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Spin Control

Posts tagged: charter change

Campaign has some familiar names

One of the campaign organizations set up to oppose the “Community Bill of Rights” mentioned in this morning’s newspaper report has some familiar names.

Jobs & Opportunities Benefiting Spokane has hired Polis Political Services of Olympia and Brian Murray as political consultants.

Murray may be more familiar to Spokane residents. He was a senior aide to Jim West when West was in the state Senate, and was appointed to the seat when West was elected mayor of Spokane in 2003, finishing slightly ahead in the voting by precinct committee officers and getting the nod from Spokane County commisioners. Murray ran for the seat in 2004, but lost in the primary to Brad Benson, the state Representative who finished second in the precinct committee officer voting. Murray and another former West aide, Cody George, started Vintage Hill winery two years ago. 

Although based in Olympia, Stan Shore of Polis has been involved in Spokane area politics for many years. He, too, had ties to West and several of the Spokane Republican’s legislative campaigns. He was involved  in 2000 in a last-minute attack against John Powers, part of an effort from a web of third party committees set up by Metropolitan Mortgage that led to a $10,000 PDC fine. A master of last-minute campaign mailers, he’s drawn praise from allies and screams from opponents in several other city and legislative races. Because of his long-time ties to West, he helped with West’s unsuccessful fight against recall in 2005, although he worked on that one for free.

Also receiving money from JOBS is Moore Information out of Portland, which has a long history of polling in Washington state, mostly but not exclusively for Republican clients. 

Crowd gathering outside City Hall

Opponents of the proposed “Spokane Bill of Rights” charter amendment gathered outside City Hall in the intermittent drizzle, starting about 5 p.m., warming up for Monday night’s council meeting.

It’s an interesting coalition that includes the Spokane Home Builders as well as longtime members of the county Republican Party from both the fiscal conservative and social conservative wings. Organizer Michael Cathcart worked on the Ron Paul campaign last year. Organizer Mike Fagan, a candidate for City Council, works with Tim Eyman on statewide initiatives.

They attracted about 65 people of all ages to carry signs like “Envision Spokane - Envision Spokane Jobless”.

Envision Spokane, for those not keeping track at home, is the sponsor of the charter change.

City Charter change hearing on Monday

The proposed “Spokane Bill of Rights” will get a hearing Monday evening on whether it should go to the next phase of qualifying for the November ballot.

The Spokane City Council will hold the hearing at its regular 6 p.m. legislative session prior to a vote on sending the petitions to the Spokane County Auditor’s office for signature verification.

The vote is almost pro forma unless something about the initiative is misleading or illegal.

At a special meeting Thursday afternoon to approve the hearing, several councilmembers had questions about the way the petitions were printed or whether the proposal would generate legal challenges because of possible conflicts with state law. Those are discussions that should be held Monday, attorney Mike Piccolo said.

Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said she’d been approached by people who complained a copy of the charter change wasn’t available to read when they were signing petitions.

But the petitions had the full language of the charter change on the back of the signature page.

 Council President Joe Shogan noted the city has a tradition of not blocking proposed charter changes from reaching the ballot.

“We have a history of not interfering with the initiative process regardless of our personal beliefs,” he said. “It’s better to err on the side of going forward and letting the people decide.”

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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