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How family phrases are born

I was talking with my mother about her election ballot Sunday morning.

She asked what all was on it this time around. I characterized some of the races, propositions and what have you. One of the election categories I mentioned was "judges."

But she misheard me. She thought I had said "dredging."

Years from now, when asked by someone in my family about an upcoming election, I hope I remember to say that it's mostly about dredging.

Millennials: The latest hot thing?

The latest hot thing in politics seems to be Millennials.

Last week the Youth Engagement Fund and Project New America released a poll that said voters aged 18 to 29 will determine the fall elections. It delves deeply into the political psyche of Generation M and suggests they are a progressive Democrat’s dream.

Strong majorities say women and men should be paid equally, same-sex marriage should be legal, women should make the decision on abortion, small amounts of marijuana should be legal, utilities should produce more energy from renewable sources and taxes should be raised on people making more than $250,000 a year. So except for that last one, they kind of reflect the way Washington votes on initiatives. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog


Time is running out to cast your vote and under half the ballots have been returned in Spokane County. Some of the local races could be close so VOTE!

But you have until 8 p.m. tonight to turn in your ballot and please remember under the current ballot system, there are two ways to get your vote in on time: You can mark it, seal it, sign the outer envelope and put it in the mail — with a stamp — however it must be postmarked by 8pm. If you're still holding on to that ballot, I would take it to the post office (now!) to make sure it's postmarked by the deadline.

Or you can hit up one of these drop box locations by 8pm tonight (listed after the jump). You can also check on the status of your ballot.

Sunday spin: 8 simple rules to survive your campaign

The lineup card for the August primary shows we’re fielding quite a few rookie candidates for local office this year.

Welcome to the ring. Watch out for all those hats being tossed around.

Many of you will do as well as most of the veteran pols, and some of you will do better than a few of them. Without casting aspersions on anyone’s abilities or intelligence, Spin Control each year at this time offers candidates and campaigns its eight simple rules to make it through Election Day. As my dad always said, free advice is usually worth what you pay for it, but here goes:

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 16: Possible changes to elections

OLYMPIA – Legislators have a wide array of changes they think would make the state’s elections run smoother.

At hearings Tuesday, they suggested paying for the postage for voters to return their mail-in ballots, requiring most ballots be in the hands of county elections officials by 8 p.m. election night may be the prime beneficiaries of the state’s current election laws, requiring counties to have more drop-boxes and publishing a voter guide for primary elections. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Why did debate moderator Candy Crowley dismiss climate change question?

"I had that question for all of you climate change people. We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy."

That was Candy Crowley's response as to how she decided which questions to skip and ask. My response was the obvious,  what do you mean "you people"?

Phillip Bump at Grist has a fairly over the top analysis of the statement but there are some good takeaway points about age disparity in climate change believers: When I hear “all of you climate change people,” I expect to hear this coming right after it: “Or whatever kids are into these days.” I see a dismissive wave of the hand, a little smile acknowledging that the speaker is treading into terrain that isn’t her own but that she recognizes as popular.

Idaho voters asked to make hunting, fishing, trapping a right

ELECTIONS — Idaho voters in November will consider whether to upgrade hunting, fishing and trapping from traditional privileges to rights protected by an amendment to the state's constitution.

Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, who crafted the amendment, said it's time to protect Idaho’s heritage, especially against the steady pressure from animal rights groups. He says the amendment will protect the hunting, fishing and trapping heritage from future attempts to erode Idaho’s wildlife management laws.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission supports the amendment.

The trapping portion of the proposed protections has stirred the most controversy.

Idahoans Against Trapping launched a campaign against the amendment effort earlier this year, arguing that trapping is cruel and inhumane, and shouldn’t be protected in the constitution.

A "yes" vote supports adding the following section to the Idaho constitution:

“The rights to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, are a valued part of the heritage of the State of Idaho and shall forever be preserved for the people and managed through the laws, rules and proclamations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. Public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. The rights set forth herein do not create a right to trespass on private property, shall not affect rights to divert, appropriate and use water, or establish any minimum amount of water in any water body, and shall not lead to a diminution of other private rights.”

Read on for statements for and against HJR 2, as prepared by the Idaho secretary of state.

Friday Quote: Timothy Egan on “The Geography Of Nope”

In a part of Italy where chestnut trees are thick in the Apennine foothills, I once asked a neighbor in the little community where we lived how I might kill a wild boar. This impulse was driven by appetite, mostly — glimpses of those feral beasts on my morning runs that had me dreaming of a blood-red ragu made of local cinghiale.

The answer was, dream on. If you want to hunt in Italy, or most of Europe for that matter, you’d better belong to a private club, with access to a rich man’s estate.

