Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WSU CR's Need Your Support

Everyone, it is probable that we (WSU CR's) will still be holding the border fence demonstration at a later date, yet to be determined. We have undergone a great deal of stress over this. For one thing, we have our reputations and futures to think of. Slander is a very serious crime, but an even harder stigma for anyone to shake. To be called racist by these organizations represents a very dangerous accusation since we will all be looking for careers after graduation. For your information, several members of the multicultural community at WSU have already made a Facebook group called "College Republicans are Racist" over this whole fiasco. We are all playing a dangerous game here, and as history has proven it is usually our side that loses in these matters. The WSU CR's would like to have as much support as possible.

Quote of the Year

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
- Senator John Kerry, pompous scumbag, insulting our troops who are putting their lives on the line in Iraq and reaffirming once again how lucky we were he was not elected Commander-in-Chief in 2004.

See the video here. This will be played much more often than the "I voted for it before I voted against it" clip.

Tortured Logic

David Gibney, State Committeeman for the Whitman County Democrats, was quoted as saying in today's Daily Evergreen: “We over here on this side of the state are being represented by the minority party in the Legislature.” This is the same argument that every local Democratic candidate has made from Auditor to State Representative.

Using that same logic, why then aren't local Dems getting behind Mike McGavick and Cathy McMorris? The Republican Party controls Congress. Washington's delegation ranks a pathetic 16.99 in power, according to Congress.org, compared with Idaho's 28.63 and Montana's 32.85. Heck, Maria Cantwell is ranked next to last in the Senate. McGavick would certainly be ranked higher than that just by virtue of being a Republican. If McMorris remains in Congress, her influence for Eastern Washington will only grow. She already serves on the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

Oh no, local Democrats tell us. It's time for a change! The GOP is corrupt and out of touch with voters. Nearly 2 out of 3 Washingtonians disapprove of President Bush's performance and are against the Iraq War.

That's interesting, because the latest Strategic Vision poll of Washington residents reports that:
47% disapprove of Governor Gregoire's job performance, while only 44% approve
50% disapprove of the the Legislature's job performance, while only 41% approve
58% think Washington is headed in the wrong direction
Democrats have been in charge in Olympia for decades. Based on these numbers, voters think it's time for change there too.

So which is it, Rats? Go with the status quo majority or time for a change? How about you spare us all the nitwittery and let's have the best candidate win?

As I told Scotty and Peter once on The PES, I could never be a Democrat (again). I can't put my brain in suspended animation.

Votes do count

I am writing this letter to respond to Gail L. Rowland’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 19, 2006 Daily News. Ms. Rowland’s interpretation as to whether a vote is counted or not is skewed. When a ballot is received in the election department, the first process is to verify a voter’s signature. If a signature is in question, the voter is sent a letter and a new registration form the same day the ballot was returned. This gives the voter the opportunity to correct the ballot in question and to have the responsibility of updating the signature so their ballot will be counted.

The election staff (not Eunice Coker) are the individuals who make the first determination as to whether a signature matches or not. Ms. Rowland questioned what law makes this a legal process (WAC 434.379.020).

If a voter chooses not to correct the question concerning their ballot, the next step is for the ballot to be sent to the County Canvassing Board. The County Canvassing Board by law consists of these three (3) individuals: county auditor, county prosecutor and a county commissioner who make the determination as to whether the ballot in question will be accepted or rejected. Eunice Coker does not have the sole responsibility of making this determination.

For this election, an election staff member is designated to serve on the canvas board, because Eunice Coker is on the ballot. Election law dictates every process carried out by election staff across the state. To be completely informed called the auditor’s office, or go to wwwl.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules and read RCW29A and WAC 434.

Debbie Hooper
Whitman County election supervisor

Coker has ably filled post

I write to lend my support to the candidacy of Eunice Coker to be auditor of Whitman County. Coker enjoys a reputation of unquestioned integrity. What better qualification is there to oversee the democratic electoral process in this county? This is especially the case since we are undergoing a transition to mail balloting, a measure designed to bring savings to the taxpayers but one that is fraught with potential difficulties. Not only does Coker’s integrity suit her well as the guardian of democracy in the county, her rich experience ensures that she can continue and build upon her record of effective leadership and administration. Years of distinguished experience in the office, which she now heads, promise a future of competence and consideration in dealing with staff and, most importantly, with the clientele that the auditor’s office serves — the taxpayers and voters of Whitman County. I urge voters of all parties to re-elect this veteran of service in the U.S. Army, dedicated public servant and upright citizen to the post she has filled so ably.

Thomas L. Kennedy

With One Week to Go, McGavick Closing the Gap!

The latest poll from Zogby and the Wall Street Journal , conducted Oct. 23-27, confirms that the Washington Senate race is closing fast. With one week to go, Mike has cut Maria Cantwell's lead to just 4 points. Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell's lead fell to four percentage points after holding at seven percentage or more in every Zogby poll since July.

With one week to go, we have a real opportunity to win this race and change Washington for the better. How? By getting out the vote. Return your ballot now and volunteer now to help send Mike to the U.S. Senate.

Currently, Zogby projects the Senate to go as follows:
Republican 52
Democrat 46
Independent 2

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Is I-933 the ticket to bankrupting the state?"

Another bang-up column from Adele Ferguson on I-933:
So here come Washington’s governors, past and present, to warn us that Initiative 933 is the ticket to bankrupting the state.

I-933 requires city, county and state governments to pay for proposed regulation of private land that restricts its use or value to the owner or forget it. Owners could challenge prior decisions dating back to 1996 and government would have to reimburse them or waive the rule.

It’s sponsored by the Washington State Farm Bureau and many of its county bureaus and opposed an outfit called Citizens for Community Protection, Nature Conservancy, Gov. Christine Gregoire and the six living ex-governors, Gary Locke, Mike Lowry, Booth Gardner, John Spellman, Dan Evans and Al Rosellini.

