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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion

And another thing …

The Spokesman-Review

Ignorance is no excuse, but it worked. When is a law worthless? When it is nearly impossible to enforce.

King County prosecutors are in the process of revoking the voter registrations of hundreds of felons, according to the Seattle Times. The votes cast by those felons will not be nullified, and it is unlikely that any of the voters will be prosecuted. King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng says such cases are difficult to win because they have to prove felons knowingly broke the law.

So, what’s to stop felons from voting in the future? The criminal justice system should be explicit in telling felons they’ve lost their voting rights, and the law ought to be revised to remove ignorance as a defense.

A victory for common sense. In the end, even state Rep. Dick Harwood understood the importance of following Environmental Protection Agency orders for de-listing Lake Coeur d’Alene as a Superfund site.

The St. Maries Republican joined in a unanimous vote of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee Tuesday to fund another position with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The new staffer will work with the state and the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe to prepare a management plan for Lake Coeur d’Alene – a step required by the Environmental Protection Agency to de-list.

Harwood opposed the appropriation, contending remediation work should be done upstream first, until budget committee colleagues Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, huddled with him. They made Harwood see that the lake would continue to carry the Superfund stigma unless the state followed the federal government’s directions.

In a way, it was too bad that Harwood joined the others. If he’d voted alone against this important appropriation, maybe constituents would see how far out of step he is with other area legislators.

Macho macho Spokane. The Lilac City is on a men’s magazine’s roster of the 50 best places to live in the nation.

Correctly noting our location as “closer to Idaho than Seattle” (that’s the in-print equivalent of pronouncing “Spokane” correctly), Men’s Journal dubbed Spokane in its April issue as somewhat isolated and the cultural and economic hub of the region.

Among the criteria that helped land this accolade: nearby wilderness and plenty of bars. It’s nice to be noticed, but let’s not order a new press run of Chamber of Commerce brochures just yet.

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