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Spin Control

Archive for November 2013

Sunday Spin: Behind the low turnout numbers

Conventional wisdom for campaign seasons like the one just passed says local elections help boost turnout for the statewide contests.
Voting for people you might know, or at least have a chance to bump into and harangue in line at Rosauers or Starbuck’s – and who arguably have a bigger impact on your daily life –usually trumps issues or offices that are farther removed, politically as well as geographically.
A look at a map Spokane County’s turnout for the 2013 general election shows that wasn’t true. At best, local elections had no effect; at worst, they were a bit of a drag…
  


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Today’s fun video: Snyder says “Thanks”

 

City Councilman Jon Snyder borrowed a bit — OK, he kind of outright stole — from “Vision Quest” to say thanks to supporters for his re-election. But he acknowledged it on the video.

“Snyder Quest” features the councilman and his bike, has good shots of Spokane and some amusing screen credits.

And for those too young to remember or so old they've forgotten, “Vision Quest” was filmed in Spokane.

86 pot licenses sought for Spokane

.OLYMPIA – A tally of the first week of applications by would-be marijuana businesses shows a certain amount of creativity in coming up with names for what in most of the country is an illegal business.
Cheech and Chong might be proud of some who play off established drug slang, such as 420 Growers and Producers, Farmer J’s, Happy Daze or United We’d Stand. Dunn and Bradstreet might be happier with other names that give no clue as to the nature of the business, like Triple T Farms or WW Processing.

 

 

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


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Election results to be certified today

Counties around Washington will certify their election results today, clearing up any lingering questions about who or what won some close contests.

Most races in Spokane County, which certifies its results at 1 p.m., have long been decided, but there are a couple of close ones in the small towns: Ron Cockle leads Rebecca Johnson by two votes for Position 1 on the Spangle Council and  Melanie Meagher and Patricia Neumann are tied with 41 votes each in the race for Position 1 on the Latah Council.

The canvassing board often has to decide the fate of a few ballots whose signatures are close but don't quite match the voter files, and state law requires recounts on races that close. Anything that winds up tied is settled by drawing lots or flipping a coin.

The county did run all the verified ballots it had left on Monday. Turnout stands at a not-so-impressive but better-than-some-expected 43.14 percent. That's about 2 percentage points lower than the state average.

Sunday Spin: Wrong picture not worth 1,000 words

A picture is only worth a thousand words if it’s the right picture for the intended words.

When it’s the wrong picture, it’s worth considerably fewer words, and more trouble, as demonstrated in two separate instances last week on the West Side.

One involved an attempt to convince Boeing the state really, really, really wants the company to build its super spiffy 777X somewhere within our borders. The Washington Aerospace Partnership, an organization of business, labor and government types intent on conveying the best possible “pretty please”, decided to gin up support in a fairly old-school way, with a full-page ad in Wednesday’s Seattle Times. (Apparently no one could come up with a really good 140-character message to tweet and retweet, or a Facebook post for the rest of the state to like.)

Despite the machinist union’s rejection of an extension to its labor contract, the partnership’s ad admonished legislators to pass a transportation package to show the state was “still in the hunt” for production of the new plane. With a big headline that said “The Future of Washington” and a stock photo of a jetliner winging its way through some puffy clouds, the ad seemed designed to give Boeing the kind of warm fuzzies that would prompt it to say, “Oh, heck. Let’s just skip all this shopping around and break ground on a new Washington factory where everyone loves us.”

Except that the plane wasn’t a Boeing 777. It wasn’t a Boeing 7-anything. It was an Airbus jet, which is like designing an ad to ask WSU grads to donate to their old alma mater and using a photo of the Huskies dancing in the end zone after the winning touchdown in an Apple Cup.

It’s true the two planes look somewhat alike, in that they both have wings, a tail and two engines. But as any Spokesman-Review reporter who has ever misidentified an airplane will tell you – which we do from time to time – there are lots of people in Washington state who know their planes. Misidentifying a KC-135A as a KC-135E can cause our phones to ring off the hook. On something like an Airbus v. a Boeing, it’s a sure bet that people will catch it. And they did.

As an aside, the state seemed no closer to passing the transportation package at the end of last week than it was on Wednesday, but the Times ad probably can’t be blamed for that.

A less public photo snafu, also traceable to the dangers of the indiscriminate use of photos, befell the web masters of the state Senate Republican Caucus, who wanted a photo to illustrate a hearing on human trafficking and its tie to the sex industry.

The hearing by the Law and Justice Committee was held the previous week in the Gonzaga Law School’s Moot Courtroom. It was by most measures a successful session that outlined what the state is doing to cut down on the crime of buying, kidnapping or otherwise securing people – mostly girls and young women – and turning them into sex slaves. Shared Hope International praised the Legislature for its work and Washington got an A for its laws fighting sex trafficking. (Over in Idaho, they got a D.)

The photo used to illustrate the hearing featured a young, wide-eyed white woman with a large, black hand reaching out of the darkness to grab her shoulder and another large, black hand clapped over her mouth. The problem? While it plays into some scary stereotypes that white Americans might have, minorities are much more likely to be victims of sex trafficking than white folks.

Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, who is well aware of those statistics, said he didn’t select the photo and didn’t even see it before GOP Senate staff took it down Wednesday.

“I would have not put it up. I don't approve of it,” Padden said.

This, too, was a “stock photo”, one that has been used other places to illustrate sex trafficking or child pornography, primarily on web sites with ties to religious organizations. The wide-eyed woman is no more a victim of sex trafficking than the clouds around the Airbus jet are in Washington skies.

For both the GOP caucus staff and the Aerospace Partnership, last week’s lesson should be clear. Do sweat the small stuff, and be sure your illustration calls attention to the message, not the illustration.

More than 800 pot biz applications in 1st week

~~OLYMPIA – More than 800 potential new businesses have signed up to grow, process or sell legal marijuana in the first week Washington accepted applications for its new industry.
Rick Garza, director of the state Liquor Control Board which will award the licenses, told a legislative committee Friday about 200 applications are for retail outlets, and the state will license up to 334 stores, but is limiting the licenses for each county and most cities. If the board gets fewer applications than it is allowing for the state or some community, it could reopen the process, he said. The window for license applications currently is scheduled to close Dec. 19.
The state might not hit its targets for the number of stores or the amount of space to be planted to legal marijuana because some counties and cities have passed moratoria or bans on marijuana licenses, Garza told the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.
 “We will issues licenses regardless of whether there are moratoria or bans,” he said. But the licensees might have to go to court to overturn a local moratorium. The board has asked for a formal state attorney general’s opinion on whether cities and counties can override state regulations, but it might not be available before the Dec. 19 cutoff.
The board will also make recommendations next month on how to change the state’s medical marijuana laws, but any legislation will come through the House and Senate Health Care Committees.
  

Transpo package gets hearing today

OLYMPIA – Senate negotiators will begin the push today for a package of new road projects and improved maintenance that could complete the long-discussed North Spokane Corridor and raise gasoline taxes by 11.5 cents over three years.
The package of 10 related bills, with a total price tag of $8.7 billion for projects all over the state, gets a formal airing at a Senate Transportation Committee hearing this afternoon. Whether it will prompt a special session or just lay the groundwork for more debate next year is unknown…
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Up for discussion: The best way to illustrate sex trafficking?

OLYMPIA — Submitted for your approval, as Rod Serling used to say at the beginning of “Twilight Zone.” Or disapproval, as the case may be.

Until this morning, this was the photo the Senate Republican Caucus web site used to illustrate last week's hearing by the Law and Justice Committee on Sex Trafficking. You may recall it as the hearing at Gonzaga Law School.

Or you may recall it as the hearing where Shared Hope International praised the Legislature for its work to make it easier to crack down on sex traffickers and child prostitution. Washington got an A for its laws fighting sex trafficking. Over in Idaho, they were getting a D.

This morning, the Senate Republican Caucus web site was down, and the photo was removed, although a spokesman for Committee Chairman Mike Padden said that was probably a coincidence. The hearing was more than a week ago, Eric Campbell said, and the site was rotating features to get more current things up.

Padden said later that he didn't select the photo, and hadn't even seen it before it was removed.

“I would have not put it  up. I don't approve of it,” Padden said, adding minorities are more likely to be victims of sex trafficking.

We should note that this is a “stock photo”, one that has been used other places to illustrate sex trafficking or child pornography, primarily on web sites with ties to religious organizations.  In some versions of the image, the hands over the mouth don't seem to be quite as dark as in the above image.

What grade should the SRC get for its photo selection?

 

AP: Locke to leave ambassador post

The Associated Press is reporting former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is stepping down next year as ambassador to China. Here's their report:

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, who oversaw the handling of potential crises over the flights to U.S. diplomatic missions by a persecuted legal activist and a high-profile police chief, said Wednesday he will step down early next year.
Locke, the first Chinese-American to hold the post, said he informed President Barack Obama earlier this month of his decision to rejoin his family in Seattle.
Locke, 63, known for his affable, non-confrontational style, placed a high priority on improving embassy efficiency and facilitating bilateral trade at a time when exchanges are growing rapidly. . .

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

 

Washington lost 9,500 jobs in last 2 months

OLYMPIA — Washington lost 8,100 jobs last month and 1,400 in September when  employment statistics are adjusted for seasonal variations.

The changes left the state's unemployment rate almost unchanged. It was 7 percent in August, 6.9 percent in September and 7 percent in October. The state Employment Security Department said the losses come after almost two years of slow job growth.

The state didn't report employment statistics last month for September. The reason? The federal government's partial shutdown meant people who help compile some of the figures were on furlough. Paul Turek, a labor economist for the department, said the state did gain some jobs in September and October, but not as many as it normally would so the totals come off as a loss when seasonal adjustments are made. More from the department's statement 

The drops are likely related to recent statistical adjustments and some softening of the economy, he said.

