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Joker’s Election Postmortem

Jeff Ward’s feeble attempt to explain what went wrong with the Coeur d’Alene School Board election and the Kootenai Health Board of Director election is eerily similar to Karl Rove’s exasperation after President Obama was re-elected. Ward was paid a nice chunk of money by the candidates and their supporters to win. Rove was paid an exorbitant amount of money to make sure Mitt Romney won. Neither paid political consultant were successful. The underlying reasons weren’t lies or some underground political activity.  The best candidates won. The Reagan Republicans got sloppy and arrogant. They mistakenly believed they could send anybody in front of the voters and walk away with a victory.  They foisted radical and unqualified candidates on the school board and it bit them in butt. More below.

Question: Will founders Ron Lahr and Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans be able to hold their star-struck followers together if they keep losing elections?

Today’s highlights

The Lilac Festival Royalty Coronation is scheduled for Sunday. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley

Good Thursday morning, everyone. I got my wish. It's supposed to be above freezing today! As we wait for our mini heat wave, we've got a few highlights from today's Valley Voice to go over.

Ballots for the Feb. 12 election will begin arriving in the mail this weekend and there are several Spokane Valley area issues on the ballot. Reporter Nicole Hensley outlines the East Valley School District construction bond and the Orchard Prairie School Distict levy. There are also details on the Rockford law enforcement services levy and the Newman Lake Fire and Rescue EMS levy renewal.

Nicole also has collected information on the 14 members of this year's Lilac Royal Court. One of the girls will be selected the Lilac Queen on Sunday. There are students from Central Valley High School, Freeman High School, and West Valley High School in the mix.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on the Millwood History Enthusiasts group that meets weekly to collect information on Millwood's history, including photos, recorded interviews or written stories.


Amazing comments from a twenty-something writer about the upcoming election.

Her words and insights offer evidence that wisdom does not require decades of experience – just great skills of observation and reflection.

(S-R photo)

Meet the newly elected

The Greater Hillyard Business Association and the City of Spokane is hosting an event featuring the newly eleted Spokane politicians on Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The event will be held at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, 6116 N. Market St. and it's $15 for GHBA members and $20 for non-members. Dinner will be served by the Red Dragon Chinese Restaurant.
Here's a chance to meet up close and personal with the newly elected mayor, city council president and the city council member representing District 1, position 1. Current city council member Amber Waldref will be there too.

Primary candidate forum coming up

The Northeast Community Center (4001 N. Cook) is hosting a primary candidate forum on July 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Candidates for city council district 1, position 1, and council president and mayor have been invited.
Don't miss this opportunity to meet the people who will represent your neighborhood.

Here is a list of all candidates for city office:

Mayor: Michael J. Noder, Robert A. Kroboth, Mary B. Verner, David Condon and Barbara Lampert(Incumbent is Mayor Mary Verner)
Council President: Ben Stuckart, Dennis Hession, Steve Corker, Victor Noder
(Incumbent Joe Shogan)
City Council district 1, position 1 (northeast Spokane):
Gary Pollard, Mike Fagan, Luke Tolley, Chris Bowen, John Waite and Donna McKereghan
(Incumbent Bob Apple)
City council district 2, position 1 (south Spokane):
Mike Allen
Richard Rush
(Incumbent is Richard Rush)
City council district 3, position 1 (northwest Spokane):
Steve Salvatori, Joy Jones
(Incumbent is Steve Corker)

For an updated list with contact information for all Spokane County candidates go to the County's election site here.

Look out polluters! Jay Inslee is running for governor! Pow!

You may have heard Gov. Chris Gregoire's (D)  will not seek reelction in 2012 and Rep. Jay Inslee (D) is emerging as the frontrunner to get the Democratic nomination for the Washington governorship. He has mad cred when it comes to climate change, leading Congress in the fight against climate pollution and working to build a clean energy economy. Since 2003, he has championed a new Apollo-style mission to position America for clean energy and in 2009, Inslee cofounded the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Check this series of videos after the jump from Think Progress, featuring Inslee taking down polluters.

Vote today to have a voice

Just a reminder to residents in the East Valley School District that ballots for the bond election must be postmarked today in order to be counted by the Spokane County Elections Office. Otherwise you have until 8 p.m. today to drop it off at the Elections Office at 1033 W. Gardner or put it in one of the special ballot drop off boxes located all public libraries.

