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Canvasser for recall petition gets surprise

There was so much going on in Riverfront Park last Thursday that something like this was bound to happen.

The new spray fountain was being dedicated by city dignitaries, just as booths for Pig Out in the Park were firing up the grills and icing down the drinks. As the booth for supporters of the recall petition against Mayor Jim West was being set up, a volunteer began canvassing the crowd around the fountain.

A man standing behind her asked how the drive was going.

Great, she replied, turning but not looking up as she went into her standard intro for a potential signer. “Are you registered to vote in the city of Spokane?”

Yes, replied the man, sticking out his hand in introduction. “My name’s Jim West. Nice to meet you.”

He didn’t sign, the volunteer said later. But he did wish her luck.

The real reason behind Katrina

Some liberal publications are blaming the Bush administration and the war in Iraq for indirectly causing some of the devastation in New Orleans, under the theory that money for structures like levees was drastically cut to make up for spending on Homeland Security and the war. Just like liberals to connect everything bad to the war.

But Repent America, a group in Philadelphia with a self-explanatory agenda, knows the real reason.

God destroyed New Orleans to cancel a gay celebration called Southern Decadence, scheduled for the town on Labor Day weekend. Seems that local officials not only ignored videotape evidence of illicit activity at last year’s event, but they put out the welcome mat for visitors. This after the city had already ticked off the Big Guy by hosting the kind of Mardi Gras revelry that sparked things like the “Girls Gone Wild” video series.

So obviously, what else could the Almighty do but send a Category 4 hurricane toward the Big Easy?

“Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,” Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America, proclaimed in a news release.

Marcavage didn’t specifically say so, but he seems to have no problem with Katrina laying waste to Biloxi and Gulfport, too – after all, they do have casinos right there on the waterfront. And Mobile, well, you know, it’s in a bad neighborhood and deserves what it gets.

He notes the Bible says that God “sendeth the rain on the just and the unjust.” But where’s the part where it says if God’s gunning for the French Quarter, he might hit Mississippi because his aim isn’t what it used to be?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Spokane is swinging into gear to help with Hurricane Katrina. The Air National Guard is making a cargo run this weekend. Local medicos are flying down. Many groups are setting up special donation sites for the American Red Cross, and the city and the Chamber of Commerce are hosting a benefit Tuesday at The Big Easy.

Not to be left in the dust, the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau is jumping into the void created by all those flooded, damaged and demolished convention sites on the Gulf Coast. In a news item in this week’s CVB Update headlined “How Hurricane Katrina Affects Spokane,” the group says it is actively trying to help “displaced” conventions and meetings.

“The CVB sales staff is hustling to help concerned meeting planners to determine whether Spokane might be a good fit for events planned in the areas hardest hit by the storm,” the organization says in the newsletter, which features a brightly colored radar map of a churning hurricane.

Apparently convention groups from Baltimore to Phoenix are doing the same thing, according to wire reports.

What a relief. We can’t have all those displaced conventioneers wandering aimlessly about the Deep South, unable to find the next PowerPoint presentation or guest speaker on their schedule.

Everyone’s probably too late to go after Southern Decadence.

Not registering

Albi Stadium may have been the scene of many a local high school athlete’s big moment – a touchdown pass caught, extra point blocked, field goal made in the waning seconds. It may have been where a marching band member nailed that solo or made all the turns perfectly on that complicated halftime routine. It may have been where you met your future spouse in line for a hotdog during a break in the field action.

But however important Albi might be for your personal history, it’s not a historic structure.

At least not according to the state’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which ruled recently the stadium is NOT ELIGIBLE (the department’s emphasis, not ours) for the National Register of Historic Places.

The reason, Architectural Historian Michael Houser said, is the stadium has had so many alterations that it currently “does not convey a high level of architectural integrity.”

Maybe they should’ve kept the old seats, grass field and old concession stands.


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