The Spud Lobby

…has their eyes on the prize. Tempers reached a boiling point before the hopes of Walla Walla onion crowd were mashed.

Resistance came from the state’s spud growers, who weren’t happy with an official endorsement of another crop.
As Finkbeiner put it, the fight with “Big Potato” was on.
Another Senate committee changed the bill to designate Walla Wallas the state’s “edible bulb,” while naming the russet potato the “official tuber.”
The students were taken aback by the resistance.
“At first, I was like, `Nobody will oppose it,'” said Katey Callegari, 15, who made three trips to Olympia to testify for and monitor the bill. “But then, there were all these potato people.”
Newspaper editorials blasted the Washington Potato Commission over the legislation’s compromised status.
“I think it just kind of hurt our growers’ feelings when the bill first surfaced,” said commission director Chris Voigt. “It’s funny how we just got portrayed as these big monsters, beating up on these ninth-graders, and that wasn’t the case at all.”

Oh YEAH you were, you big, buttery, baked potato head palooka, you.

25 Responses to “The Spud Lobby”

  1. Mr. Bingley says:

    Hmm, seems there were some thin skins up there. Not surprising, given the prize they had their eyes on.
    Is a scoop on the potato lobby a scallop?

  2. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Jeez, what a petty thing to fight about. The state tater farmers must still be irked that Idaho is known the Spud State, and not Washington.

  3. Mike Rentner says:

    Sounds like they got a really accurate portrayal of government instead of the pollyanna, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington nonsense that the teacher wanted to portray. I hope they learn that politics is a blood sport and not a plaything for school children.

  4. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I hope they learn that politics is a blood sport and not a plaything for school children.
    Mike, this article is slam on politicians who treat politics as a “blood sport”. Because it is not — politics is how we run this country, within the democratic process. It can be a painful process with confrontation galore, but blood sport? Please.
    As for the children….I grew up in Washington State, and I did something in my Civics class (as a class project). Not everyone went to Olympia (some went to Washington DC, others dealt with County commissioners), but it was an excellent exposure to our system of government, not a “plaything”.
    I, for one, am glad to see this concept still in place. The fact that they ran up against some a$$holes in the process is just part of life, and something that will happen again.

  5. Ken Summers says:

    You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
    You don’t spit into the wind
    You don’t pull the mask of the Lone Ranger
    And you don’t ever ever ever mess with the potatoheads.

  6. John says:

    I guess I fall in between Jeff and Mike on this one. Another such project in my state proposed to make it illegal to parents to give alcohol to their kids. Some sanctimonious high school twit destined to become a staffer for Hillary was whining on the news about how this allowed “house parties”. First off, I’m betting he’s had a drink or two by senior year, but mostly I’m offended because in making this his personal crusade, he’s trying to make it illegal for parents to introduce alcohol to teenagers in a sane way.
    Letting kids whose parents think they are old enough have a beer at home teaches them to drink without bingeing, whereas prohibition under any circumstances until age 21 promotes over-consumption in college – leading to even more laws.
    While the response from agribusiness was pretty stupid, you can see how the potato growers might see some kind of attack on their livelihood from this. I think it taught the kids some lessons in unintended consequences that any budding liberal would do well to learn. I just wish it were over something more substantial (and sane).

  7. Ken Summers says:

    “Letting kids whose parents think they are old enough have a beer at home teaches them to drink without bingeing, whereas prohibition under any circumstances until age 21 promotes over-consumption in college – leading to even more laws.”
    Quite so, with the added observation that it promotes over-consumption in high school as well. I could drink at home with only two rules: (a) I don’t drive under any circumstances, and (b) I don’t have more than two drinks. The result was that, unlike some others, I had no urge to drink during or after school; it held no magical appeal.

  8. Mike Rentner says:

    First, I think it is anathema for government to be involved in business at all, but it is.
    The children learned that power is not a thing trifled with. The potato industry has used government to create a brand image and they will do whatever is in their power to protect their brand image.
    Children should learn that making silly laws is never simple and government is not their school house.