The first results will be released at 8 p.m. tonight and you can check www.spokesman.com for information. Additional ballots will continue to be counted over the next week or two before the election results are certified.

A Letter to the Candidates


    There. I voted. I did my part.
    I did the research, marked the little bubbles and dropped the ballot in the box. I listened to what you had to say and I told you what I want for the future. Now, go away and leave me alone for a little while.

    If you made it into office, either returning or for the first time, show some respect for all the people who put you there and get to work. No more negative words.

    If you lost, suck it up. Don’t whine. Don’t sling any more mud. Someone wins and someone has to lose.
    The election is finally over so I don’t want anymore postcards cluttering up my mailbox. I don’t want to hear what a lying, scheming, conniving crook your opponent is. I don’t want to be reminded of what a self-sacrificing saint you are. I don’t care how pretty your wife and kids are or how your husband stands behind you. I’m not interested in where you go to church or how you like to throw a Frisbee to your dog.

    I don’t want to see your signs on the corner, on the empty lot downtown or on the side of a bridge. I don’t want to hear your ads on television or the radio. I don’t want emails and venomous Facebook and Twitter posts from friends telling me how to vote.

    Don’t ring my doorbell. And don’t call me again. I won’t hesitate to hang up on you.

   This country is in a real mess. It’s no time to turn on one another. I voted because it’s the one way I can - linking arms with others who care just as deeply - make a difference. And, yes, I know I'm fortunate to have that power.

So, please, no more angry words. No more excuses and accusations. No more dirt. Do us all a favor and just get to work.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Support grows for Spokane EMS levy in second day of counting

Voters who cast ballots later in the election cycle that ended Tuesday were more likely to support the EMS levy on the ballot in Spokane and less likely in Spokane County Fire District No. 10.

Not that it matters too much: We already knew that both measures passed after the first round of counting on Tuesday.

After 3,500 more ballots were counted on Wednesday, support crept up in Spokane from 66.8 percent to 67.1 percent. It fell in District 10, which is surrounded by Airway Heights, from 69.3 percent to 69.1 percent.

Spokane County estimates that only 200 ballots more will be counted. That won’t happen until the day before results are certified on May 12.

Turnout for the election was just over 40 percent.

Out of the nearly 44,000 people who voted in Spokane, 23 people left their ballots blank. Four people voted yes and no, an act that disqualifies the ballot.

Mark your calendar

Chances to catch the candidates, and the surrogates for some of the ballot issues, in the Nov. 3 election are going to be popping up with increasing frequency. The newspaper and the Spin Control Web site will try to keep up with them as they come in, but here’s some we know about right now:
Tuesday evening: Spokane Area League of Women Voters forum for Spokane Public School Board seats, Municipal Court, State House District 9, I-1033 and Ref. 71., starts 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Spokane City Hall.
Thursday morning: Candidates for all three Spokane City Council seats debate at a Greater Spokane Inc. starts 7:30 a.m., 801 W. Riverside
Thursday evening: Candidates for Northeast Spokane Council Seat 1, Municipal Court race between Tracy Staab and Bryan Whitaker, supporters and opponents of city Prop. 4, starts 6:30 p.m. at the restored Masonic Temple, Market Street at Diamond Avenue.
Oct. 5: Spokane Area League of Women Voters forum for Spokane City Council candidates, Fire Bond, other city ballot issues, starts 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

Since when do Democrats win late counts?

Jon Snyder must be smiling with the latest counts from Tuesday’s primary.

What was virtually a tie on election night between him and incumbent Spokane City Councilman Mike Allen has become an easy win for him. Since Tuesday’s count, he has gotten 455 more votes than Allen, putting him ahead by a solid 4 percentage points. Of course, a win doesn’t mean much more than bragging rights since both did well enough to move to the general election.

What’s strange about Snyder’s surge is that since vote-by-mail was instituted a few years ago, Republicans generally have done better in late counts, either because Republicans prefer to hold onto their ballots until election day or because of get-out-the-vote efforts.

Although the City Council race is nonpartisan, Snyder was endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Any theories on Snyder’s strong showing among voters who mailed their ballot late?

Elton vs. Eugster

Last night’s City Council debate sponsored by the Campaign for Liberty, went free of personal attacks until David Elton landed one on Steve Eugster.

Elton, who is competing against Eugster and four other candidates for the right to represent south Spokane, complained about a blog post on Eugster’s Spokane Record that questioned if Elton has an Oedipus Complex.