The Guvs had a press conference and landed all over I-933 as poorly drafted, vague and capable of costing the state, i.e. taxpayers, billions of dollars if it had to pay out the sums anticipated. Apparently, they are predisposed to believe that no government would back off if its proposed regulation was not welcomed by the land owner. Well, what do you expect from governors? Look up govern in the dictionary. To govern is to exercise power or authority in controlling others, to control, to determine, to regulate, and to restrain.

The last thing any governor wants is to lose any of his or her power over regulation of the peoples’ lives. Governors, most public officials, by the way, hate the initiative process because it’s the people making decisions for themselves. Governors want the issue dealt with by the legislators, whose probable response in January would be to name a commission to study it and report back in a year.

Gov. Gregoire pledged to work out a solution with the lawmakers. She’s good at making promises. It was only last June that she promised she and legislative leaders would move to restore some sort of property tax relief in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that I-747, which put a one percent cap on increases in state and local property tax collections was unconstitutional.

Let’s see what you propose on that, Governor, before we listen to your promise to do something about I-933. Let us know now if you will restore the one percent cap we voted for or you have something else in mind.

She’s the one, by the way, who, as head of the Department of Ecology, set up the process that made water permitting such a long, drawn-out affair when the Legislature cut her budget for staff.

Like Gov. Locke before her, her chief concern isn’t pleasing private property owners but organized labor and state employees. Quote Gregoire at a state Labor Council picnic in 2003: “You and labor will always have a voice in every decision I make.”

Locke, in 1996, told the council, “I will gladly use my veto pen to strike out any legislation that is anti-labor. I expect you to tell me what sections to veto and I will.”

The media also has joined in opposing I-933. There were numerous stories criticizing the money spent by the Building Industry Assn. on a challenger to a sitting Supreme Court justice as if that somehow made the race dirty, but in writing about the money spent for and against I-933, it is way down in the stories that the opponents have spent three times as much as the proponents.

If government acts wisely, taking the rights of the land owner into consideration as well as any need for regulation, I-933 doesn’t have to cost anything at all.
Let's look at opponents' claims that I-933 is the "developer's initiative" and that is being supported by all this out-of-state fat cats looking to get rich paving over Washington farmland.

In a letter to the Tacoma News-Tribune, Dan Wood of the Washington Farm Bureau wrote:

The fact is, Washington Farm Bureau members wrote I-933 and have provided most of its financial support.

Washington Farm Bureau and our county organizations have contributed more than $400,000 of the nearly $800,000 we have raised so far.


Applying the TNT editorial board’s methodology to the No on 933 campaign, it could be reported that a cabal of software moguls – including at least three of America’s richest men – are colluding to rob Washington citizens of the use and value of their private property.

Nearly 75 percent of the No on 933 campaign’s war chest has come from 25 super-rich donors, activist environmentalist groups and Big Labor, each giving $20,000 or more.

And, the No on 933 campaign has received more money from out-of-state than the Property Fairness Coalition.

Indeed, the No on 933 campaign’s largest contributors are Californian John Morgridge, a prominent Democrat donor who is on Forbes’ list of Richest Americans, and Texas attorney Carol Dinkins whose law firm represented Enron.

In addition, both Bill Gates and Paul Allen have given generously to the No on 933 effort.

It makes sense that Allen’s Vulcan Development wants to limit housing outside of Seattle’s urban growth boundary. How else will they fill all those high-end condos being built in the Denny Triangle?
Look no further than the pages of one of those anti-933 media organizations Ferguson mentions, the Spokesman-Review, for more proof:
In Washington, the statewide Grange is sitting this one out. So is the Washington Association of Realtors, whose members are deeply divided. The Building Industry Association of Washington, which poured huge sums into Referendum 48, has made a token donation to this effort but is not actively campaigning for it. Other developer groups have said I-933 could create as many problems as it solves.
No, I-933 is not the "developer's initiative." It is the "common man's initiative," opposed by the rich, the powerful, the media, the academics, and the rest of Washington's elites with no dirt under their fingernails, looking as always to keep power exclusively in their hands. The farmers and small landowners have no wealthy allies to call upon like the environmentalists and the bureaucrats. But we have our voices and our votes, and we can be powerful if we unite. Vote Yes on I-933!

As Promised on The PES


I opened my ballot for the elections in Whitman County. I noticed that I received everything necessary to vote in this election. I would like to use the same logic from earlier letters to the editor. An "error" in what was received called for a letter to the editor as well as a plug for the Democrat running for County Auditor.

This is my letter to the editor claiming everything was perfect in my ballot, therefore everyone must vote for Eunice Coker as Whitman County Auditor.

Scotty Anderson
Pullman, Wash.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

"If the Democrats win, it will be a Forrest Gump victory - essentially things swirled around them over which they had very little control and they ended up scoring touchdowns, designing happy signs, and making money on shrimp."

- Political Pollster John Zogby

Spokesman-Review: Hailey the Obvious Choice

The Spokesman-Review has endorsed Steve Hailey for State Representative, 9th District, Position 1:
Republican Steve Hailey, a third-generation farmer, rancher and business owner from Franklin County, is trying for the House of Representatives seat filled for four terms by the highly respected Rep. Don Cox. Hailey has the credentials to understand the agricultural concerns of the rural 9th District. If elected, however, he will need to get up to speed quickly on education issues – an area where Cox showed exceptional strength – because his district is home to both Washington State University and Eastern Washington University.

The Democrat in this race, Caitlin Ross of Valleyford, is just 22 years old. The recent Gonzaga University graduate has admirable energy for the political process, but Hailey is the obvious choice.

