Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Cheers and Boos: Late Edition

Posted by Adam Graham on April 14, 2009

I’m a day and a half late, but with Easter and Google and Twitter turning on me, there’s reason for the delay.

Cheers…to Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-19) for getting her first “Conservative” vote on the Idaho Conservative scorecard in her entire legislative career. Right now she’s a 14% Conservative rating for the year, and a 5% Idaho Conservative rating for her career. This is the first “conservative” vote cast in the Senate from District 19 in the 3 years I’ve been doing the scorecard. The past 3 years, District 19 has a total 2.11% Conservative rating for its delegation.

Cheers…to Julie Fanselow of the Idaho Democratic Party. The Democrats are urging people to run for school board, reminding them the filing deadline is April 17. Julie’s doing her job. I’ll do mine and tell you that if you think having massive school agencies that negotiate with teacher’s unions being made up of people from the Party of Teacher’s Unions, or if you want to bring accountability to school systems, it may be time to consider a run, particularly with Democrats considering it.

BOOS to the Idaho Statesman for calling the legislature’s decision to vote for GARVEE “courageous.” The Statesman may agrees with the legislature’s decision. (I don’t.)  But does it really take courage to vote for a large debt the public doesn’t fully understand?

BOOS to Rep. Grant Burgoyne (D-16) for his hypocritical reader’s view calling for local option taxes. If Rep. Burgoyne truly believes in local control, then perhaps, he may wanto to support allowing all local voters to be able to have a fair chance vote on school board and tax issues. 

 Secondly, the issue is not local. The last State House approved a Constitutional Amendment on local option taxes. Thus the point of local control has been conceded. The remaining issues are whether the method and rules for local option should be written into the Constitution or subject to mission creep by allowing legislative revision; whether there should be taxpayer protections that requires a 2/3 majority when most citizens are voting or allows the occurrence of stealth elections where special interests favoring the passage of local option taxes can manipulate voter turnout while opponents are struggling to get an organization together; finally, whether this “local” control should have to be an actual locality like Ada County or Canyon County, or if we can start creating localities to excercise local control, letting large counties totally dominate smaller ones.

AdaCanyon County is an arbitrary district, and doesn’t feel like Local Option will preserve local control for Canyon County if it will allow Ada County to force Canyon County into a district that it doesn’t really want or benefit from.

These are the issues, let’s be honest about it.

Boos to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho.) and other hard-working lawmakers who are working to bring back the Pioneer Train line. They may be nearing success. In the short-term, this is good news for the people of Boise and for me in particular. The presence of Amtrak would make it less expensive to travel the West, over to Portland, up to Montana, down to Utah.

Unfortunately, the effort is emblematic of what’s wrong with the country and it’s politics. Amtrak isn’t effecient. It’s not that great at being on time (the website used to boast of 67% on-time rating until someone figured out that wasn’t something to boast about.) It costs taxpayers billions of dollars of subsidies and as long as Uncle Sam subsidizes the thing it’s going to continue to be less competive. Rather than killing this Dinosaur Vampire, our politicians are feeding it.

Soon, I may be able to easily travel from Boise to Kalispell, but is it worth a bankrupt country? (Hat Tip: Ridenbaugh.)

Cheers to Senators Russ Fulcher (R-21) and John Goedde (R-4) for this nice piece of legislative handiwork:

Out of all the amendments proposed, just one set, sponsored by Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, and John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene and developed by Jason Hancock of the state Department of Education, has passed the Senate to amend HB 256, the bill to cut state reimbursements to school districts for their student busing costs. The amendments change the permanent cut-off of funding for busing for school field trips to a two-year moratorium, ending July 1, 2010; and temporarily remove a $1.4 million hit to the Boise School District, but impose a requirement for a special transportation audit by the state Department of Education, and if any of the audit’s money-saving recommendations aren’t followed, the district would see its funding cut by that amount next year, up to the full $1.4 million it would’ve lost under the original bill. The Lewiston school district faces a similar requirement, though its potential loss is less, around $30,000.

The need for some cuts, particularly on field trips was necessary during these tough economic times, but field trips themselves can be a good learning experience. Cheers to the good Senators for adding an appropriate sunset.

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2 Responses to “Cheers and Boos: Late Edition”

  1. Phil Hardy said

    Adam, I disagree with your views on Amtrak. The country has had its wake-up call regarding transportation and I believe it is time to try Amtrak in Idaho again. The corridor between Boise through to Nampa and Caldwell (with stops in between) could be a winner today and in the years to come.

    It is worthy of investment and it is a help to the air quality; which is an issue in itself if the EPA certifies we are in non-attainment.

    I’m a Republican too.

  2. Phil, I definitely don’t question your Republicanism neither do I question the Republicanism of Senator Crapo.

    Here’s my problem though. Last July when my brother came out to see me while I was at the State Convention at Sandpoint, we had a total of 8 hours in delays, both ways. The Amtrak website boasts of a nationwide 67% on-time rating. They took it down because they knew it was nothing to brag about. You know what you’d call an airline with that record? Out of business.

    And Amtrak would be too, without a government subsidy because most people don’t have the time to wait around. We can’t afford it, particularly if you’re a business traveler. I think there’s problem a smart way to do rail travel. Amtrak ain’t it.

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