“We enjoyed a very long growth streak, but we should expect there will be ups and downs over time as the recovery gradually strengthens,” Turek said.

Both the job numbers and the unemployment rate may be revised as more information comes in.

Industries with job gains in October wholesale trade, up 1,000; retail trade, up 400; other services, up 300; government, up 200 jobs, mostly in K-12 education and state higher education; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry, up 100.

Industries that reported job losses included education and health services, down 2,800 jobs; construction, down 2,800; leisure and hospitality, down 2,700; manufacturing, down 1,300 jobs; professional and business services, down 300; financial activities, down 100; and information, down 100.

 

Ed Murray staying a senator until year’s end

OLYMPIA — Ed Murray will keep two titles — state senator and mayor-elect — through the end of the year in case he has to return to the state capital for a special session on transportation.

In a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, Murray said he will resign his Senate seat on Dec. 31. That will give Democrats in his district the time to name a replacement before the regular session of the Legislature starts in January.

Murray, who won the Seattle mayor's race this month, had planned to resign before then, “but with the prospect of an upcoming vote on transportation, he did not want to leave the 43rd District without representation,” Aaron Wasser, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic Caucus, said in a press release.

Inslee has said he might call a special session — which would be this year's fourth — if legislators can reach agreement on a package of transportation construction and maintenance projects accompanied by increases in the gasoline tax and some vehicle fees. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, which includes all Republicans and two Democrats, reportedly is putting the finishing touches on a $8.7 billion package that would raise gas taxes by 11.5 cents over three years. Legislators will test the waters for such a plan later this week during committee hearings.

Under state law, Democratic precinct officers within Murray's legislative district will nominate up to three possible replacements, and the final choice will be made by the King County Council. The person selected will serve in the regular session and any special sessions in 2014, and run for election next November.

Today’s fun video: Comparing Obamacare web site to Katrina

 

If you got tired of the talking heads saying problems with Obamacare and the web site roll out were Barack Obama's Katrina moment, you might like this clip from the Daily Show.

Pot businesses: 299 applications in first six hours

OLYMPIA — Would-be marijuana entrepreneurs began Monday filing applications for state licenses to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana.

In the six hours after the state Department of Revenue's web site began taking applications, 299 had been filed online and the non-refundable fee of $250 had been paid, a spokeswoman said. The department didn't have totals available for the full day, or a count of the number of people who filed applications in person at one of its offices, Beverly Crichfield said.

Of the applications that were filed:

— 151 were for people who wanted to both grow and process marijuana
— 70 were retail applications
— 62 were processor applications
— 16 were grower applications

The department's web site, which began taking applications at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the state's 30-day window, can take applications round the clock, Crichfield said. The applications are forwarded to the state Liquor Control Board for processing and review.

Recreational marijuana was legalized for adults in Washington state by voters in the 2012 general election. State officials have been working for the last year to develop rules and regulations for the new businesses, even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

 State officials say they expect to award licenses early next year, and state-licensed stores with marijuana grown under the new law are expected to be open by June.

The board plans to post the names of applicants starting next week, Crichfield said.

Today’s fun video: SNL’s cure for what ails Obama

 

 

Saturday Night Live recommends doses of second-term strength anti-depressants for Barack Obama.

(It's from the NBC website, so it starts with a real commercial. Sorry about that.)

Inslee staying in China extra day

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee will return from his belated trade trip China on Tuesday, rather than today.

Inslee's office said this morning the governor was extending his stay in China an extra day to make a trip to Beijing for meetings that were postponed last week because of the special session. He'll meet with Gary Locke, his gubernatorial predecessor who is now U.S. ambassador to China, and receive a briefing on China's clean energy efforts.

Sunday Spin: Right-to-work in the soviet of WA?

Somewhere in the great beyond, James “Big Jim” Farley is having a good day.

The former Tammany Hall boss and political strategist for Franklin Delano Roosevelt may have been pulled out of celestial poker game late last week when word drifted heavenward about a press release from state Sen. Mike Baumgartner. The Spokane Republican came up with a solution to the fix Washington could find itself in after Boeing’s union machinists voted down a contract extension that would have guaranteed the 777X be built in the state.

Call a special session to turn Washington into a “right-to-work” state, Baumgartner said.

Such a suggestion must’ve made Farley spit out his cigar, if smoking is allowed in whatever suburb of the afterlife old pols inhabit. . .

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

Pot biz applications open Monday

Sam Calvert has a dream of getting in on the ground floor of a historic change in retail commerce that begins Monday. But it’s a struggle, he acknowledged.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Calvert, 50, who has managed commercial real estate and worked as a consultant for business startups.

He knows the three most important factors for a business are “location, location, location,” but as of late this week was without a lease. He has yet to find a bank that will accept his commercial account. For most businesses he counsels, their start up difficulty is a 2 or a 3 on scale of 1 to 10. His start up is “at least a 9, maybe a 10.”

The business Calvert wants to start? Green Star, a retail outlet for recreational marijuana sales…

 

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

 

Today’s fun video: Racist or not?

