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The Heinz-Kerry Water Ballet (Tales of the "Botoxed Brahmin" and his bride)
Boston Herald ^ | 02.05.04 | Jim Geraghty

Posted on 02/07/2004 4:44:44 PM PST by kcvl

The Heinz-Kerry Water Ballet

Tales of the "Botoxed Brahmin" and his bride

February 05, 2004, 9:08 a.m.

By Jim Geraghty

Teresa Heinz, wife of Democratic frontrunner John Kerry, is one of the country's most generous and high-profile environmental philanthropists. She's given hundreds of millions of dollars to green activist groups, research centers, and nongovernmental organizations.

But even eight-figure checks can't guarantee that a landowner won't have environmental fights in her own backyard. Literally, in the case of Heinz.

Back in 1999, the lawn of Kentucky bluegrass surrounding Heinz's ski lodge in Sun Valley, Idaho was drying out as the region suffered a "fairly severe" drought by Department of Agriculture standards. (The Heinz lodge itself is built from a 15th-century barn that she and her late husband imported from England beam-by-beam.) The size of Heinz's lawn is disputed — the Boston Herald reported it as five acres, while former Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig recalls it as being between a half-acre and an acre at that time.

Initially, Heinz's landscapers dug a well, apparently without the required permit. But the well's water use may have remained within limits, because property owners are entitled to drill a well for domestic use and up to half acre of landscaping, according to Harlig.

But soon it was clear that maintaining Heinz's property would need more water. So she and her neighbor, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, applied for a permit to build a pipeline and take water from the Big Wood River, which is adjacent to her property, up the hill to water her lawn and maintain her landscaped greenery. But the county had just passed a new policy and ordinance preventing that type of transfer.

And with that, Heinz stepped into one of the most passionate and divisive issues facing western communities: water rights.

"The dispute was not unusual," said Rick Johnson, executive director of Idaho Conservation League. "This is a dry place, and what's happening in much of state is a conflict between the old agricultural west and the new, the tourist or second home dynamic. We have a phrase out here, 'whiskey's for drinking and water's for fighting over.'"

The state's leading environmental organizations contended Heinz's pipeline proposal threatened the river and its wildlife.

"The Wood River basin is over-appropriated," said Bill Sedivy, the executive director of Idaho Rivers United. "We protested the request for a water right filed on behalf of Teresa Heinz because it could have had damaging effects on the Wood River."

"Water is finite, and water uses are evolving," Johnson said. "She was proposing one way to use it, and we didn't think it was a particularly good one."

Marti Bridges, then-water policy head for Idaho Rivers United, told the Boston Herald at the time that the amount of water Heinz and Wynn wanted to divert would fill ten large municipal swimming pools each year, a volume that she said "could be the difference between a fish population making it through summer during spawning or rearing."

Today, Bridges is a manager at the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. She said she didn't think very highly of the Boston Herald or the reporter who wrote about the controversy at the time, and said she had no interest in discussing "old news."

Harlig said the county's problem wasn't with Heinz's request per se, but the next 50 or 100 property owners who would want the same deal.

"The amount of water would have been almost immeasurable," he said. "The county's position was that we wanted to prevent this from proliferating."

Sedivy said the Heinz request was to collect ten cubic feet per second. The U.S. Geological Survey defines cubic foot per second (cfs) as "the flow rate or discharge equal to one cubic foot of water per second or about 7.5 gallons per second." According to the USGS, the Wood River's flow can range from 130 cfs in January to 900 to 1200 cfs at the annual peaks.

Harlig said the county even offered Heinz's lawyers a deal that would allow their pipeline, as long as no others would be built. The Heinz lawyers rejected the compromise without consulting their client, further heightening the tension. The simpler — and more expensive — option for Heinz would have been to extend the water system of nearby Ketchum to her property, and just pay the higher water bill from the town.

"If she had known what was going on, she probably would have made that choice," Harlig said. "She relied on her landscape company, which didn't take the proper steps or give her good advice."

