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Opinion

Fri., Feb. 27, 2009

Our View: Proposition 2 cleans up language in City Charter

Don’t be alarmed by the massive legal ad that has appeared several times recently in The Spokesman-Review. It’s a full page and a half of small type, laying out an issue that appears on the March 10 ballot in the city of Spokane.

It’s a big ad, but it’s not a big deal.

What’s listed as Proposition 2 on the ballot, which has already arrived in city voters’ mail, is a housekeeping measure that tidies up the language of the City Charter, improves the grammar, eliminates clumsy and outdated passages and clarifies some ambiguities.

For one thing, it removes language needed to guide the city’s shift from a council-manager to a strong-mayor form of government in 2000. With the transition over, there’s no need for the language.

And if you were confused on the issue, the proposed amendment specifies that the Spokane involved is the one in Washington – not the one in Missouri or the one in Louisiana. That’s typical of the fixes accomplished by this measure.

We realize all that type – with a boldface passage here and lined-out section there – can cause anxiety, but a close look ought to alleviate the suspicious voter’s fears. Spokane residents who appreciate clarity and orderliness should have no trouble approving Proposition 2.

The story may be different later this year, when the decision-making could be more challenging. A charter-review committee has been at work for the past year and expects to present more substantive amendments to voters in August. But the first step is to deal with what City Councilman Al French calls “the lowest of the low-hanging fruit.”

Proposition 2 is the easy part. Vote yes on it, but read the whole proposal closely anyway to familiarize yourself with the charter. The information will come in handy come August.



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