 

 

The Daily Show plays the Racist or Not Racist game.

Right-to-work special session ‘not going to happen’

In the wake of the Boeing machinists’ rejection of a contract extension the company said would assure the 777X would be built in Washington, a Spokane legislator said the state needs to take a bold step to become more attractive to manufacturing.

Make Washington a “right-to-work” state, which would make union membership and its dues optional.

That would be part of making the state “a welcoming overall environment” with a lower possibility of strikes, Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner said. He wants Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session to consider and pass such legislation.

“That’s not going to happen,” a spokesman for Inslee said. Boeing never mentioned right-to-work legislation as something it was seeking to guarantee the plane would be built in Washington, David Postman said. . .

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

 

Senate per diems for Special Session = $8,460

OLYMPIA — The three-day special session cost the state $8,460 in per diem expenses for members of the state Senate.

That's the tally released today from the Secretary of the Senate's office, from per diem requests filed by senators from last week's Thursday-through-Saturday session.

Legislators are allowed $90 per day to cover expenses while they are in Olympia for a special session. Some who didn't arrive until Friday only claimed $180, and a couple who only showed up for the final day, when the two Boeing bills came to the floor for votes, only requested $90. Nine senators didn't put in for any per diem, even though they were there for the full three days and did some of the heavy lifting, like Sen. Andy Hill, the R-Redmond, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Among the Spokane-area delegation, Republicans Mike Baumgartner, Mike Padden and Mark Schoesler and Democrat Andy Billig put in for the full $270, while Republican John Smith requested $180.

Per diem expenses for the House, which has a slightly different calendar for reporting expenses, are expected to be available next week.

 

SPD detective files for run against Knezovich

Last week’s off-year election isn’t even certified yet, and now 2014 already is heating up.

Spokane police Detective Doug Orr is gearing up for a run against Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

Orr, who also serves as an adjunct criminal justice professor at Gonzaga University, has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission declaring his intent to run for sheriff next year, which enables him to begin seeking campaign contributions.

Knezovich also has filed paperwork with the PDC indicating he’ll seek another term, and he’s already raised nearly $35,000 for the campaign.

He was first appointed to the post by Spokane County commissioners in 2006 when former Sheriff Mark Sterk stepped down.  Knezovich was elected to his first full term later that year following a bruising GOP primary clash with Sterk’s preferred successor, former Spokane Valley Police Chief Cal Walker. Knezovich was unopposed when he sought re-election in 2010.

Legislators at NE Community Center Wednesday

Legislators from Spokane's 3rd District will hold a “mobile office” session Wednesday afternoon at the Northeast Community Center.

Sen. Andy Billig, along with Reps. Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli, will be at the center, 4001 N. Cook St., from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to talk to constituents about concerns as the 2014 session approaches.

Just a guess, but some things about the special session that ended last week might come  up, too.

Fractured metaphor

OLYMPIA — There's an axiom in politics that anything worth saying is worth repeating, sometimes ad infinitum.

Based on the late great special session, it would seem that even things not worth saying are worth repeating. That would be the only explanation for something Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, said repeatedly as she tried to amend legislation designed to help Boeing and the aerospace industry in such a way that all businesses in the state would get similar help.

“What's good for Goliath is good for David,” Holmquist Newbry said during floor speeches, and repeated in her post-session press release.

That's a very strange reading of the Bible, because 1Samuel seems to make very clear that what was good for David was something very much different than what was good for Goliath. Recall that Goliath wasn't just some big-assed dude, but he was decked out in full armor, like everyone else on the battlefield where David shows up with food for his bros.

David hasn't got an armor or a sword, and turns down King Saul's offer to wear his battle gear into the fight. He downs Goliath with a sling (which the G-man scoffed at), then whacks off the big guy's head with Goliath's sword. So it would seem that nothing that was good for Goliath was good for David, or vice versa.

Holmquist Newbry's amendments failed, but probably not because the state Senate is full of Scriptural purists.

Inslee signing Boeing legislation today

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee travels to the Museum of Flight this morning to sign legislation passed over the weekend in the hurry-up special session.

Probably an appropriate backdrop, considering the session was all about luring a new Boeing assembly line and wing manufacturing plant for the 777X, and the Museum of Flight is at Boeing Field, just down from Boeing facilities, and there are lots and lots of Boeing planes inside and out.

On Saturday, after the Legislature wrapped and the many fathers of the legislative victory assembled with Inslee for a victory press conference, the governor was asked when the “dog and pony show” of bill signing would take place. Normally these occur in the governor's conference room.

Time and date to be determined, Inslee said, but added: “Just dogs. It's a Lean Management things. We don't use ponies.”

Apparently Lean Management does, however, allow the use of planes.

 

Sunday Spin2: New definition of victory?

In elections, victory is usually well-defined. You got the most votes. Period.

So it was a bit odd Thursday to get a post-election email from initiative guru Tim Eyman describing the results of the election as “7 measures, 7 votes, 7 victories”. . . 

