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Sunday Spin3: More on the gun initiatives

Nov. 16, 2014 11:58 a.m.

In politics, as in military campaigns, victory has many fathers. That may explain the self-congratulatory press release from supporters of I-594. . . 

To continue reading this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

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Sunday Spin2: Did the Ayes have too much of it?

Nov. 16, 2014 6 a.m.

Spokane County voters said yes to both gun initiatives, causing some observers on the West Side of the state to scratch their heads on election night. One could reasonably vote no on I-591 and I-594, they opined, but voting yes twice seemed illogical on measures largely in conflict.

Spokane is not alone in passing both measures. Asotin, Clallam, Clark, Pierce and Skagit counties also have said yes to both. In all cases, at least one initiative is ahead by relatively thin margins.

In Spokane, I-591 leads by about 1,800 votes, and I-594 about 8,000 as of Friday’s count. But the precincts where one passed are generally precincts where the other failed. There are a handful of precincts in the northeast city of Spokane’s and the central Spokane Valley where both passed. But some of those tended to be precincts with higher numbers of “undervotes” where at least one measure was left blank.

Some voters may have strong feelings in favor of one, but couldn’t decide on the other. Indecision isn’t the same as being contradictory.

To compare the undervotes with the Spokane County votes on I-591 and I-594, check the PDF documents below.


Sunday Spin: Big majorities are temporary

Nov. 15, 2014 6:15 p.m.

OLYMPIA – The most ephemeral thing in politics might be big majorities. This should be particularly obvious to Democrats as they look to next year’s Legislature.

Six years ago, Democrats approached the session with 31 of 49 seats in the Senate and 62 of 98 seats in the House. Those were nearly veto-proof majorities if they’d found the need to override any vetoes from Gov. Chris Gregoire, but considering she was a fellow Democrat, that point was mostly moot.

Slowly the Republicans chipped away at those margins, a few seats at a time. . . 

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Do you like STA? Hate mass transit? Take this survey

Nov. 13, 2014 1:34 p.m. - Updated: 1:52 p.m.

The Spokane Transit Authority is passing around an online survey today looking for feedback on its Moving Forward campaign and a potential tax increase to expand its service.

In an email, the transit organizations had this to say:

Dear community member,

STA Moving Forward is Spokane Transit’s DRAFT 10-year implementation plan that proposes to sustain existing service levels and provide more and better transit for the growing region. As a part of the public outreach period from September through November, STA has provided an online survey to get feedback on the proposed package of transit projects as well as a potential funding mechanism in the form of a voter approved 0.3% increase in local sales tax rate (a 0.3% increase in local sales tax equals 15 cents on a $50 purchase; fuel and most food products are sales tax exempt).

Follow this link to take the survey, which only takes a few minutes.


McMorris Rodgers re-elected to GOP post

Nov. 13, 2014 11:34 a.m. - Updated: 3:23 p.m.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was re-elected the House Republican Conference chairwoman today by GOP members who returned all their top leaders for the upcoming Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise were also re-elected. The conference chairmanship is considered the Number Four position in leadership.

McMorris Rodgers won re-election last week to a sixth term with about 60 percent of the vote. Her Democratic opponent Joe Pakootas unsuccessfully challenged her leadership position as a sign that she was more in touch with Washington, D.C., than the voters of her Eastern Washington district. McMorris Rodgers countered that it gave her “a place at the table” to raise local and regional issues when legislation was being discussed.

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Handing off guns at anti 594 rally won’t prompt arrests

Nov. 12, 2014 7:27 p.m.

OLYMPIA – Gun rights activists plan to bring their firearms to the Capitol next month in an effort engage in civil disobedience by violating the new background check law that they despise.

But there may be a flaw in the plan. What they say they’re going to do – “openly exchange guns” by handing them to someone else – isn’t against Initiative 594, according to Bob Calkins of the Washington State Patrol, which provides law enforcement on the Capitol grounds. They’re not going to be arrested or cited for doing that. . .

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


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Ousted Spokane planning director takes the “high road” and leaves City Hall quietly

Nov. 12, 2014 5:26 p.m. - Updated: 5:31 p.m.

Scott Chesney, Spokane’s planning director who was abruptly ousted from his position last week, said today he was taking the “high road” and ending his role at the city.

Chesney did not give details on why he was forced to resign, but his silence is in line with that of Mayor David Condon and Jan Quintrall, head of the city’s Business and Development Services and Chesney’s supervisor, who both said they could not comment on the matter due to personnel confidentiality.

“It’s not my first choice, but I understand that there are irreconcilable differences in approach within an organization,” Chesney said about his resignation in an email. “There’s a degree of sadness in this change, but also one of pride. I’m proud to call Spokane home, and pleased with what we accomplished on my watch.”

Hours after Chesney’s dismissal became public, influential developers began speaking out and calling for Chesney’s reinstatement.

Jim Frank, president of Greenstone Corp., which is developing Kendall Yards; Walt Worthy, developer of the Grand Hotel Spokane and Davenport Hotel owner; Ron Wells, who is attempting to redevelop the Ridpath Hotel; and Dave Black, who brought Target to the South Hill, all quickly rallied around Chesney. City Council members were quick to echo the sentiment, but Mike Fagan was the only member to refuse to sign a letter of recommendation for Chesney.

At a news conference Monday, Condon said Chesney wouldn’t return to City Hall and downplayed the concerns of a “handful of developers.” He also criticized the media for the “magnitude of interest” in Chesney’s ouster.

Read Chesney's complete statement below. 

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Marr, Foster leaving Liquor Board

Nov. 12, 2014 4:32 p.m. - Updated: 6:42 p.m.

OLYMPIA – Two of the three members of the state board that oversees Washington’s liquor and marijuana laws will step down early next year.

Chairwoman Sharon Foster has informed Gov. Jay Inslee that she will not accept a reappointment to the Liquor Control Board when her term expires in January, and former state Sen. Chris Marr said he is leaving that month to take a position as a lobbyist. . .


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Today’s fun video: Is this funny or sad?

Nov. 12, 2014 11:33 a.m.


This is a standard laugh-getter: Go out on the street, or in this case a college campus, and ask people questions that grade school kids should be able to answer, then chuckle when they can't.

But for these questions, and these students, it's a tossup whether this is funny or sad.

What do you think?


Quasqui- what? No, we didn’t make that up

Nov. 12, 2014 10:43 a.m. - Updated: 10:58 a.m.

A few people have called or e-mailed to accuse the newspaper of making up quasquicentennial as a word to mean 125 year anniversary in this morning's story about Washington's birthday celebration.

To which we would say, truthfully, we're not that smart.

It's a real word, if somewhat limited in use. You could look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls, as they used to say on “Laugh-In”. Which would be a good place to start because Dr. Wilfred Funk did make up the word back in 1961 when someone wrote to ask what would be the proper term to call the town's 125th anniversary.

Funk  based it on two Latin words that meant “plus a fourth”, squishing them together as two Latin words had been contracted in sesquicentennial, which is a 150th anniversary. 

This comes from Robert Chapman's “American Speech”. It's amazing what you can find on the Internet in among all those cat videos.

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