It struck me then, in the kind of epiphany that takes living in another country to appreciate, that the public land endowment of the United States is one of the greatest perks of this democracy. Rich or poor, every citizen of the United States of America has title to an area almost the size of Italy.

State Parks offer free entry on Saturday

PARKS — To recognize National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Washington State Parks are offering free entry: The Discover Pass is not required.

Saturday is one of 12 "free days" offered at State Parks each year.  The final 2012 State Parks free days are scheduled for Nov. 10-12 during the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend.

Other activies recognizing the day include the annual:

Spokane River Cleanup

Dishman Hills Service Day

Governor candidates fuzzy on state parks funding solution

OLYMPIA — Regarding the state's cherished park system, the two men vying to be Washington's next governor are of the same opinion — it needs public funding.

They're just not sure on how much money to commit.
Read this Everett Herald story on what candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna say about the future of the Wasington State Parks system.
In case you've been sleeping for the past three years, Washington State Parks are in a dire funding crisis, as this recent S-R story reports.
Read on for sobering perspective from a state wildlife commissioner.


Time is running out to cast that ballot and so far the returns are dissapointingly low for such a hotly contested primary election. 

You have until 8 p.m. tonight and please remember under the current ballot system, there are two ways to get your vote in on time: You can mark it, seal it, sign the outer envelope and put it in the mail — with a stamp — so that it is postmarked by tonight. If you're still holding on to that ballot, take it to the post office (now) to make sure it's postmarked by the deadline.

Or you can hit up one of these drop box locations by 8pm tonight (listed after the jump).

Not sure where these candidates land on the issues that matter to you? Health Care? Transportation? Energy? Check the Spokesman's election center HERE. I really won't gve endorsements on this blog but for more information on how your candidate stands up for the environment, check out their score with the Washington Conservation Voters

Felon ineligible for Kootenai Co. sheriff

A candidate for Kootenai County sheriff who shot a man in downtown Coeur d'Alene in 2009 and later pleaded guilty to a felony heroin charge is not eligible for the position, officials say.

 Adam Mathis Johnson, 27, cannot hold office because he's on probation for two years after pleading guilty to a felony controlled substance charge, Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Thursday.

Johnson will get his rights restored once he completed a two-year probation term. Until then, he's also restricted from carrying firearms.

Johnson was arrested on drug charges in Post Falls in April.  He was arrested on an attempted murder charge in December 2009 after  a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that a grand jury ruled was self defense. Johnson's victim is suing his own civil lawyer for malpractice.

Johnson was featured in The Spokesman-Review a weekend before the shooting in a story about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.. He was also featured in 2007 in a story about his business, Convertec.

Judge Leveque to retire at end of year

In this 2003 photo, Jerome Leveque shares a laugh during an announcement by hen-Gov. Gary Locke, right, that Leveque and private defense attorney Maryann Moreno, center, were the new Superior Court judges Friday. (SRfilephoto)

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque will retire when his terms ends at the end of this year.

The judge announced his retirement to his colleagues Thursday.

Leveque, 70, of Butte, Mont., has been serving as judge since he was appointed by former Gov. Gary Locke in 2003.

Because Leveque intends to serve out the remaining time of his term, Gov. Chris Gregoire will not have to conduct a search and appoint a replacement.

“It will be an open election,” Judge Ellen Kalama Clark said, meaning that voters will choose a new judge without an incumbent on the ballot.

Ward: An Election Is A War

If you have read my columns in the past you know that I make a lot of allusions to warfare when talking about electoral politics.  Before any liberals lose their heads about me equating politics with violence, understand that I see campaigns and elections as war without violence. We have replaced the violent struggle for power that has dominated most of man's history with a way to decide who will rule without bloodshed and turmoil. Representative democracy is the greatest triumph over the barbarity of rule by sheer force. That being said, political campaigns still retain the structure and terminology of warfare.  The candidate with the biggest and smartest "army" wins/Jeff Ward, Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. More here (scroll down).

Question: Do you agree with Jeff Ward of the Reagan Republicans that electoral politics are war without guns?

Today’s fun video: Red state, blue state

This is an interesting depiction of the presidential vote for Democrats and Republicans over the last 90 years compiled by David Sparks of Duke University.

Anyone want to suggest a sound track to go along with it?

State loses $31 million on passage of I-1107

This was one of the many reasons I opposed the initiative.

The Office Of Financial Management reported a loss of the revenue from the tax is expected to create a drop in state coffers of $31 million. Along with associated taxes, tax breaks and tax credits, it is expected to mean a net revenue loss of $54.8 million during the remainder of this fiscal year.

