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The return of the Idaho Citizens Guide

The return of the Idaho Citizens Guide

More than a dozen years ago, three of us – Mark Stubbs, James Weatherby and Randy Stapilus – worked together to develop a reference to help people understand and learn how to navigate Idaho government, politics and society. We called it the Idaho Citizens Guide.

It got enthusiastic response in some quarters, and strong letters of recommendation from two former governors – Cecil Andrus and Phil Batt – and contributions from some of Idaho’s most successful travelers of public territory: elected officials, lobbyists, judges, business people, attorneys.

But it dropped from sight, went out of print, and few copies of it probably remain.

Looking at it again, in a different political age, we concluded that a whole lot of it is as valid now as it was then. Some of the details have changed, but many have not, and the principles, ideas and advice in it remain as solid now as it was then.

So, back in print – the Idaho Citizens Guide. Go to the book’s page for more information, and be sure to check out the sample pages.

And then order a copy for your bookshelf. You may be surprised how often you consult it …

The Idaho Political Field Guide

The Idaho Political Field Guide

The Idaho Political Field Guide, the counterpart to the Oregon PFG and the successor to the Idaho Political Almanac series, is out!

It’s been 10 years since Ridenbaugh Press published the last book in the series. This new one covers elections of the last decade, and the effects of reapportionment as well.

Several events are upcoming. Check back.

The OPFG is available!

The OPFG is available!


We’ve delivered a handful of copies around the state (and a few more will be coming), and the political field guide is now available for purchase.

Just go to its page and hit the Paypal button.

Or, the Ridenbaugh Press Northwest page – the Oregon book will be featured there too for a bit.

Oregon Political Field Guide is nearly out

Oregon Political Field Guide is nearly out

And in fact, it’s available already for purchase on this site (via Paypal). Within the next few days, we’ll have information about the book in a range of places from this site, to our Northwest page, Facebook and elsewhere.

What is the Oregon Political Field Guide?

It’s in the same family type as a political almanac on the state level, of the type we published some years back in Idaho. But rather than focusing on the political figures, this one takes a microscope to the voters, from the statewide to the precinct level, how they vote and what’re up to. The book is packed with statistics, and the text is driven by them.

If you’d like to see an advance sample, you can find one here.

“From Scratch” author at the State Board

“From Scratch” author at the State Board

Dennis Griffin delivered a presentation to the Idaho State Board of Education on December 8, during the “open forum” portion of the meeting about 8:15 that morning. He was there to discuss the publication of his new book, “From Scratch.”

Here are some of his notes from the meeting:

I introduced myself as the founding president and served between Aug. 2007 – Aug. 2009 (several people are still on the board who where there then). I explained that when we went through it all, I kept saying “I really should write a book when this is over, nobody would believe us about all the balls we have in the air.”

When I retired, several reminded me of saying that. So for the past two years, I have been working on the project, and now it’s complete.

I did it for three reasons:
-Historical record
-As a tribute to my team and to the board — to leave a legacy
-As a tribute the dozens of people and organization both inside the college and especially in the community who made this happen

I mentioned to the board that Governor Otter had written the forword, and several others had written “blurbs” for the book.

I told them there are lots of personal stories and behind-the-scenes experiences in the book. And it also includes such thngs as:

– A short history of the community college movement for the past 30 years

– A description of the campaign leading up to the successful referendum

– A short history of BSU’s junior/community college history and the transfer of that function to CWI

– A short history of the Selland College

– Stories of many of the legal transactions including the land transfer from the state and BSU

– I mentioned where the book could be purchased

There were lots of smiles from the board members and nods of approval. The board President thanked me for doing the book. The audience applauded.

I felt very good about the reception I got.

From Scratch in the Idaho Statesman

From Scratch in the Idaho Statesman

A Bill Roberts article in today’s Idaho Statesman outlined some of the news in the just-released From Scratch.

Roberts notes, for example, “Within a couple of years of retirement, Griffin didn’t even know the job offer was coming until shortly before a meeting of the newly formed board of trustees. He had helped the campaign to win voter support. After the election, he got a call from board Chairman Jerry Hess telling him to show up with a resume. During the interview, board members asked Griffin why he wanted to be president. He told them he wasn’t sure he did.”

