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Gov race most expensive in WA history

OLYMPIA — Even without the final spending tallied, this year's governor's race was the most expensive in state history and outside independent groups spent a record amounts trying to convince residents to vote against Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna.

Post-election reports filed this week with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the Inslee and McKenna campaigns spent a combined $25.7 million in the race to be Washingon's next governor. With other candidates eliminated in the primary, and by incumbent Chris Gregoire before she opted out of the race, spending hit nearly $26.2 million, passing the record set in 2008 by nearly $1 million.

Inslee and McKenna still could list more spending in the next month or so because neither filed a final report.

Republican McKenna, a two-term state attorney general, spent more, about $13.66 million, in his losing effort. Democrat Inslee, who resigned his congressional seat before his term ended, spent about $12.1 million.

Also up this campaign season was spending by independent groups both for and against the two candidates. Most of it went for television commercials that blanketed the airwaves in the fall.

Led by the Republican Governor's Association, independent groups spent $9.3 million against Inslee. They also contributed heavily to some $1.2 million spent for independent ads supporting McKenna.

On the other side, a group calling itself Our Washington, which collected large sums from the Democratic Governors Association and organized labor, spent almost $9 million against McKenna. Washington Conservation Voters and the Service Employees International Union led groups that spent more than $825,000 supporting Inslee.

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

McKenna concedes; Inslee next governor

A Democrat will occupy the governor's office for another four years.

Less than 24 hours after his campaign insisted that their data showed he would eventually win the governor's race, Republican Rob McKenna conceded defeat Friday evening as Washington's ongoing ballot count showed he couldn't close the gap with Democrat Jay Inslee.

“We just realized there wasn't going to be enough of an offset,” Randy Pepple, McKenna's campaign manager and longtime friend, said.

Inslee scheduled a press conference for 6:45 p.m. regarding the concession.

Ballot counts continue: Inslee still ahead, McKenna not conceding

OLYMPIA – Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign insisted he would overtake Democrat Jay Inslee “next week or the week after” as ballot counting continued in Washington’s close gubernatorial race.

But while the percentages improved slightly for Attorney General McKenna, the gap in their vote totals remained about the same – 50,000 more votes for Inslee, the former congressman.

 To read more about this and other close races, or to comment, go inside the blog 

Mapping the vote: Spokane on the governor’s race

Democrat Jay Inslee has a narrow lead statewide in the race for governor, but Republican Rob McKenna won in Spokane County and the rest of Eastern Washington.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane votes, click on the PDF below.


Documents:

McKenna calls Koster’s comment on rape “innapropriate”

Rob McKenna, the Republican nominee for governor, has called remarks made by a Republican candidate for Congress in a close race in western Washington “inappropriate.”

John Koster, who is running in the Congressional district that includes Seattle suburbs and Mount Vernon, told a liberal activist this week that abortion should be illegal, including when it involves “that rape thing,” according to a report from The Associated Press.

Answering reporters’ questions after a Republican rally in Spokane, McKenna called the comments “inappropriate.”

“I disagree with him strongly,” said McKenna, who supports abortion rights.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who contributed $1,000 to Koster’s campaign earlier this year, said she wasn’t prepared to offer her thoughts on Koster’s statements.

Gregoire to successor: You’ll need a tax increase

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire served warning today to her two would-be successors that the budget plans they push on the campaign trail won't work, and they'll need to find some sort of new revenue — usually translated as a tax increase — to balance the budget and meet the demand for better public schools.

At a press conference to announce a new federal waiver that will help the state save money by developing a new program for residents eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, Gregoire said she was looking at a revenue increase for the 2013-15 budget she will propose next month.

Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a fellow Democrat, and Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, both have said they will not raise taxes if they are elected. Gregoire essentially dismissed that talk as standard campaign rhetoric.

“I'm not running for office,” she said. They're candidates and “I'm a realist.”

“I'm telling both candidates I don't know how you can meet your obligations for McLeary without new revenue,” she said, referring to a state Supreme Court ruling that says the state needs to spend more to meet its constitutional requirements to fund basic education.

Inslee has said he can avoid a tax increase, in part, by finding savings in the state budget through the use of better management, known as “Lean” management. But Gregoire has already institute Lean management, and attended a conference earlier this week to discuss the progress made so far. It won't provide enough savings to free up the $1.1 billion needed to meet the needed improvements to public schools in 2013-15, she said, adding that she still supports Inslee, even though she disagrees with him on this.

