

RNC not so crazy

Though described as "subdued" and "not crazy," as BW went to press, the Republican National Convention, which kicked off Monday, was already getting interesting for Idaho's delegation.

After the news that John McCain's VP pick was born in Sandpoint and attended the University of Idaho (for journalism), Idaho delegates headed to Minneapolis-St. Paul eager to meet Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

But as Hurricane Gustav wracked the Gulf Coast, much of the early program for the convention was called off. No music. No sign waving.

"They were going through the motions," said Kevin McGowan, an alternate in the Idaho delegation and Republican candidate for Idaho's District 19 House seat, probably the most heavily Democratic district in the state. He is running against Democrat Brian Cronin.

McGowan said that most of the parties were cancelled Monday night, but that the Idaho delegation was bused from its Minneapolis hotel (not an airport hotel, mind you) to a gala hosted by Union Pacific in a series of train cars.

Because of McCain-Feingold campaign finance rules, they could not sit down, but ate finger food all night, McGowan said.

"There's all this food around, and you never know if you're getting a full meal or not," he said.

Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, the highest ranked official in the delegation, and the other delegates were delighted to get a police motorcycle escort back to their hotel after the party, McGowan said.

McGowan likes McCain because of "the war hero thing," though the New York Republican took a while to get used to Idaho Republicanism when he moved here four years ago. He feels that Palin seals the McCain ticket as a true outsider ticket, but he gets why people are drawn to Barack Obama as well.

"I get his karma, the essence of who he is, I like watching him speak, I think he's a neat charismatic figure," McGowan said.

Citizen-governor Palin

Speaking of Sarah Palin, Idaho officials from Mike Crapo to Butch Otter to Democratic candidate Walt Minnick heralded her blast off into national politics.

"In the short time that I have known Gov. Palin ... she has been very involved in the Western Governor's Conference, in the National Governor's Association on primarily education matters, criminal justice, natural resources and transportation, and she has always provided a lot of leadership and a lot of input to the other governors that I don't believe that understand as much of the Western problems that we have," Otter stated.

Emphasis on short time. Even Idaho Republicans barely know Palin, who has a shot at being the first woman vice president in U.S. history. Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, who is at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this week, hopes to meet her and called her a "smoother Helen Chenoweth."

Minnick, who stood on stage with Obama when he came to Boise, called her a champion of reform and enemy of corruption and said, "both parties are ready for change in Washington, D.C."

CWI race is on

Change in D.C. is a long shot, but change in Nampa at the nascent College of Western Idaho is possible with two heavily challenged open seats in the November election.

Three incumbents remained unchallenged at press time—former Nampa Chamber of Commerce chairman M.C. Niland, Associated General Contractors director Mark Dunham and retired Boise Cascade executive Guy Hurlbutt. But there are competitive races in the remaining two districts: Gordon Brown, Tammy Ray, Martin Scheffer and Jim Rice all want to hold seat two. And Daniel Dunham (no relation to Mark), retired Air Force Col. Bruce Wong and state Sen. Stan Bastian, who was recently upset in a four-way Republican primary race seek seat one.

The seats are at large, meaning each candidate gets to choose which race they want to enter. Incidentally, Jesse Holmes, son of Democratic congressional candidate Debbie Holmes, filed for the board when it looked like no one else would, but withdrew his name at the last minute after other candidates filed.

The deadline for filing fell after BW's deadline. Check for an update.

IBR, 1; Statesman, 0

From citydesk correspondent and BW Features Editor Deanna Darr: The battle for Boise legal ads is over, finally.

After nearly two years of legal wrangling, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled on Aug. 26 in favor of the Idaho Business Review's right to print legal ads from non-governmental sources, overturning an earlier lower court decision.

The Idaho Statesman sued IBR in 2006, claiming that Idaho law gave the daily paper the sole right to print the ads—which are used to fulfill the legal requirement of public notification on a variety of issues. The Statesman argued that since it was the paper of largest paid circulation, the ads could only, legally, be run in its pages. The Statesman's paid circulation is roughly 64,000, while IBR's is just more than 3,300.

But the Supreme Court agreed with IBR that the law only applies to governmental agencies. Statesman publisher Mi-Ai Parrish's only comment so far has been, "We're disappointed," according to an article published in the Statesman.

IBR officials are far more ecstatic.

"The Supreme Court just reinforced the opinion that we already had from our attorney and had on our Web site," IBR publisher Rick Carpenter told BW.

"[The ruling] vindicates the right of private parties to choose the newspaper in which they publish their notices," said IBR attorney Newal Squyres in a story published in IBR.

"The Statesman was attempting to gain a monopoly on the publication of a broad scope of legal notices, contrary to the Idaho Constitution," Squyres said.

The paper has continued publishing non-governmental legal ads free of charge while the case has been on appeal, advising clients that the ads had to run in the Statesman prior to being printed in IBR.

Carpenter said the paper has lost a "significant" amount of revenue in the two years it has been unable to charge for the ads, but said publication of paid legals will begin again this week.

Tube rental done

Labor Day was the official end of the Boise River floating season, unless you bring your own boat and want to freeze your butt off, of course. Epley's Incorporated, which rented rafts and tubes at Barber Park for Ada County for the first time this year, closed up shop on Sept. 1. Until this year, the county ran the raft shop at Barber Park. The Epley's guys even offered guided river tours and a shuttle back to Barber.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008, 4,154 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,375 in combat and 779 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 30,568. In the last week, five U.S. soldiers died.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 4,004 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 86,756 and 94,654.


COST OF IRAQ WAR: $550,648,881,634


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