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Sun., Aug. 12, 2012

Editorial: We’re not too cool for a June primary

Brief observations from the dog days of August:

• Washington was the only state in the Lower 48 that did not set a temperature record in July. The average temperature for the continental United States was 3.3 degrees higher than the 20th-century average, breaking the record set in the Dust Bowl year of 1936. In addition, drought covered 63 percent of the nation.

Seems tourism officials could play this up: “Washington – The Only State to Keep its Cool.”

• Secretary of State Sam Reed’s election projection of a 46 percent turnout in the Washington state primary will probably fall about 6 percentage points short. Perhaps it’s a sign that the primary needs to be moved.

Some have suggested shifting it to June, which makes a lot of sense. Kids are still in school. Families haven’t decamped to a lake or departed on vacations. The September primary captured people after they had summer fun, but it had to be moved in to ensure that voters overseas, particularly those in the military, had time to vote in the general election.

The main hurdle to a June primary would be the Legislature itself, because lawmakers cannot campaign while in session. A June primary wouldn’t give them much time to raise money and ring doorbells. On the other hand, it could spur them to finish their legislative work on time.

Idaho’s primary is in May. Incumbents there get by somehow.

• The worst part about interviewing 30 to 40 candidates in the primary is that we know we’re going to disappoint most of them once we publish the endorsements. Given the low popularity numbers for politicians, we admire anyone who will travel from door to door to learn about problems and pitch themselves as the solution. Most of the candidates were rejected on Tuesday, but we can see many winners among the losers and hope they will run again.

It’s the rare leader who has never suffered a setback.

• Former Stockton police Chief Blair Ulring applied for police chief in Omaha, Neb., and remains one of four finalists. Ulring pulled out of the running in Spokane after The Spokesman-Review reported that two of the advanced degrees on his resume might have been acquired from an online site that has been investigated as a diploma mill.

After this news was reported in Omaha, the mayor still decided to visit Stockton to do some background research. We could’ve just emailed him the article and saved him the cost of the trip. Or, he could’ve flown here. It’s a lot cooler.

• It’s easy to see why the city of Stockton had to file for bankruptcy. Bloomberg News recently reported this example:

“Stockton police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcement when he was appointed to the job four years ago. He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 – the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries.”

They should lock up the public officials who abetted that heist.

• Only 86 more days of election ads. Keep cool.

The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Members of The Spokesman-Review editorial board help to determine The Spokesman-Review's position on issues of interest to the Inland Northwest. Board members are:

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