The Spokesman-Review


The Basics

Question: Have we voted on consolidation before?

Answer: City-county consolidation has been discussed in Spokane since the early 1960s, but the idea never has been put to a vote. Spokane city and county residents in 1992 authorized freeholders to write a charter, which is the document voters will be asked to approve Tuesday.

Q: Does the charter propose a merger or a consolidation? Are those two terms exactly the same, or are there some differences?

A: Campaigners and reporters use both words, which are synonyms. In fact, neither is completely accurate.

While the charter would merge (or consolidate, mix, blend or combine, depending on one’s choice of verb) city and county departments, the government itself would be completely new.

Q: Who wrote the consolidation proposal?

A: Voters in 1992 elected 25 freeholders to study local government and suggest ways to improve it. The group included people with a variety of backgrounds. Most members had no government experience.

Freeholders could have recommended minor changes - increasing the number of county commissioners, for instance. Instead, a majority decided Spokane needs a new government.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: SECTION = THE PUZZLING QUESTION OF CONSOLIDATION



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