DJEERS ... to Lewiston Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Schroeder.
Here’s what she had to say Monday about charging user fees to community events:
“Is it fair to have everybody pay, even if they don’t go to it? ... Everybody’s paying for the free family thing whether they know it or not.”
What is she thinking? What are many of her colleagues on the city council thinking?
Only Councilors Jim Kleeburg and Cari Miller opposed a draft resolution to establish such fees.
Lewiston operates a $30 million budget. Why can’t it absorb the estimated $5,000 in overtime pay for city workers to support parades and events?
To charge a user fee in this instance would be like billing someone to have the police chase burglars away from his business or to have the fire department extinguish a fire in her shed.
Would you charge for admission to a city park?
How about at the city library?
Events have an intangible value for the entire community.
Even if you stay home, they draw money into the economy. They add flavor to the local culture. And who knows? Just because you aren’t interested in a parade doesn’t mean you won’t show up for a vintage car show. Just having that opportunity adds to your quality of life.
Impose user fees and what happens?
Presumably, you’ll have fewer events. For instance, representatives of Beautiful Downtown Lewiston and Hot August Nights questioned how they’d break even.
Life in Lewiston could get pretty sterile pretty quick. Isn’t that too high a price to pay?
CCHEERS ... to U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
In the wake of mass shootings at El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Crapo has at least opened the door to considering new gun safety measures.
“ ... President Trump has outlined some ideas that we in Congress should consider in light of these latest tragedies,” Crapo said in a prepared statement. “We must give ourselves the best chance to stop these senseless acts and protect the lives — and constitutional rights —of innocent Americans.”
Trump has advanced two ideas:
l Closing the private sale and gun show loopholes in the background check laws.
l Red flag laws— also known as extreme risk protection orders. Such measures give judges the ability to confiscate weapons from people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.
There’s a consensus behind both ideas.
For instance, Washington voters passed a universal background check initiative by 59.3 percent in 2014. In 2016, they approved a red flag law by 69.4 percent
According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll Wednesday, universal background checks enjoy 91 percent support. Red flag laws are nearly as popular at 89 percent.
But even Donald Trump does not get a pass from Idaho’s gun lobby.
“We are going to do everything we can to stop President Trump and Senate Republicans from ever implementing this,” said Idaho Second Amendment Alliance President Greg Pruett.
When it comes to gun safety in Idaho, the prudent political move is to keep your head down, say no and move on. The chief practitioner of that approach, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, wasted no time in opposing red flag laws.
In this environment, being willing to merely listen takes nerve.
Good for Crapo.
DJEERS ... to Idaho Gov. Brad Little.
First he was receptive to an open discussion about preserving Idaho’s salmon and steelhead runs.
Then he wasn’t.
Then he was.
And now he’s not.
“I’m in favor of breaching the status quo,” Little teased at the April 23 Andrus Center’s “Energy, Salmon, Agriculture, and Community; Can We Come Together?” conference.
When he launched a salmon and steelhead recovery group on June 28, the governor waved off any discussion of breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River.
“I remain unconvinced at this time that breaching the dams will recover salmon in Idaho,” he said.
Of course, that had some conservationists on Little’s panel wondering why they were wasting their time. So the governor backtracked: “Well, I think you interpreted my comments a little different than I would interpret them.”
Then came Little’s prepared statement released to Boise Weekly recently: “I oppose dam breaching. The topic of dam breaching is so polarizing, it will only limit the stakeholders’ options in finding an Idaho-based solution to salmon and steelhead recovery.”
Please clarify, governor.
DJEERS ... to corporate Idaho and its chief lobbyist, Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry President Alex LeBeau.
Where have they been?
For more than a month, the idea of diversity in Idaho has been under assault.
Egged on by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, 28 Idaho House Republicans, led by state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, have been undermining diversity programs at Boise State University.
Idaho’s economy depends on a skilled workforce. As the Tribune’s William L. Spence noted more than a year ago, more than 7,000 Idaho jobs in science, technology, engineering and math went unfilled.
Bridging that gap means attracting and retaining every student in Idaho. And you sure don’t help the Gem State’s ability to recruit talent and businesses from other states and other countries by corroding its image with this message of intolerance.
With the exemption of Idaho National Laboratory Director Mark Peters and the lab’s deputy director, Juan Alvarez, however, Idaho’s top corporate echelon has been conspicuous by its silence.
Perhaps these corporate leaders are intimidated by a Legislature that exacts revenge. Remember how lawmakers targeted the initiative process when voters overrode them and passed Medicaid expansion? How about the not-so-subtle threat to raise taxes on the hospitals for supporting that measure?
There’s something wrong with this picture, isn’t there? When did the elected servants of this state take over? — M.T.