The Children's Crusade

This is posted on Caitlin "Carpetbagger" Ross' website:
Hailey states that we have a poor business climate without providing proof. Hailey says Idaho is better but Idaho is ranked 24th by the Tax Foundation. If Idaho is better, why does Wal-Mart want to build in Pullman rather than Moscow? If Idaho is better, Steve, why not move there?
Excuse me, Caitlin? I know you were 8 years old at the time and living on the other side of the state, BUT WAL-MART OPENED A STORE IN MOSCOW ON DECEMBER 31, 1992!!!!!!!!! THEY DID CHOOSE IDAHO FIRST!!!!!!

And Caitlin, Wal-Mart DID want to build a Supercenter in Moscow. It was in all the papers. I guess you must have been in China or Africa at the time. And they would have, if it wasn't for those of your ilk on the Moscow City Council. It has nothing to do with Idaho's business climate.

You think there's no proof about Washington's poor business climate? Shall we talk about the Palouse Mall? Oh, I'm sorry, that was 10 years before you were even born.

How embarassing for the Dems. This is the candidate that "brings to the office the skills it will take to make this a region of opportunity where the entrepreneurs with new ideas and farmers using best practices will find a place to thrive" and "a person open to new possibilities for growth and prosperity in the district." Can she even find Pullman on a map?

Steve Hailey actually understands the difficulties involved with doing business in a border town. The differences are clear alright. If Ross actually lived in this district, she might understand them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Kennedy is a big spender, and Cantwell is a bigger one"

Mike McGavick nicely rebutted Tom Henderson in today's Lewiston Tribune:
I would like to take a moment from the campaign trail to respond to Tom Henderson's recent editorial in the Tribune [Oct. 23]. Mr. Henderson took exception to my references to the National Taxpayers Union's rankings of our United States senators from the 108th Congress based on their votes for spending measures.

Mr. Henderson implied that my statements regarding the NTU's evaluation were somehow incorrect or misleading and that I had somehow characterized Sen. Ted Kennedy as "the spawn of Satan."

Let's set the record straight. Sen. Kennedy is a proponent of bigger government, and bigger government means more government spending and higher taxes or higher government debt. Those two results are not something that I am willing to impose upon future generations of Americans.

Yes, Americans know that proponents of big government exist, and I think that many of them would identify Sen. Kennedy as one of them. I don't think this has any implications as to Sen. Kennedy's character. But Sen. Kennedy is not the point.

During the 108th Congress, Sen. Cantwell voted for more spending measures than any of her colleagues. Throughout this campaign, whenever I have mentioned this fact, I have been careful to also mention that she voted for the tax increases to go with them. The incumbent senator is not asking for unfunded mandates, but she is asking American families to squeeze their wallets a little tighter to fund all these programs.

The National Taxpayers Union reports on senators and U.S. representatives according to the spending they voted for. Their data is based on every single vote that was taken -- every vote that affects how much we pay as taxpayers.

Other news sources have reported on this too:

On Oct. 6, the Seattle Times reported that "The National Taxpayers Union said Cantwell voted for more spending measures than any other senator in the 108th Congress, from 2003-04." And the Bellingham Herald said this week that "She votes for federal spending programs almost every time she is given the chance to vote."

If you still doubt the veracity, take a look. Just click on the Senate tab on the spreadsheet on the NTU's Web site: http://www.ntu.org/downloads/VT1082Sorts.xls.

I agree with Mr. Henderson that congressional Republicans have lost their way when it comes to spending, and I have not been shy about saying so on the campaign trail. I am not afraid of telling my fellow Republicans how wrong they are in letting big spending of taxpayer dollars rule the day. It is just plain wrong. But you don't lower the debt by repealing a tax policy that has actually increased government revenues while boosting the economy.

We should continue tax policies that have been proven successful by generating impressive and sustained economic gains, keeping unemployment comparatively low, and helping us recover from a recession, corporate scandals, environmental disasters and an unprecedented terrorist attack on our nation.

What we need to do is make tough decisions to live within our means as a nation. We need to assess the drivers of federal spending -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense Department spending. I don't want to leave anyone out on a limb. But these are the programs we have to take a look at if we want to cut costs.

Now read that last sentence one more time. I didn't say I want to cut services. I said I want to cut costs. Those two things are not the same.

We also need to give D.C. a big wake-up call when it comes to waste and pork spending. I am for freezing spending at current levels, reducing the federal work force, getting rid of ineffective programs, stopping last-minute earmarking. And, we should give senators a pay cut instead of a pay raise when they fail to balance the budget!

As a candidate, I have tried my level best to run a clean campaign. I have at no time attacked the character of Sen. Cantwell, and I have actively encouraged others to refrain from doing so as well. I am proud of that fact. But I wouldn't be running for the United States Senate if there weren't differences of opinion on the issues between Sen. Cantwell and me.

There are plenty of differences -- and I encourage you to take the time to learn about the issues in this race. Consider the facts behind all the sound bites and make your own decision.

Ten Good Reasons to Vote GOP

From Phil Brennan at NewsMax.com:
If the polls are to be believed, the Republicans who control the White House and Congress are in trouble.

Their problem?

People vote their pocketbooks, or wallets, the old adage goes.

But the economy is booming. Even gasoline prices have plummeted. Unemployment, the bogeyman of politicians, has shrunken to a record low point.

As for the security matter, since 9/11, the worst attack on American soil since the Civil War, the United States has been free of any significant terrorist attack. None. Zippo. Zilch.

If Americans do vote the GOP out of either House of Congress, many of these accomplishments are threatened.

Should Democrats get control of the House of Representatives, they have already promised that one of the Republican initiatives that made all these things possible will be rolled back.

Higher taxes -- and with it, economic recession and more unemployment.

The Democrats will also signal the terrorists a "victory" for their side with a push for a quick withdrawal from Iraq. Remember, the Congress, not the president, funds our troops abroad. A Democratic Congress will most assuredly withhold funding unless Bush relents.

The list of Republican accomplishments is both long and real, and provides the platform upon which even greater results will be built under a Republican Congress and White House.

