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Eye On Olympia

Archive for January 2005

Preserved for future generations

Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday announced that state technicians, acting quickly, were able to save Gov. Gary Locke’s internet website from extinction when Locke left office Jan. 12.

The data was was captured by the state’s digital archiving team. Among the saves: 1,605 press releases, 536 speeches and 162 media events.

“One hundred years from now,” Reed said, “our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have access to the legacy of the Locke administration.”

Determined to foil the dustbin of history, we at the Spokesman-Review’s Olympia bureau have also archived some of the same documents (by tacking them to the office wall).

Among them:
-“Gov. Gary Locke Urges Citizens to vote on Election Day” (press release, Nov. 1, 2002)
-“Gov. Locke’s statement supporting Pledge of Allegiance” (June 26, 2002)
-and “Gov. Gary Locke Proclaims October Clean Water Month” (press release, Oct. 18, 2002)

Also, avoid Elevator No. 6…

Other tidbits from the capitol security staff: Over the past two months, they have:

-helped free people trapped in Elevator No. 6. Twice.
-called state troopers “for a person with a mental problem here to see the governor.”
-And x-rayed a suspicious letter to the governor.

Calling audio-visual…

“I’m very bad at technology. Inherited characteristics don’t go uphill.”

—Bill Gates Sr., fiddling with an uncooperative Powerpoint presentation at a legislative hearing.

Campaigning for “None of the Above”…

When the political choices are all bad, State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, wants you to be able to vote for “none of the above.”

Kristiansen says the change — which some county election officials don’t like because it would make ballots even bigger — would prevent some of the confusion seen in last year’s governor’s election. In that race, election officials had to judge many unclearly-marked ballots, then “enhance” the marking beside the name of the person that voter apparently intended to vote for.

“If you choose `none of the above,’ no one can say your intent wasn’t clear,” Kristiansen said.

House Bill 1363 is written so that “none of the above” can never win an election, he said.

At last, the protection goats have so long deserved…

Among the bills introduced this year: Senate Bill 5290, which amends first-degree theft of livestock to include goats. It’s a felony.

(Already protected: horses, mules, cows, heifers, bulls, steers, swine and sheep.)

The most concise rural-conservative political platform we’re ever heard…

“We’re struggling. New taxes? No.”

-freshman Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, speaking at a Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce forum.

No legal Lorax here…

“I want to claim the distinction on behalf of the Libertarian Party of killing the fewest trees.”

-Libertarian attorney Richard Shepard, speaking at the Wenatchee hearing challenging the governor’s election. Dozens of attorneys are working on the case, which already involves thousands of documents after just two weeks. The Libertarians haven’t filed any pleadings in the case, he said.

Like a cinch around the midriff, this gift will be a strong reminder…

Washington’s Republicans for Environmental Protection on Wednesday presented the three Republican statewide elected official with gifts intended to remind them that Republicans — think Theodore Roosevelt — can be wilderness conservationists.

The gifts: a green tie and cummerbund.

“Like a string around the finger, this gift will be a strong reminder that Republicans have a long legacy of leadership in preserving our natural resources,” said Washington chapter president Lunell Haught, from Spokane.

Yet no sign of Chicago cops cracking heads…

“The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!”

—Republican protesters, upon learning that CSPAN would be covering the inauguration of Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire

And grant them, oh God, the will to speak plainly…

“As each senator takes an oath of service, grant, oh God, them vision — a vision of sound fiscal discipline where budget deficits are filled and spending bills are prudent. Grant them wisdom, power and intellect to defend our constitution and to serve their constituents with dignity and grace.”

— from the opening Senate prayer by Lonnie Mitchell, Sr., pastor of Spokane’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Taking a breather…

“I think I’ll stay away from politics and commentary for a while. I may be unreachable.”

— Gov. Gary Locke, joking when reporters asked how to contact him once he leaves office. He said he intends to take a month or so off, then take another job. He said he’s had feelers from law firms and education.

A familiar name arrives in the capitol…

Two campaigns for the state legislature couldn’t quite do it, but it turns out that Spokane schools veteran Laurie Dolan is going to make it to Olympia after all.

Gov.-Elect Christine Gregoire on Friday morning named Dolan director of the governor’s Executive Policy Office. That means Dolan will be overseeing the work of about 20 subject-matter experts who will advise Gregoire on various issues.

Dolan’s said her key focus will be “How do we define a better future using limited public resources?” It’s a timely topic, with the state about to head into budget season with a $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion budget shortfall.

Two elections, apparently…

It’s now as if there were two elections for governor (not counts, of which there were three, but two actual elections).

Here’s what we mean: Democrats, Secretary of State Sam Reed and apparently most state auditors describe an election with a few minor errors, but no fraud and no problems serious enough to merit a re-vote. Gov.-Elect Christine Gregoire, in a note to supporters, on Wednesday called it “the most accurate election in state history.”

“We have just finished the longest, most-scrutinized election in Washington State history,” she wrote. “Ballots have been checked, double-checked and triple-checked.”

Republicans, on the other hand, describe the race as a colossal, un-fixable “mess.” The Republican view of the voting has “hundreds and hundreds” of provisional ballots being illegally counted, military voters being shut out while other ballots are allowed to count, and, GOP chair Chris Vance says, instances of voting by felons and the deceased. Republicans are planning a rally to push for a revote on Tuesday in Olympia.

These two competing visions of the election will clash at noon Tuesday in the House of Representatives, where Republicans are expected to demand a revote and Democrats — who hold a majority of votes in both the House and Senate — will try to slap the motion down.

Their man in Olympia…

The Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce has hired an Olympia veteran, Jim Hedrick, to be Spokane’s voice in the capitol.

Lobbying’s not new for Hedrick, who was the “director of legislative affairs” — essentially a lobbyist — for the state’s budget office.

Chamber priorities this session include advocating for business, health care, higher education, transportation and local construction projects.

Hedrick replaces Tom Mielke, the chamber’s lobbyist for the past six years. Mielke, a former state lawmmaker, was recently elected as a Spokane County Commissioner.

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

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