Posts tagged: 2011 Washington Elections
OLYMPIA – This year’s ballot measure to get state government out of the liquor business is shaping up as another multi-million dollar fight that will pit one of Washington’s largest discount retailers against alcohol wholesalers.
Also taking sides are the state’s grocery stores, with some big national chains like Safeway backing the proposal and some regional chains like Rosauer’s working against it.
Spokane County Elections Office released the tallies from Thursday's ballot counts, which are pretty much right in line with everything we've seen so far.
Spokane Mayor's Race: Mary Verner 59 percent, David Condon 33 percent, everyone else, less than 8 percent.
Spokane Council President: Dennis Hession 37 percent, Ben Stuckart 30 percent, Steve Corker 27 percent
Spokane Council Position 1: Mike Fagan 29 percent, Donna McKereghan 24 percent, no one else close enough to change that.
Spokane Valley Council Position 6: Marilyn Cline 40 percent, Ben Wick 25.5 percent, John Baldwin and Lewis Higgins both out of it with around 16 percent.
Spokane School District Director Position 5: Deana Brower 38 percent, Sally Fullmer 30 percent, everyone else far out of the money.
Spokane City Prop 2 (the only one that was even close):, is still at 51 percent yes, 49 percent no.
There's an estimated 1,200 ballots remaining. Those and any others that straggle in by mail will be counted on Aug. 30/
Dying to see the full details? Click here to go inside the blog.
OLYMPIA – Washington would collect more revenue if an initiative to privatize liquor sales passes, but could pay more for road projects if another ballot measure on toll roads succeeds.
That's the best estimate of the Office of Financial Management, which recently released its analyses of the three measures headed for the Nov. 8 ballot…
To read more about the analyses, and for links to the reports, click here to go inside the blog.
A quick check of turnout through this morning at the Spokane County elections office reveals the following:
Turnout for the City of Spokane as a whole is 23 percent, which is nothing to write home about.
Turnout is lowest in the Council District 1, the Northeast District. It's at 19 percent, with slightly more than half as many ballots turned in as the other two districts. Statistically, that's not a huge surprise, because District 1 usually lags behind the other two council districts, and there are about 11,000 fewer registered voters in that district compared to the others.
What's unusual, however, is that District 1 has a council race on the ballot; it's the only district that has a council primary. So even with that incentive, turnout remains low.
There's still time to turn that around, though. Ballots can be marked, sealed and deposited in drop boxes until 8 p.m. Click here for a list of drop boxes throughout Spokane County.
Or you could put a stamp on the envelope and mail it, but take it to the post office to make sure it's postmarked today.
Reporters have been known to bet on almost anything, from when a jury will come back to which candidates will win the races they are covering.
It’s a tendency that even some professional gamblers find appalling. So when a Craigslist ad offered a cash prize for the best handicapper of Tuesday’s mayoral race, it caught some eyes in the newsroom.
Even more curious, the referenced website seemed to be that of Mike Noder. But a closer look showed that it wasn’t his mikeforspokane site, but a mocking site, mike4spokane, set up by someone he describes as a former friend turned critic.
To be fair, the mike4 site is close to being an equal opportunity annoyer of all five candidates. The photo of Mary Verner looks like it was shot by the photographer who did Michelle Bachmann for Newsweek, and the shot of David Condon makes his head seem as round as a balloon. The other three candidate’s photos are so out of focus as to be almost unrecognizable.
Only 13 people found their way to the site and left a prediction before the contest closed. The average: Condon 40 percent; Verner 38 percent; Barbara Lampert 9 percent; Noder 7.5 percent and Robert Kroboth 3 percent. Actual results may vary.
OLYMPIA — We may have to stop calling Initiative 1183, the ballot measure that would get the state out of the wholesale land retail liquor business, “The Costco Initiative.”
The proposal now has another source of funding: Trader Joe's.
