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Posts published in “Day: July 3, 2007”

Prosperity and decline?

The latest run of interim census estimates by city - releases in Washington and Idaho have generated news stories in recent days - look for the most part normal. But what happens if you turn the lists upside down?

In Washington, for example, here are the 10 communities with the largest raw-number population drop so far this decade.

city 2007 decline re annex
Bremerton 35,810 -1,449 66
Burien 31,410 -471 0
Hoquiam 8,845 -252 0
Des Moines 29,090 -177 401
Shoreline 53,190 -106 0
Lake Forest Park 12,770 -101 0
Clyde Hill 2,810 -80 0
Medina 2,950 -61 0
Ione 420 -59 0
Clarkston 7,280 -57 2

The final column refers to population changes attributable to changes in city boundaries, generally annexation. (The numbers were developed through the Washington Office of Financial Management.)

Some of these population changes are about as you'd expect. Many of the state's resource communities were hit: Hoquiam, Clarkston and Ione, for example, on this list. (Aberdeen was estimated to lose 11 people.) Not really a shock.

A little more curious was the case of the south Seattle suburbs, Burien and Des Moines, though they're so tightly linked to nearby cities that the numbers may simply be a fluctuating fluke.

But did the mention of Medina jump out at you? You know, Medina, as in that little jurisdiction east of Seattle that serves as home town to Bill Gates, the richest (oops - second richest) man in the world? Medina is not going through any kind of depressed economy; not close. Nor, for that matter, are Shoreline or Lake Forest Park or Clyde Hill - all solidly "upscale" places, right there among the state's population losers . . .

Does the explosion of mega-houses in some of the places explain much of this? Are being being priced out? Or is something else going on?

SCID round II

Okay, so our projection about the frontrunner for the Idaho Supreme Court seat filled last month - we pegged Idaho Falls Republican Senator Bart Davis as the guy to beat - didn't pan out so well. (He didn't make the final cut of four by the Idaho Judicial Council.) But are we going to let that stop us on round II?

Of course not.

The Council this morning released the list of a dozen applicants for the high court spot to be vacated by Linda Copple Trout, who is resigning. (The last seat filled, by attorney Warren Jones, had been held by Gerald Schroeder.) There's less overlap than you might think between the old list of 19 applicants and this list of 12. Only one of the Council's final cut from last time, 4th District Judge Joel Horton, is back. The other two, both key figures in the state attorney general's staff, didn't try again.

(Least likely of the 12 ultimately to be selected by Republican Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter: Bill Mauk, a highly-regarded Boise attorney who also happens to be a former chair of the Idaho Democratic Party.)

In looking at the new list, it's worth bearing in mind that Trout is the only woman on the court, which gives some immediate interest to the four women on the list: one private practive attorney, Debora Kristensen, and three district judges, Kathryn Sticklen, Darla Williamson and Juneal Kerrick.

Our attention, however, went immediately to another name: Sergio Gutierrez, a judge on the court of appeals and previously a district judge. Well-regarded professionally, he also would be the first justice of Hispanic background on the high court (as he is the first on the Court of Appeals). It would be a solid choice both substantively and symbolically, something Otter probably will consider as he replaces the only woman on the court.

Of course, we've been wrong before . . .