Tag search results
Tags let us describe our content with keywords, making it easier to find what you're most interested in. Use the search box to look for tags, or explore our coverage with the lists below.
Only one of the eight Spokane County District Court judges faces a challenger this year, Judge Debra Hayes. So it seems the complaints and frustrations with the courts are being filtered through this race. Challenger Timothy Note is a respected criminal defense attorney with his own practice. He says the court isn’t transparent enough and that it does not have a sufficient customer-service focus. He complains of having to hunt for judges at times, especially late in the afternoon, saying they can be difficult to find.
When Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna ran for office four years ago, we had concerns about his education credentials. His resume just didn’t stack up to some of his opponents. In the general election this year, he faces the same hurdle. His opponent, Stan Olson, a retired Boise superintendent, has a doctorate in educational leadership and has been a teacher and adjunct professor. Yet Luna has some impressive achievements to point to in his four years on the job. His leadership has shown that somebody from outside the professional educator set can be effective. Luna says it’s because he looks at education from the customers’ viewpoint, meaning the students and the general public, rather than what’s convenient for the education bureaucracy.
In his campaign for Spokane County auditor, Republican Leonard Christian has been loudly critical of incumbent Democrat Vicky Dalton’s oversight of elections. That’s only one of the auditor’s four major responsibility areas, but Christian says he emphasizes it because so many voters tell him they’re concerned about the security of their ballots. And he warns that there is tremendous potential for fraud in that arena.
In the 2006 Spokane County prosecutor’s race, we lamented the paucity of good choices and issued a tepid endorsement for incumbent Steve Tucker. In this year’s primary, there were better candidates, and we recommended Chris Bugbee. The voters disagreed, so the general election pits Tucker against Frank Malone. Tucker has more experience as a prosecutor, but it is his actions – or rather inactions – as a manager that have raised concerns in the criminal justice system and in the community at large. During the last race, the high-profile Otto Zehm case was grabbing headlines. This time it’s the fatal shooting of Wayne Scott Creach by a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy.
Washington state’s U.S. Senate race, one of the tightest and most keenly watched in the nation, is no simple question of partisan loyalty. We would love to see a U.S. Senate with the philosophical vision Republican challenger Dino Rossi has described during his campaign: smaller government, a more reasonable approach to regulation, less spending, a stronger commitment to economic policies that promote investment and jobs.
Four proposals to amend Idaho’s constitution await voters on Nov. 2. All involve money, a predictable cause of anxiety, but each has been drafted thoughtfully enough to win overwhelming majorities in Idaho’s conservative Legislature. We believe each measure deserves voter approval.
It may be the dullest measure on the ballot, but Senate Joint Resolution 8225 deserves a close look by Washington voters. It’s a constitutional amendment about bonded debt and interest rates, and it’s generating little discussion – all the elements that could lead to a resounding “no” from uncertain voters. But that would be a mistake.
Since the end of federal Prohibition, most states have gotten out of the business of selling booze, but Washington has not. We still have special state-run stores for “spirits,” which is alcohol that isn’t beer and wine. In pondering the two Washington state initiatives about hard liquor sales, it’s worth asking why the state wants control in the first place. The traditional response is to minimize the social costs of drinking. Without state controls, proponents say, underage drinking, drunken driving and other negative outcomes will increase. But the data are inconclusive. The Common Wealth Foundation in 2009 compared “control” states such as ours with other states and concluded: “Evidence from 48 states over time shows no link between market controls and these social goals.”
From its inception, Referendum 52 has suffered from severe identity crisis. The Legislature called it the “Jobs Bill” and claimed it would put people to work “in every corner of the state.”
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers would like a fourth term in Congress, and Democrats in the 5th District aren’t putting up much resistance. They threw their support behind little-known candidate Clyde Cordero in the primary, but he was defeated by Daryl Romeyn, who is best known for forecasting the weather on local TV stations. He gave up that profession a while back and is now a full-time organic farmer. However, when it comes to the important issues in this race, he is partly cloudy. Romeyn is sincere in his quest to join Congress, but too often his response to questions is: “Again, I don’t have specifics.” Romeyn lobs the tired “career politician” label at McMorris Rodgers but says the district’s best-ever representative was Tom Foley – and we don’t disagree – but Foley was as entrenched as it gets. Romeyn correctly notes that a representative’s task is to listen, learn and legislate, but it is a candidate’s task to get past the first step in formulating his own ideas. We’re not sure who he was listening to in making trail breaks in national forests a centerpiece of his campaign.