Costco is by far and away the biggest source of cash for I-1183, and this will be the discount giant's second attempt to change state liquor laws in a way that would allow it to sell and possibly distribute liquor in its stores.
Costco has put roughly $1,082637.40 in cash into the campaign. And that doesn't count more than $1.2 million it chalked up through in-kind contributions for things like employees who were paid for their time manning the signature gathering tables in the stores or the national petition gathering firm it hired on the way to setting a record for the fastest qualifying signature campaign in state historyo.
Late last month, Trader Joe's tossed $50,000 into the pot. So as of July 26, it became the 98 percent Costco initiative. The date May 26 on the PDC form, is wrong, but of course we all figured that because no one would let a check for 50K sit around for two months before taking it to the bank.
So what does this mean? Maybe if I-1183 passes, Washington residents won't have to pay a fee and join Costco to get a really good deal on booze.
The Spokane City Council will consider next week adding a pair of ballot measures to the Nov. 8 ballot to ask voters whether they want the city to cut programs or “pursue additional funding sources” if the Community Bill of Rights passes.
For those not fluent in the language of government-speak, pursue additional funding sources is a polite way of saying “raise taxes.”*
Similar provisions were added to the 2009 ballot when the previous incarnation of the Community Bill of Rights was before the voters. So expect a similar explanation from supporters on the council that they just need some advice from voters on how to pay for the CBR, should the voters pass it so late in the year, what with all the preparations underway at the time for the 2012 city budget.
Expect, too, some vocal protests from Envision Spokane, the sponsors of the CBR. In 2009, they prepared a legal brief against the add-on ballot measures, saying it was an attempt to prejudice voters against the one CBR. But they never filed it. Kai Huschke of Envision Spokane said there's no decision yet on whether to file the challenge this time if the council repeats the 2009 maneuver.
So it could be deja vu all over again, on multiple levels, including the short notice of the added ballot propositions, which weren't mentioned by any councilmembers when they voted unanimously to put the Community Bill of Rights on the ballot last Monday. (OK, so they didn't have a choice in the matter because Envision Spokane followed the rules and gathered the required signatures and submitted their petiions. Not putting it on the ballot, as some people suggested, would have left the council open to a legal challenge.)
But even though there was some minimal grousing about the CBR, council members didn't suggest during that meeting they thought voters the “advisory measures” should also return to the ballot.
The council will have to decide next Monday on whether to lard the ballot with the two extra propositions. The deadline for adding something like that to the ballot is a April 16.
* What? You thought it meant take turns on a street corner with a tin cup and accordion or drill for oil in Riverfront Park?
Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Inc., when the City Council voted to place the latest version of a Community Bill of Rights before voters.
That shouldn’t be taken as a sign the business community is okey-dokey with the ballot measure.
The council had no choice in the matter, as some members made clear. Envision Spokane gathered the necessary signatures to put a charter change on the ballot, and that, pretty much, was that.
Two years ago, there was a bit more in play. . .
Some candidates, particularly novices, have an annoying habit of announcing a vague stand for or against something when they kick off their campaign, and never refining, clarifying or elucidating it later.
Not so with City Council Candidate Barbara Lampert. She came out four-square against varmints when she began her campaign. Her latest campaign literature, a 3.5 inch by 8.5 inch door insert, brings the issue into sharp focus. Eliminate skunks. Lessen the squirrel population. Eradicate crows. Decrease marmots.
It is possible that Lampert, a perennial candidate who has run for something or another for the last 15 years, knows not to make a rookie mistake.
It’s unlikely, however, she’ll get much support from those who like their furry or feathery friends. Sure, skunks can be smelly, squirrels annoying and crows obnoxious. But marmots? They’re cute.
The third and final initiative in the blocks for the Nov. 8 election cleared the signature stage Monday night.
Initiative 1163, which requires training and background checks for home health care workers, turned in some 340,000 signatures, which was a cushion of almost 100,000 over the required amount. It had a better than average invalidation rate on signatures in the spot checks, the Secretary of State's office reported.
