Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Otter grilled for lack of leadership

With the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) and the Owyhee Initiative (OIAA), two bills which help protect Idaho public lands, Butch “C.L.” Otter has been absent from some of the most important debates facing Idaho. After his initial silence, Otter revealed his objections to any public land protection. In the past week, Idaho newspapers have not overlooked Otter’s weak leadership on the issues. “Butch” Otter.

From the Idaho Falls Post Register (08/03) :
Whatever it is, he’s against it by Marty Trillhasse

“Butch Otter tends to keep his mouth shut, apparently hoping to cruise to election victory this year on the strength of his Republican credentials. With good reason. When he speaks, he gets into trouble. Last week, he lobbed a political hand grenade at fellow Congressman Mike Simpson’s Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill just as it passed the House.

Otter may not like wilderness as a general rule. So it’s no surprise he came out against it (even though he missed the vote). What counts is how he opposed it. Boulder-White Clouds is Simpson’s signature bill, not some obscure budget measure. So you’d think Otter would tell his partner in the House early and forthrightly if he had problems with the legislation.

Presumably they’d find a way to agree — or at least an agreeable way to disagree. Instead, Otter waits until the eve of the House vote — July 23 — to tell a Custer County audience he’d oppose it.

Simpson found out the next day and the voters were told a few days afterward.”

Congressman Simpson published his response to Otter’s opposition to protecting wilderness in the Spokesman Review on 08/06 and in the Post Register on 08/04:

Excerpts: “With the U.S. House passage of the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA), Idaho is one step closer to realizing the benefits of the most important piece of public lands legislation proposed in the last 25 years. Having authored this legislation, I feel compelled to respond to comments made by… Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter to clear up any misunderstandings about CIEDRA.”

“In a recent editorial printed in the Idaho Statesman (July 27), Otter's staff was quoted as stating that one of Otter's concerns is including "release language" for lands that aren't included as wilderness. This statement is difficult to understand since 131,600 acres of wilderness study areas are released from their current status and put back into multiple use. Moreover, under CIEDRA, there will not be a single acre of land in the Boulder-White Clouds managed as wilderness study area.

As for the Sierra Club's and Otter's concerns for the fate of traditional users, they should read the bill.

CIEDRA does not create a motorized playground and it does not eliminate motorized use. CIEDRA locks in motorized use on almost all of the trails and snowmobile areas used today. It comes as close as possible to maintaining the status quo for future generations to use and enjoy. CIEDRA has garnered the widespread support of local and statewide officials including the Custer County and Blaine County commissioners, East Fork ranchers, Sen. Mike Crapo, Gov. Jim Risch, former Govs. Cecil Andrus and Dirk Kempthorne and former Sen. Jim McClure. They understand the importance of passing CIEDRA so that Idahoans, rather than the courts, decide how our land is managed.”

“This legislation is anything but a "rush job." It has been in the works for more than six years and written in bill form for more than three. I can understand that some people are unwilling to compromise and respect their reasons for that position. I am open to criticism of CIEDRA and the constructive dialogue that criticism can generate. But I'm not going to sit back and just listen when I hear… a congressional spokesman make accusations that are inconsistent with reality. To do so would be a disservice to the public and future generations of Idahoans.”

Lastly, Congressman Otter seems unable to work with Republican colleagues in resolving his concerns about protecting Idaho wilderness lands. From the Statesman and the AP (08/04):
“Crapo's bill (Owyhee Initiative) is the second Idaho land-use measure to be put before this session of Congress, joining a House-passed measure sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson that would create 315,000 acres of new federal wilderness in the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains in central Idaho. Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter hasn't read the Owyhee bill yet, but said Thursday that he's already expressed his concerns to Crapo. One of which is to ensure the bill is explicit that any land released from wilderness could not be redesignated. A spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig said the senator hasn't seen the bill and has not been involved with its development. Gov. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson said Wednesday they support the initiative.”

Former Governor Andrus characterized Otter’s absence on protecting wilderness when he said: “Congressman Otter has never shown the grit for real leadership. He’s never tackled a complicated issue or done the hard work of compromising and working out what’s best for Idaho.”

“Jerry Brady is the man I trust to protect Idaho’s heritage,” Andrus said.