McKenna is also wrong when he says he can find the money for better schools by capping the growth of other state programs, she said. Many programs aren't scheduled to grow as much as his proposed cap, and when costs go up in some programs, driven by a growing number of children in schools, families on social services or felons in prisons, the state doesn't have the flexibility not to pay.

“When your case load goes up, you have to match it,” she said.

Both candidates have mentioned closing tax loopholes — credits or exemptions offered to certain businesses or industries to stimulate the economy and increase jobs. Gregoire said she said the same thing in 2004, when she was a first-time candidate for governor. But each exemption has a constituency that lobbied the Legislature to approve it, and will fight to keep it.

“You better be ready with a two-thirds vote” in both houses, which is what is currently required for removing any exemptions, she said. 

Gregoire does  have her budget staff reviewing ways to increase state revenues to include in the 2013-15 budget that she will propose later this year. “I have to, as part of my budget, put forth a solution.”

They're looking for something that has the capacity to grow, would be considered fair, and survive a vote of the public, she said.

“I don't know what that is,” she said. “Nothing is off the table.”

Big money continues to roll in to campaigns

With just two weeks left for voters to return their general election ballots, large amounts of money are flowing into some Washington campaigns for top offices and measures that propose major changes to state law.

The state Democratic Party reported a $350,000 contribution Monday to its gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, who a local poll suggests is tied with Republican Rob McKenna, and campaign disclosure records show is running behind in the money race. . .

A poll of 500 Washington voters conducted by 360 Strategies said McKenna and Inslee are each supported by 46 percent of those surveyed through the weekend. McKenna has raised about $12.1 million and Inslee about $10.6 milllion, although the Democratic former congressman’s totals don’t yet include Monday’s contribution from the state party, or a $93,000 contribution last week.

At this point in the campaign, state law requires candidates and donors to report any contribution of more than $1,000 as a “last-minute contribution” on a special form.  To see the latest update of the PDC last-minute contribution list, click here.

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

Sunday spin: Times wades into McKenna, Ref. 74 campaigns

OLYMPIA – The biggest news in the state’s political campaigns last week probably was not made by a politician or group working for or against a ballot measure.

It was made by the Seattle Times Co., with a decision to run a full-page ad in support of Republican Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial bid, at no cost to the McKenna campaign.

The newspaper said it is paying out of its own coffers for McKenna ads and for others supporting the same-sex marriage measure, Referendum 74. It’s an effort, the great minds in the Times’ business offices say, to prove how effective newspaper advertising can be for a campaign.

To be clear, this is not merely a reprint, in giant type in case anyone might have missed them, of editorials the Times has already published endorsing McKenna and Referendum 74. These are ads with art and graphics and color that someone, or several someones, in the newspaper’s ad department conceived and labored over.

They go down in the Public Disclosure Commission’s books as independent expenditures: between now and Nov. 6, the company plans to spend $75,750 for McKenna and $75,000 to help get a yes vote on the ballot measure. Although the newspaper endorsed both on its editorial pages, the decision to run the ads was made without consultation or even advance notice to the news side of operation.

Not surprisingly, the Inslee campaign, the state Democratic Party to which he belongs and the group opposing same-sex marriage reacted negatively. So did some journalism organizations. More than 100 Times staff members signed a letter protesting the decision, saying it threatened to compromise the paper’s integrity by making it “part of the campaign machinery.”

Publisher Frank Blethen said the letter just proved that there was a separation between the business and editorial sides.

Maybe for Blethen, but probably not for much of the rest of the political world or the news-consuming public. The fact that newspapers endorse a candidate or an issue on their editorial pages, while common, nonetheless creates a problem for some voters. Even some candidates or campaign workers ask: How can a reporter be fair to us when his or her editors are supporting the opposition?

The quick answer: We don’t care about endorsements, and most of us don’t even read the editorial page during campaign season. I usually know who The Spokesman-Review has endorsed in a race I cover, because for 24 hours afterwards they’re treating me like their new best friend, and the other side isn’t returning my phone calls. After a while, both sides get over it.

If anyone asks about endorsements, I tell them two things: I don’t have input, let alone a vote, in the process, and an endorsement carries as much negative juju as positive juju. Depending on where you’re running in the Spokane area, it can be the kiss of death.

But the Times’ campaign takes this friction to a whole new level and seems bad on a couple levels. First, newspapers are struggling through declining staffs and shrinking news holes, so tossing around more than $150,000 is not chump change.

