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Eye On Olympia

Archive for April 2004

Talmadge drops out…

Lawyer, former lawmaker and ex-Supreme Court justice Phil Talmadge is giving up his quest to become governor.

Talmadge said Thursday that he has a benign tumor, called an angiomyolipoma, on his kidney. It’s not life-threatening, he said, but may require surgery that would keep him off the campaign trail for several weeks.

Talmadge was one of three Democrats seeking the job, and his fundraising had lagged behind the others’: Christine Gregoire and Ron Sims.

His campaign suffered a serious setback recently when the powerful state teachers’ union opted to back Gregoire. Talmadge had also raised eyebrows in Seattle by blasting big state tax breaks for Boeing.

“I wanted to be forthright with people as governor, and I think I stuck with that throughout the campaign,” he said Thursday. He said he’ll likely get back into politics in the future.

Ellensburg can rest easy…

A growing chorus of seismologists in Washington and California are taking pains to point out that the upcoming NBC miniseries “10.5”, about a catastrophic earthquake, is just TV. (The promos feature a startling image of Seattle’s Space Needle toppling.)

The four-hour show depicts a huge quake, centered under Ellensburg, that devastates the West Coast. Officials try to quell the quake with nuclear blasts.

“There’s no basis for using a nuclear device to stop an earthquake,” a University of Washington official said in a (real) press release Monday.

A little hearing aid for the GOP ‘s gubernatorial hopes…

Seeing a political opening, Senate Republicans are planning a highly unusual legislative hearing on whether Attorney General Christine Gregoire’s office tried to get an outside consultant to soften criticism of the AG’s office.

Gregoire, a Democrat, happens to be running for governor.

A Seattle Times story Sunday reported that Gregoire’s staffers apparently tried to influence findings in a review after state attorneys missed a deadline to appeal a multi-million dollar judgement against the state. Gregoire denied any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, Sen. Bob McCaslin, chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he’ll hold a hearing on the matter.

“When it comes down to it, the AG herself needs to say `the buck stops here’ and fully disclose the details of the report,” said McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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