Ultimately, the county rejected Heinz and Wynn's water use request, and while Heinz had the option to appeal, she didn't. Today the property uses water from Ketchum.

Harlig calls the incident an overblown tempest in a teacup, and his praise for Heinz is effusive. "Her environmental record has been outstanding, and I've never had a bone to pick with her," he said, having earlier told the Associated Press, "I don't think anyone walks on water, but she's as close as it gets." While there's no reason to doubt Harlig's account of the water controversy, it is worth noting he attended a campaign reception for John Kerry thrown by Democratic senatorial candidate Alan Blinken in 2002. ("I was there, and go to all of those events for both Democrats and Republicans," he said. "As a public official, it's almost required of you.")

"It was not really contentious at the time," Sedivy said. "It's something that people file here all the time, and it's routinely accepted or rejected based on the state's assessment of the water level."

But some local environmentalists' opinions of Heinz and her water request aren't quite so fond.

"Was there a concern that a wealthy, prominent resident could get special treatment? You bet," Johnson said. "But there's also a culture of keeping a grip on that here. Let me put it this way, there is not a shortage of big houses in Sun Valley. They come here, and they build them — and I'm not pegging Heinz alone with this — and they make assumptions about what they can do. In some ways, it's how America works. That's where people like me come in."

So why did Heinz's application stir up such a brouhaha in the Boston papers? Perhaps because it came after Kerry and Heinz had a fire hydrant moved in front of their Boston townhouse to open up a more convenient parking space. That particular mini-scandal began in March 1996, when the Boston Globe printed a photo showing Heinz's Jeep Cherokee parked next to a fire hydrant near her five-story brick home at Beacon Hill's Louisburg Square.

A little more than a year later, the couple put in a formal request to the Boston fire department to move the hydrant. Within a week, the district chief went to the site himself and approved the move. After the hydrant was moved around the corner (at the expense of Kerry and Heinz, not taxpayers), Kerry irritated his neighbors by claiming the five new legal parking spaces created by the move. Local real-estate gurus estimated the new spaces would add $200,000 or more to the value of the Heinz-Kerry mansion. Eventually, the senator sent word to his neighbors that he would abide by the longstanding unwritten agreement that each house on the privately owned square has a right to only two parking spaces.

Neither controversy had much political fallout for Kerry, besides a few snickering newspaper columnists. Then again, he's a Democratic incumbent in Massachusetts, not exactly an endangered species.

Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political analyst and human quote machine, says stories like this about Kerry and Heinz are "revealing, but frankly fairly typical of elites... Whatever their beliefs, they apply to everyone but themselves. Whenever it's inconvenient, those other principles are suspended."

Sabato adds that the charge of elitism and faux-populism wouldn't be useful to President Bush in his reelection bid because the incumbent's background is too similar. But he thinks other Republicans could use anecdotes like these to hammer Kerry as a "Botoxed Brahmin who can't relate to the daily life of everyday guy."

— Jim Geraghty, a reporter with States News Service in Washington, is a frequent contributor to NRO and a commentator on London's ITN News.

TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Idaho
KEYWORDS: 2004; arrogance; drought; elites; enviromentals; heinz; idaho; juliathorne; kerry; liberals; propertyrights; skilodge; sunvalley; water; waterrights
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1 posted on 02/07/2004 4:44:45 PM PST by kcvl
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To: kcvl; farmfriend
Very interesting!
2 posted on 02/07/2004 5:01:25 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: kcvl
Botox? Are undertakers using that now?
3 posted on 02/07/2004 5:02:27 PM PST by xJones
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To: kcvl
Is this the first marriage for Kerry?
4 posted on 02/07/2004 5:11:01 PM PST by Freebird Forever
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To: Freebird Forever
Second marriage to an heiress.
5 posted on 02/07/2004 5:14:12 PM PST by nwrep
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To: kcvl
Marie Antoinette. Evita Peron. Imelda Marcos. Leona Helmsley. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Theresa Heinz Kerry.
6 posted on 02/07/2004 5:30:54 PM PST by solzhenitsyn ("Live Not By Lies")
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To: kcvl
Teresa is environmentally friendly??

