WestViews: Opinions from newspapers in Idaho and the West

May 27, 2013 


Post Register, Idaho Falls

A recent news release from Sen. Mike Crapo carried this headline: "ARE YOU SAYING THIS IRS TARGETING JUST HAPPENED?"

The release itself was admirable for its brevity - one exchange between Crapo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Crapo asks: "Are you or is the IRS taking the position that somehow this coalition of audits that focused on people from these political perspectives just happened accidentally?"

Lew's response: "Senator, I am not going to speculate on facts that I can't see and evidence I don't have."

Certainly, accusations that the IRS targeted conservative groups are fair game for any member of Congress, Crapo included.

It's just that Crapo's own recent dalliance with difficulty leads us to wonder about the wording of that headline and phrasing of his question to Lew. Consider, for a moment, the shoe on the other foot:

Post Register: "Sen. Crapo, are you, or anybody in your organization, saying that the loss of $250,000 in campaign donations that went unreported for three years just happened?"

And because brevity isn't our strong suit, we probably could not resist this follow-up:

Post Register: "Sen. Crapo, are you taking the position that the former staffer who lost your quarter million in a shaky investment accidentally got passed on to Congressman Raul Labrador? And that nobody mentioned to Labrador what he was getting?"

Driving under the influence.

Filing bad FEC reports.


Idaho State Journal, Pocatello

"What came first?" might be a meaningless question when you have too many chickens and too few eggs to generate revenue.

This reality could help explain why Idaho's rankings for things like workers' pay, school support and educational attainment are hugging the bottom like a nightcrawler during an earthquake. Or it might be a management issue.

In the case of state leadership, that would mean the governor and the Idaho Legislature. They are tasked with either being proactive or reactive in their management of Idaho's resources. And for the record, every successful company defines its people as its most important resource or asset.

Proactive leadership is marked by forward thinking and anticipating or planning for change or a crisis. Reactive management means trying to do something about change or a crisis after it happens.

For example, if you winterize your boat every year and inspect it for any damage before you tarp it for the dark days of winter, when spring arrives that vessel will be ready to go. The opening day of fishing season will be a beauty. Proactive management makes that happen.

However, if you stick a neglected boat in a shed and hope it makes it through another season, your fishing opener likely will be a series of catastrophes involving the use of duct tape and foul language. That's reactive or "crisis" management.

When it comes to public education, Idaho's Legislature has been parking the boat in the shed and hoping for the best. As the long-term success of Idaho's high school graduates began to decline and the percentage of its workforce earning minimum wage began to top the nation, state leadership finally decided to do "something."

Two years ago, that something was an edict from state Superintendent Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter to crush the Idaho Education Association, strip teachers of their rights and shift money to the magic of technology. The Legislature approved it. Voters said no.

This year, Otter began the process of developing a future plan for public education. He formed a task force with representation from business, government, families and education. And they have been gathering input all over the state.

We call this proactive and hope future plans to improve educational opportunities in Idaho will stem from it. More importantly, we hope our state leaders have the moxie to follow through with those plans - even if it requires a heavier financial investment.

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