For sure, the GOP has had its share of shortcomings. The economy could be doing better. The deficit could be smaller. The postwar plans in Iraq could have been better implemented.

If anything, the Republicans are facing a message deficit. The liberal media establishment is just not letting them tell their story to the American people.

Here are 10 good reasons why you should vote Republican come election day. You won't hear about them on ABCCBSNBC News.

Reason #1. The economy is kicking butt. It is robust, vibrant, strong and growing. In the 36 months since the Bush tax cuts ended the recession that began under President Clinton, the economy has experienced astonishing growth. Over the first half of this year, our economy grew at a strong 4.1 percent annual rate, faster than any other major industrialized nation. This strong economic activity has generated historic revenue growth that has shrunk the deficit. A continued commitment to spending restraint has also contributed to deficit reduction.

Reason #2. Unemployment is almost nil for a major economy, and is verging on full employment. Recently, jobless claims fell to the lowest level in 10 weeks. Employment increased in 48 states over the past 12 months ending in August. Our economy has now added jobs for 37 straight months.

Reason #3. The Dow is hitting record highs. In the past few days, the Dow climbed above 12,000 for the first time in the history of the stock market, thus increasing the value of countless pension and 401(k) that funds many Americans rely on for their retirement years.

Reason #4. Wages have risen dramatically. According to the Washington Post, demand for labor helped drive workers' average hourly wages, not including those of most managers, up to $16.84 last month -- a 4 percent increase from September 2005, the fastest wage growth in more than five years. Nominal wage growth has been 4.1 percent so far this year. This is better or comparable to its 1990s peaks. Over the first half of 2006, employee compensation per hour grew at a 6.3 percent annual rate adjusted for inflation. Real after-tax income has risen a whopping 15 percent since January 2001. Real after-tax income per person has risen by 9 percent since January 2001.

Reason #5. Gas prices have plunged. According to the Associated Press, the price of gasoline has fallen to its lowest level in more than 10 months. The federal Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. motorists paid $2.21 a gallon on average for regular grade last week, a decrease of 1.8 cents from the previous week. Pump prices are now 40 cents lower than a year ago and have plummeted by more than 80 cents a gallon since the start of August. The previous 2006 low for gasoline was set in the first week of January, when pump prices averaged $2.238. In the week ending Dec. 5, 2005, prices averaged $2.19. Today, gasoline can be found for less than $2 a gallon in many parts of the country.

Reason #6. Since 9/11, no terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil. Since 9/11 the U.S. has not been attacked by terrorists thanks to such programs as the administration's monitoring of communications between al-Qaida operatives overseas and their agents in the U.S. and the monitoring of the international movement of terrorist funds -- both measure bitterly opposed by Democrats.

Reason #7. Productivity is surging and has grown by a strong 2.5 percent over the past four quarters, well ahead of the average productivity growth in the last 30 years. Strong productivity growth helps lead to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product, higher real wages, and stronger corporate profits.

Reason #8. The Prescription Drug Program is working. Despite dire predictions that most seniors would refrain from signing up to the new Medicare prescription benefits program, fully 75 percent of all those on Medicare have enrolled, and the overwhelming majority say they are happy with the program.

Reason #9. Bush has kept his promise of naming conservative judges. He has named two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. In addition, he has named conservative justices who are devoted to the Constitution as it is written and not as activist liberal judges think it means. The strong likelihood that one or more justices will retire from the Supreme Court makes it mandatory for the Republicans to hold the Senate and have a chance to name new conservative justices.

Reason #10. The deficit has been cut in half three years ahead of the president's 2009 goal, with the 2006 fiscal year budget deficit down to $248 billion. The tax cuts have stimulated the economy and are working.

In contrast to this stunning record of real achievement, the Democrats offer no real plans for the way they want to improve America or make us safer.

Instead, issues like the Mark Foley scandal have been used to smokescreen their own lack of ideas in a public debate.

The choice voters will make is whether they want higher taxes and less security by surrendering the tools used to combat terrorism or lower taxes and the continued use of tools like the Patriot Act, terrorist surveillance, terrorist interrogations and missile defense.

Consider what leading Democrats are promising if they gain control of Congress.

  • Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., who would lead the House tax-writing committee if Democrats win in November, said he "cannot think of one" tax cut he would renew. That agenda would result in $2.4 trillion tax increase over the next 10 years.

  • If Democrats take majorities in the House and Senate, the average family of four can expect to pay an average of $2,000 more in taxes.

  • The leader of House Democrats and the woman who would be speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after 9/11 that she "doesn't really consider ourselves at war ... we're in a struggle against terrorism."

  • By opposing the Patriot Act, terrorist surveillance missile defense and even interrogating the most dangerous terrorists captured on the battlefield, Democrats are in direct opposition to the vital tools we use to fight terrorism.

  • Many Democrats, including the prospective House Ways and Means chairman, favor cutting off funding for the war in Iraq.

  • Democratic leaders have made it clear that they see investigations and impeachment as viable options should they take control of Congress. They are therefore promising to tie the hands of the president and his administration in the middle of a war.

  • Democrats want to reverse the president's economic policies that have led to a historically strong economy.

  • Enough said.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Cougs Goin' Bowlin'!

    Congrats to Alex Brink, Mkristo Bruce and the WSU Cougs! Their 37-15 victory today over UCLA at the Rose Bowl makes them bowl eligible for the first time since the 2003 Holiday Bowl season.

    Where do you think the Cougs will end up? It almost certainly won't be the Rose Bowl or Holiday Bowl, as we have already lost to USC and Cal. If the Cougs win out against the Arizona schools and the Fuskies, they will likely be headed down to Mike Price's new hometown, El Paso, for the Sun Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl, Emerald Bowl, or Hawaii Bowl are also in the mix, depending on how well we finish and how the other PAC-10 contenders (Oregon, Oregon St., UCLA, Arizona State) fare.

