A week after Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent a taxpayer-funded mailer with the wrong date for a public town hall meeting, residents in Liberty Lake are crying foul over another postcard they say used a woman's picture without her family's permission.
Tom Brattebo sent the following letter to the editor to the newspaper this weekend:
I'll add another view to the numerous letters regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' recently sent (at taxpayer expense) “Senior Update.” The older woman in the picture was a friend of mine for over 35 years. She passed away in January of 2013. The picture was taken a few months prior. The lady was a retired school teacher and principal. She never wanted for medical care through her state retirement and Medicare programs. She did much to assist the less fortunate.
Permission was not solicited by the congresswoman's office for use of this photo. They had no knowledge that she had died.
And, I am married to a “Bette from Spokane.”
Brattebo said the woman, pictured below with the congresswoman, is 91-year-old Maxine Davidson. Brattebo and his wife, Bette (not that Bette), befriended Davidson, a longtime teacher and principal for Spokane Public Schools. A memorial scholarship bears her name at Eastern Washington University, according to an obituary published in the Spokesman-Review.
Photo courtesy of Tom Brattebo.
Brattebo's wife retained power of attorney for the retired school teacher, he said. She died in January 2013, a few weeks after the photo was taken with the congresswoman used in the mailer. The couple was not contacted by McMorris Rodgers' office before the mailer was sent. They found out about its use when it arrived in their mailbox last week, Tom Brattebo said.
“It was upsetting,” Brattebo said. “She's been gone for a year and a half.”
Davidson enjoyed the photo and kept a print of it in her room at the nursing facility where she lived, Brattebo said. But based on his perception of Davidson's politics, it's unlikely the Brattebos would have OK'd the picture's use in the material sent by the GOP congresswoman, Tom Brattebo said.
The Brattebos contacted McMorris Rodgers' office, who apologized for the image's use. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the photo was published due to a breakdown in office policy.
There was a breakdown in our standard approval process at the staff level for use of this particular photo. Going forward the office will work to make certain the approval process is enforced which means in order to use a photo appropriate permissions of those featured will be obtained.
-Statement from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office
McMorris Rodgers is scheduled to appear at an hour-long town hall meeting tonight at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. The event is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. She faces challenger Joe Pakootas, a Democrat, in the November general election for the 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. Congress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As colleague Mike Prager reports in today's paper, Spokane County Commissioner Al French thinks he'll improve his vote totals in the fall as the election moves from his District 3 to the entire county.
French has a point that District 3 trends more Democratic than the other two counties based on the 2012 presidential election. But comparing the map of presidential vote to his run against two opponents — one Democrat and another an independent who was formerly a Democrat — and it would seem he had more than just a partisan headwind in the general.
The map above is available in more detail in the PDF file below. The other PDF file is the 2012 presidential results. Political geeks might enjoy comparing and opining whether they think French is right.
The 2012 map was made for that election. The primary map was made yesterday for the story analysis, but there wasn't room for it in the paper (It doesn't work as well small.) But there's always plenty of room on the Internet.
Yesterday, at a press conference to release his 2015 budget proposal, Spokane Mayor David Condon stood in front of a Hillyard warehouse that will soon be home to the city's second police precinct.
The idea is, by decentralizing the police force into a precinct model, police work will become more community-oriented and responsive to neighborhood concerns.
In our report in today's paper, we mentioned that the building was purchased in 2005 for $410,000 using seizure funds. We didn't mention that the sale almost a decade ago raised some eyebrows, which came to light this morning thanks to some additional sleuthing.
According to a story that ran on the front page of the March 16, 2005 edition of the Spokesman-Review, the police department bought the building from a retired Spokane police captain and the deal was brokered by a retired Spokane police chief.
The property was owned by Chuck Crabtree, who retired in 1981 as captain in charge of the department’s uniformed division. Former Assistant Police Chief John Sullivan was one of two real estate listing agents, and was reported to earn a share of the $24,600 commission on the sale.
Read the original story below.
Congress may be unpopular, but in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, five-term incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was not with voters casting ballots in Tuesday’s primary.
McMorris Rodgers, a member of the GOP leadership in the House, finished the evening with more than half the votes cast in the 10-county district. She’ll face Democrat Joe Pakootas, the chief executive officer of the Colville Tribe’s business operations, in the general election and said she was encouraged by the strong showing in the four-way primary.
“To me, it indicates the trust and confidence people have in my representation,” she said. “I’m someone a lot of people can relate to.”
