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Good Old Boys

Marty Trillhaase
February 8, 2013
Lewiston Tribune

JEERS … to Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee Chairman Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth. To say his committee's treatment of Fish and Game Commission appointee Joan Hurlock of Buhl was abysmal, heavy-handed and hypocritical would be an exercise in understatement.

Appointed by Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter last summer, Hurlock has drawn fire from elements of a Magic Valley fringe hunting group that prefers one of its own to guide fish, game and wildlife management. Rather than stand up to this special interest group and challenge its motives, Pearce, joined by Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, and Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, did its bidding.

And that bidding included:

Treating Hurlock like a hostile witness, subjecting her to an intensity of grilling rarely, if ever, seen in any recent Fish and Game Commission confirmation hearing. In spite of it, Hurlock demonstrated a mastery of the issues.

Accusing Hurlock of being only a casual hunter because she has not obtained a license every year. That puts her in good company. Only one in four Idahoans hunts or fishes and many of them do not renew on a yearly basis. Among them is Fish and Game Commissioner Bob Barowsky of Fruitland, who went several years without getting a hunting or fishing license before his appointment.

Hinting that because she had moved to Idaho from California about a decade ago, she's not well-versed in Gem State issues. By that standard, many Idahoans - indeed, entire industries - that have transplanted to Idaho from the Golden State would be disenfranchised.

Avoiding the elephant in the room. Hurlock is only the second woman appointed to the commission in 75 years. Could that be what's bothering her critics? Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, cried foul: "It appears to me that we're holding this candidate to a higher standard, and if we're going to do that, we need to change the statute, if we want it to reflect what we think an ideal candidate should be."

He wasted his breath. Pearce and four good old boys - regrettably Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, among them - voted thumbs down on Hurlock Wenesday, sending her nomination to an uncertain fate on the Senate floor.

CHEERS … to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. For the second time in less than a year, he's parting company with most of his fellow Republicans - including Idaho's Jim Risch - in support of victims of domestic violence.

Last year, Crapo crossed party lines to support reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, but what was once a bipartisan measure has languished in the polarized politics of Washington, D.C.

Now he's joined with Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and 58 co-sponsors to pass a new version. But only seven cosponsors are Republicans.

The conservative Heritage Foundation is promising to punish any Republican who votes for it.

Hanging in the balance are efforts to prevent teen dating domestic violence, shore up cops and prosecutors as well as support programs such as the YWCA in Lewiston and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.

Meanwhile, domestic violence rates are soaring. In the first five weeks of the year, Idaho has suffered four fatalities - compared to nine for all of 2012. On any given day, 688 Idaho women and children have sought shelter, counseling or civil protection orders - an increase of 26 percent in three years.

JEERS … to Congressman Doc Hastings, R-Wash. When it comes to the Pacific Northwest's fish vs. dams debate, Hastings apparently would prefer another decade or two of stalemate.

In a letter to Jane Lubchenco, administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hastings is challenging the agency's first steps toward brokering collaborative talks.

Just to recap, the federal government has prepared four fish recovery plans, at a cost of millions. In each case, the federal courts have voided those blueprints because they failed to satisfy the Endangered Species Act. Now another court-ordered rewrite is under way.

Meanwhile, a growing number of leaders - Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber among them - are looking for a way out of the impasse. At various times, they've talked about bringing all sides to the table.

In that vein, the National Marine Fisheries Service has launched a survey of more than 200 people throughout the region.

No one knows that better than Hastings, chairman of the House Resources Committee. So why is he trying to strangle this infant in its crib?

JEERS … to Idaho Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene. What's his idea of curriculum reform?

How about forcing your sons and daughters to plod through Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" in order to graduate.

Asked why he picked Rand's 1,069-page ode to the 1 Percent, Goedde said: "That book made my son a Republican."

Goedde's sending a message to the State Board of Education, which dropped an online instruction requirement to the chairman's dismay. Having made his point, he has no plans to pass the measure. But he's revealed what he thinks every Idaho school's reading list should include. How long before we see the following?

From House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star: "Dracula."

From the heavily outnumbered House Democrats: "The Mouse That Roared."

From Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, who doesn't know the difference between the Holocaust and Obamacare: "20th Century History for Dummies."

From Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who thinks women seeking abortions first should undergo vaginal probes: "Nineteen Eighty-Four."

From House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, who toppled former Speaker (Boss) Lawerence Denney: "The Godfather."

And from Lewiston's long-distance city councilor, Republican Rep. Thyra Stevenson: "A Tale of Two Cities." - M.T.

Originally posted at

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