    I was just down in El Paso, and while the Sun Bowl is more prestigious (and nothing against El Paso), Las Vegas or Honolulu seem like the better holiday destinations for the fans (the Hawaii Bowl is on Christmas Eve). San Francisco in late December? C'mon.

    Go Cougs! See you at Martin Stadium next Saturday!

    "Vote no on Pullman’s Prop. 1"

    This letter appeared in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    I am encouraging all Pullman voters to vote No on Proposition 1.

    The city leaders say it is not a tax increase, but they are just playing word games. It is replacing an expiring bond which was a tax increase. So, if you vote to continue it, you are voting for a tax increase.

    If the bond was to take care of city necessities I might not be so against it. But it is for feel-good projects. As I like to say, want to haves, not got to haves.

    Let’s look at what we have to look forward to.

    When the City Council decided not to fund any street paving projects with this bond, they publicly stated they would have to come to the voters and ask for another tax increase for street repairs.

    In the recent past, the need for utility service at the airport has been discussed.

    When this becomes a reality, (Pullman Public Works Director) Mark Workman has stated it would result in a 20-25 percent increase in our utility tax.

    In the past month, this paper had an article on the upcoming new tough stormwater regulations and all the necessary updates and costs associated with their implementation. Mark Workman said there would have to be an increase in our utility costs to pay for them.

    We are virtually guaranteed at least three tax increases in our near future. Let’s not add to our financial burden.

    If these bond projects are so important to the community, why don’t our local civic clubs and businesses get busy raising private funding. Let’s make it a true community project. I am willing to donate time and money to help make it a reality.

    Stay tuned for more reasons to vote No on Prop. 1.

    Gary Labusohr
    Gary, my friend, I agree with you 100%. I said the same thing two months ago and my opposition was featured in an Evergreen article.

    The signs for Proposition 1 popping up around town that read "Parks - Paths - Pavilion" are somewhat disingenuous. If this bond passes, we won't be much closer to an arts pavilion than we are today. Only $125,000 is being spent on PRE-design work. Nothing will actually be built. That will cost much, much more. As far as parks go, we won't be getting any new ones or cool playground equipment, just fixing up bathrooms in existing parks and improving lighting at the City Playfields. I feel voters may be in for some sticker shock when they see what their money has really bought. A more accurate slogan would be "Bathrooms - Bikes - Blueprints".

    I plan to vote against Prop 1 and urge others to do the same, but I have not been actively campaigning against it. Michelle Dupler contacted me about her piece concerning Prop 1 that ran last Saturday, but we both agreed that I had been quoted in the paper enough lately. I could have volunteered to argue against it at the recent LWV/Pullman Chamber initatives forum but didn't. My focus has been on Wal-Mart, I-933, and supporting Republican candidates. I will be interested to see if any formal opposition emerges to Proposition 1.

    "Long-standing downtown Pullman business ready to close its doors"

    More on Ken Vogel Clothing closing from today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    Ken Vogel Clothing has been part of Main St. scene for past 24 years

    Ken Vogel says he has got to keep a smile on his face even as he prepares to close his Pullman store.

    After 24 years in business, Ken Vogel Clothing opened its doors Thursday and surprised shoppers with signs for a going-out-of-business sale.

    “I’ve had people in tears already,” Vogel said.

    He said the response has been uplifting, but it doesn’t change his plans to close. The long-standing business will continue operating until its final day on Dec. 24.

    “Oct. 26, 2006 is the day that will live in infamy,” he said with a laugh for his friends in the historical society.

    Fritz Hughes, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, was among those who had heard the fast-spreading news.

    “It’s sad to see it go,” he said. “It’s been a tradition in the Pullman community. I know a lot of people who shop there will sorely miss him.”

    Hughes said the store was a landmark in the city’s retail business, and Vogel himself was a character that “added some life and enlightenment” to the downtown.

    “(Vogel) had really met a need for people in the community and he will be missed,” Hughes said.

    Mitch Chandler, the owner of Neill’s Flowers and Gifts, said it’s very rough any time the downtown loses what he considers a main retailer.

    “It’s a sad issue, but it’s part of the economic times,” he said.

    Hughes said retail businesses have faced increases in online and catalog shopping, but the downtown had remained relatively stable with little turnover for the past year.

    Chandler predicts the loss of Vogel’s store will decrease foot traffic for the neighboring and remaining businesses.

    Hughes said there are high hopes for the business that takes over the Vogel storefront, which is in a building owned by Pullman couple Matthew Tedder and Moon Lee.

    Hughes said a restaurant is expected to move into the location next year.

    “We just hope that somebody will come into the community that will have a clothing business to fill that void, but it will be very difficult to fill ‘Ken Vogel,’ ” Hughes said. “Maybe you could have a store, but it’d be very difficult to find anyone like that.”

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    Mike and Cathy Hit The Bookie

    U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris made a stop at The Bookie on the campus of Washington State University this morning.

    Obviously buoyed by recent endorsements from the Seattle Times and the Spokesman-Review, an energetic and enthusiastic McGavick addressed a crowd of about 50-60 supporters.

    Mike talked about the toll the campaign was taking on his family life, but told the students to be prepared to make a sacrifice if they wanted to make a difference. He said political campaigns are always about the next generation having it better than we do now.

    McGavick said Congress needs a "big dose of Northwest common sense" and he's just the man to administer it.

    He stated that we need a "victory strategy" in Iraq, not an "exit strategy." We should rethink our tactics when there are failures, but the U.S. can't leave a vacuum that would create a base for terrorism. We have to be realistic about that.

    On immigration, McGavick supports a guest worker program and a border fence. He metioned that fruit in Washington has rotted on the vine due to a lack of workers to pick it. Mike asked how people are kept out of a sold-out Martin Stadium game and said a border fence be a similar concept. It only makes sense. He scoffed at Democratic ideas to "take 8 x 10s" of people crossing the border from surveillance blimps. We need to physically prevent people from crossing the border illegally.