We’ll get the ballots counted — just chill

One sure sign that fall is easing into winter is that political types are complaining about how long it takes to count ballots in Washington state.

This rant usually starts about three days after an election, when the results of most races have been known for two days but a few close contests hang in the balance. This year, the main target of the whining is a state Supreme Court race, which on Friday was still somewhat in doubt.

If only Washington could be sensible like Oregon, the argument goes, and require mailed ballots to be at elections offices by Election Day, as opposed to simply post-marked by Election Day.

Since when did Oregon become such a paragon of electoral virtue? But it wouldn’t really help to make that switch, at least not without more money…Read why inside the blog.

They took a vote and said “no!”

No. That’s what this election meant to me. Simply put, most voters chose “no” on ballot measures in recession. Sightline had a great analyis of the elections with some wins for the environment:

Arguably the most important from the view of sustainability was California Proposition 23, which would would have suspended the state’s pioneering climate law. Voters in the Golden State rejected this backward-looking measure sponsored by Texas oil companies, defeating it by more than 60 percent. Disappointingly, Washington voters rejected a measure that we at Sightline championed: Referendum 52, which would have funded energy upgrades in schools (and also extended a bottled water tax and raised the state debt limit to support the energy upgrades).

They voted “no” to privatizing liquor sales in Washington, “no” to legalizing marijuana in California and Oregon, and “no” to privatizing worker’s compensation insurance in Washington.

Read the report HERE.

Election Night Bike Ride

We have a crew. You are invited. All you need is a bike and a little faith. We’re starting at nYne Bar and Bistro, 232 West Sprague, at 6:30pm to check the action with the Children’s Investment Fund party and then headed elsewhere. Where else you might ponder? That’s for you to find out.
And have you kept Spokane holding its breath by waiting until tonight to vote? You have until 8pm to write-in Bigfoot for Spokane County Sherriff and get your ballot in. That means postmarked, not just dropped in some random mail box at 7:59 p.m. But you can save yourself a stamp and be sure of getting it in by depositing it in an official county drop box. Most public libraries in Spokane County have drop boxes. Get thee to one of the locations after the jump.

“Why I’m Voting Republican”

Vote. You know you want to. Is your ballot sitting on your kitchen counter? Not sure what to fill in? You have until November 2nd. Be informed. Be involved. Stay tuned for more coverage at Down To Earth. Follow Spin Control, check the current Inlander, the small yet mighty Spovangelist, and new blog on the block, The Spokanite.

Even Shallow Cogitations is getting in the spirit with “Why I’m Voting Republican”:

Since air quality has improved so much we can afford to be lax for a while. The science of climate change should take place among independent researchers we agree with and not the independent researchers who overwhelmingly agree that climate change is primarily man made. Agriculture in Washington is very important, but even though people don’t eat trees that shouldn’t prevent us from harvesting as many as we want.

When will they ever learn?

A wire story from today’s S-R reports on a Pew Research Center study of polling. It seems that some polls rely on contacting people with land-line telephones and therefore may be missing a disproportionately Democratic part of the population who don’t have land lines, using cell phones instead.

Now rewind 62 years to the 1948 presidential election in which all the leading polls forecast Republican Thomas Dewey as the winner.  After Harry Truman was elected rather handily, guess what they discovered.  The pollsters had relied on telephone sampling when a lot of Democratic-leaning voters couldn’t afford telephones.

New voter ID law in effect for today’s elections

Today is Election Day in a number of communities around Idaho, from Canyon County’s jail bond to various highway districts around the state, and it’s the first election for which Idaho’s new law will be in effect requiring voters to show photo I.D. at the polls. Click here for a full rundown of the new law’s requirements from Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa; it requires an Idaho driver’s license or photo I.D. card, a passport, tribal I.D., or current student I.D. from an Idaho high school or college. Voters without I.D. must sign a personal affidavit to vote. “Although this is a new step in voting procedures, it is not an onerous requirement,” Ysursa said. “So, bring your ID and vote!”

Local elections, anyone?

It’s election season. We’re in the midst of endorsement interviews for the primary. Which candidates do you like and why? What questions would you ask them?


Charge: Man voted twice in ‘08 election

A Stevens County man has been charged with a felony after investigators say he voted twice in the 2008 election.

Handwriting experts believe Alan Dennis Christensen, 34, filled out paperwork allowing him to vote in Stevens County and in Oregon, according to documents filed in Stevens County Superior Court.

Voter records show Christensen, of Nine Mile Falls, voted by mail in Oregon Sept. 22, then in Washington Sept. 30. Christensen is charged with making a false declaration as to qualifications as a voter, a class C felony.