The other is, McKenna currently is behind in the polls. If he doesn’t win, what, if anything, does that say about the effectiveness of campaign ads in the Times?

Referendum 74 is an even bigger gamble. It’s slightly ahead in the polls, and if it wins there’s no way to measure the impact of the ads. If it goes down, the supporters of same-sex marriage are going to look for someone to blame. They might draw a bull’s-eye on the Times.

PDC: Inslee campaign followed rules

The state’s campaign watchdog on Monday rejected complaints about contributions and spending by Democrat Jay Inslee.

 Just days before Washington’s voter get their ballots in the mail and just over three weeks before the deadline to mail them back, the Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to reject a complaint against Inslee filed by McKenna’s campaign manager, Randy Pepple…

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

McKenna: Too many permits, not enough help

Washington has too many licenses and permits for business, and doesn't do a good job of making it easy for companies to find out what they need to get them, Rob McKenna said today.

The Republican attorney general running for governor promised to do more to streamline the state's processes for obtaining all that paperwork.
  

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

Gov debate 4: Fights continue over school funding, partisanship

Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna clashed over same-sex marriage, Medicaid and the best way to get more money to the state’s public schools Thursday night.
Each accused the other of ignoring the “will of the voters” when it was convenient. Each claimed the ability to forge bipartisan consensus while contending the other was tainted by their recent government service.
But neither broke completely new ground in a televised gubernatorial debate in Seattle sponsored by most of the city’s television stations.
  

Gubernatorial debate tonight; U.S Senate Friday

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan aren't the only debate on the schedule tonight for Washington voters.

In a sense, they are the opening act for Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, who will debate in Seattle at 9 p.m. (Although some people might argue the governor's debate is more like the second movie at the drive-in double feature, the one many people don't bother to stay up to watch all the way to the end. But it's all about personal preferences.)

The debate is such a huge deal in Seattle that it is on most of the city's broadcast stations, and most are supplying a moderator or questioner to the show. In Spokane, KREM-TV is carrying it.

Ryan v. Biden is a 90 minute event, which starts at 6 p.m. local time. McKenna v. Inslee is scheduled for 60 minutes.

Speaking of debates, what is likely to be the only debate of the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner occurs Friday, also in Seattle at KCTS-TV, the public television studio. The Spokesman-Review will be there for same day coverage on the web and print coverage the next morning. It will air in Spokane next Tuesday, on KSPS-TV, channel 7.

The folks at KSPS worked mightily to bring a second Senate debate to Spokane, but the Cantwell people have so far only agreed to one debate, total.

There's a precedent for Cantwell agreeing to a late debate in Spokane. That happened in 2000, in her run against incumbent Slade Gorton, when no one was sure until the last minute whether she'd appear at a Rotary-sponsored debate. Her campaign said no, then it said yes, but she almost didn't make it because fog was delaying flights that morning at Spokane International Airport.

If something similar happens this year, it may not appear on the tube. Late commitments are hard to work into a television schedule.

McKenna dance video goes viral

On the eve of Washington's next gubernatorial debate, a video featuring Republican Rob McKenna doing Gangnam style dancing apparently has gone viral.

That's according to Geek Wire which also suggests McKenna may have an edge on capturing the dork vote with his performance at a Global Korean Day celebration in Seattle last weekend.

Not all reviews are positive, however. The candidate's wife, Marilyn McKenna, tweeted that one child says it takes embarassment of one's parents to a whole new level, and another is offering her $10 to never do this again.

McKenna will debate Democrat Jay Inslee at 9 p.m. Thursday in a Seattle meeting that will air on KREM-TV in Spokane, as well as most broadcast stations in Seattle. It will start about an hour after the vice presidential debate and the “post-game” analysis by television talking heads. 

Fun video2: McKenna tries his hand at Gangnam dancing

 

While the Democrats tried their hand at comedy, Republican Rob McKenna tried his feet at dancing last weekend.

Appearing at the Global Korean Day Celebration in Seattle on Saturday, McKenna joined some young dancers on the stage for some Gangnam style dancing. From the video, it would appear that he sometimes substituted some Western style moves for the steps he couldn't quite emulate. From the video, it would also appear that his wife Marilyn (on the other side of the stage) is the one with rhythm.

 Should he lose the November election, will McKenna go for a spot on “Dancing With the Stars”?

