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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control: Math, civics pointers for the Occupy folks

OLYMPIA – It may be pointless to offer advice that hasn’t been requested, but should some leader of the Occupy movement ask I’d be happy to give it. This assumes, of course, that this is a movement and has a leader, the first of which is debatable and the second often denied. Still, minor problems like that never keep a reporter from sticking his nose into something.

Spin Control: Giving credit where dubious credit is due

The best thing for political junkies about an off-year election – and arguably the worst thing for everyone else – is there’s another election so close we can feel it in our bones. We’ll barely have time to catch our breath. But before the general population gets overwhelmed with more Republican presidential debates and the minutiae of selecting presidential delegates through the caucus system, Spin Control wants to take just a few minutes to recall the highlights and lowlifes of Campaign Season 2011.

Spin Control: New district maps hand out party favors

OLYMPIA – Tuesday is Election Day 2011 – or what passes for one in a state that mailed out its ballots two weeks ago and will spend more than two weeks counting them – but it could be a key day for Election Days 2012-’21. That morning is the next meeting of the state Redistricting Commission, which is weighing two proposals to redraw congressional and legislative lines in Washington.

Spin Control: Honking, chickens get solemn deliberation

When you pass the Occupy Spokane protesters or any other demonstrators at any location, you might honk and wave to show support. Or you might honk and wave just one finger to show the opposite. When you’re waiting with the motor running for a friend or spouse who is dallying inside, you might honk to get them to move it.

Spin Control: Consistency in the eye of the beholder

OLYMPIA – As the news media lurches between ignoring and overexposing the Occupy Wall Street/Spokane/Seattle/ Everywhere movement, is it too much to ask for the pontificators to show a little consistency in their love or disdain for populist rebellions in the 21st century? Conservative commentators are complaining that the Occupy (fill in the blank) protesters are inexperienced at best and ignorant at worst. Liberal commentators have essentially alibi’d the protesters by saying the movement is young, diverse and still in its nascent stages.

Spin Control: Honoring all Vietnam vets seems decent thing to do

OLYMPIA – It’s never really clear whether coincidence or fate juxtaposes certain events, but there was a peculiar one here last week. For those who didn’t notice, Friday was the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan. It’s a milestone that was mostly honored in its breach; perhaps the 20th will be a bigger deal if the United States is actually out of Afghanistan.

Spin Control: Laws on lawmen color initiative campaigns

The campaigns for and against the get-the-state- out-of-the-booze-biz initiative seem in a competition for “first responders” willing to endorse their stance. It started with the ad by Protect Our Communities, the official name of the No on I-1183 committee, which enlisted a county sheriff, a city police chief and a pair of firefighters to denounce the proposal.

Spin Control: Revenues rise, parties will capitalize

OLYMPIA – With almost all the news about Washington’s financial state hovering between dismal and abysmal over the past two weeks, it was good to catch one silver lining in the dark revenue clouds that sit over the Capitol. Revenue collections were up in fiscal year 2011 compared with fiscal 2010 and 2009. Not that anyone’s breaking out the champagne, or even the Bud Light, since we long ago switched to a beer budget.

Spin Control: Our district probably will remain friendly 5th

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton had a logical, sensible suggestion last week when releasing his proposal for Washington’s new congressional districts. So logical and sensible, in fact, that it has almost no chance of happening.

Spin Control: Taxing opportunities are literally endless

The supercommittee charged with cutting the federal deficit got off to a raucous start last week, as protesters cut off one GOP member’s opening remarks with chants that Congress should “tax the rich.” As enticing as that may sound to those who do not consider themselves rich – that is, practically everyone below Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – Congress might be more amenable, and the nation better off, should protesters take up the chant of “tax the obnoxious.”

Spin Control: We welcome lists when the news ship is listing

OLYMPIA – Summer is a time of lists. Not just the lists of what to take on vacation or what we need for the picnic, but lists to fill newspapers on slow news days. Of which there have been many this summer. We rejoice when there is a list that puts Washington or Spokane in contention for some honor, such as last week’s ranking of the top gubernatorial races of 2012.

Spin Control: Cities dazed, confused over marijuana control

OLYMPIA – Whether she realized it or not last spring when wielding her “partial veto” pen, Gov. Chris Gregoire has prompted a hodgepodge of pot laws around the state and a fair amount of confusion among the cities. In Seattle, where possession of a small amount of marijuana is less likely to bring public condemnation than drinking mediocre coffee, medical marijuana dispensaries are being told to register as businesses, pay their taxes, meet building codes and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But be advised: No-smoking laws apply to smoking medical marijuana, too.

Spin Control: Council president race in North Side voters’ hands

The race for Spokane City Council president would appear to be a tossup, particularly in many north Spokane precincts where a clear favorite has yet to emerge. No duh, you might say, considering that winner Dennis Hession got only slightly more than a third of the vote in a four-person field.

Spin Control: Palin movie elicits stiff-arms, light turnout

Sarah Palin may not be much of a draw in Spokane. That’s one conclusion – and a charitable one, at that – to draw from an event a little more than a week ago at The Bing Crosby Theater featuring the new biographical movie about Palin. Planned as a chance to raise money for charities, food for Second Harvest Food Bank and pet supplies for SpokAnimal, it was a disappointment, said organizer Mike Noder.

Spin Control: Bill of Rights back, and fight awaits

Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Incorporated, when the City Council voted to place the latest version of a Community Bill of Rights before voters. That shouldn’t be taken as a sign the business community is okey-dokey with the ballot measure.

Spin Control: West Side’s answer to rowdy drunks unlike East’s

OLYMPIA – After almost two years living in Pugetopolis, I’m still surprised by things that highlight the big differences between the East Side and the Wet Side. Take for example, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s proposal last week to deal with rowdy patrons leaving downtown bars at the mandated 2 a.m. closing time, creating huge disturbances and a sudden rush of drunken drivers on the streets.

Spin Control: Ready, set, draw: It’s redistricting time

Once every decade, there’s an opportunity for deep political skulduggery. Until now, it was the province of a few masters of electoral minutiae that most of us don’t have and wouldn’t want if the choice was between that and being struck by lightning. I’m talking about redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts based on the latest census figures.

Spin Control: Study the issues, candidates – like Dick’s vs. Ron’s

People who want to be elected to statewide office in 2012 are already wandering around the state, announcing their campaigns and trying to establish their bona fides with the good folks hereabouts. Most candidates for state office have to come from Seattle, or at least the greater Pugetopolis, to have a chance of getting enough votes from the West Side of the state. This is not surprising, because to paraphrase Willy Sutton, that’s where the votes are.

Spin Control: GOP group dogs Inslee over old Weiner money

Washington Republicans tried last week to wring every last drop out of a connection between the state and Rep. Anthony Weiner’s bad behavior, however tenuous it was. Earlier in the month, the state GOP criticized Jay Inslee, a Washington congressman who would like to be governor, for accepting a $1,000 contribution from Weiner in 2000. Inslee should “send back the tainted money,” Republicans said.