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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Filing week: Decision time for would-be candidates

If you’ve been telling people that our local electeds are A) clueless; B) wasting money; C) spending most waking hours with their heads in small, lightless places; or D) all of the above, it’s put up or shut up time.

This is filing week in Washington state.

From the time the county Elections Office doors open Monday morning until 5 p.m. Friday, a would-be city council member or school board member can walk in, fill out a form and – if the job pays more than $1,000 a year – plunk down his or her filing fee to get a place on the Aug. 18 primary ballot.

Most offices this year are nonpartisan, such as city or town councils, school or fire district boards.

There is a partisan legislative race in Eastern Washington’s 9th District, where appointed Rep. Don Cox has decided not to run. The top two finishers in the 9th go on to the Nov. 3 general election, regardless of party.

The announced fields in districts around Spokane County are pretty small.

The Spokane City Council has three seats up for election and none has more than two candidates. Yet.

Most likely to grow significantly is the open council seat in Northeast Spokane’s 1st District.

For most elections, an open council seat in Spokane generates enough candidates to fill a minivan.

Taking the initiative

Initiative entrepreneur Tim Eyman must have a bit of time on his hands. He’s filed yet another initiative with the secretary of state’s office.

This one attempts to cast in even more durable stone a Washington car owner’s God-given right to cheap car tabs. Anything higher than $30 would require a public vote.

Eyman filed it Thursday, and it was sent right away to the code reviser for a language check. The reviser has seven days, and Eyman has a total of 15 days to advise the state of any changes before it can get a number and petitions can be printed.

So let’s see: The deadline for submitting signatures is July 3. If Eyman can’t get petitions out until June 13, he has 21 days to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed … or about 15,000 signatures a day.

A suspicious mind might suggest Eyman has no intention of pushing the measure this year and is trying to get a little free legal help writing an initiative he can trot out next year.

Spin Control, however, refuses to sink into a cesspool of cynicism. Eyman must know what he’s doing because he’s had so much practice. This is the 11th initiative proposal he’s filed this year.

Pull over, sonny

The Washington State Patrol is hiring. The woman’s voice on the radio ad seems to be offering an interesting job opportunity, but the line at the end of her pitch is a bit surprising.

“If you’re between the ages of 18-and-a-half and 65 …”

Huh? How many troopers get started at 65?

None, actually, because 65 is mandatory retirement age for the state patrol, said Sgt. Freddy Williams, the public information officer for the patrol.

In theory a recruit could enter the academy in their early 60s and work a few years, or months, until Social Security kicks in.

In practice, it’s highly unlikely.

A recruit must score better than 40 percent of the general public in the Cooper Standards physical fitness test just to get in the academy, and better than 60 percent of the public upon completion of that course.

When Williams joined the patrol in 1987, he was the oldest recruit the agency ever had, at 37. Since that time, 50-year-olds have made it, but they tended to be retired military personnel in good physical shape, he said.

So why even say 65? “That’s the mandatory retirement age established by the Legislature,” Williams said.

To rule out anyone that age or younger is age discrimination.

Spin Control is a weekly political column by Jim Camden, who can be reached at (509) 459-5461 or jimc@spokesman.com. Check www.spokesman.com/blogs/ spincontrol for videos and daily posts, like the Spokane connection soldier in pink boxers.
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