Uncle Butch caught buying out-of-state Joe


The chatter this morning at the Capitol Annex is not so much about Gov. Otter's relative position on transportation funding. No, it's more about where the Guv gets his morning coffee.

Early last Thursday morning, about 6:30 AM, Dave Ledgard, owner of Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters was at his keystone shop on the corner of Eighth and Bannock Streets. According to an interview with Boise State Radio's George Prentice, he saw Otter emerge from the competing coffee shop across the street, Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters.

There has been scuttlebutt over where Otter takes his coffee for more than a year. Last March Boise Weekly reported that Otter had switched  coffee shops, a charge that his spokesman denied, at the time:
"Of course, coffee shop affiliations can be a touchy topic. While numerous sources reported that Otter was once a frequent visitor [at Dawson], Hanian was quick to deny that the governor was doing any caffeinated flip-flopping."
Ledgard's customers--Dawson has a distinctive group of regulars--had urged him for some time to confront the governor over his choice of Spokane-based Hammer, which has nine shops in Washington and Idaho. And last week he did, approaching the governor as he left the shop.

The Boise Picayune blog told the story on Saturday, including allegations that Hammer is not a properly registered Idaho business and that a security camera appeared trained on Dawson after the Dave v. Butch showdown.

"I just wanted to engage him in the merits of buying Idaho," Ledgard told Boise State Radio's Prentice. "He is the face of Buy Idaho."

Boise State Radio talks to Dawson Taylor owner Dave Ledgard.

Buy Idaho is the state's marketing arm, pumping everything from potatoes to coffee, and Otter is, literally, its face.

Otter's message on the Buy Idaho site:
The “Buy Idaho” message is simple but profound: Doing business with the family helps us all. That was the idea 20 years ago when I helped found Buy Idaho, and it’s still the idea today.

But the Otter-Ledgard exchange grew heated, curses flew and the two executives came to no resolution.

"It ended with him telling his head staff member that his staff is only to go into the out-of-town shop from here on out and that kind of lit me up a little bit more," Ledgard said. "Unfortunately, I backed him into a corner, what could he say? He was caught red handed, I was a card-carrying Buy Idaho team member so to speak."

According to an AP report, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian asked why the governor ought to shop at a place where the owner cusses him out. And Thomas Hammer, owner of Thomas Hammer, suggested that he may benefit from the "brew-ha-ha."

"This is huge. We might have to become the official coffee of the state of Idaho," Hammer said.

This morning, Ledgard was lauded by his regulars as he arrived at the coffee shop, the hero of locally roasted, uh, Salvadoran and Ethiopian beans.