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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives: 50 years ago

Spokane voted in a new city government – the city manager form of government – and soundly rejected a business and occupation tax.

The tax was trounced by a 4-to-1 margin. The tax had been passed by the City Council but had been suspended pending this referendum. Spokane, to this day, does not have a business and occupation tax.

The city manager form of government was approved by a 3-2 vote and was sold to voters on the promise it would provide better, more professional management. The city had operated with a city commissioner form of government for 50 years.

This new government required a new round of elections to elect a mayor and council, so it did not take effect for six months.

The city manager form of government remained in place until 1999, when voters approved strong-mayor form of government.

Also on this date

1916: Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, N.M., killing 18 Americans. … 1954: CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-communism campaign. … 1959: Mattel’s Barbie doll made its public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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