Our View: It’s so easy to gobble up politicians

November 24, 2013 

As we round third base in 2013, many of us are preparing for a feast that involves a turkey.

In the opinion business, however, a turkey is a regrettable decision or decisions made by an individual/groups that we hope will be reversed, if possible, but certainly not repeated.

Later this year we will be praising our local, state and national leaders for good decisions. But for now, here are our nominees for the O-U-Turkey Awards, for unfortunate decisions made since last Thanksgiving.

REP. MARK PATTERSON, R-BOISE

Failure to come clean. Until District 15 Rep. Mark Patterson becomes more transparent about his past and whereabouts during and following a 1974 guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape in Florida, we see nothing but a bunch of stuffing. How about an explanation about contradictions between police reports and your statements? If Patterson follows through on reintroducing House Bill 219 — which would make it a misdemeanor for Idaho law enforcement officials to help enforce any new federal gun laws — that decision will put him back on our 2014 list. Full disclosure: The Statesman gets to eat a bit of crow for endorsing Patterson in the 2012 Republican primary, though we endorsed his Democratic opponent, Steve Berch, in the 2012 general election.

TEAM OBAMACARE

We don’t know where the bucks stop here, though health care expenses seem likely to rise because the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been a mess: broken website, broken promises, new angst over the security of the private medical records requested. Yes, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services, you fumbled this launch.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS

We could go on for about 20 hours, but this man’s decision to grandstand and lead people deeper into gridlock is an object lesson for ALL ABOUT ME politics.

BOISE PARKING CZARS

It is not too late for city leaders to back off from some efforts to raise more revenue through parking fees — basically just because they can. It WILL be too late when new parking rates jeopardize the success of summer Saturday markets and people head for the free parking spaces around Meridian retail developments.

THE CITY OF MERIDIAN LAWSUIT

When you travel the city of Meridian these days and marvel at all the improvements — The Village is going to be a big hit — what you don’t see are signs of the missing $4 million squandered in fighting, and losing, a lawsuit over alleged construction deficiencies involving the new city hall. Message to the new six-member City Council: Next time consider the inexpensive option of doing nothing.

‘PURITY’ WING OF THE IDAHO REPUBLICAN PARTY

Turkiness is bestowed to those who think they should stop Idaho cities from creating their own anti-discrimination ordinances; to those who think the party bosses should get to approve all names on the ballot; and to those who think a closed Republican primary is a beautiful thing. We think all of the above ideas frustrate freedoms we understand the Grand Old Party to espouse. Idaho Republicans missed the Nov. 21 deadline to inform the Idaho Secretary of State’s office that they would open the primary to other parties and those categorized as “unaffiliated.” Idaho Democrats did what Republicans should have, opening their primary to all voters. Eventually Idaho Republicans are going to learn that party “purity” has its price.

IDAHO CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION DURING SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN

All four of our representatives — Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson — played Government Shutdown Showdown chicken (or should we say turkey?). Though Simpson eventually had sense enough to come in out of the Cruz storm, they all should have known better. If they attempt to play this game again in a few months, when spending measures and the debt ceiling are renegotiated, we will be more than happy to dip them in angry constituent brine.

TURKEY DECISION WATCH LIST

Ada County commissioners are exercising heavy-handed control in Eagle, where the city wants to build a terrain park, but they don’t seem to have much of an ear for Garden City’s concerns over a controversial gambling venture the county wants to bring to Les Bois Park.

Until next year ... Gobble! Gobble!

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