With a lawn that huge the amount of pollution created by the weekly mowing is as much as a small city.
7 posted on 02/07/2004 5:36:54 PM PST by EggsAckley (..................**AMEND** the Fourteenth Amendment......(There, is THAT better?).................)
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To: kcvl
Botoxed Brahmin! Great moniker. Only problem is Bush is a Conecticut Yankee with a pedigree even more impressive than the typical Boston Brahmin. But still, it's good.
8 posted on 02/07/2004 5:37:58 PM PST by beckett
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To: kcvl
Limousine liberalism at its best (worst).

Kerry is from a Brahmin family without money. He fixed that by marrying two heiresses in a row, getting the first marriage annulled despite the fact that it produced two daughters (which technically might be viewed as making them illegitimate.) "Just a Giggolo," says Ann Coulter.

9 posted on 02/07/2004 5:43:39 PM PST by Malesherbes
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To: Freebird Forever
Is this the first marriage for Kerry?

Well, I suppose that's a matter for debate. He intially married heiress Julia Thorne, who bore him two children. She only had $300 mil. So Kerry looked around and found heiress Teresa Heinz, who had $550 mil.

Kerry ain't no fool; he quickly deduced that 550 is greater than 300, and so made his move.

But Teresa insisted that he have his first marriage annulled by the Catholic church.

So, depending on the Vatican disposition of that appeal, a decision to which I'm not privy, he either was/wasn't married before he married Heinz 57.

Gee whiz, my head is spinning.

10 posted on 02/07/2004 5:51:04 PM PST by Ole Okie
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To: Freebird Forever
Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry, who, according to published accounts going back more than a decade, began extricating himself from his first marriage to Philadelphia heiress Julia Thorne at the same time she was battling a case of depression so debilitating that it drove her to the brink of suicide.

In an attempt to explain why he decided not to let his wife's precarious mental state derail his 1982 bid to become Michael Dukakis' lieutenant governor, Kerry told the New Yorker magazine last December, "When I get focused and set out to do something, I'm pretty good at staying focused."

"You don't want to let yourself down, you know what I'm saying?" added the ambitious Democrat without a hint of irony.

Thorne, whose family is reportedly worth $300 million, married Kerry in 1970. According the New Yorker's Joe Klein, the couple's friends said Julia was not a typical political wife.

"There were times at dinner parties when John would be very pompous, unable to control his impulse to make a speech," one acquaintance told the writer. "It was all slightly laughable, and Julia was one of those who laughed. She'd say things like, 'What the f--k did you just say?'"

Kerry's career focus was so intense that Thorne apparently felt she was an impediment to her husband's ambitions. In her 1994 book about that period in her life, titled "You Are Not Alone," she wrote:

"I could no longer pretend I was of use to my husband or my children. ... I knew that, once I was gone, my family and friends would be relieved of the burden of my incompetency."

By Thorne's own account, she began to contemplate suicide a full two years before Kerry ratcheted up his 1982 campaign. Reviewing her book shortly after it was published, the Boston Globe reported: "One night in 1980, Julia Thorne put her children to bed and then sat on the edge of her own bed to contemplate suicide. She was exhausted - overwhelmed by despair, self-loathing and pain. She wanted to lie down. Curl up. Sleep forever."

The Kerrys were separated in 1982 but didn't divorce until 1988.

Press summaries of the New Yorker report focused on other details of Kerry's life story, such as his Vietnam heroism. Most omitted any mention of Kerry's first wife altogether, a fact that likely pleased the Massachusetts Democrat. "Kerry is understandably loath to talk about the details of the marriage," noted Klein.