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

Sunday Spin: Ignore the undervotes at your peril

Spokane County’s effort to raise property taxes failed on Tuesday, but it could have won. John Smith could have beat Brian Dansel in Northeast Washington’s 7th Legislative District, Linda Thompson could have beat Rod Higgins for a seat on the Spokane Valley City Council and all three losers in the contested Liberty Lake council races could have been winners.

All of this could have happened without any special tricks to get more voters in key precincts to the polls. The votes were there, the campaigns just didn’t close the deal…

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

 

Boeing tax breaks, training bills pass

OLYMPIA — The Legislature gave overwhelming approval to bills designed to convince Boeing to build a new jetliner in Washington, rejecting calls Saturday to spread the benefits of tax breaks and streamlined permit approvals to all businesses in the state.

Then it quit, without any public discussion of the other thing mentioned by Gov. Jay Inslee when he called the special session last Tuesday, a $10 billion transportation package to build new highway projects and restore crumbling roads and bridges.

Inslee called the votes on tax breaks and aerospace training “a decision not to hide from international competition”. . .

Senate passes Boeing bills

OLYMPIA — The Senate gave overwhelming approval to bills designed to convince Boeing to build a new jetliner in Washington but rejected calls to spread the tax benefits and streamlined permit approvals to all businesses in the state.

On a 42 to 2 vote, the Senate extended tax breaks the aerospace industry currently enjoys for the 787 production through 2040, rewriting some provisions to include the new 777 X assembly line and a manufacturing facility for a new high-tech carbon fiber wing. The tax breaks have an estimated value of more than $8 billion to the aerospace giant, but would be cancelled if the company moves the assembly of the plane or any significant part manufacturing to another state.

On a 44 to 0 vote, the Senate approved a package of training programs for aerospace workers at state community and technical colleges and streamlined permitting for building new aerospace facilities.

Before each bill passed, however, the Senate rejected amendments that would cut the state's business and occupation tax by 40 percent for all businesses, and require all counties to process building permits as quickly as the aerospace projects will be handled.

“What's good for Goliath should be good for David,” Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, said.

Boeing is special, Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane said, but the Senate should “make a statement today that Washington's small businesses are also important.”

Both amendments failed on voice votes, and most senators stressed the impact Boeing has on the state's economy and lauded Gov. Jay Inslee for calling them into special session. But Baumgartner, who eventually voted for both bills, complained about the way they were rushed through committees outside the normal review process and with little chance for the public to understand what the Legislature was doing.

“I hope the next time there is a special deal for a special company…we do it in the normal way,” he said.

The bills go to the House, which is expected to take them up this afternoon.

U.S. Capitol tree stops by state Capitol

OLYMPIA — The Englemann spruce that was cut last week near Usk to serve as the national Christmas tree at the U.S. Capitol made a stop by the state Capitol in Olympia Friday afternoon.

Obviously, someone forgot to look at the map. Only something connected to Congress could decide to go from Usk to Washington, D.C., by way of Olympia.

Inslee delays China trip

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is postponing his trade mission to China.

Inslee was scheduled to leave Saturday on a previously arranged trade mission. But with the Legislature in a special session he called earlier this week to pass proposals aimed at convincing the Boeing Co. to build the 777X in Washington, it was expected he'd need to stay in the state.

Inslee's office announced the trip will be rescheduled but “at this point we do  not have a new departure date planned.”

Inslee: Boeing contract is ‘jobs for decades’

Gov. Jay Inslee says union members should consider contract in 'cool light of day.”

OLYMPIA — With Boeing machinists reportedly unhappy with a proposed union contract, Gov. Jay Inslee tried today to keep the momentum going for a legislative package tied to securing a new jetliner.

Inslee wouldn't go as far as asking union members to ratify the contract. But at a press conference in the halls of the Capitol building, he urged them to “look at it in the cool light of day” and consider that it represented “assurance of jobs for you, and your family and your community for decades.”

The Seattle Times reported this morning that rank-and-file union machinists at a meeting Thursday night were vocally unhappy with the contract, which freezes pensions at their current level and replaces a defined benefit plan with contributions to worker's retirement savings accounts. One of their leaders, Tom Wroblewski, who earlier this week stood with Inslee when the governor called for a special session, tore it up in front of his members and called it “a piece of crap”, the Times reported.

Inslee called legislators back to Olympia to pass legislation that would accompany the contract and ensure that the 777X would be built in Washington state. Union members aren't scheduled to vote on the contract until Wednesday; the Legislature could vote on a package of tax breaks worth some $8.9 billion through 2040, as well as expanded training programs for aerospace workers, as early as tomorrow.

If the machinists don't ratify a contract and the Legislature does not approve the tax breaks and training programs, Boeing will have offers to build the 777X elsewhere.

“People want to poach these  jobs…if in fact the deal doesn't go through this week,” Inslee said.

Murray steps down as Senate Dem leader

OLYMPIA — Sen. and Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray said he's dropping one of  his titles, that of Senate Democratic leader.

