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Posts published in “Day: January 4, 2012”

WA: The very new 15th

The final hangup in Washington reapportionment had to do with a single legislative district in eastern Washington - a vast area which has been uniformly Republican for quite some time, so an unlikely place for a hangup.

But the new District 15 is the first in the area to reflect the reality of the very large Latino population in south-central Washington. It runs from part of Yakima south to the Klickitat County line, taking in lots of farm country and mid-sized communities. Historically, this area has elected Republicans solidly. The Latino population in the area, very substantial for some time, has had a light voting footprint.

Now, with the prospect that population can directly make its own choice, that could be changing. The Yakima Herald-Republic notes that "OneAmerica, a Seattle-based immigrant rights group that has been working in the Yakima and Tri-Cities areas, will now step up its efforts with a voter registration campaign early this year targeted to the Latino population."

And there was this: "Whitman College political science professor Paul Apostolidis, who has spent years studying voting in the Yakima area and the role of majority-minority districts in improving civic engagement among minorities, applauded the new district. ... Latinos, Apostolidis said, have been drastically underrepresented in local and state elections. A greater opportunity for minority candidates to win elections will inspire more people to participate, he said."

Such as change the mix of candidates for legislative and other office. The 15th will be a district to watch.

Carlson: Tribal gaming questions

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Before venturing into this subject let me make three things clear:

1) Personally I am opposed to all forms of gambling, whether tribal, state endorsed or publicly traded business firms. It is horrible social policy and illogical tax policy to generate revenues by taking money from folks who almost always cannot afford to lose what they fritter away. States should not be running lotteries nor sanctioning betting whether on horses, dogs or sporting events.

2) The “giving back” spirit of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, as well as the Nez Perce and the Kalispell’s, is commendable. That there are unanswered questions is not meant to impugn motives or demean their civic mindedness or their significant job-generation in north Idaho’s economy.

3) The Gallatin Group, a regional public affairs firm I co-founded in 1989 (two of its five offices are in Spokane and Boise) performed limited work for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe three times in the last 10 years. I have neither financial interest in nor any ties to Gallatin since retiring several years ago. While a senior partner I participated in the firm hiring Heather Keen, who just recently became the Coeur d’Alene Tribal communications director.

Late last month readers of The Spokesman-Review and the Coeur d’Alene Press may have seen full page ads taken out by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe claiming they had kept the promise made to voters in 1992 to give back 5 percent of the annual gaming net revenues to the support of education.

Yes and No. Yes, they have contributed $17 million by their account but it is misleading to say it all falls under the rubric of education. It stretches credulity to see where funds donated to the Kroc Center or to Mark Few’s Coaches vs. Cancer annual fund drive complies with initiative language that pledged the 5 percent would go to support education in surrounding school districts. Money listed for Gonzaga, for example, includes the annual payment for the tribe’s private box at McCarthy Arena.

One has to know the background. Scrutiny of the tribal pledge by both the Coeur d’Alene Press and the St. Maries Gazette-Record earlier in 2011 led to stories that raised legitimate doubts as to whether the tribe had kept to its pledge. Other issues came to the forefront as these papers continued to investigate the matter. (more…)