The job ratings for Congress overall have been low for months, but people often have a better opinion of their own representative. But earlier Tuesday, a Washington Post-ABC News poll said Americans are more dissatisfied with their member of Congress than ever. The survey said 51 percent reported they either strongly disapprove or somewhat disapprove of the way their representative is handling his or her job.
McMorris Rodgers had about 51.7 percent of the votes after county elections offices shut down for the night. Most will count more ballots on Wednesday, and results will be official on Aug. 19.
Pakootas, who finished the night with about 29 percent of the vote, acknowledged he has a tough challenge ahead but declared himself excited and energized by surviving the primary.
“I think it will be easier to run head-to-head” where voters can compare their records on job creation and economic views, he said.
One challenge, he added, will be to get more Democrats to the polls. Outside of Spokane, many county and legislative offices are held by Republicans who have no or only token Democratic opposition.
Two other challengers were eliminated. Independent Dave Wilson, who built and then sold a computer training school, tried to appeal to the disaffected voters unhappy with both parties in general and Congress in particular. Republican Tom Horne, a volunteer firefighter and retired engineer, ran to the right of McMorris Rodgers, criticizing Republican leadership in the House and calling for more challenges to President Obama.
In Central Washington’s wild primary for an open seat, a pair of Republicans will compete in the state’s first all-GOP congressional general election race. Eltopia farmer and former NFL player Clint Didier, a Tea Party favorite, has a commanding lead in the 12-person field with about 30 percent of the vote. He was almost 3,000 votes ahead of former state Ag Director Dan Newhouse, of Yakima, a mainstream Republican. With all counties reporting election night tallies, Newhouse has twice the votes of the Estakio Beltran, a Democrat in third place who was slightly ahead of Janea Holmquist, a Moses Lake legislator who gave up her Senate seat to run for Congress.
The race drew an even dozen candidates – eight Republicans, two Democrats and two independents. The Republicans all ran as conservatives who believe in smaller government, lower taxes and gun rights. In resumes and approaches to government, they represented a wide spectrum from mainstream to Tea Party.
Under the state’s top two primary system, the candidates with the most and second-most votes advance to the general election regardless of party.
To win a second term in the state House of Representatives, Democrat Marcus Riccelli will have to go another round with the person he beat two years ago, Republican Tim Benn.
Riccelli finished first, with about 58 percent of the vote, and Benn was comfortably in second with about 34 percent. Randy McGlenn II, a Libertarian candidate, was eliminated in the top two primary.
Democrat Mary Lou Johnson has a 62-vote lead over incumbent Republican Commissioner Al French in tonight's 3rd Commissioner District primary.
But the two of them are significantly ahead of Bonnie Mager, a former commissioner running as an independent.
Johnson and French each have about 36 percent of the vote, while Mager trails with 27 percent. She'll need a huge pickup in the late count to displace one of them in the top two primary.
Bob McCaslin and Diana Wilhite may have ended the legislative career of Leonard Christian tonight.
In a three-way Republican race, McCaslin, a teacher, and Wilhite, the former Spokane Valley mayor, were running comfortably ahead of Christian, who was appointed by Spokane County commissioners to fill the seat of Rep. Larry Crouse, who retired this year for health reasons.
Christian served in the 2014 session, but probably had the least name recognition of the three. McCaslin is the son of longtime state Sen. Bob McCaslin, and Wilhite has been active in local and party politics for many years.
In tonight's returns, McCaslin has 44 percent of the vote and Wilhite 31 percent. Christian trails with 24 percent, some 1,500 votes behind Wilhite.
Under the state's top two primary system, the candidate with the most and second most votes advance to the general election regardless of party. No Democrats filed for the office.
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will face Democrat Joe Pakootas in the general election as she tries to win her sixth term in Congress.
In early returns, McMorris Rodgers has about half the votes currently being tallied, while Pakootas has slightly less than a third, but more than the other two challengers, Independent Dave Wilson and Republican Tom Horne, combined.
Eltopia farmer and former NFL player Clint Didier takes a commanding lead in the 12-way primary in Central Washington's 4th Congressional District.
Second is former state Ag Director and fellow Republican Dan Newhouse. If current trend holds, Democrats will be SOL in this district's general
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is way ahead — more than 56 percent of the votes — in the early returns in the 5th Congressional District primary.
Democrat Joe Pakootas is comfortably in second with 24 percent.
This in votes from Asotin, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Lincoln counties.