“That’s not the way a distinguished former councilman should behave,” Elton said in his closing statement. ”Maybe that’s why he’s no longer allowed to practice law.”

Elton was referring to Eugster’s 18-month suspension from praciticing law handed down by the state Supreme Court in June.

Eugster’s closing statement was before Elton’s, so Euster didn’t get a chance to mention Elton’s legal problems: Felony harassment charges that prevent Elton from attending City Council meetings.

After the debate, Eugster said he didn’t have anything to add, except to say that he pulled the Oedipus Complex reference from his site after learning that Elton was offended. Today, however, Eugster has reposted the original entry along with e-mails Elton sent that warned him that “Now…the gloves come off” and questioning if Eugster is a “Cowles sycophant.”

Here is Eugster’s original post:

One of the candidates for Spokane City Council Position 2, District 2 uses his candidacy to lambast Betsy Cowles and the Spokesman Review, wants to go after the police department because there have been “seven killings” and because a man was killed by a police officer because he had a bottle of pop in his hand (I think that’s what I heard him say), wants to tear down a short commercial building to make a 0.8 acre “open space, and wants to see a new skyscraper built downtown, (or was it Browne’s Addition?). He would use the power of government to denigrate a women, bring powerful police officers to justice, knock down an old not very tall building and build a new tall building.
What is all of this about? Is it possible the candidate has an Oedipus Complex? I suspect some hidden truth is unconsciously at work in the candidacy of David Elton.  Or said another way, there is meaning here someplace.

Bar rates Muni Court candidates

The Spokane County Bar Association released its rating for the contested Spokane Municipal Court race.

Lawyers polled consider appointed Judge Tracy Staab well-qualified, and attorney Brian Whitaker qualified.

It should be noted, however, that the two candidates were separated by average scores of about of less than a half-point on the Bar’s 4 point scale for qualities such as integrity, ability, temperament, experience and suitabiliy.

And neither could be considered exceptiionally well known. They polled 184 lawyers, and only 103 were able to respond on Staab, and 113 on Whitaker.

To see copies of the candidates’ bios and answers to the bar questionnaire, click here.

The Big Dog of Iran under fire? It seems so…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you truly are curious about the political strife inside Iran, the ongoing battles between protesters and the factional government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the riot police took to the streets once again yesterday and more bloodshed occurred. However, you might want to read the following piece in detail, http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/06/21/76567.html as it tells of a covert attempt on the part of one of Iran’s principal government leaders, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, to overthrow or possibly force the resignation of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.

This appears to be only the edge of the iceberg, as there are additional rumors circulating in various places on the Internet of a series of covert meetings between Rafsanjani and various other clerics to eliminate the position of Supreme Leader entirely. One source especially deserves close reading as it contains some rumors, and some facts: http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2009/06/regime-change-iran-movement-se/

Thus far, nobody in authority has stepped forward to admit nor deny any of these allegations. However, given we have both major Iranian and several other web sites all stating this to be true, we can be relatively certain that major political unrest in Iran doesn’t start in the streets, but may extend fully to engulf the top of Iran’s government including the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini.

The election is ostensibly over, and perhaps for the moment Ahmadinejad has won, but it does appear that the battle for the hearts and souls of all of Iran is far from over. It may have just begun.


The Big Dog speaks…

Good morning, Netizens…

(AP) Tehran, Iran

The only vote that matters in the Iran election was just cast, although it remains to be seen by those of us in the world whether that will actually end the contention unfolding in Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said protests should cease and the opposition must pursue its complaints within the confines of the cleric-led ruling system.

He said protesters would be “held responsible for chaos if they didn’t end” days of massive demonstrations. The unrest has posed the greatest challenge to the system since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought it to power.

Khamenei said official results showing a landslide for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were beyond question.

“There is 11 million votes difference, Khamenei said. “How one can rig 11 million votes?”

The Big Dog has just shown his teeth, and despite his promises that the highest electoral authority will pursue election complaints, the instability and political contention unfolding in Iran seems certain to continue. As for the question of how one could rig 11 million votes, the answer is simple: invent votes and voters. We have a history of that here in the States that is enviable.


More election news: Lots — LOTS — of interest in two E. WA. House seats…

Very few legislative seats are up for election in this off-year, but there’s tremendous interest in two Eastern Washington spots in the House of Representatives.