  9. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I just wish it were over something more substantial (and sane).
    Children should learn that making silly laws is never simple and government is not their school house.
    No real argument with those sentiments, fellas. Except that doesn’t mean that children can’t participate in government. It just means they need to realize it’s for grown ups, and grown ups make the rules…since it’s the real game. Failure can be as instructive (if not more so) as success, if handled correctly.
    I’m just hoping that the teacher made this clear to the students.

  10. Mike Rentner says:

    Actually, they can’t participate in government. THey have to wait until they’re 18. This shows that there is a good reason for that requirement! 🙂
    Just think if 10 year olds could vote. We’d have dinosaur stuff everywhere and pink ponies too.

  11. Ken Summers says:

    You got a problem with that?????

  12. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Yes and no, Mike. I agree, minors don’t have the franchise. And likely a good thing, too!
    But while they can’t vote, that doesn’t mean they can’t participate in government. How about a support role, such as of legislative pages? Or helping in an election campaign? You need not pull the lever in the voting booth to be a responsibile citizen…..especially considering how many people don’t vote responsibly.
    Once these children turn 18, they will be eligible to vote, right up there with joining the military. Both are serious matters. Blocking them from all government until then (as you imply), and then demanding they take government seriously, is like not letting a kid drive a car until the day before the test.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if these newly franchised citizens realized that there are better ways to vote than just following the party ticket like a good little votebot?
    I think so.

  13. Mike Rentner says:

    So we should teach them to waste our elected officials’ time with frivolous, and in this case contentious AND frivolous lobbying?

  14. Dave J says:

    Jeff sounds too naive. Mike sounds too cynical. Politics as blood sport? Probably for activist zealots, but rarely for politicians themselves: these people have to work with eachother on a regular if not daily basis. One of the things you come to truly appreciate as a legislative staffer are the personal friendships between your elected bosses that cut across ideological and party lines.
    Contrarily, and with all due respect, saying “what a petty thing to fight about” is just not something I can read with a straight face. Fighting over ridiculously petty bullshit is practically what state legislatures are for. 😉
    That much said, lessons in unintended consequences are EXCEPTIONALLY important, and unfortunately appear difficult to learn. Many a legislator still hasn’t learned, and tried as they might, the Law of Unintended Consequenes is not subject to repeal or amendment.

  15. Dave E. says:

    I think I’m with Dave J. on this. And I also think we should all be thankful that the armed wing of the “potato people”, The Potato Liberation Front (not to be confused with the Potato Libation Front….really a fun crowd those guys and gals), didn’t show up with their potato guns. Now that would have been a tragedy.

  16. Ken Summers says:

    “Potato Libation Front” – Are they the folks that brew this?

  17. Mr. Bingley says:

    The Potato Liberation Front has starchified space with their launch of Spudnik…

  18. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Heh, you think that the PLF is deadly? Wait until the Walla Walla Onion Society shows up! You’ll cry!
    But I take exception with the description of “sounds naive”. Folks, this is exactly what I did in high school. Been there, done that. Granted, we didn’t introduce legislation (in retrospect, yeah, it’s frivilous), but I’m hardly making this shit up. I grew up in Washington State, BTW. Maybe this is something that only happens here? Hard to believe, but possible.
    Do you think that all children party and play under they turn 18, and then magically turn into mature, responsible adults, capable of exercising their franchises intelligently? Please.
    If that’s “naive”, well, maybe I am. But I’d rather engage ’em early, and objectively, rather than leave to the tender mercies of, say, MTV.

  19. Mr. Bingley says:

    JeffS, I saw the Potato movie “Spudback Mountain” last week.
    Had to gouge out my eyes…

  20. Ken Summers says:

    Gee, that’s tuber bad, Bingley.

  21. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Mr. Bingley, I’m surprised that it even a-peeled to you.

  22. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, JeffS, as Sis says about me, Idaho.

  23. Ken Summers says:

    That was pretty half-baked, B. Downright gratin. Couldn’t you russett up anything better?

  24. The_Real_JeffS says:

    No matter how you slice this, it sucks.

  25. Dave E. says:

    Ken-I was thinking more of vodka. Personally, getting my beer from potatos isn’t my style. Of course, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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