Murray said he was relinquishing that post and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, was stepping in as interim leader for the special session. Murray will remain in the state Senate through the session, and announce a resignation date after that with enough time for a replacement to be selected before the regular session starts in January.

Some question if state getting enough for Boeing tax breaks

OLYMPIA – The Legislature opened its third special session, which some have dubbed the Boeing session, with a look back 10 years, trying to make sure the aerospace giant keeps jobs in Washington in return for some $8.4 billion in proposed tax breaks.

Gov. Jay Inslee and most other witnesses at a House Finance Committee hearing on the tax break package extolled the economic and civic virtues of the state's largest manufacturer. It employs tens of thousands in its factories, has hundreds of suppliers around the state, keeps ports busy, stimulates the Puget Sound economy and even provides work for more than 100 visually impaired machinists through Lighthouses for the Blind in Seattle and Spokane.

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

Special Session 3: They’re baaaack. . .

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, leads a lightly populated Senate through the pro forma opening for this year's Third Special Session.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature convened — or should we say reconvened — this morning, although if you overslept or lingered over that second cup of coffee, you might've missed the action. Such as it was.

As expected, these were starting sessions were pro forma — which is Latin for nothing much worth seeing — with a handful of legislators on hand to take care of the necessities like getting the formal notice from the governor and bringing all of the legislation that has been laying dormant since they were last gathered together in June out of mothballs.

The House Finance Committee has a hearing this afternoon, which will be a starting point for HB 2089,  tax preferences Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing  to accommodate Boeing and its 777X plant. Tomorrow the House Appropriations Committee it will have a hearing on HB 2088, which is the package for aerospace training programs. 

Not yet scheduled: the $10 billion transportation package which Inslee says also is needed. That would likely go through Transportation Committees, which currently aren't scheduled to meet until Nov. 21, and haven't had their agendas updated to reflect any new proposals.

Mapping the Vote: Latest on County Prop 1

Gap got a bit wider on Spokane County Proposition 1 in Wednesday vote count, with 44,485 Yes and 46,758 No.

 Here's the latest precinct-by-precinct breakdown. For a closer look, click on the document below.


Documents:

Baumgartner to hold meeting before session

Before heading to Olympia for the start of the special session, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner wants to hear from constituents. He's holding a “mobile office” session in Airway Heights on his way out of town.

“I want to answer questions and receive feedback about what is on the minds of the voters,” he said in a press release.

Baumgartner will be at the Buckhorn Inn, 13311 W. Sunset Highway, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday. That means he'll miss the official start of the session, which is scheduled to kick off at 9 a.m. But Thursday is expected to be “pro forma” in the chambers, so he won't miss much.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday afternoon that he was calling the Legislature into a special session on Thursday morning.

Mapping the Vote: Valley Council Seat 1

Linda Thompson and Rod Higgins are splitting the vote fairly evenly in the race for Spokane Valley's Council Seat 1.


Documents:

Mapping the Vote: Valley Council Seat 4

Ed Pace and Gary Schimmels are running neck and neck in Spokane Valley's Council 4 race. As this map shows, neither candidate came out of any precinct with a big lead in last night's count.


Documents:

Mapping the Vote: NW City Council race

This map shows why Candace Mumm leads Michael Cannon in the race for the open seat in Spokane's Northwest City Council District. She won more precincts than he did, some of them with bigger margins.

For a more detailed look at the map, click on the document below.


Documents:

14 Spokane City Council votes that would have been different under new majority

So the Spokane City Council will soon have a new, more liberal majority. And while some big issues haven't been decided along easily identified party lines, there likely will be a noticeable change.

To get a sense of the kind of policies that could be affected, here's a review of many of the 4-3 tallies cast since the council shifted to a more conservative bent after the 2011 election. The following votes ended with Republican-leaning Mike Allen, Mike Fagan, Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Salvatori beating out Democratic-leaning Jon Snyder, Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref.

May 2013

  • Supporting the filing of lawsuits to stop two citizen initiatives from appearing on the ballot, including Envision Spokane’s proposed Community Bill of Rights.

April 2013

  • Rejection of proposal to pull money from reserves to hire 10 police officers.
  • Creation of 13 new public safety departments to allow Mayor David Condon to hire and fire more managers without using civil service rules.

Mapping the Vote: Spo Co. Prop 1 revised

Here's a revised map of the breakdown of the precinct vote for Spokane County Proposition 1, a tax measure to buy property near Fairchild Air Force Base, which shows the proposal did well in some parts of the cities of Cheney, Deer Park, Spokane and Spokane Valley, but poorly in many of the suburbs and Airway Heights

 

For a more detailed look at the map, click on the document link below.


Documents:

Election Night coverage from the SR political team

The Spokesman-Review's reporters, photographers and editors are following the elections in two states tonight, and filing reports on local and regional results as soon as we have them. Check back regularly for updates from Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Olympia.

 

Special session starts Thursday

OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature will meet in a special session starting Thursday to consider a $10 billion transportation package and other legislation Gov. Jay Inslee said is key to landing the manufacturing plant for a new Boeing jetliner.