Four people have so far filed documents with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission to run for 9th District Rep. Steve Hailey’s old seat representing the Palouse region. Retired Rep. Don Cox was pressed into service as an appointee this year after Hailey died of cancer, but Cox has so far not filed paperwork to run for re-election this fall.

Who has? Hailey’s widow, Pat Hailey; Schweitzer Engineering’s Susan Fagan, who scored an early coup getting AG Rob McKenna’s endorsement; WSU’s Darin Watkins (described as “Extremely charismatic. Looks and sounds like a politician” by Palousitics two years ago when he applied to replace departing state Rep. David Buri), and Lamont’s Arthur Swannack, who has been the president of the Washington State Sheep Producers. All are Republicans.

Just to the southeast, no fewer than 5 people are running for late Rep. Bill Grant’s seat, now help by an appointee: his daughter, Rep. Laura Grant-Herriot. Grant-Herriot, running as Laura Grant, recently filed for re-election. She’s the lone Democrat in the race so far.

Also in the running for that 16th district seat: Lawyer/former prosecutor Terry Nealey, Paco city councilman Matt Watkins, and Walla Walla’s Kevin Allen Young, who works as a manager for the state Department of Transportation. Walla Walla County Commissioner Greg Tompkins had filed to run for the seat, but got out of the race recently, citing a family member’s health. “I can’t be in two places at the same time, and right now I am needed by my family more than ever,” he said.

Lastly, Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, is so far running for re-election unopposed.

No May election in Spokane County

Spokane County voters will be asked to extend a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax for criminal justice programs in the August primary rather than May. County commissioners, who had scheduled a May special election last month, rescheduled it for two reasons on Tuesday: to save money, and to stay legal.

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.

President-Elect Barack Obama - DTE’s View

Photobucket Today many of you feel something that you have never felt before – we feel it too. Speaking as two mid-twenties politically-engaged citizens, today is the first time in our electorate life that the candidate we picked actually won. But it’s more than that - the tears of joy brought about my Barack Obama’s historic White House bid are also tears of relief and exoneration of eight years of frustration and anguish. Democracy is alive in America. In 2000, the novelty of voting quickly wore off when we were dealt a surprisingly undemocratic blow. Then in 2004, an election that seems ages ago, we were compelled to vote for a man that we had less than strong aspirations for – he didn’t fare well and since then we have all fared worse. And now here we are, November 6, 2008 and a faint shimmer of light and hope is visible at the end of the tunnel. A week before the election a Pew Research Center Poll found that 64 percent of Americans still believe in this sentence: “As Americans we can always find ways to solve our problems and get what we want.” That number will likely rise. With the whole world watching, and for the first time this decade largely hoping with us, Barack Obama stands poised to lead America back to the world. Amidst two wars, a collapsing economy, a bleak energy future and morale as low as its been in decades – America stands poised to regain the title of a great nation, a title that hasn’t fit since after World War II. But where do we go from here?

Friday Quote

Sierra Club Endorsement “We believe Senator Obama is the change our nation needs – he is the change we need, the leader who will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that will create and keep millions of jobs, spur innovation and opportunity, make us a more secure nation, and help us solve global warming.” - Carl Pope - executive director of the Sierra Club “Our endorsement today marks the beginning of a massive mobilization of thousands of members around the country for the campaign—on the phone, on the ground, on the airwaves and online, spreading the message that as President, Barack Obama will lead America into the clean energy future and that we support his plan to solve both our economic challenges and the challenge of global warming at the same time.” - Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club “Change is an energy policy that puts a price on pollution and makes the oil companies invest their record profits in clean, renewable sources of energy that will create millions of new jobs and leave our children a safer planet.” - Senator Barack Obama

Party with the Goracle Tonight!

Daily Tip #353 Sort of. That Goracle is a sneaky one, you see. Sometimes he’s a hologram. Sometimes he’s a webcast. But he’s always there. From Power Vote: The fight for clean energy has many fronts, but the most crucial one at the moment is the ballot box. No one understands this better than our favorite Nobel Peace laureate, Al Gore. He’ll be inspiring thousands on a live webcast Wednesday night, October 29th, at 8 p.m. Eastern. The event is hosted by Power Vote, a national non-partisan effort to elevate the discussion of climate change in the 2008 election, and by the We Campaign. Find out how you can attend a webcast party HERE.