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Posts published in “Day: May 23, 2007”

Duplicate checks?

Dino Rossi, the 2004 gubernatorial candidate who may do it again next year, is in the news again - after a long drought, he seems to be appearing regularly now - with announcement of the Washington Idea Bank. Which is a project of the Forward Washington Foundation, which is, basically, Rossi and backers.

From the bank's web site:

When there is a lack of leadership in Olympia we see the business climate worsen, out of control spending and a return to huge deficits. The same people with the same failed policies operated this state. Therefore, ideas must come from regular Washingtonians who live outside of the Olympia "beltway."

The elected representatives in Olympia seem to have forgotten that ours is a government of the people and that our ideas must be part of the public debate. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, we all need to come together and make Washington the home of innovation once again.

The Forward Washington Foundation, a non-partisan, non-political educational foundation, is taking the first step by asking Washingtonians to submit their ideas of how government should work and where to focus its priorities.

In coordination with local civic organizations, Forward Washington will be hosting Idea Forums across the state, a schedule of which is available here. These forums will give all Washingtonians the unique opportunity to share new and dynamic ideas in a public setting.

So, the leadership in Olympia - which is to say, Rossi's former (and again?) opponent Chris Gregoire - has lost its way, has been spending out of control and needs to be reminded that this is a government of the people. But the "non-partisan, non-political educational foundation" will work to set things right.

Why the game? Why not Rossi touring the state at town halls, saying he's interested in running for governor and soliciting ideas for governing Washington if he does?

Secondarily, Adam Wilson at the Olympian points out, "et’s be fair here. The idea bank isn’t the first idea in getting citizen input. Rossi’s former and likely future rival, Gov. Chris Gregoire, made a point of signing a bill in April that creates the 'state government efficiency hotline.' You can call in and give suggestions, report abuse or even give kudos."

A crime study: high, getting lower

Longview crime

Police calls at Longview

Significant changes without an obvious matching significant cause are always worth note, and you can see a good case in the odd spikings of crime statistics at Longview.

The Daily News story on the recent police statistical report on recent shifts in reported crime. In 2003, it spiked - way up - and now has dropped fast, by 24%.

That's speaking generally. The department's presentation on the crime stats also notes what look like some anomalies:

–- Since 2003, overall Part 1 crimes ["such as homicide, forcible rape,aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson"] have been reduced by a significant 24%.
–– Since 2003 Arrests for drug offenses are up by 16%. Since 2003 drug arrests have increased by 106%.
–– DUI arrests are up to 158 in 2006 from a previous 105 in 2005.
–– Arrests for vandalism are up 65% compared to 2005.
–– Arrests for liquor law violations are up 69% compared to 2005.
–– Traffic citations are up 95%.

Not sure how all these pieces fit.

On the edge

Here are the points against which to measure tonight's community college vote in Ada and Canyon counties:

The need for the college is fairly clear. No money was being asked for (in this vote - that would come later); this vote concerned only creation of a two-county community college district. It had strong bipartisan support from a lengthy string of leaders, including most of the mayors in the counties and Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter. It had strong corporate support. Substantial money was raised for its passage, and substantial organizations were put together for its passage. By all accounts and evidence we've seen, the campaigns were intelligently and energetically run, in part using some sophisticated mail ballot approaches. (The mail ballots appear to have done their job very well, drawing in somewhere around 90% favorable votes.) No organized opposition appeared to exist; only a few people spoke out publicly against the proposal.

With all those advantages, the college (the College of Western Idaho) looks as if it just - just - cleared the bar, the two-thirds vote needed to create it. The district fell short in Canyon County (62.2%) but did better in Ada County (70.5%). (Returns from Ada were very slow coming in.) It appears to have gotten about 68% or maybe a hair less overall, just enough to pass.

Next challenge comes when the new board has to ask for money.