One interesting side note: According to The Atlantic, Gangnam style dancing, and its main practicioner, is somewhat subversive, mocking class and wealth in contemporary South Korean society. Of course, the way McKenna is doing it, it may just be a good cardio workout.

Wednesday Update: Geek Wire says the video has gone viral, and suggests McKenna may have locked up the dork vote. Marilyn McKenna tweeted that one child says it takes embarassment of one's parents to a whole new level, and another is offering her $10 to never do this again.

McKenna v. Inslee, round 3, in Yakima

Rob McKenna began his opening statement in Spanish. Jay Inslee talked of “bucking hay” and working to pass a levy to build a local high school.

And while Washington’s two gubernatorial candidates mostly continued long-running arguments over jobs, health care and school funding, Tuesday night’s debate in Yakima at least gave them a chance to air new disagreements over immigration and driver’s licenses.

Appearing before the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce which are meeting in the Central Washington city, state Attorney General McKenna managed a long introductory comment in Spanish about how happy he was to be appearing in front of a group with which he’d previously worked.

Former U.S. Rep. Inslee stuck with a simple “Buenas noches” before mentioning he’d been a farmer, lawyer and legislator in the area.

Despite the new venue, and some new topics, the candidates exhibited some of the same animus. Asked about solutions to the region’s farm labor shortage, Inslee said it would help to have a governor who understood the issue.

“We have to have leaders who won’t use immigration as a wedge issue. One of the parties uses immigration, and the fear of immigration, as a wedge issue,” said the Democratic nominee, who clearly meant the Republicans.

Immigration is primarily a federal issue, McKenna said. If Inslee was really interested in it, “he should’ve stayed in Congress…rather than quitting, halfway through his term.”

Asked whether the state should change current law and only issue driver’s licenses to legal residents, McKenna said yes: “The idea that you can obtain a driver’s license … without proving you’re a legal resident of the country does not make sense.”

Inslee said it should only require that a person applying for a license “is who he says” and lives in Washington. “I don’t think we should make it impossible to drive.”

As usual, they clashed over the possible expansion of Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income residents and could be expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act if the state chooses. It’s a good idea, said Inslee, because the cost of people without health insurance is really a “hidden tax” passed on to people who have insurance. He managed to sneak in a mention that his sons were born at the local hospital.

Treating the expansion like it’s “free money” and growing Medicaid to cover one in three state residents would be a mistake, countered McKenna. “Medicaid is a good safety net, but it is not insurance, it’s welfare,” he said, accusing Inslee of a “Washington, D.C., mentality.”

Both insisted that they would find more money for public schools without raising taxes, although Inslee said McKenna is already suggesting a state increase in the property tax. McKenna replied that’s really a tax “swap” – an accounting maneuver involving state and local property tax levels, suggested by legislators of both parties to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. It’s Democrats like Inslee who have the record of raising taxes in recent years, McKenna countered.

Gov debate Tuesday in Yakima

Gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee debate tomorrow evening in Yakima.

The debate is being co-sponsored by the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and is happening during their convention. The other co-sponsor is KCTS-TV, the public television station in Seattle.

It will be carried live in Spokane on KSPS-TV, channel 7.

This debate may seem like an appetizer for the first presidential debate on Wednesday evening. The next gubernatorial debate, however, may be more of a dessert — it will take place right after the Oct. 11 presidential debate.

That Seattle debate is being described as unprecedented because it will be simulcast on all four Seattle broacast stations — KING, KIRO, KOMO and KCPQ — as well as Northwest Cable News and other stations across the state.

It may also have an unprecedented number of Seattle news-types, a total of four reporters or anchors, on the stage with the candidates along with the moderator, Glenn Johnson of Washington State University's School of Journalism.

“This is a rare moment for competitors to set aside rivalries and work together as colleagues,” Mark Ginther, executive news director of KING and NWCN, said.

That, plus the rest of network programming on Oct. 11 is shot, anyway, because of the presidential debate that will happen during the previous 90 minutes. So it was either this or reruns of “Jeopardy” and sitcoms.

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

Gov candidates playing up endorsements

OLYMPIA — Washington's gubernatorial candidates are playing the “look who's endorsing me” game today.

Republican Rob McKenna has an afternoon press conference to announce the latest round of “Democrats for McKenna” names at a Seattle cafe. One can only hope it goes smoother than the campaign's morning telephonic press conference, for which reporters were on one line for about 15 minutes with no McKenna, and the candidate and his staff were on the a different line, with no reporters.

