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BLOG: Duncan Files for Kimberly Mayor, Munn Not Seeking Another Term in Twin Falls

BLOG: Duncan Files for Kimberly Mayor, Munn Not Seeking Another Term in Twin Falls

A groundbreaking was held for a new East End Providers building in Kimberly in June 2015. Pictured from left to right are EEP President Heather Hopkins, Kortni Geir, Kari Geir, Gary Palmer of K & T Steel, Rob Wright with the city of Kimberly, Kimberly city councilwoman Nancy Duncan, EEP Director Cecille Griffith, Virginia Reed, Jed Kloer with the city of Kimberly, Leon Reed, Troy Jensen of James Ray Construction, Shawn Denham with the city of Kimberly and Ike Smith.

Kimberly City Councilwoman Nancy Duncan has submitted the paperwork to run for mayor of that city, making her the only candidate so far.

And Twin Falls City Councilman Jim Munn told the Times-News Wednesday morning that he doesn’t plan to run for another term on the Council. Nikki Boyd has already filed to run for his seat.

So far, Duncan is the only person to file election paperwork in Kimberly. Councilman Jim Eisenhower and Councilwoman Connie Sowka’s terms are on the ballot this year, too, and Mayor Tracy Armstrong isn’t planning to run for another term.

Munn, who was a Twin Falls police officer for 30 years and was chief for his last five, was elected in 2011.

Jim Eisenhower has filed to run for re-election in Kimberly. And Brent “Oop” Johnson has filed to run for City Council in Jerome. Jeff Schroeder had already filed to run. Two seats are up there, Dawn Soto’s and Dale Ross’s, neither of whom have yet filed to run for re-election.

August 28, 2015 1:30 am Photos


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BLOG: Trump Pretends to Shoot Bergdahl at New Hampshire Speech

BLOG: Trump Pretends to Shoot Bergdahl at New Hampshire Speech

In this Aug. 19, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks in Derry, N.H.

At a town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a Blaine County man who spent five years as a prisoner in Afghanistan and is being charged with desertion, a "dirty, rotten traitor," and appeared to pantomime his execution.

“Take Sgt. Bergdahl, does anybody remember that name?” Trump said, as the audience booed. He continued:

"This is the way we think. So we get a traitor named Bergdahl. A dirty, rotten traitor ..." Trump then paused, as the audience clapped. He went on:

"Who, by the way, when he deserted, six young, beautiful people were killed trying to find him, right? And you don't even hear about him anymore. Somebody said the other day, 'Well, he had some psychological problems.' Well, you know in the old days, 'Bing, bong,'" Trump said, pretending to hold a rifle and squeeze the trigger as he did.

August 20, 2015 11:30 am Photos


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BLOG: Most Idahoans Say State GOP Is, and Should Be, Conservative

BLOG: Most Idahoans Say State GOP Is, and Should Be, Conservative

According to a recent poll from Idaho Politics Weekly, a majority of Idahoans believe the Republican Party is, and should be, a conservative party.

The pollsters from Dan Jones and Associates asked the respondents to rank the party’s ideology on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most conservative. Sixty-two percent ranked it as more conservative, with 17 percent giving it a “10.”

Ten percent said it’s a liberal party and 21 percent said it’s a moderate one. Then, when asked what they thought the party should be, 6 percent of the respondents said the GOP should be a liberal party, 27 percent said moderate, and 60 percent said conservative.

Republicans themselves, perhaps unsurprisingly, were more likely to believe their party should be conservative — 78 percent of them, while only 3 percent said it should be liberal and 17 percent moderate. Twenty-two percent said it should be a “10,” or “very conservative,” on that ideological scale.

As for the Democrats, 64 percent of respondents overall view the Democratic Party as liberal (4 percent said “very liberal”), while 17 percent call it moderate and 11 percent conservative. Thirty-one percent said the Democratic Party should be liberal, while 36 percent said it should be moderate and 24 percent said it should be conservative.