A year ago, as the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries was proposing a 7.6 percent increase in industrial insurance premiums, business leaders were urging that the troubled system be overhauled. Unfortunately, but predictably, the Legislature ignored their plea. Now it’s up to state voters to decide whether to enact Initiative 1082 and finally bring the merits of competition to bear on a workers’ compensation program distinguished for its costliness.
In the August primary election for House Position 2 in the 6th Legislative District, we endorsed Shelly O’Quinn, who articulated a fresh pragmatism that is needed to break through the hidebound partisanship prevalent in Olympia. Voters disagreed, setting up a replay from two years ago, when Democrat John Driscoll eked out a victory to unseat Republican John Ahern.
Chris Marr calls the 6th District the “swingiest” in the state, and the pitched battles for legislative seats in the past few elections underscore the point. This year is no different as Marr, the incumbent Democratic senator, squares off against Republican Michael Baumgartner, a newcomer. Marr snatched the seat in 2006 from long-serving Brad Benson after a bruising battle, and it’s clear that both sides are still sore. And so a sharp-elbow campaign has unfolded, with juvenile jabs being traded. Voters would be wise to ignore those scuffles and focus on policy positions, experience and leadership qualities.
Free public education is society’s gift to its children and an investment in its own future. So whenever young people stupidly flush it down the toilet they are cheating themselves and the community.
Initiative 1107 would repeal tax levies imposed on candy, soda pop and bottled water by the Washington Legislature to help close the budget gap Proponents of the initiative isolate the taxes and ask if they are fair.
A significant theme of the campaign against Initiative 1053 has been that it is an assault on majority rule. The opponents should rethink that strategy. If voters approve the ballot measure on Nov. 2, it would prevent the Legislature from raising taxes with less than a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. A scant 17 senators shouldn’t be able to block the will of 130 other elected lawmakers, the opposing argument goes. (We’re straining to recall a time when the 98-member House ever aligned unanimously with 32 senators on as volatile an issue as tax increases.)
The race for 3rd District, Position 2 legislative seat pits incumbent Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Democrat, against political newcomer Morgan Oyler, a Republican. In many ways, Ormsby, 51, is a reflection of this hardscrabble district. He does not have a college degree. He worked as a cement finisher for 17 years before becoming the business representative for the Northeastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council. Similarly, he was appointed to the Legislature in 2003 and has worked his way up Democratic leadership, where he is now vice chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee and the Agriculture and Resources Committee.
Our nomination for the cleverest, most delightful political ad of the season goes to the campaign for Washington’s Initiative 1098. In it, Bill Gates Sr., the name and face most associated with the latest state income tax proposal, is seated over a dunk tank and alludes to descriptions of his ballot measure as an effort to “soak the rich.” (Dunk tank, soak the rich, Bill Gates Sr. – get it?) In the end, he gets dunked but comes up smiling.
We’ve been hearing a lot about low morale and ineffective leadership in the Spokane County Assessor’s Office. Assessor Ralph Baker discounts the accusations, but the crowded field of five challengers in the primary election makes them hard to ignore. The rivals have lodged mostly anecdotal complaints about matters ranging from inconsistent training approaches to the inability of citizens to get direct answers.
Democratic incumbent Bonnie Mager has drawn three strong Republican challengers in the primary contest for Spokane County commissioner. Party affiliation alone could grant her one of the two slots for the general election if her opponents divvy up GOP votes. But much of the job is nonpartisan, and the decision for voters ought to rest on who can be the most effective leader in highly challenging times. Mager is often at odds with the two other commissioners, Mark Richard and Todd Mielke. To her credit, she was a critic of the duo’s unfortunate deal to purchase Spokane Raceway Park, which the county ought to sell back into the private sector at the first opportune moment.