Standing with legislative leaders, Boeing executives and union officials, Inslee said a combination of transportation improvements, extended tax breaks, faster permits for building and aerospace education programs would guarantee the company will build the new jetliner and a new carbon fiber wing in Washington state.

The current 777 facility supports 56,000 jobs, and the new plane will create thousands more, Inslee  said: “These jobs are ours if we act now.”. .

 

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

Liquor Board seeks opinion on pot bans

OLYMPIA — In another sign that the state is feeling its way through the unknown terrain of legalizing marijuana, a state agency is asking the attorney general's office for advice on what to do about local bans on growing and selling the drug.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has asked for attorney general's opinions on whether cities and counties can enforce outright bans on growers, processors or retailers who have received state licenses. It also asked if local governments can pass land use regulations more stringent than those in Initiative 502 and the board's requirements that would make it impractical for licensed marijuana businesses to locate in their jurisdictions.

After I-502 passed and the board began discussing rules for recreational marijuana businesses, some cities and counties passed moratoria on those businesses. During one hearing on the rules, board members and a Pierce County official sparred over whether that county's ban could continue.

The attorney general's office sent out a notice to lawyers around the state who may have outside expertise or information that could assist in these formal opinions.

Spokane listed among ‘best cities for conservatives’

Conservatives in Spokane, take heart. Your U.S. senators, governor and roughly half your city council may be Democrats or liberals, but you live in the 12th best city for conservatives.

This according to Estately, a web site for  house shopping that claims to have some 976,000 MLS listings. True, the web site only lists 13 cities, so Spokane almost didn't make the baker's dozen topped by Oklahoma City. But it did manage to make the grade, even if it seems like the authors were a bit selective in the conservative points they picked.

Washington state  is divided in half like a McDonald’s McDLT. The west side is the left side, the rainy and wet side, the urban side filled with Seattle liberals. On the east side of the Cascade Mountains is the state’s Republican stronghold, a population of ranchers, farmers, and others actively trying to create a separate state independent from Western Washington. Spokane is the metropolitan center for Eastern Washington, as well as the Inland Northwest. It’s the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis and the most conservative large city in the Pacific Northwest.

 Among the “famous locals” they list Bing Crosby, Craig T. Nelson, John Stockton and Ryne Sandberg.

In order to enhance Spokane's Red Cred, they also say the percent voting for President Obama in 2012 was 45.6 percent, parenthetically adding that's a Spokane County total. And that's true, as far as it goes. The county total has some deeply red precincts from Spokane Valley, Mead, the suburbs and the exurbs. The actual vote for Obama in the City of Spokane was 56 percent.

Time running out on election

Elections in Washington are coming down to the wire, with ballots due in drop boxes or postmarked by 8 p.m. today.

In Idaho, voters must go to the polls by 8 p.m. today to cast ballots. Idaho residents who haven't yet registered can sign up at the polls and vote if they follow some meet certain requirements. (Read about registering at the polls in Idaho here, paying particular attention to No. 2 and No. 10. )

Same-day voter registration isn't legal in Washington. Signup closed a week ago.

Voters looking for information on the candidates or issues on their ballot have several options. There's The Spokesman-Review's Election Center, with campaign coverage from both states and background information that's searchable by candidate or issue.

Washington voters who have misplaced their state Voters Pamphlet can find the information online at the Secretary of State's web site. Information on the local candidates and ballot measures in Spokane County can be found at the county Elections Office web site.

Idaho elections are primarily for local offices and issues, so not everyone has something to vote on. Information on Kootenai County raises and polling places can be found here.

Washington elections are also mainly for local offices and issues, but the ballot also contains two statewide initiatives and five statewide tax advisory measures, so every registered voter in Washington should have received a ballot in the mail. Those who did must either put that ballot in the mail so it's postmarked by Tuesday or deposit it in a drop box before the final pickup at 8 p.m. on election day. A list of Spokane County drop boxes is inside the blog, and phone numbers and websites for all other counties can be found here.

Registered voters who didn't get a ballot, or have misplaced it during the last two weeks can go to a voter service center tomorrow to cast a provisional ballot. Locations for Spokane County voter service centers are also found inside the blog.

Pot applications open Nov. 18

OLYMPIA — State officials will begin accepting applications for people who want to get into the marijuana business — legally, that is — starting at 8 a.m. Nov. 18.

The state Revenue Department will be set up to accept marijuana license applications any one of three ways at that point. Online, by mail or in person at a field office.

The application materials won't be available until Nov. 18. Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. Dec. 19. The department will forward them to the state Liquor Control Board, which will oversee the recreational marijuana industry.

A word of warning: The state is charging a series of non-refundable fees, including a $250 fee for every endorsement — grower, processor or retailer — sought. So if the Liquor Control Board doesn't approve your request, you don't get your money back.

For more on the process, check out the Business Licensing Service web site.

 

Cost of tax advisories less than projected

OLYMPIA — Adding the five tax advisory measures to the state Voters Pamphlet cost less than originally projected after the Secretary of State's office found some ways to consolidate information, a spokesman for the office said today.