From Scratch is available from and from the publisher, Ridenbaugh Press.

“From Scratch” released by Ridenbaugh

“From Scratch” released by Ridenbaugh

Dr. Dennis Griffin, the founding president of the College of Western Idaho, has told the story of how the community college improbably came into being in just two years, in a new book released today (November 30) by Ridenbaugh Press.

Residents of the Treasure Valley heard and responded to the major campaign that made funding for CWI a reality. What they didn’t see was the behind-the-scenes activity: the decades of work and effort that culminated in the bond election of 2009, the legislative and educational soul-searching and business community pressure brought to bear on behalf of a new community college for Southwest Idaho, and conflict and tensions that only sometimes became visible.

How does a college gain accreditation? From bookkeepers to program directors, where did the staff come from? Who developed the curriculum? And: Since there was no actual building, where would the “brick and mortar” college be located?

From Scratch: Inside the Lightning Launch of the College of Western Idaho tells that story, shared from the insider’s perspective. Griffin, CWI’s first president, and the man who was charged with answering those questions and more, offers an intimate, candid telling of the triumphs and frustrations involved with creating a college from the ground up.

The foreword was written by another man closely involved with the college’s startup: Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. It has won praise pre-publication from a wide range of Idahoans, including Boise State University President Bob Kustra, who called it a “must read,” to Nampa Mayor Tom Dale. (More quotes are available at the book’s web site.)

From Scratch is available now through Ridenbaugh Press: or $15.95 plus shipping. It is expected to be available from area book sellers soon. There is also a Facebook page; just look for “From Scratch.”

Single issues

Single issues

Our weekly Public Affairs Digest – for Washington, Oregon and Idaho – traditionally have been for sale just by annual subscription. That’s changing.

The annual subscriptions are still available, of course, and are the best way to get the Digests. But we’ll also be selling them as single issues, $1.98 each. Payment through PayPal – if you’re already set up there – takes less than a minute.

Annual subscriptions, as noted, remain the best: As the national publications would put it, you save 41% off the per-issue cost that way. But checking out a few single issues can be a good way to get a sense, for pocket change, of what the Digests have to offer.

Soon to publish on a fast-built college

Soon to publish on a fast-built college

We’ll be publishing soon – in a matter of a few weeks, we expect – a new book on one of the more remarkable developments in public education in the Northwest in recent years: The College of Western Idaho.

CWI, the first public community college in the Boise area since the emergence of Boise State University, was talked about for many years, decades even, but got nowhere near reality until 2007. That was when a group of leaders around Boise came together and pushed through a public ballot issue – in a very conservative, and very tax-averse, time and place. And then, in the space of couple of years, the new college emerged virtually out of thin air.

Dennis Griffin, who was president of the college for that development period, is telling the story of how it happened, and what it may mean for the people in the area.

We’ll keep you updated as the book gets closer to publication. Which, as noted, isn’t far off. [October 2, 2011]

Some upgrades to the Public Affairs Digests

Some upgrades to the Public Affairs Digests

A little over a year ago, we launched a revised public affairs digest – the electronic weekly edition. This week, we make a few changes, some cosmetic and organizational and others substantive. Everything that has been here over the last year remains (sometimes in a different place), but we’re also adding more original material.

Excerpts, for example, have been moved to whatever subject area seems to be most applicable. And we’ve renamed (though not repurposed) several of the sections.

These features will be showing up, from time to time, as warranted.

How things work – We’ll spotlight, from time to time, the processes and ways things work. The actions and decisions of the moment sometimes need a little more context indicating where they fit in the larger picture.

Documents – We’ll highlight some of the key documents and statements of the week, drawing from speeches, court decisions, regulatory findings, press releases, official statements and more.

Fact checks – We’ll take a look at some of the assertions made by official (and unofficial) speakers, and document reports, on various topics, especially as campaign season kicks into gear.

Ripple effects – A look at some of the effects, sometimes subtle, that some of the overt changes could create. Many policy decisions and other actions have a wide range of side effects.

View – Our take on events and trends, with analysis and perspective. We’ll be moving the “our take” feature in the excerpts section to wherever in the issue the subject matter seems most appropriate.

Let us know what you think. The changes aren’t necessarily over.

April 2015
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