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Simpson: Humans Affect the Climate, but Moving too Fast Won't Work

Simpson: Humans Affect the Climate, but Moving too Fast Won't Work

ASHLEY SMITH • TIMES-NEWS GOP candidates U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, left, debates challenger Bryan Smith at Canyon Ridge High School on April 25, 2014 in Twin Falls, Idaho. The 2nd Congressional Representative GOP debate Friday night hosted by the (Twin Falls) Times-News was the first of two debates for this race in Idaho.

Rep. Mike Simpson believes that the earth’s climate is changing and that human activity plays a role, but he is skeptical of going after coal-fired power plants aggressively as a way to address it.

Simpson, R-Idaho, told the Times-News editorial board Wednesday that while we should be cognizant of the effects of carbon emissions moving forward, he was more skeptical about moving quickly to get rid of the coal plants that provide almost 40 percent of America’s electricity. Wind and solar energy won’t produce enough electricity to meet the country’s needs, he said, and addressing climate change needs to be weighed against the economic costs. Nuclear energy, he said, is a good source of power but also carries risks with it.

“Those people who say, ‘Yeah, we need to get rid of these coal-fired power plants and replace them with wind and solar’ – it’s just not going to happen, because it’s not that dependable,” Simpson said.

Eventually, Simpson said, coal plants will likely wear out and be replaced by other types of power, their death encouraged through a mix of government pressure and market forces. He also wondered, though, how much difference U.S. action would make to the global climate, saying that China is building coal-fired power plants more quickly than the U.S. would be able to stop using them.

Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced new rules requiring states to cut carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Sixteen states — mostly Republican-run ones, but a handful of more Democratic ones with large coal sectors, too — are preparing to sue to block the rules. Idaho actually has the lowest carbon emissions per capita in the country, and is the only Republican state on the lowest-polluting list.

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BLOG: Dems Elect Former Sen. Marley as State Chair

BLOG: Dems Elect Former Sen. Marley as State Chair

Bert Marley

A former state senator who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014 is the new chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Bert Marley, 67, a farmer from McCammon in Bannock County who taught in Marsh Valley schools for 23 years, replaces Larry Kenck, who resigned due to health issues at the end of May.

Marley was elected by the party’s state Central Committee on Saturday afternoon, besting Dean Ferguson, 46, of Boise, who is the party’s communications director, for the job. They met in Lewiston, Pocatello and Boise to vote, with the three locations connected by telephone.

“I am honored to represent the Idaho Democratic Party,” Marley said. “We have a lot of opportunities ahead for Idaho Democrats because the people of Idaho are ready to put balance and responsibility back into Idaho’s elected offices.”

Marley was in the state House of Representatives from 1998 to 2001, and in the Senate from 2001 to 2006. He ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2006. More recently, after losing the lieutenant governor's race to GOP incumbent Brad Little, Marley was on incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra's transition team.

August 03, 2015 11:45 am Photos


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BLOG: Otter Most Conservative Governor in America, Data Group Says

BLOG: Otter Most Conservative Governor in America, Data Group Says

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" is seen at the state Capitol building on April 29 in Boise.

Idaho's governor is the most conservative governor in America, according to a recent analysis by a number-crunching group.

InsideGov, which crunches government data as part of the larger technology group FindTheBest, ranked all 50 governors on a scale with -10 as the most liberal and 10 as the most conservative. Idaho's C.L. "Butch" Otter received a 7.

The most liberal governor was Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf, at -5. The second-most conservative governor after Otter was Sam Brownback of Kansas, who was scored 6.75.

Otter was scored as most conservative — a 9 — on economic issues, with opposition to higher taxes on the wealthy, citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the stimulus bill, and support for privatizing Social Security, given as the reasons.

It gave him a 7 on individual rights issues. Looking at the criteria used, it looks like his support for some campaign-finance reform dragged down the scores of 10 he got for opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and his conservative environmental record and support for keeping God in the public sphere, leading to a 7 overall.

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BLOG: Jerome Deputies Set for $2/Hour Raise Oct. 1

BLOG: Jerome Deputies Set for $2/Hour Raise Oct. 1

Lieutenant Marisela Ibarra, with the Jerome County Sheriff office, talks about the new county jail being built Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Jerome.

Jerome County sheriff’s deputies are set to receive a $2-an-hour raise when the 2016 fiscal year starts.

