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Kiki Miller Files For CdA Council

Kiki Miller, a longtime Coeur d’Alene resident and business owner, made it official today and filed her petition for candidacy for seat number 6 (now held by Deanna Goodlander) on the Coeur d’Alene City Council. Since announcing her intention to run for office last month, Miller has been seeking input from community members to guide her campaign. She encourages community members to actively get involved in the community driven 2030 Visioning Project so that all voices are heard and channeled into a plan that will help determine the future of Coeur d'Alene. Miller has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 1975 and has been involved in numerous civic and leadership projects over the past several decades. “I’m extremely excited and dedicated to serving on the council and truly value the opportunity to be part of shaping our city’s bright future,” Miller said/News Release. More here. (Kiki Miller Facebook photo of her candidacy filing papers)

Kiki Miller Announces Candidacy

Update: Kiki told Huckleberries moments ago that she would seek Deanna Goodlander's seat.

Kiki Miller, a longtime Coeur d'Alene resident and community activist, announced today that she is a candidate for the Coeur d'Alene City Council. Miller has lived in Coeur d'Alene since 1975 and has been involved in numerous civic and leadership projects over the past several decades. "I'm running for city council because I've spent the last 30 years being involved in multiple aspects of community service, promoting our region, and civic projects that have helped to create our great city," said Miller. "We have challenges in the near future, but we can have positive outcomes if we involve the creative vision of the entire community." Miller's vision for the city includes a quality education system, a diverse offering of sustainable jobs, responsible planning, and strong fiscal management in order to grow the local economy, while protecting the natural resources and (the city's) quality of life. Full news release here.

Question: How do you think Kiki Miller will fare in her run for the City Council?

Is he right, or just far right?

Tim James, a candidate for governor in Alabama, has a new ad that’s generating interest far beyond the borders of the Sweet Home state.

If he’s elected, the commercial says, he’ll end the current practice of giving drivers license tests in 12 languages, and just offer them in English.

“This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it,” he says. It just makes good business sense, he adds.

Some people accuse him of being racist. But others say he’s got a point: If you can’t understand English well enough to read signs and follow directions, should you be driving?

Washington state offers drivers license manuals, and the written test in six languages besides English: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. They can also get an interpreter from a list supplied by the Department of Social and Health Services to administer the test in other languages, Brad Benford of the Department of Licensing said.

But applicant must be prepared to take the driving test with a tester who speaks English, and interpreters are not allowed to go on the test drive.

Some license offices have bilingual testers for some of the more prevalent languages in the state — Cantonese, Chinese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish or Vietnamese — Benfield said. The applicant can request a bilingual tester, and the office will try to accomodate them if one is available. But if the applicant needs someone who speaks Pashtu or Swahili or Romanian, they’re going to be out of luck.

But back to Tim James and his commercial. Alabama only offers its manual in English, but does allow applicants to take the written test in American Sign and 12 foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese.

The people who administer the road test only speak English, and like in Washington, no interpreters are allowed in the vehicle. Also like Washington, the written test is administered by a computerized machine, which is programmed to give the test in English or any of the other 12 languages.

Dorris Teague, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said there’s a bit of history behind all this:  Alabama offered a written form of the test in 14 languages until 1990. In 1991, a constitutional amendment passed making English the official language of the state, and they went to English-only drivers tests. In 1998, a federal court ruling said the state had to start offering the tests in seven other languages, and the number grew to 12 when the state went to computerized testing machines in 2003.

But the state didn’t pay for those automated testing machines, Teague said, the feds did.

So if, as James suggests, the state were to offer its drivers tests in English only, it wouldn’t cost money for new programs, they’d just turn off the other languages. But it wouldn’t necessarily save money, either.

So what do you think? Should Washington and other states only offer its written drivers’ tests in English? Or should they keep whatever multi-lingual programs they’ve got?

And what about James’ other point: If you live in America,  you should learn to speak English? Is it xenophobia, or just common business sense?

Lisa Brown: An early contender for the 2012 governor’s race?

From my weekly column:

OLYMPIA _ The last person to make the jump from Eastern Washington to the governor’s mansion was a Democrat who, in tough times, argued for public spending to help stabilize the economy.

That was Clarence Martin, seven decades ago. But Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown may be hoping that history repeats itself.

Brown, a Democrat from Spokane, recently told the Seattle Times that although she hadn’t made a decision yet, she’s considering running for governor in 2012.

A spokesman for Brown subsequently said she wouldn’t elaborate on the comment. And Gov. Chris Gregoire, just starting her second term, has given no public indication of her plans.

If Brown does run, though, it wouldn’t be a big surprise. She’s been in the statehouse for more than 16 years, rising from local activist to become the Senate’s chief budget writer and Majority Leader.

Eastern Washington candidates have to work harder to win over Puget Sound voters, certainly. But fellow Democrat Peter Goldmark in November proved it’s not impossible. Goldmark blended his rancher roots with an alliance of Puget Sound environmentalists and political donors to oust Republican Doug Sutherland as the state’s commissioner of public lands.

Brown’s also built some Puget Sound credibility, particularly on high-profile things like transportation.

“Now I can debate the merits of viaduct proposals, 520 alignments, Sound Transit and RTID merits and demerits from a West Seattle, Belltown or Bellevue perspective,” she said in a recent post on her Senate blog.

“She’s smart, she has academic credentials, political experience – and she’s a woman,” said Sen. Bob McCaslin, ticking off Brown’s strengths in Washington’s political climate. Among Democrats, he said, “she’s got as good a chance as anyone.”

Brown would be a strong candidate and formidable fundraiser, said state GOP chairman and former Senate colleague Luke Esser. But he said he thinks Brown is too liberal to win.

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to name me one major issue where she’s right of center by even one degree,” said Esser. While her record plays well in Brown’s central Spokane legislative district, he said, “I’m not sure it plays very well statewide.”

Stay tuned.