Chaucer Arafat said...

hmmm...interesting read.

I hate to take issue, but this has been festering within me. So here we are: I understand that this is a blog representing Democrats on the campus of BYU-Idaho; inherently, the views advanced here will support the Democrat agenda and candidacy. But I can't help but notice the overt and repeated glowing praise for Jerry Brady and the crass characterization of poor old Butch Otter. Now, let me state that I am not a supporter of Otter, but it seems that most of the editorials posted here are ad hominem, pathos-driven lampoonings of Otter. Democrats have become adept at such devisive tactics, and it never helps to broaden political informity. And I am not making this statement as a Republican who is merely looking for some point of contention with the blog (I am not Republican). On the contrary, I visit often and usually enjoy what I read. I just think it fosters wise political choices to be wary of any source touting only the virtues of one candidate and the vices of the other. It is card stacking and fallacious logic.

I mean, how about an article on either Brady or Otter that doesn't come from the Post Register?

I know that there are better issues to be covering, but I also understand that demands on participant's time might preclude posting.

Carry on. Just my mid-morning ramblings...

Chaucer Arafat said...

you included an article from the Statesman...a hasty mistake on my part

Peter Nguyen said...


Great points. I think to some extent you're right, there is a lot of pathos driven "stuff" here about Otter.

However, this post itself attacks Otter for his refusal to support two pieces of legislation that would protect Idaho lands for recreationists and hunters.

Otter is wrong on this issue. Gov. Risch knows that, Congressman Simpson knows that, Sen. Crapo knows that and Jerry Brady knows that. I have yet to hear about someone with credentials support Otter's refusal.

I get your point though, there should be an intellectual "high road" taken here. I don't want to get into mudslinging.

Jessica said...

I am going to fess up to something. I didn't want to post again and move my Jana Jones posting down. I wanted to wait until another contributor moved it down...that is my selfish reasoning for not posting lately.

My main focus this election year, and where the majority of my time will go, is towards Jana Jones, Jackie Groves Twilegar, and Jim Hansen. These three candidates were the only candidates who were kind enough to sit in while several Idaho college/young Dems caucased at the convention. Any posts I create about candidates will be about these three candidates.

Basically, you don't need to worry about me posting anything about Jerry Brady. I hope Jerry wins and I will help him if asked, but the three aforementioned candidates have my utmost respect, admiration, and dedication.

Lastly, when I was writing the first few drafts of my Jana Jones post, I was going to include information about her opponent. However, I chose not to because I couldn't trust myself enough to not make ad hominem attacks, or make baseless attacks grounded in rumors about what he might or might not do if he wins.

I think posts comparing and contrasting opponents in a race is far more interesting, but it is far too difficult for me to do it without revealing a heavy bias. Though a bias should always be expected for blogs such as this.

Also, I personally know Jim, Jana, and Jackie. Much of what I say speaks to their characters. I can't speak to the character of any Republican running for office. Any compare and contrast post won't be a fair comparison in that regard. So, I choose to do a one-sided post and let the readers research Tom Luna on their own.

Chaucer Arafat said...

Pete--thanks for the response.

I guess my original intent could be distilled to say: lets talk about CIEDRA instead of where Otter (the sinner) and Brady (the saint) stand on the issue. Vacillation shouldn't be interpreted as complete idiocy. There are some provisions in CIEDRA that I find questionable (paving roads for snowmobiles..etc etc).

True though, Otter needs to show up at debates and begin formulating a less equivocal opinion. The Post Register (and most print media for that matter)is very good at straw-manning an entire candidate's agenda by where they stand on a bill--that very bill being a nebulous issue to the public. I didn't state that very well, but does that make sense? It is just hard for anyone to make a judgment on either Brady's or Otter's decision if we don't understand the content of the Bill (and I have yet to read the whole thing). This bill, like most, isn't just a black and white thing. There is always, to some degree, disenfranchisement or lessening of interests by most pieces of legislation. Someone loses something. Is that loss worth the positive benefits?

Oh yes, if anyone is interested, HERE IS THE LATEST VERSION OF THE BILL.

cheers again Peter. Keep up the good work (it's a great diversion on my lunch break..)