So state wide voters have a chance to vote on privatized liquor, road tolls, and home health care requirements.
Spokane city voters will also have a Community Bill of Rights charter amendment on that ballot. The Spokane City Council moved that measure to the ballot at its Monday night session. You can read this morning's story on that decision here.
OLYMPIA — An initiative to turn wholesale and retail liquor sales over to the private sector qualified for the ballot, state elections officials said Wednesday.
Initiative 1183, sometimes called the Costco initiative because the discount retailer is among its most ardent supporters, passed a random check of its petitions, David Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed said.
It joins I-1125, which would limit tolls and fees on roads, bridges and ferries. Elections officials begin a spot check of petitions Thursday on a third initiative, I-1163 which would require training and background checks for home health care workers.
All three initiatives submitted enough signatures that they were likely to qualify for the ballot.
OLYMPIA — Sponsors of the last of three initatives likely headed for the November ballot turned in signatures Friday afternoon.
The Service Employees International Union and other supporters of Initiative 1163 turned in what they estimated were more than 320,000 for the ballot measure that would require training and background checks for long-term care workers.
Earlier in the day, Tim Eyman and other sponsors of I-1125 turned in what they estimated were 327,000 signatures and sponsors of I-1183, which would privatize state liquor retail and wholesal operations, turned in 354,000 signatures.
Supporters of an initative to legalize marijuana notified the Elections Division that they would not be turning in signatures, Director Katie Blinn said.
Initiative sponsors Tim Eyman (right) and Mike Fagan hold a press conference Friday while elections workers begin counting their petitions.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of an initiative to limit the use of road taxes and tolls dropped off their petitions Friday morning with a comfortable cushion that suggests they'll be on the November ballot.
Sponsors Tim Eyman and Mike Fagan wheeled in boxes of petitions they said held some 327,000 signatures for Initiative 1125, an effort to rein in tolls, taxes and fares and force any increases to be approved by the Legislature.
“These kinds of decisions need to be made by elected officials,” Eyman said. Tolls would also come off of different projects when the bonds sold to build them are paid off.
Waiting for Eyman and company were members of a forming coalition against the plan. Former State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald called the proposal “a mish mash” of ideas that doesn't understand modern systems of tolling. It could cause problems for plans to enlarge the 520 bridge across Lake Washington by restricting the use of funds from tolls on the I-90 bridge, he said.
Assuming that the cost of a road or bridge stops when the bonds are paid off is like assuming the cost of owning a house stops when the mortgage is paid off, he said; tolls need to continue to pay for ongoing maintenance.
Employees at the Secretary of State's Elections Division handle boxes of petitions submitted for I-1183.
OLYMPIA — Sponsors of Initiative 1183, a proposal to get the state out of the liquor business, may have achieved a modern-day record by collecting some 354,000 in just three weeks.
They turned in their petitions this morning, the first of three campaigns that definitely plan to turn in signatures on the last day allowed for petition drives. A fourth, to legalize marijuana for those 18 and older, has informed the Secretary of State's office they, too, may have enough to submit.
I-1183 would sell off the state's wholesale and retail liquor operations. Unlike last year's failed attempt to revamp the liquor system, it offers more money to the state, requires more training and tougher penalties for employees of stores that sell liquor and limits sales in most communities to stores with 10,000 square feet or larger — the size of most supermarkets — to avoid a complaint that liquor could be at every Mini Mart and gas station that currently sells beer or wine.
If every store that qualifies were to obtain a liquor license, the number of liquor outlets in the state — currently 340 — could triple.
Bruce Beckett of the Washington Restaurant Association, one of the sponsors of the initiative, also said it may help to have only one liquor-related initiative on this year's ballot. Last year there were two competing initiatives, and when voters didn't know much about the differences, they probably voted no, he said.