    He said the race is close, and that is why Cantwell is running attack ads. McGavick said he has not gone negative yet and won't, even though he has not been treated in kind.

    Mike then introduced Congresswoman Cathy McMorris.

    McMorris spoke of how she helped reform student loans by getting more money into direct loans, helping students versus companies that administer the loans. Her efforts have also made more loans available to freshman and sophomores

    Cathy showed a real humorous side when she stated, "A recession is when the other guy is out of work, a depression is when you're out of work, and an economic recovery is when Maria Cantwell out of work!"

    All in all, it was a great event. Supporters were motivated and upbeat and ready to get out the vote for our next Senator and re-elect our Congresswoman! The College Republicans under President Kiley Smith did a fabulous job. I had a chance to chat extensively with representatives of the McMorris campaign and Palousitics is going to start doing even more to rebut the nasty lies and innuendo (like today's mailing that McMorris is somehow affiliated with the Foley page scandal) being spread about her by the Goldmark campaign. Look out Rats, we're coming out swinging!


    Pelton claims that PARD “supporters have compared Wal-Mart and its customers to slumming.” In addition to making no grammatical sense, this is wrong. It is based on one much-misquoted comment that Wal-Mart parking lots attract “undesirable elements” (drug dealers, rapists, etc.) based on Wal-Mart’s research. If Don wants to defend such folks, fine, but don’t confuse them with customers.

    - Deirdre Sommerlad, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, October 27, 2006
    University of Idaho criminologist Deirdre Sommerlad-Rogers testified about studies showing Wal-Mart attracts crime and therefore puts a drain on local police services. She pointed to the example of a Wal-Mart store in Lodi, Calif., that took up four times as much police time as other retail stores because of shoplifting and the high number of car thefts in the parking lot.

    - Michelle Dupler, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, January 14, 2006
    Testimony was presented [from PARD] regarding a lack of social responsibility of Wal-Mart to the communities, and jurisdictions in which they locate. Suggestions of increased crime, the intrusion of undesirable social classes, low wages, failure to provide medical benefits, were presented in great detail.

    - Hearing Examiner' Decision, February 24, 2006
    The 1,039 space parking lot, open all night, will become a crime magnet and a student party zone, as it has in many other small communities, driving up local policing costs.

    - Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development Website
    Misquoted? Based on Wal-Mart's research? Don't confuse them with customers? Sommerlad-Rogers (why drop "Rogers" for the letter? I would, but then I'm biased) is brazenly attempting to recant her elitist "intrusion of undesirable social classes" testimony while simultaneously ramping up the rhetoric from partying students, shoplifters, and car thieves to "drug dealers and rapists."

    Do TV Reed, Rogers, et. al. realize how much they are mocked in the community over their outrageous statements? Rogers can crow all she wants about "5000 Pullman residents" signing the anti-Wal-Mart petition, but PARD's real magic numbers are "725" and "3". 725 was approximately the number of votes PARD candidates received in last year's City Council election and 3 is the number of times PARD has lost (so far). Some other numbers Deirdre might want to check are $26,884 and $46,331. Those are the median household and family incomes for Moscow based on the 2000 Census. This is versus $20,652 and $46,165 for Pullman. That's lower, not higher, according to my math. Yet another number is $158.4 million. That's how the economic boon Moscow gets from Pullman and Whitman County every year, much of that because of the Wal-Mart in Moscow.

    With their fifteen minutes of fame and hopes of stopping Wal-Mart quickly evaporating, PARD's rhetoric gets even more despicable. What's next? Serial killers and child molesters hang out in Wal-Mart parking lots? Please let this process be over soon so we are no longer subejcted to these daily unhinged rants from the PARDners. Pullman has had about all the BS it can stand.

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    Don't Pick Out The Drapes Just Yet

    The Mainstream Media is already ensconcing Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. But wait! Former Clinton aide and political pundit Dick Morris say the election is a toss-up at this point.
    The latest polls show something very strange and quite encouraging is happening: The Republican base seems to be coming back home. This trend, only vaguely and dimly emerging from a variety of polls, suggests that a trend may be afoot that would deny the Democrats control of the House and the Senate.

    With two weeks to go, anything can happen, but it is beginning to look possible that the Democratic surge in the midterm elections may fall short of control in either House.

    Here's the evidence:

    * Pollsters Scott Rasmussen and John Zogby both show Republican Bob Corker gaining on Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee, a must-win Senate seat for the Democrats. Zogby has Corker ahead by seven, while Rasmussen still shows a Ford edge of two points.

    * Zogby reports a "turnaround" in New Jersey's Senate race with the GOP candidate Tom Kean taking the lead, a conclusion shared by some other public polls.

    * Even though Sen. Jim Talent in Missouri is still under the magic 50 percent threshold for an incumbent, Rasmussen has him one point ahead and Zogby puts him three up. But unless he crests 50 percent, he'll probably still lose.

    * Even though he is a lost cause, both Rasmussen and Zogby show Montana's Republican Sen. Conrad Burns cutting the gap and moving up.

    * In Virginia, Republican embattled incumbent Sen. George Allen has now moved over the 50 percent threshold in his internal polls. (He'd been at 48 percent.)

    Nationally, Zogby reports that the generic Democratic edge is down to four points, having been as high as nine two weeks ago.

    None of these data indicates that the Republicans are out of trouble yet, but Democrats must win one of these three races: Ford in Tennessee, Menendez in New Jersey or Webb in Virginia. If not, they'll fall at least one seat short of controlling the Senate even if they succeed in knocking off all five vulnerable GOP incumbents in Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Missouri.

    Why are Republican fortunes brightening?

