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Debates, ditches & deaths


Uninvited no more

KTVB Channel 7 caught some flak in May when it refused to allow some members of the media, including the Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman, into its U.S. Senate Republican primary debate. This time around, the television execs seem to have changed their minds.

When asked if a reporter for the Boise Weekly could attend the KTVB debate for the five-way Senate race, a KTVB representative said reporters would be allowed in along with the general public. Only members of the panel would be allowed to ask questions in the debate, however.

The debate aired live Tuesday night, followed by a bout between Rep. Bill Sali and Walt Minnick, who are running for Idaho's First Congressional District seat.

The Senate race is between Republican Jim Risch, Democrat Larry LaRocco, Libertarian Kent Marmon and independents Rex Rammell and Pro-Life. Marmon claimed he was not invited and urged supporters to call the station and protest. He plans to attend and sit in the audience.

Rammell was shut out of the GOP Primary debate in May and waited in the parking lot along with the media.

The KTVB debate is one of only three that Risch has agreed to appear in during the general election season, and the one that would be closest to reaching statewide.

Candidates for Idaho's Second Congressional District will battle it out in the KTVB debate on Thursday, Oct. 23, starting at 7 p.m.

Something called the Idaho Media Coalition puts on these debates. It includes the KTVB News Group, KPVI, Peak Broadcasting, Idaho Business Review, Idaho Cable Telecommunications Association, Idaho Press-Tribune, KREM and Northwest Nazarene University. Boise Weekly is not a member. Nor is the Statesman or Idaho Public Television.

See for updates on the debates.

—Lora Volkert

Shadow puppet government

Rep. Bill Sali has apparently decided to be a little more "lighthearted" when it comes to trying to keep his seat in Congress.

Sali reportedly heckled KTVB Channel 7 reporter Ysabel Bilbao while she was interviewing John Foster, communications director for Sali's challenger, Walt Minnick, following a debate. According to KTVB and the Minnick campaign, Sali walked by while the interview was happening on the Grove Plaza, shouted a few comments, laughed and made the bunny-ears gesture behind Bilbao's head.

In a later interview, Sali said it was all in good fun and his opponent shouldn't take himself so seriously, although he admitted that political office and campaigning is serious business. Sali's spokesman Wayne Hoffman later took issue with KTVB's categorization of what happened as "heckling."

Maybe bunny ears is just one of those secret Congressional code signs that only members know about.

—Deanna Darr

Esquire Endorses Idaho Candidates

From the magazine that voted Pengilly's one of America's best bars, here's a little something out of left field. Esquire magazine has endorsed three Idaho candidates: Larry LaRocco, Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick.

Two years ago, the magazine, better known for its focus on scantily clad women and boozing, decided to start endorsing candidates in every federal race in America. The latest issue not only endorses but offers up some pretty scrappy commentary as explanation.

On Risch vs. LaRocco, Esquire says: "Sadly, total heterosexual Larry Craig is retiring. His replacement will either be a man who believes 'President Bush is one of our greatest presidents,' or it won't."

On Sali vs. Minnick, Esquire follows the Huffington Post's recent lead: "Bill Sali's 2006 election smacked of closet masochism in Idaho politics. (He's 'an absolute idiot,' in his state party leader's words.) This is a man, after all, who believes 'there could be 40 barrels of oil' in each tree in Idaho. We're not kidding."

And on Simpson vs. Holmes, the magazine simply references another of its stories in this issue: "The 10 Best Members of Congress," a short list on which Simpson is included for, among other things, his philosophy that "democratic representation is a matter of finding not advantageous positions but common ground."

—Rachael Daigle

Boise fire marshall heads to Cali

Boise's fire marshal, Deputy Chief Dave Hanneman, is moving back to Southern California next month to become a fire chief after more than 20 years of service in Boise.

"It's something that I've been working on for several years," Hanneman told BW.

The San Diego Union-Tribune broke the news that Hanneman had been offered the job as chief of the Chula Vista Fire Department, and plans to move to San Diego County in mid-November.

Hanneman told BW that he has sought a chief's job for about seven years, after going back to school for more fire training.

Hanneman started in Boise, first as a volunteer firefighter, and was hired by the department in 1988. He worked his way up the ranks to deputy chief in charge of fire prevention and now oversees investigations, code enforcement and several other department functions, including acting as the department spokesman.

Elect your irrigators

The Nampa-Meridian Irrigation District is a huge political subdivision spanning 69,000 acres in Canyon and Ada counties. But you have to make a special effort to vote for a new director on November 4 because this one is not on your regular ballot. It is so far down-ballot that you will have to make a special trip to vote.

In Boise, the district starts at Barber Park and heads in a narrow strip west all the way to Lake Lowell, southwest of Nampa. Property owners within the district can vote, and should have received notice of the election.

Candidates to replace Henry Weick, who is stepping down, include Billy R. Henson, Lee Sisco and Graham Paterson.

Paterson, a GOP political operative and past legislative candidate, contacted BW this week to discuss his scheme to divert more canal water into suburban lawn irrigation in an effort to conserve expensive drinking water provided by United Water.

Sisco recently retired from his post as the Boise River Watermaster after 20 years of service. And Henson retired Oct. 1 as assistant water superintendent after 35 years with the Nampa-Meridian Irrigation District.

Voting is at one of three polling places: Horizon Elementary School, 730 N. Mitchell in Boise, Meridian Middle School, 1507 W. Eighth Street in Meridian and Nampa City Hall, 411 Third St. S.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008, 4,188 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,387 in combat and 801 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 30,757. In the last week, six U.S. soldiers died.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 4,038 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 88,373 to 96,466.


COST OF IRAQ WAR: $564,359,583,524


—Nathaniel Hoffman