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GOP control of Senate likely in 2015 unless. . .

Aug. 14, 2014 5:36 p.m.

Mapping the vote: Here's how the votes in the 6th District Senate Primary shape up. For a bigger view of those results, or to compare them with a hypothetical matchup from 2012 *, click on the documents below.

OLYMPIA – Republicans are in the driver’s seat to control the Washington Senate in 2015 unless Democrats can improve their showing in a handful of races like Spokane’s 6th District contest between incumbent Sen. Mike Baumgartner and challenger Rich Cowan.

Primary results from the Baumgartner-Cowan race aren’t as close as some other contests, but with relatively few competitive districts left after the 2011 redrawing of district boundaries it’s likely to get the most attention of any Senate election in Eastern Washington. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

*Baumgartner and Cowan didn't run against each other in 2012, but they were both on the ballot, running for federal office, against incumbent opponents and both lost in the 6th Legislative District. Just for the heck of it, we compared their vote totals from the Senate and House races with the primary vote totals. They are remarkably similar.

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Conservative Spokane councilman cited in liberal magazine

Aug. 14, 2014 4:18 p.m. - Updated: 4:36 p.m.

The recent conduct of police in Ferguson, Mo., has made many call into question the militarization of police departments, notably today by Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a potential presidential candidate come 2016. 

But more surprisingly, Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, easily the most conservative member of the council, questions the trend in the pages of that liberal stalwart, Mother Jones:

“While the pace of police militarization has quickened, there has at least been some pushback from current and former police officials who see the trend for what it is: the destruction of community policing. In Spokane, Washington, Councilman Mike Fagan, a former police detective, is pushing back against police officers wearing BDUs, calling the get-up “intimidating” to citizens.”

So there you go. Mike “Mother Jones” Fagan strikes again.

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Today’s fun video: Fallon sendup of House of Cards

Aug. 13, 2014 11:30 a.m.

 

Fans of “House of Cards” will probably love “House of Cue Cards.” People who haven't seen the former might not get some of the jokes, but Jimmy Fallon makes a surprisingly good Kevin Spacey.

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Town hall date misprinted on McMorris Rodgers mailer

Aug. 12, 2014 12:17 p.m. - Updated: 12:28 p.m.

Staff for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said they realized too late their error in the published date for an upcoming Spokane town hall event on a mailer that hit the district last week.

A Cathy McMorris Rodgers mailer lists the wrong date for a town hall meeting

The glossy mailer lists the date of the event as Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Center in north Spokane. But the 18th is a Monday, not a Thursday.

A spokeswoman confirmed the event will take place Monday, Aug. 18. The error was discovered after the mailers had been sent to the printer, the spokeswoman said, and a newsletter with the correct date was sent out electronically to digital subscribers of the congresswoman's emails.

McMorris Rodgers is expected to speak for an hour at the event Monday, which follows a strong showing in the four-person primary for the seat she's held since 2005. She last visited Spokane for a town hall a year ago, where many attendees wore their hearts on their sleeves.

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Grain loading deal reached

Aug. 12, 2014 11:45 a.m. - Updated: 11:45 a.m.

Dock workers and a major grain company in Vancouver have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, clearing the way for smooth shipments of grain as the wheat harvest gets underway and removing a bone of contention between some legislative Republicans and Gov. Jay Inslee.

The AP report on the agreement can be found inside the blog. A bit of back story: In the midst of the labor dispute, United Grain imposed a lockout in February 2013 after saying a union worker had sabotaged company equipment. The longshoremen set up picket lines. Federal and state grain inspectors, who must check the wheat before it was shipped, were hesitant to cross the line. 

Last October, the Washington State Patrol began escorting inspectors into the facility, saying he hoped this would lead to a settlement. Last month Inslee said he was cancelling the escorts because no progress had been made, and he hoped the change would bring both sides back to the bargaining table and lead to an agreement.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed an ethics complaint in last July against Inslee with the Executive Ethics Board, contending the governor was failing to protect public employees and “using his office to unfairly benefit his political allies.” The board dropped the complaint last week, saying the governor's actions didn't appear to violate the state Ethics in Public Service Act and the board didn't have jurisdiction over the matter.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, welcomed the agreement, saying in a prepared statement he was “glad cooler heads prevailed and these two parties were able to reach an agreement.”

Inslee released a statement calling the agreement “outstanding news” and notified United Grain Company that state grain inspectors will resume inspections immediately. 

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City Hall Scoop: Plazas and Trolleys

Aug. 12, 2014 9:17 a.m. - Updated: 10:03 a.m.

The Spokane Transit Authority is its own government entity, but it got a good going over at last night's Spokane City Council meeting.

Two items passed by the council dealt with public conveyance: a resolution supporting the $5.8 million renovation of the STA Plaza, the downtown hub for public transportation; and a resolution supporting a trolley-like electric bus connecting Browne's Addition to Spokane Community College.

Both items had supporters, and both items found an enemy in George McGrath, who speaks at almost every council meeting during almost every public testimony. 

Read more after the jump.

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DNR: No burning, period, on state lands

Aug. 11, 2014 11:23 a.m. - Updated: 11:31 a.m.

OLYMPIA — The Department of Natural Resources has banned outdoor burning on all of the agency's lands, no exceptions, it said this morning.

The ban comes after a weekend which saw new wildfires in Ferry and Kittitas counties and the total amount of land with active fires go to more than 313,000 acres. The Carlton Complex is listed as more than 90 percent contained, but none of the state's six other active fires are more than 40 percent contained.

The ban includes campfires on DNR campgrounds, fireworks, sky lanterns, tracer ammunition. It's also advising that logging operations, land clearing, road and utility right-of-way maintenance by drastically curtailed because of the high fire danger.

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Sunday Spin: A class in primary math

Aug. 9, 2014 6:16 p.m.

The weekend after the primary seems like a good time for a lesson in primary numbers, which is offered by the Poli Sci Department, not the Math Department.

Election Math 101 teaches us that the most important number is who has the most votes. But other numbers matter, particularly in a Washington state primary, which is brought to you by the number 2 – as in the top two vote-getters go to the general election, no matter what. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

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McMorris Rodgers schedules Spokane town hall

Aug. 8, 2014 1:36 p.m. - Updated: 1:43 p.m.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will hold a town hall meeting on Aug. 18 at Spokane's Lincoln Center.

Her congressional office said today the session is set for 5 to 6 p.m. at the center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.., and will provide an opportulinty for her to talk about work she's doing in Washington, D.C., and listen to constituents to “bring your thoughts and ideas to Congress.”

McMorris Rodgers also has scheduled a series of community meetings this month in other cities in Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District which she calls “conversations with Cathy.”  A list of dates and places for those meetings is inside the blog.

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Today’s video: 40 years ago, Nixon called it quits

Aug. 8, 2014 11:03 a.m. - Updated: 11:12 a.m.

 

This may not be a date that ranks with Dec. 7, 1941 or Sept. 11, 2001, but some people might remember where they were when President Nixon announced he was resigning.

Bonus: Here's how The Spokesman-Review reported it the next morning. Note that the only “non-Nixon” feature on the front page is the “Expo Today” lineup.

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