    The GOP base, alienated by the Foley scandal and the generally dismal record of this Congress, may have fast forwarded to the prospect of a Democratic victory and recoiled. They may have pondered the impact of a repeal of the Patriot Act, a ban on NSA wiretapping and a requirement of having an attorney present in terrorist questioning - and decided not to punish the country for the sins of the Republican leaders.

    Bush's success in dealing with North Korea and his willingness to reassess tactics in Iraq could also play a part in the slight shift now underway.

    Then, too, some in the Democratic Party must be finally realizing what a disastrous decision it was to put Howard Dean in as party chairman. The Democratic National Committee is broke and borrowing, while the GOP can afford to fund fully its key races.

    Right now, we would have to say that control of Congress has gone from "lean Democrat" to a "toss-up." And that's progress for the Republicans.
    Barron's magazine is predicting that the GOP will retain Congress, with the Republican majority in the House falling by eight seats, to 224 and down 3 seats in the Senate to 52. Barron's ignores polls and bases its predictions on which candidate had the largest campaign war chest as a sign of superior grass-roots support, a method they say has stood the test of time.

    I find it interesting that my native state of Virginia is a key battleground for control of the the Senate. For decades now, Virginia has been a reliable Red State. But Virginia is a state divided, much like Washington State. According to a recent Washington Post article, there is NoVa (Northern Virginia) and RoVa (The Rest of Virginia). NoVa is urban and liberal. RoVa is rural and conservative. Much like our "Cascade Curtain"; Western Washington is urban and liberal, Eastern Washington is rural and conservative. I've had the opportunity to live in all four places (22 years in RoVa, 12 years in NoVa, 2 years in Western Washington, and the last 7 1/2 years in Eastern Washington).

    RoVa was always able to sway the state politically because its population was greater than NoVa. Eastern Washington has never had that luxury. But times are changing in Virginia, as NoVa's population booms. It'll be interesting to see what happens. I've met George Alllen, He is very charismatic and was a very popular Governor. Plus Allen carries a certain amount of cachet (and the name) as the son of legendary Washington Redskins coach George Allen.

    Too bad for the Democrats that Howard Dean and the other left-wingers (like locals Bryan Burke and Don Orlich) took over the party. Otherwise, this election would be a cakewalk for them.

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Election Endorsements

    Ballots have been mailed out in Whitman County, so its time for the annual Palousitics election endorsements.


    McGavick will provide Washington with a strong, independent voice in the other Washington. He has proven business leadership, a lot of good policy ideas, and will no doubt make a great Senator. Maria Cantwell is pathetically ineffective and a major embarrassment, so much so that even the liberal Seattle Times and Spokesman-Review can't bring themselves to endorse a sitting Democratic Senator.


    In this year of discontent, first-term Congresswoman McMorris might have been vulnerable to being picked off by rancher Peter Goldmark. Goldmark, however, has allowed his campaign to be taken over by left-wing bloggers and other extremists from outside the district who are financing his campaign. He's been so busy attacking McMorris, particularly on veterans issues, that he has forgotten to actually articulate any positions of his own. McMorris did well in her first two years and will only grow in influence in her next two years in Congress. Again, the Seattle Times and Spokesman-Review have endorsed McMorris after backing her opponent in 2004.



    Queen Christine's death tax will be a death sentence for Pullman when Ed Schweitzer passes.


    If we want farming in this state to be more than just entertainment for rich, liberal Seattleites who enjoy the quaint scenery as they drive to their ski chalets, we must pass I-933. Ignore the tree-hugging fearmongers. I-933 will not pave over any pasture or kill any salmon.

    I-937 (WIND ENERGY): NO

    Hydroelectric power is NOT renewable energy? Even liberal big city newspapers have rejected wacky I-937.


    Johnson is a champion of property rights and limited government. His opponent, Justice Susan Owens, has made it clear in her decisions that she is more concerned with environmentalism than property rights and is all too willing to legislate her liberal version of morality from the bench.


    Hailey is a rancher and farmer, a lifelong resident of the district, and a Vietnam War hero with a solid record of public service. He vows to help business and agriculture in Eastern Washington. His opponent, the Pundit's Perky Preppy Princess Pursuing Political Promise, 22 year old Caitlin Ross, engaged in questionable shenannigans while registering to vote in the 9th District, is completely unqualified, knows nothing of our district's needs and is completely out-of-sync with our values. Ross, endorsed by the execrable Senator Cantdowell and bankrolled by Code Pink activist Dal LaMagna, espouses the most liberal positions, such as an even higher minimum wage.


    David is running unopposed, but vote for him anyway. He is a very effective legislator, being named as Assistant Minority Whip in his first term. Buri can be counted on to work for us in Olympia.


    Largent will be a defender of free enterprise and property rights at a time when we desperately one in Colfax. Nathan Weller has a lot of ideas (many of them unrealistic), but government is about more than surfing the Net. Weller's sudden civic interest (he didn't vote for the last six years) does little to commend him for the office. Being from a different party is not a reason to vote for someone.

    Eunice Coker

    Eunice has presided over the Auditor's office during the tumultuous 2004 election and the switch to all-mail voting and proven herself equal to the challenge. Her Napoleon Dynamite-wannabe opponent, Nathan Horter has "computer skills" to offer and little else. The Whitman County Democrats have ran a campaign against Coker unparalleled in recent times for nastiness.

    Spokesman-Review Endorses Mike McGavick

    Joining the Seattle Times, the Spokesman-Review has endorsed Mike McGavick for U.S. Senate, comparing McGavick with past Washington Senate giants Warren G. Magnuson and Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. The Spokesman editors say that "Cantwell's six years in the Senate have coincided with a rigid ideological divide that makes it difficult for the Congress to work on challenges facing the nation."

    In even worse news for our junior senator, earlier this week, Congress.org released its Power Rankings of U.S. Senators. Senator Cantdowell fell from 93 to 99 out of 100.

    We need to be better represented in Washington, DC. Vote for McGavick.

