May 15, 1995 in Nation/World

Public Periscope

Compiled By Jim Camden From Staf

Which breaks easier, laws or promises?

When county commissioners held a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss Assessor Charlene Cooney, they managed to violate the state Open Meetings Law and break a campaign promise by Phil Harris, who hosted the meeting in his office….On the campaign trail, Harris promised to open up government. No more executive sessions, he said, except for personnel issues…While promises are ephemeral things, the personnel exception in the law doesn’t cut it for this meeting. Cooney does not report to commissioners and they cannot hire her or fire her.

Not a very green thing to do

Miffed at being ignored by Sen. Slade Gorton for his rewrite of the Endangered Species Act, Greenpeace put Gorton’s smiling face on a Wanted poster last week. The environmental group didn’t stop with distributing it to fellow greens and the news media. They faxed more than 1,100 copies to his D.C. office. Tied up the machine all day because there was no way to override…”We were trying to create the kind of logjam he has for environmentalists,” said Cynthia Rust of GP’s Seattle office. Gorton spokeswoman Heidi Kelly retorted it was “unfortunate” the group chose to shut out the rest of the public for a bill designed to give people more voice in endangered species decisions…Doesn’t it seem odd that an environmental group would waste an inordinate amount of nice white paper for a political stunt? “Hopefully he uses recycled paper,” said Rust. “Yes, he does,” said Kelly.

Cream puffs need not apply

Tired of all those would-be office seekers, Spokane County Commissioner Steve Hasson has a 59-question midterm exam for any potential replacements for resigning Commissioner Skip Chilberg. “I don’t want anyone to think this (interview) is going to be a cream puff,” he said…Some samples: Should the county sell animals for research? Settle the Gypsy lawsuit? Do you support cat licensing, affirmative action, the needle exchange program? Explain “the PM10 conflict,” flow control and the Supreme Court’s Village of Euclid decision…Copies are available in the commissioners’ office. No fair asking how the incumbents would have fared on such a test before they took office.

No more Cookie Monster

City Councilman Joel Crosby can be certain that someone will miss him when he steps down from his seat in December… Nearly every Monday night for the past few years, Crosby has darted out of briefings and ducked into Mrs. Fields Cookies for a chocolate chip cookie to munch on during meetings… “Their stocks will probably drop,” joked Crosby.

Will they show up if we let them run things

Commissioners Hasson and Harris are anxious at the prospect of turning the health district into a county agency next year, thus allowing them to set policy on sewers, cigarette ads and needle exchanges. One has to wonder why…They’re already on the board, and have been conspicuous by their absence from meetings. Of the four meetings since he took office, Harris missed two completely and part of a third. Hasson missed six of the last 16 meetings…They rank down with City Councilman Mike Brewer for poor attendance.

xxxx HOT TOPICS Tuesday: Valley residents of the proposed incorporation area get to say whether they want to form a city. Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the standard locations. Thursday: The proposed Post Street project for downtown will be scoped out in a meeting of traffic engineers and others interested in the development. 6 p.m., Room 1A Downtown public library.

“Public Periscope,” published every Monday, is compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports. If you have a question about local government, growth or development, we’d like to help you find an answer. You can write us at Box 2160, Spokane 99210. Or you can leave us a message by calling Cityline at 458-8800 on a Touch-Tone phone and pressing 9120. Cityline is a free service, but normal long-distance charges apply to calls outside the Spokane area.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports

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