Opinion » Mail

June 13-19, 2007


Keep Primaries Open

As an Idaho voter, you need to know that there's a battle going on right now inside the GOP that would take away your right to privacy. It's happening right here in Idaho and it affects one of the most sacred places of government—the voting booth—where you make your choices behind a curtain of secrecy.

There's a reason the secret ballot is treated with such care and reverence when you appear at your election poll. Our founding fathers had the wisdom to realize that only a secret ballot would render a true picture of the public will. If individuals had to show their marked ballot to the public, powerful politicians might use retribution or intimidation to change the outcome.

It's hard to believe, but that's exactly the kind of thing that's happening in Idaho today as the right wing of the Republican Party seeks to close its primary elections by requiring party registration.

Here's the background: Idaho currently has open primary elections. Any eligible person can vote in any primary, no matter which party they claim as their own. In fact, more than 30 percent of Idahoans say they are independent of ANY political party, according to Boise State's most recent public policy survey.

The new Republican proposal that's being considered would prevent anyone who isn't a registered member of the Republican Party from voting in the Republican primary election.

The most glaring problem with this idea is that it would make your party affiliation instantly available to anyone—your employer, your teachers, the police—even your church clergy would be able to "check up" on your voting habits.

If that's the case, how many voters will feel forced to join a political party purely out of peer pressure? How many party activists will be forced to become "independents"—or unaffiliated—because they believe their political choice will not be popular with people who have influence over them?

This is why Idahoans so fiercely value their independence; and while other states might allow for closed primary elections, it's a bad idea in Idaho.

The right wing of the Republican Party is pushing this issue forward, probably into the courts, in an attempt to take away your electoral privacy and perhaps render your ballot useless (unless you pass their party "purity" test).

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself one question—Just what "problem" do you think they are they trying to fix? Yours, or theirs?

—Clint Stennett, Ketchum, Idaho State

Senate minority leader

Cope's New Math

"Yoo-Hoo, Jim!" (as you say in your June 6 "averages" column (BW, Opinion, "Create-Shun," June 6, 2007)): If Cope has a yearly income of $60,000, Mary has one of $30,000, and Henry has one of $10,000, the "average income" is $33,000, is it not?

1. Are there the same number of incomes below the "average" as above it?

2. Can Mary and Henry each spend $33,000 on a new car?

Check out "median," William. But I still love you.

—Richard Jay,


You Two-Faced Greenies

Re: Jim Stiles' "Shop for Climate" piece (BW, Opinion, May 30, 2007), I was especially amused by the quote he used from Gore's notoriously self-serving and one-sided Earth in the Balance book (when Gore stated: "I believe that our civilization is addicted to the consumption of the earth itself...."). THIS from a politician who owns a 20-room Southern mansion, complete with EIGHT bathrooms, a pool and pool house, and guest house; in one month alone, Gore's trophy home consumes more eneregy than the average American household consumes in an ENTIRE YEAR (the average electric and natural gas bill—NONE of his mansion relies on solar, wind or other "earth-friendly" energy sources—is over $2,400 a month, and the natural gas consumed is more than 20 times the national average!!!)

Glenn Beck, among other pundits, has had a veritable field day with Gore's 20-room, ego-and-vanity-derived monument—a monument which, mysteriously, is never mentioned in YOUR newspaper, or a myriad of others around the country. Maybe Stiles and his ilk should stop genuflecting in front of the "greenies" out there long enough to learn how and where THEY live, when they're not happily touring around the country in their phalanx of gas-guzzling, custom-made tour buses—the laughable number of tour buses and trucks global warming alarmists Gore (and also Sheryl Crow) "has to" tour with could easily justify their OWN gas station—telling the REST of us how and where to live!!!

—John Pluntze,



A story in the May 16 edition (BW, News, "Numbers Game") incorrectly identified the Kuna Melba News.

A story in the Spring Idaho Arts Quarterly had incomplete information about the lineup for the 2007 Sawtooth Music Festival on July 28. The concert includes Free Peoples, Kris Doty, Hillfolk Noir, Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles, the Rebecca Scott Decision and Finn Riggins.

We neglected to credit Darcy Padilla for the photograph of Diane and Jake Anderson-Minshall (BW, Arts, "We're Here, We're Queer ... Kind Of," June 6, 2007)



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