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Posts published in “Day: October 12, 2006”

The Rich project

Ae we've been saying for some time, the recent spate of land use and state finance initiatives are an abuse of the initiative process. More evidence of that today, from the Center for Public Integrity.

Center for Public Integrity

From their story:

"The Idaho group that’s pushing Proposition 2 is being kept afloat by large infusions of cash from out-of-state organizations controlled by Howard Rich, a wealthy political activist in New York. Records released yesterday by the Idaho Secretary of State’s office show that This House is MY Home, the chief proponent of Proposition 2, received $75,000 of its $76,764 in contributions from June 3 to September 30, 2006, from America at its Best, a Rich-funded organization."

Prop 2 is a New York idea, not an Idaho idea.

UPDATE Our usual practice is to run here emails sent to us only after communicating back, but in this case no name was attached to the mail - it was addressed simply as freedomworks(at)wwdb.org, the latter being an ISP rather than a political site - its sender remains anonymous (not usually a good sign). The message:

Randy, re: your citation of the Center for Public Integrity's focus on Prop 2 funding by Howie Rich...

In the interests of balance and full disclosure, ever occur to you to ask who funds Center for Public Integrity?

Just wait a few days. It's a lot bigger (and wealthier) name than Howie Rich. And the Butches of the world are gonna wish they could go crawl in a hole somewhere...

Actually, just call up Laird and ask for his news release. AP is already on it.

By way of response: (more…)

Top 10 WA Xgr: Premier Races

Washington has more legislative seats up for grabs than either Oregon or Idaho, yet the field generally feels considerably less competitive than Oregon (which has the fewest seats up) and no more than Idaho (where the geographic range in play is barely smaller). With all of the 98-member House and half of the 49-member Senate up, you'd think there'd be more to play with. But 38 unopposed incumbents puts a drag on things.

The Moderate Washingtonian blog, which has been tracking progress on these races, is currently predicting a gain of four Senate seats for the Democrats (to 29-20) and one in the House (to 57-42). That site says it will be revising its spreadsheet soon. Presently, we'd look in the neighborhood of about a Democratic gain of two or three in the Senate, and about two in the House. Chances of a Republican takeover of either chamber seem slim.

With that in mind, here are 10 races we'll be watching as markers for what's going on and what lies ahead. These races (as in Oregon and Idaho) are listed for a mix of their probable closeness, their intensity, and their larger significance. Our Oregon list and our Idaho list appeared in September; we waited for Washington until after the September primary election, and the general election races had a chance to settle a bit. The races are listed here by office and district number, not by priority. (Colored dots indicate the party now holding the seat.)

red glass District 6 Senate, incumbent Brad Benson, R-Spokane; challenger Chris Marr, D-Spokane. This list isn't in priority order, but this contest would be as good a pole choice as any if it were. The Spokane area is represented mainly by two districts, two senators, one of which in recent years has been fairly securely Democratic (held by Majority Leader Lisa Brown), the other marginally Republican. That Senate seat has been held, into this last term, by Jim West, a legislative veteran and Senate Republican leader, who left to win election as mayor of Spokane. And there ended his political career amid recall and a sex scandal echoed somewhat by the recent congressional scandal of Floridian Mark Foley. Benson, who had served in the House before hisappointment to replace West, had nothing personally to do with any of that. But as West's successor, and a Republican at a time when the label has been tainted, he has automatic problems. And his Democratic opponent, Marr, has campaigned hard and at last report had substantially outraised Benson - in all, bad indicators for the incumbent. Prevailing view is that Marr will take this seat Democratic, making it only the second such in recent years for Democrats, and greatly strengthening the Democratic presence in Spokane. Did we say Spokane as a clear Democratic base city? A Marr win would be a significant step in that direction. (more…)

Complexification

We like to make the case that any reasonably literate American can read the law - the constitution, the statutes, the court cases - and make some understandable sense of them. In a great many cases, you can do just that, and when you can, that means the legislators or jurists wrote well, in plain English. Sometimes they do not, and that is almost never a virtue.

That point is illuminated in the just-released Washington Supreme Court case Karen Wright v. Milan Jeckle, a case involving medical care which turns on the interpretation of a statute. In a footnote, the court adds: "More precisely, we are asked to interpret a 156 word sentence. We are up to the task."

That's good. (more…)