The final cost to was about $130,000 to add the three pages of ballot language and cost estimates for the five measures and slightly over six pages of legislative votes, David Ammons said.

Initial estimates were for about $240,000, but the total came down by consolidating information on the legislative votes, Ammons said. Instead of listing the names, contact information and votes of the 147 legislators for each advisory measure as the office did last year, it created one list and recorded all five votes under the name and contact information for each legislator.

The office “found a way to economize” even though the consolidation prompted objections from Tim Eyman, the sponsor of the initiative that requires the advisory votes, Ammons said.

A story in Sunday's Spokesman-Review used the old estimate in a story about the tax advisory measures.

Sunday Spin 2: Say what?

Last week’s opening session of the committee to reconcile House and Senate budgets offered 29 members of Congress the chance to expound – some might say bloviate – on the task. Opening the floor to professional talkers can be dangerous, but Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the committee chairman, was fairly diligent in keeping members to their allotted five minutes.

As they talked, however, it was clear that Democrats and Republicans may speak the same language, but speak past each other. The National Journal did a quick analysis of the 50 most-used words in the opening statements by Ryan and Vice Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. For Murray, the most common word was “budget”, which she said 14 times. Ryan said “budget” four times, but his most common words were “debt” and “economy” at eight utterances each.

Murray said “economy” a couple times, but didn’t say “debt” once.  Ryan didn’t say “sequestration” or “compromise”, words Murray said seven times each.

The conference committee needs a compromise budget by Dec. 13 in order to head off talk of another government shutdown. After the 29 opening statements, four words come to mind.

Good luck with that.

Sunday Spin: Haunting the Capitol

The U.S. Capitol, arguably the greatest building in the other Washington, sometimes seems at though it is America’s answer to the Vatican, where the business at hand is conducted in surroundings adorned with art and replete with history.

The hallways and staircases of both are rich with artists’ renditions of their particular dogma – biblical scenes in one, historical tableaus in the other. God stretches out a finger to Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; George Washington ascends to godlike status with female figures of Liberty and Victory on the ceiling of the Rotunda…

 

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

Tax advisory votes: How much effect?

Voters seeking extensive information from the usual sources on five statewide advisory measures before casting their ballots may be out of luck.

There are no high-powered campaigns for or against Advisory Votes 3 through 7. No statements pro or con in the state Voters Pamphlet. No web sites with videos or lists of endorsers…

 

To find out more about the tax advisory votes, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

PAC backing Snyder, Mumm missed filing deadlines

The flood of money into Spokane City Council races is accompanied by campaign accusations flowing to the state agency that oversees election spending.

In the last week at least four complaints have been filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission about Spokane races.

In the aftermath, a political action committee has acknowledged that it did not file proper campaign reports.

The Spokane Republican Party this week accused Citizens for Honest Government, a political action committee that supports the campaigns of Jon Snyder and Candace Mumm, of not properly reporting its spending.

Snyder, an incumbent, is running against former Republican state Rep. John Ahern for a seat representing south Spokane. Mumm is running against Michael Cannon for a seat representing northwest Spokane.

Melissa Carpenter, Citizens for Honest Government’s treasurer, said Thursday that the PAC did not intend to hide any expenditures and that it would “take steps to rectify the situation immediately.” She also noted that the PAC reported the expenditures on other reports to the PDC.

Rules require that PACs to report much of their spending on behalf of candidates within 24 hours. But Citizens for Honest Government didn’t report how it spend nearly $50,000 until it filed a required summary report earlier this week.

1 in 5 Spokane ballots in

About one of every five Spokane voters has returned a ballot for Tuesday's election.

The Spokane County Elections Office said it has slightly more than 59,000 ballots as of this morning's count, both from mail delivery and collections at the drop boxes around the county. That's about 21 percent of the more than 282,000 mailed out last month.

 In the City of Spokane, the contested races in council districts 2 and 3 are running slightly ahead of that average, while the District 1, where there's  no contested council race, is not surprisingly running behind average.

Many of the smaller towns are running around the county are running significantly ahead of the county's average turn-in rate. The City of Spokane Valley is a bit behind, at 18.6 percent.

Ballots that are mailed in must be postmarked by Tuesday. They can also be deposited in drop boxes at public libraries and other key locations around the county before 8 p.m. Tuesday. A list of drop box locations can be found inside the blog.

 

 

TVW to show Foley service live

TVW will show today's memorial service for former Speaker Tom Foley live on its cable system and on its web site.

The memorial service, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at St. Aloysius Church on Gonzaga University campus. Many of the state's current and former political leaders are scheduled to attend. The school is expecting an overflow crowd, so it will also broadcast the service live on a large screen in Martin Centre.

Mayor David Condon has ordered flags on all city buildings to be flown at half-staff to day in honor of Foley, and will present his widow Heather Foley with a proclamation honoring the former congressman and ambassador.

TVW is on cable channel 25 in Spokane. It will rebroadcast the service next week, including at 7 p.m. Monday

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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