“It’s certainly not very common,” Deputy Prosecutor Matt Enzler said of the charge.

Voting more than once also is a class C felony; Enzler said making a false declaration is easier to prove.

“It’s all based on signatures and document as opposed to showing that he actually did vote,” Enzler said. “We have the fact that he signed documents in an election in two separate counties.”

Christensen is to be arraigned July 13.

How About Election Hangovers?

Several beers await microbrew aficionados at Palouse Falls Brewing Co.

More than half a million people are hungover at work on any given day and the figures is set to soar during the World Cup, experts say.

Nearly one in 10 Britons head to the office suffering from the after effects of too much alcohol at least twice a week, a poll of 1,000 people by charity Drinkaware suggests.

This works out as 520,000 fragile-feeling people heading in to work each day. Daily Mail Reporter

Boy those Brits like their booze, but I’ve heard from more than one friend today that they have “election hangovers” from staying up late to follow the results of yesterday’s voting. On behalf of those poor souls, I ask: What’s the best remedy for a hangover— election-induced or otherwise?

Third Party candidates have it tough

The results of a study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics concludes that third party candidates face long odds at getting elected.

Which may rival “it rains in Seattle” for the least surprising conclusion of the week. But at least the institute puts some  numbers behind what most people inherently know. They could toss a bit of cold water on anyone planning to run outside the two major parties, even in a year in which many people say the two party system isn’t working very well (or at all).

The Helena, Mont., based institute  studied nearly 6,200 third-party candidates over the last nine years, and found just 2 percent won.

Those who ran as independents or members of the Progressive Party, did the best among that tiny universe. Between 2001 and 2009, a total of 1,136 candidates ran as independents, and 36 won. That’s more than any other third party, the study said…although it should be noted that “independent” isn’t a third party, it’s the absence of a party. The Progressive Party had 85 candidates and won 25 seats, although 24 were in Vermont where the Progressives actually qualify as a major party.

Those running as Libertarian or Green Party candidates — the parties that are arguably the most organized, visible and vocal of the nation’s other organized political organizations — were among the least successful. The Libertarians have an awful win ratio: 2,382 candidates filed, 1 winner. The Green Party’s ratios and wins were better, but hardly something that would inspire confidence: 653 candidates, 4 wins.

The institute studied five states closeup, but Washington and Idaho weren’t among them. Too bad, because Washington has a long tradition of third party attempts, with candidates claiming allegiance to the American Heritage, Reform, Independent, Constitution, Natural Law, Green, Socialist Workers, Libertarian, Commons, America’s Third, Progressive Democrat, True Democrat and Salmon Yoga parties making appearances on partisan ballots.

And none of them won.

Idaho has a smaller crop of third party types, mainly Libertarian and Constitution parties in recent years. Although some would argue that in much of Idaho, being a Democrat is like being a member of a third party.

Tucker: ‘It was a management decision’

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker said he gave Stevens a choice of unpaid leave until after the August primary or termination.

Stevens chose the latter.

“It was a management decision,” Tucker told S-R reporter Tom Clouse. “To work effectively, we have to have a unified team. Unfortunately, when (Stevens) decided to run, he went back during work time and started making statements about who he would fire and about replacing the entire management team. “

“The phone was ringing off the hook,” Tucker said of other deputy prosecutors who feared for their job security. “The environment go so bad it was hard for us to serve the public in the property-drug unit.”

Tucker fires election opponent

By Thomas Clouse

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker fired today the deputy prosecutor who announced earlier this month his intention to challenge Tucker in the August primary.

Tucker (right) fired Deputy Prosecutor David Stevens after a meeting this morning. Stevens, who announced his firing by a campaign e-mail, had previously referred to Tucker as an “absent administrator.”

“This appalling outcome simply reinforces why so many in our community are frustrate with the prosecutor’s office,” Stevens (bottom left) said in a news release. “This poor decision isn’t going to deter or alter our campaign in any way. I plan to continue focusing on Spokane County’s important issues and availing myself to be out listening to the public’s concerns at every possible opportunity.” 

Also today, local attorney Frank Malone will announce his bid to unseat Tucker, who beat James Sweetser in 1998, ran unopposed in 2002 and defeated Bob Caruso in the 2006 election.

As for Stevens, who like Tucker is a Republican, he said he will follow through with his union’s grievance process and hopes to be reinstated to the job that pays him $86,000 a year.

Past coverage:

Democrat joins prosecutor race

Deputy prosecutor vying for boss’s job put on paid leave

Stevens will challenge Tucker for Spokane County prosecutor