One unknown, he added was whether the the nation's beer industry, which came out strongly against the most similar initiative in 2010, will get into the campaign this year, Beckett said.
The League of Women Voters will bring Spokane's candidates head to head — or in some cases head to head to head to head — next week as they tape forums to be played through July and into August in advance of the primary.
The league's Spokane chapter has scheduled three hours of forums starting at 5 p.m. on June 30.
First up will be the mayor and council president candidates, followed at 6:30 p.m. by the Council District 1 candidates. (The other two districts only have two candidates each, so they don't have primaries.)
A school board forum will start at 7:30 p.m.
For a complete listing of the broadcast times on City Cable 5, check inside the blog.
State Sen. Jeff Baxter is holding a campaign kickoff Wednesday night at the Mirabeau Park Hotel.
This may seem a bit late, considering Baxter announced more than a month ago he was running for the seat to which he was appointed after Bob McCaslin retired. And he filed for the seat about two weeks ago. In football, after all, the kickoff happens at the beginning of the game, not sometime in the middle of the first quarter.
Regardless, he'll have appearances by some name Republican supporters, including Sens. Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, the Senate minority leader, Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane and Rep. Matt Shea of the Spokane Valley. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
Name supporters are a factor in this race between Baxter and former state Rep. and District Judge Mike Padden, who has the support of state Rep. Larry Crouse and former state Rep. Lynn Schindler, as well as McCaslin's endorsement before he died.
Both candidates are Republicans. There's no primary, not because of that, but because there's only two of them in the race.
Turning on the television Monday evening created a sudden moment of panic. Had I slept, Rip Van Winkle-like for months and awoke in January 2012?
Seven Republican presidential candidates were on a stage in New Hampshire, taking questions from news media types and citizens, with panels of pundits dissecting their every utterance. Surely, the presidential election wasn’t some 17 months away.
But it is, and a GOP presidential debate was on. This was actually the second GOP presidential debate, although the first one had fewer debaters and got less attention because, presumably, May 2011 was way too early for serious candidates to have announced their campaigns.
This is not to complain about the ever-lengthening timeline for the presidential race, which other people do better, elsewhere. A clip from the Daily Show, which offers some of the best political satire around, can be found inside the blog, and probably says it best.
Rather, it’s to warn of an insidious corollary…
The list of people who covet an elective office continues to grow, both in the city of Spokane and elsewhere.
Joy Jones, who works for Goodwill lndustries, filed for the Spokane City Council seat in the Northwest District, saying she wants to maintain roads and parks and push for more neighborhood business districts like South Perry. She filed late Thursday and joins a race that already included Karen Kearney and Steve Salvatori.
Chris Bowen, who ran for a 3rd Legislative District House seat in 2008, made it an even half dozen candidates in the Northeast Council District with a filing this morning. He joins John Waite, Gary Pollard, Mike Fagan, Luke Tolley and Donna McKereghan in what could be the most crowded race on the primary ballot.
The Spokane School District 81 board shrunk to five candidates this morning as Shawn Siggson withdrew his name for the open seat. Earlier in the week, Siggson, an employee of a local foundry, was asked why he decided to run and replied: “I really don't know. Just for fun, I guess.”
Filing continues until the close of business today. That varies from county to county, but iIn Spokane County, it's 4 p.m.
OLYMPIA — A check of county elections office by the Secretary of State's Office indicates 2,132 people have filed for office as of the close of business Wednesday.
That's hump day for filing week, which ends whenever your local Elections Office shuts down on Friday. In Spokane, that's 4 p.m.
So for the undecided potential candidates out there, it's time to make up your mind.
The Spokane area's one legislative race, the 4th District Senate seat, has one candidate right now, but will have two by Thursday. Former Rep. Mike Padden filed Monday; current Sen. Jeff Baxter, who was appointed to the opening this year plans to file Thursday. Both are Republicans. Still no sign of a Democrat in the race.