This week, lame-duck Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman was in such a rush to criticize the Statesman — for what she calls inaccuracies — that she couldn’t even get her own facts straight.
The topic: Hidden Hollow Energy’s $30 million tort claim against Ada County. The company says the Dynamis waste-to-energy project — a proposal Ullman staunchly defends — would compromise Hidden Hollow’s access to landfill methane gas, which it uses to run engines that produce electricity. Hidden Hollow has two engines running at the landfill, with plans to add two more.
Now, let’s walk through our editorial, and Ullman’s evolving responses:
Æ On Aug. 17, we wrote an editorial criticizing the county’s seeming preoccupation with the Dynamis waste-to-energy project — at, perhaps, Hidden Hollow’s expense. Here’s an excerpt: “Hidden Hollow, which has produced energy from landfill methane gas since 2006, has built a second pair of engines to convert gas into electricity. But those engines aren’t running.”
Æ In a guest opinion that we published Tuesday, Ullman criticized a series of points in the editorial. Here’s a key snippet. “Hidden Hollow Energy has never even BUILT the second set of engines at the landfill.”
Æ On Wednesday, Ullman blogged about the issue. The title of her post: “Idaho Statesman’s Accuracy Stinks.” But here’s what she wrote this time: “Hidden Hollow Energy has never even installed the second set of engines at the landfill.”
Built? Installed? One word makes a big difference. “Built” suggests that Hidden Hollow isn't anywhere close to expansion. “Installed” suggests that the Hidden Hollow has equipment ready to go, if the methane gas issues are resolved.
On Friday, Ullman wrote on her Facebook page that she decided to switch words “for the sake of clarity and accuracy.”
Hmm. Sounds like we had this right all along.
Ullman can chastise us for what she calls inaccuracies — but her one criticism that gave me pause centered on the Hidden Hollow engines. And she didn’t even get that right. So I’ll stand behind the editorial. It accurately summarized the dispute between Hidden Hollow and the county: Hidden Hollow believes the Dynamis project threatens its access to methane; the county says it can provide an adequate supply.
If Ullman doesn’t like Hidden Hollow’s assertions, then her problem is with the company, not the editorial board.
If Ullman — a diehard Dynamis supporter — disagrees with our conclusions and our opposition to this project, then that’s perfectly fair game.
I have an issue when our accuracy is challenged without basis.
Kind of like how I have an issue when Ullman — a past winner of the Idaho Newspaper Foundation’s Max Dalton Award for open government — sits on a county commission that has been far too secretive about its dealings with Dynamis.
THE ABORTION PLANK
The national Republican Party platform’s anti-abortion plank goes beyond what presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support.
And it goes beyond what top Idaho Republicans support.
As first reported by CNN, and repeated in various media outlets, here’s the wording: “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
The key in the language is its lack of exceptions.
Romney opposes abortion, except in cases of rape and incest, or pregnancies that threaten the mother’s life. Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson hold similar views. First District Rep. Raul Labrador supports abortion only when a mother’s life is in jeopardy. (I also made repeated inquiries with Gov. Butch Otter, but received no response.)
This plank is drawing increased scrutiny, of course, because of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., the Senate candidate who said a woman’s body can prevent pregnancy in a case of “legitimate rape.” This became an Idaho talking point this week, when Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris called on Labrador to disavow Akin’s remarks. Labrador didn’t respond.
Of course, no candidate is bound to run on a platform, which is often written by a party’s hardliners. But no one can seriously question the Idaho delegation’s conservatism on social issues. It is telling, then, that the abortion plank outflanks even this quartet.
Kevin Richert: 377-6437 Twitter: @KevinRichert