During the period the Kerrys were separated, for instance, the senator apparently felt little constrained by his marital vows. Gossip columns at the time linked him to Morgan Fairchild, Cornelia Guest and even President Reagan's liberal daughter, Patti Davis. An upcoming Boston Globe expose will reportedly feature details of the Massachusetts Democrat's 1980s affair with a 25-year-old British reporter.

According to a previous account offered by the paper, the fact that Kerry was still technically married till 1988 "reportedly came as a surprise to some of his frequent companions."

Just weeks before his May 26, 1995, remarriage to Ketchup heiress Theresa Heinz, Thorne took Kerry to court in a bid for an increase in child support payments, arguing that "his income was up substantially," according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

friction arose again two years later when Kerry, a Catholic, applied to the Washington, D.C., archdiocese to have his marriage to Thorne annulled, even though the couple had two grown daughters.

Thorne "has written a letter of opposition to the archdiocese because she feels the process demeans their relationship and their children," reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1997.

The paper blamed Kerry's new wife on the annulment bid. His office issued a terse statement: "Sen. Kerry very much understands Julia's feelings and appreciates her support. Sen. Kerry believes that this is a private family matter."

The Washington Times noted in a Kerry profile several years ago that his critics consider him "a ruthless political opportunist." Given some of the more obscure details of Kerry's first marriage, that assessment may not be too far off the mark.

John Kerry's Newt Gingrich Problem?
11 posted on 02/07/2004 5:54:14 PM PST by kcvl
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To: kcvl

12 posted on 02/07/2004 6:33:25 PM PST by jaz.357 (Pacifism is the greatest tool in the hands of a faschist. - Mike Muir)
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To: kcvl
This should be posted as a thread of its own. On sunday or monday morning to catch the news hounds looking for a story.
13 posted on 02/07/2004 6:34:17 PM PST by mlmr (Taxation with greedy representation is not a good thing)
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To: kcvl
Heinz request was to collect ten cubic feet per second. The U.S. Geological Survey defines cubic foot per second (cfs) as "the flow rate or discharge equal to one cubic foot of water per second or about 7.5 gallons per second."

They wanted 75 gallons per SECOND, the way I read this. Heinz wanted a few million gallons of water a month?

14 posted on 02/07/2004 6:45:49 PM PST by gg188
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To: gg188
"Heinz wanted a few million gallons of water a month?"

Well, yes. She had a lawn, y'know. She really, really needed it.

And what use of the water did "the little people" have?

15 posted on 02/07/2004 6:56:27 PM PST by okie01 ( Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: kcvl
The arrogance of Kerry is no different than Gore or Clinton(s)- somehow it is not treated the same as if they were a Republican. so many times the other two characters had wedding partys removed from hotels at the last second so the Gore group could take over- mow down the rain forest of Costa Rica and put in an asphalt drive to make it easier to have an Eco press moment- it all seems to repeat itself - if we bring it up- it is sourgrapes
16 posted on 02/07/2004 7:21:49 PM PST by newzhawk
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To: kcvl

-John Kerry- some selected, informative links...--

17 posted on 02/08/2004 12:47:53 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the TrackBall into the Sunset...)
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To: All
A timely bump, since Kerry is in Ketchum. (Or Ketchup.)
18 posted on 03/19/2004 7:17:49 PM PST by Hon
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To: beckett; maica
Only problem is Bush is a Conecticut Yankee with a pedigree even more impressive than the typical Boston Brahmin. But still, it's good.

President Bush was born in Conn. because his father was in graduate school. I think they lived in graduate student housing, not usually a 5 million dollar mansion. W attended the local public elementary school in Midland, Texas. Did Kerry ever attend public school? W's family had money, but he had a regular childhood.

19 posted on 03/19/2004 7:42:34 PM PST by Freee-dame
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To: Freee-dame
You really need to study the Bush family tree. John Kerry's pedigree has nothing on the Bushes.

By the way, George W. Bush went to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., the most exclusive prep school in the United States.

20 posted on 03/19/2004 9:12:56 PM PST by beckett
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