Sheriff Doug McFall requested the raise, but county commissioners had been leery, with one of the objections being that the county was going to have to increase spending substantially for the new jail that is being built right now.

However, McFall came back with another proposal to hire only four new deputies for the jail instead of six, said Commissioner Charlie Howell, leading the commissioners to sign off on McFall’s original proposal Monday.

Commissioners expect to adopt the final county budget in about a month. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

July 29, 2015 3:30 pm Related (0)

BLOG: Otter Wants Next Prez to Be a Governor Like Him

BLOG: Otter Wants Next Prez to Be a Governor Like Him

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter speaks at the Twin Falls High School graduation at the College of Southern Idaho on Friday, May 29, 2015, in Twin Falls.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter wants our next president to be a governor, like him.

Otter, who called in to conservative talk radio host Bill Colley’s show on Twin Falls’ Newsradio 1310 KLIX Thursday morning, said that running a state is different than being in Congress, where you’re one vote out of hundreds. Otter has done both, and he said the country’s direction under the Obama administration — President Barack Obama is a former senator but was never an executive — has convinced him the next president should have that experience.

“When you become the chief executive of the state, then you become a majority of one,” Otter said. “And you have to make decisions. You have to govern.”

Otter is a Republican, and half of the 16 candidates who are seeking his party’s nod are current or former governors — Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, Jeb Bush of Florida, John Kasich of Ohio, Chris Christie of New Jersey and George Pataki of New York.

Otter said he considers a number of the candidates friends, and didn’t say whom he preferred. He did mention Kasich by name though, calling him a good friend and pointed out Kasich’s work in Congress as chairman of the House Budget Committee in creating a federal budget surplus in the late 1990s, the first surplus in decades. Kasich was in Idaho in January, as part of a tour to get some western states on board with his push for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

July 24, 2015 12:00 am Related (3)
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BLOG: Twin Falls to Start Drafting Historic Design Rules for Downtown

The Twin Falls City Historic Commission is starting the process of drafting design guidelines for buildings in the downtown and City Park historic districts.

Monday evening, the City Council approved a $13,000 contract, the cost of which will be covered by grants from the state Historic Preservation Office, with McKibben and Cooper Architects to draft the guidelines. Also, commission members and one of the consultants, Sherry McKibben, will be at the “City Fair” to be held at the Banner building Wednesday to solicit public input on what the guidelines should look like.

Nancy Taylor, the chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission, said McKibben and Cooper drafted similar guidelines for downtown Boise, and that the commission has reviewed and is impressed by the firm’s work.

“We’re very confident in McKibben to do the same wonderful job,” she said.

Twin Falls already has similar guidelines for the Warehouse District.

July 15, 2015 1:45 am Related (0)
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BLOG: Sen. Crapo and Abedini Supporters Blast Iran Nuke Deal

BLOG: Sen. Crapo and Abedini Supporters Blast Iran Nuke Deal

Supporters of Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor and former Boise resident who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012, rally outside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex in Boise on Jan. 21, 2015, shortly before President Barack Obama spoke there.

UPDATE: U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, put out the following statement on the deal:

“I will carefully review the proposed agreement and decide whether it is a prudent replacement for the long-established sanctions aimed at blocking Iran’s attempt to build nuclear weapons. The Iranian government claims to want constructive engagement with the world. Yet, Iran refuses to free Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned since 2012.

“Last month the House unanimously called for the release of the U.S. citizens held in Iran, as well as information on any Americans who have disappeared. That these men remain captive is deeply disturbing and raises foundational questions of trust that should have been addressed before striking any deal with Iran.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s spokesman criticized the Obama administration’s deal with Iran this morning, saying it both lets Iran build a nuclear weapon and doesn’t do anything to help Iranian-American pastor and former Boise resident Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012.

“We had a perfect opportunity to win his release, and the administration did not see fit to make it a priority in these negotiations,” said Lindsay Nothern, spokesman for Crapo, R-Idaho.

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Times-News Politics

Political Reporting

The On the Agenda blog focuses on intricacies and stories coming from the Idaho Legislature, the Twin Falls City Council and other councils and governmental bodies around the Magic Valley and the state. Find out what's going on in Idaho government with Times-News political reporters.