Democrat Jay Inslee's campaign put out a “Rob endorses Jay” announcement. But it's not THAT Rob. Rather, it's Rob Hill, another Democrat who ran for governor in last month's primary. He got 3.22 percent of the vote. On Wednesday, Inslee has a press conference with folks from the clean technology at a Seattle bio-diesel facility. 

Gov debate: Who’ll bring more change?

VANCOUVER – Washington voters unhappy with their state government won’t see much change unless they stop a 28-year string of Democrats in the governor’s office, the Republican attorney general contended in a debate here Wednesday night.
“I’m not the one who’s been in Olympia for the last seven years,” the Democratic former U.S. representative congressman countered.
In their first debate since the primary, Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee clashed over coal trains, the need for a supermajority on tax increases and the need for light rail on a new bridge over the Columbia River. . .

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.

McKenna to Inslee: two-thirds majority

Why do you think the two-thirds majority is undemocratic when voters have approved it repeatedly

Inslee: I believe in democracy. It gives people who vote no more power than people who vote yes.

McKenna: Voters are going to have the fourth opportunity, likely to pass it again. He'd be likely to overturn the voters will again. Another example of people in charge of Olympia for years not getting it.

People of this state have the right to decide how they're going to govern.

Rapid fire questions:

Huskies or Cougars: Both Huskies

DB Cooper dead or alive: Both dead

Aplets or Cotlets: Both Applets

Umbrella in rain: No Inslee, Yes McKenna

Clams or Mussels Clams Inslee; mussels, McKenna

Privatize liquor working:

Wazzu vs. Oregon ducks? Both Cougs.

Gov debate question 4: Coal trains

Where do you stand on coal ports

McKenna: The state does not get to stop coal shipments, that's government by federal law. They need to go through strict environmental standards… People in ports are hurting, they're desperate for good-paying jobs, they want these jobs recognizing the projects need to meet strict standards. Wouldn't we rather have these jobs when they're going to come here or go to Canada.

Inslee: There are pluses and minuses. Pluses in the jobs for construction and in the ports. Some minuses from long trains bisecting communities. In Washougal, they're concerned about 2-mile long trains running through town 18 times a day. We need to have a cummulative assessment, up and down the line, and for multiple ports. That is the direction we are going.

McKenna: I agree the transportation impacts have to be analyzed. If the ports are here, we are more likely to get crossing improvements.

Inslee: It's not a slam dunk they'd go to Canada. It costs more money there

Gov debate Question 3: Education

Would you be brave enough raise taxes for education?

McKenna: The voters have been very clear on not supporting higher taxes. Not raising tax rates is not the same as raising tax revenues. Revenues are projected to go up. We need to prioritize. (Democrats) running Olympia for the last 28 years haven't directed the increases to education.

Inslee: I have a plan to find a way to get more financial resources for education. We are first in the high-tech jobs that we have, but 46th in production of students to take those jobs. I've focused like a laser beam to get people back to work, that will create revenue.

What about higher education?
Inslee: We need a job creation program to create more resources and have money for colleges. We need to use the Lean Management that businesses use and put them to work in government….and take that money and put it into higher education and K-12.

We need to bring down health care costs or it will “eat us alive.”

McKenna: Talk about higher revenues by having more people employed. But that hasn't happened in Olympia. The people running Olympia have cut funding for higher education and ratcheted up tuition…They've cut the share going to higher education from about 16 percent 20 years ago to about 8 percent today. We need to get back to at least 50-50 (between the state and education.) We need to dedicate more of the state revenue that we have.

Inslee: I've heard my opponent talk about giving money back to education. First time Republicans had control of the Legislature, they cut money out of education… The fact is, as an attorney general, six times in a row, he asked for additional money for his bureaucracy while we were leaning out colleges. As for numbers, we are going to do hundreds of millions of dollars on lean

McKenna: I did not support their education cuts. I called Republican leaders and said any cuts to education would be wrong. When we asked for more money it was for work the Legislature had asked us to take on.

Question 3: What will you do about Medicaid

Inslee: I'm glad the lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court…Breast cancer survivors can get access to health care. On Medicaid expansion, we know everyone is paying about $1,000 a year to pay for people who don't have insurance…a hidden tax in our insurance bill.

I believe we should use Uncle Sam to take that burden off us.

