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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Sunday Spin 2: Which crows are those?

Fearing the long arm of the federal government, the Washington State Liquor Control Board said Friday it was changing the way it would measure the distance between schools and legal pot stores. Instead of 1,000 feet on the most common route of travel, it will be a straight line from the nearest points of the two properties. Or “as the crow flies" . . .


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I get why the agency wanted to use the common travel route, because the straight line could take you across a four-lane highway no one would cross. I get why the feds would go for the easier-to-enforce straight-line method in their zeal to keep kids as separate from marijuana as possible.


I don’t get this “as the crow flies” business.


Crows are everywhere in Olympia now, from the Capitol Campus lawn to the trees in the estuary below my house. None of them fly 1,000 feet in a straight line. They circle in great numbers before settling onto branches, flap noisily to the ground to harass Steller’s Jays, hop-fly to the middle of the road to peck at carrion and strut indignantly to the other lane to avoid approaching cars.


For 1,000 feet in a straight line, one needs an eagle or maybe a great blue heron.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.