Saturday, July 29, 2006

Don't Believe the Hype - Vote No on Prop. 2

There is a measure on the Idaho ballot that is alluring, seductive, and completely misrepresentative. If you care about managing growth and fiscal responsibility this measure will be a disaster.

For those (like myself) who are supporters of private property rights, it would appear that voting to restrict the use of Eminent Domain in light of the Supreme Court's unpopular ruling on that topic last year is a good thing.

But those selling this measure don't promote the fact it will basically gut the ability of communities to plan, zone, and determine their own futures. The linked story is a long, but informative primer on what this measure really is.

Here is an excerpt from and a link to the High Country News article Taking Liberties, written by Ray Ring:

"Libertarians and property-rights activists believe that a huge array of common government regulations on real estate, such as zoning or subdivision limits, "take" away property value. Therefore, they say, the government should compensate the owner, or back off. The extreme view of "regulatory takings" is really at the core of this campaign — not eminent domain.

The campaign to pass regulatory-takings laws began in the 1980s, when libertarians seized on the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says: "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." They’ve tried to use Congress, state legislatures and ballot initiatives to pass laws that would treat most regulations as takings. Their first big win came in November 2004, when they persuaded Oregon’s voters to pass Measure 37. That initiative blew holes in the strictest land-use system in the country, allowing longtime landowners to escape many state, county and city regulations (HCN, 11/22/04: In Oregon, a lesson learned the hard way).

The impacts of Measure 37 have been delayed by court battles, and the libertarians are determined to turn the delays to their advantage. Before the fallout in Oregon can be fully understood, they are rushing to pass similar ballot initiatives in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and California. While each initiative has its own sales pitch, they all deliberately tuck the notion inside the unrelated eminent domain controversy. The Los Angeles-based libertarian Reason Foundation mapped the strategy in a 64-page paper published in April, titled Statewide Regulatory Takings Reform: Exporting Oregon’s Measure 37 to Other States. It recommended pushing "Kelo-plus" initiatives, combining eminent domain reform with regulatory takings, to capitalize "on the tremendous public and political momentum generated in the aftermath of the Kelo ruling …"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Monsters in Lake Coeur d'Alene?

I don't know where travel writers get their urban mythology, but this one is interesting. One out of three ain't bad, since I know there is a lot of interesting history about Nell Shipman - there are some industrious fans and film buffs in Boise working on a documentary about her contributions to film history as we speak.

From Sunset Magazine and "The lakes of northern Idaho -- Coeur d'Alene, Pend Oreille and Priest -- are deep, blue and busy. Scooped out during the Ice Age, the lakes now float yachts and kayaks. On the green shores, towns draw visitors to high-end resorts, restaurants and lakefront bicycle trails.

Each lake has its legend: Native Americans told stories of monsters in Coeur d'Alene Lake; another monster, the Pend Oreille Paddler, is rumored to inhabit Lake Pend Oreille; and Priest Lake is linked to 1920s actress and filmmaker Nell Shipman, who established a wilderness movie studio in what is now Lionhead State Park."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Father's Face

In a Leo Kottke song some time back he talks about looking in the mirror and seeing his father's face.

This past week I sat in a hospital in Florida with my soon-to-be 70 year-old father. He had undergone emergency quadruple bypass surgery and the doctors were concerned that he had also suffered a minor stroke at some point in the process.

As he fitfully struggled to get some real sleep I had hours to look into his face, and turn to the left into the mirror and see his face again, about 33 years earlier.

It was among the scarier and more sobering experiences of my life to see my father laying there in such a state of vulnerability.

Dad's home and doing better now, but he has quite a road to go for recovery.

And in looking in that mirror, I have quite a road to go to myself - in more ways than one.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Popkey: Rev. Camacho ministers with love and soccer

This piece on Fr. Jesus Camacho is a wonderful testament to a wonderful man. Dan Popkey really captures the essence of this powerfully effective priest in his column.

Copyright Idaho Statesman, Written by Dan Popkey, Photo by Katherine Jones

"Amidst the shrill debate on illegal immigration, the Rev. Jesus Camacho's voice is calm and conciliatory.

Twenty-five years ago this week, Camacho immigrated to Idaho from Mexico. Though obscure to most non-Catholic Anglos, he may be the most influential figure in Hispanic Idaho. His three-hour Saturday radio program, "Chatting with Father Jesœs," airs throughout southern Idaho.

"You don't know how powerful that is," said Sam Byrd, a more recognized Hispanic leader among Anglos. "There are very few ethnic leaders, but if there is a voice, he's that voice." To read the rest click here.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Downtown Development in the Lake City

Tomorrow night, 7/5, the City Council will be on a Wednesday instead of Tuesday because of the 4th. On the agenda is the downtown development regulations public hearing - all are welcome to sign up and come make comments.

If you're interested in a little more information about it, check out the Mayor's show this week on Adelphia Cable Channel 19 with Dave Yadon, City Planning Director and John Bruning, Planning Commission Chairman. For more information and a copy of the council packet, click here.