McKenna: My mother had breast cancer…and I deeply resent politicizing breast cancer. Supreme court didn't reject the case. They told us we were right on taking away Medicaid funding, and the individual health insurance mandate is not constluttional under the commerce clause. Instead they called it a tax.

Nearly one in three Washington residents would be eligible for Medicaid. Is that the safety net we want? I think that is not the vision we want.

Inslee: That's like Custer won the Little Big Horn. If this lawsuit had succeeded, women with breast cancer would not be able to buy health insurance.

McKenna: Women of the state would not get to choose the policy they want. Now the federal government gets to tell you what kind of insurance you get.

Gov debate question 2: How will you increase jobs in SW Washington

Inslee: Building the bridge is one of the most direct things we can do.

I want to build a working Washington. I want to get up every single morning figuring out how to jump start the economy. I have a plan on the internet. It's not partisan. Need a research and development tax credit. Innovation based businesses need to get access to research from Washington State University. I want to remove those restrictions.

McKenna: 7 percent of the jobs have gone away. I remember what it was like when my dad was unemployed (in the 1970s) Focus on private sector job creation. They need ongoing relief: B&O tax relief for small businesses. Regulatory relief.  Workers comp. Unemployment insurance relief. Not another agency..

Inslee: Washington state's very unique … on airplanes and software. We need to lead on clean energy and agriculture. We need to protect intellectual property.

They don't need government picking winners and losers. They need relief across the board.

Question: What's the problem with your opponent's plan.

McKenna: ;It's not the state's job to structure the economy.

Inslee: The plan for Labor and Industries is not going to fly, it's been rejected three times… We need a governor to do some common-sense things…like access to broadband. I'd help consumers and businesses get access to financing…We are not picking winners, except for Washington..

Governor’s debate question 1: Columbia River Crossing

VANCOUVER —  Do you support the new bridge over the Columbia River and how will you pay for it?

Rob McKenna: Everyone agrees the crossing is too important to jeopardize. important for regional and national commerce. … How it's going to be paid for. The heaviest burden falls on Washington taxpayers. Clearly the burden will fall more on washington commuters than oregon's. We need to slow down and make sure we have a sustainable plan. It's one-third each from Washington, Oregon and feds. Need to slow down and have a good plan.

Jay Inslee: It is a national imperative for the economic wellbeing of this country. .. Failure is not an option in building this bridge. All of us are going to do some hard work on building some consensus on the financing package. Clark County residents need to weigh in… This bridge will not be built unless we figure out how to get light rail on it…I will do that.

McKenna: Light rail is not necessarily the priority of Washington. It is in Oregon. We'll see in November.

Inslee: It is a reality of federal law. We'll need to find a consensus on light rail.

Governor’s debate: Could be a slight delay.

VANCOUVER — Waiting for Paul Ryan to finish his speech to the GOP convention before the debate goes live on Portland television.

Gov debate at 8 p.m.

VANCOUVER — Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna are set to debate at 8 p.m. at the Washington State University campus here. Organizers are checking the lights and sound levels and tossing out practice questions.

First question: What will you do about the Columbia River crossing. That's the big transportation issue here as commuters move back and forth between Vancouver and Portland.

It was also the first question guessed in a carpool full of reporters driving down from Olympia. We also guessed it might be the second and third question, too.

We'll see if it's the first question in the debate.

Format is pretty simple: No opening statements. Alternating first answers to questions from a moderator, with each candidate getting 90 seconds to respond. Each candidate gets to ask the other two questions.

Debate scheduled to last one hour.

One of the organizers said they were happy but a bit surprised to land the debate a few weeks ago. The last gubernatorial debate in Vancouver was in 2004, she said..

Wi-Fi connection seems good, so Spin Control will live blog the debate.

Gov debate tonight at WSU-Vancouver

Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee have their first post-primary debate tonight in Vancouver, at the Washington State University branch campus there.

Word is the auditorium for the one-hour debate is relatively small — about 200 seats — and expected to be full. Vancouver hasn't been the site for a gubernatorial debate since no one is sure when.

The 8 p.m. debate will air live in Vancouver on KATU-TV and in Seattle on KOMO's second digital station, but apparently no one is picking it up live in Spokane. KATU will stream it live on their website, which you can reach by clicking here.

The sponsors promise good Wi-Fi coverage, so Spin Control will live blog it if at all possible. Check in later this evening.

The two last debated in Spokane in June, at a forum sponsored by AWB and GSI Inc., at the Bing Crosby Theater.

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.