    Free Pass Redux

    Uh oh, now Starbucks has been accused of exploiting Third World farmers.

    Ken Vogel Clothing Closing

    On the radio this morning, it was announced that Ken Vogel Clothing in downtown Pullman is closing its doors and having a going-out-of-business sale

    Vogel has been an outspoken critic of a Pullman Wal-Mart. According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, he says "a good Lutheran prayer every night that Wal-Mart goes under in my lifetime.”

    It's unfortunate when any business in Pullman closes, particularly a downtown business. Instead of retail stores, we're getting places where you can sell your blood. Talk about Pottersville.

    But let's get one thing clear. Whatever Vogel's reasons are for closing, it has nothing to do with a Pullman Wal-Mart. The Supercenter project here is still in legal limbo. No building permits have been issued and not one shovel of dirt has been turned. We're at least a year or more away from the store opening.

    In the Daily News story, Vogel blamed some of his woes on the Moscow Wal-Mart, because people buy underwear, socks and belts cheaper there. He also feels that clothing manufacturers only want to deal with big-box chains as the public demands cheaper, disposable goods. If that is the case, blame the consumer, not Wal-Mart.

    As I have stated before, I feel that part of Vogel's problem is that people dress more casually today than in previous times. Also, it can't help that Pullman residents spend 50 cents of every retail dollar somewhere else.

    Vogel probably would have benefitted tremendously from Wal-Mart's presence in Pullman. Other retailers are scrambling to move into Pullman in advance of Wal-Mart. A mini-mall is being constructed in the old Penguin Plumbing and Electric building on North Grand and Duane Brelsford has just broken ground on another retail development on Bishop Boulevard.

    Compare Vogel's comments with those of the owner of Creightons, a men's clothing store in Moscow that closed a year ago:
    Nelson said a number of factors contributed to his decision to close the store, including the closure of Creightons for Women and the changing retail market.

    As much as I love the store and the people, times have changed, he said. I thought it was better to own up to it than live in a dream world.
    UDPATE: I have learned that Ken Vogel is calling it quits because he has concerns over odors coming from a new Thai restaurant (Thai again? Can't we get a good barbecue joing in Pullman?) opening next door in the old Simpflex Internet Cafe space and the fact that his wife is retiring next year.

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    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    The "Paper of Record" for Pullman?

    Brian Everstine wrote in the Daily Evergreen on August 18, 2006:
    "As the student newspaper of WSU and the paper of record for Pullman, we see ourselves as being community oriented. The news coverage strives to tell the stories of the people. Our opinion section wants to serve as the students’ and the residents’ megaphone. As a newspaper with a relatively large circulation, this is our public service. This is not only what we want to do, it is what we need to do. Your involvement is essential....

    In Civic Outlook, we are looking to have representatives from influential positions in the area write guest commentaries on topical issues. We will be actively recruiting for the column, and anyone interested can contact us...

    We want all people within our reach to know that their voices have a home inside the pages of the Evergreen. There is a length limit on letters, but if you have more to say, you can contact us to write a Guest Commentary..."
    Well, put down your megaphone, Pullman residents. I took Mr. Everstine up on his offer and this is the reply I received today:
    Mr. Forbes-

    The Daily Evergreen tries to give our columnists as much freedom as possible regarding their commentary pieces. As a staff columnist for the Evergreen, Mr. Blue has the right to comment on the Wal-Mart debate however he wishes. Mr. Blue also serves to represent a certain student perception on the debate regardless of how you may feel about his, or other students', temporary investments in the community.

    BREO is not a student organizationand its position is clear, especially in light of the most recent court decision. Our Opinion editor packaged the column with links to both the BREO and PARD Web sites to encourage awareness of both sides. I feel this was an appropriate step. Considering the amount of ink we have already offered to both PARD and BREO on the issue, in both News and Opinion, an additional rebuttal column from BREO seems excessive.

    However, I would encourage you to write a letter to the editor if you feel new information is available. Thank you.

    -Jacob Jones
    The Daily Evergreen
    Amount of ink already offered? Additional rebuttal? Excessive? BREO has never been given ONE SINGLE column in the Daily Evergreen's Wal-Mart "debate", versus more than I can remember for PARD and other anti-Wal-Mart pieces. Letter to the editor? I've had several that have never been published. In any case, a 250-word letter cannot possibly rebut a 700-word op-ed piece.

    Was Mr. Blue presenting any "new information" in his recent column? No, it was the same old tired PARD arguments. We've never had a chance to lay out our arguments one time. What is the Evergreen so afraid of?

    Let's hear it for freedom of speech at WSU!! And be sure to let the Evergreen know how you feel.

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    Free Pass

    This story is on the AP wire today:
    Why you might see a Starbucks on every block

    SEATTLE - Starbucks' answer to long lines at the coffee counter is to open another Starbucks.

    As the Seattle coffee retailer heads toward its goal of 40-thousand stores worldwide the key word is "infilling."

    The company says people don't want to walk far for a cup of coffee, so Starbucks doesn't mind putting a shop within a block of another if it will save customers from crossing a street.

    Starbucks has more than 12-thousand stores worldwide and it's opening six more a day.

    Chief Executive Jim Donald dismisses any notion that the company could experience oversaturation. And chairman Howard Schultz thinks Starbucks has been underestimating the worldwide demand for its coffee.
    Now, subsititute the words "Starbucks" with "Wal-Mart Supercenter," "Seattle" with "Bentonville, Arkansas," and "Howard Schultz" with "Lee Scott" in the story above and you'd have people protesting in the streets. Where is "Wake Up Starbucks!"? Where is "Starbucks Watch"? Where is "How to Slam Dunk Starbucks"? The lack of any widespread, organized opposition to Starbucks proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that criticism of Wal-Mart is not based on distaste for rampant monopoly capitalism or the homogenization of Main Street USA. Starbucks represents those things even more than Wal-Mart does. No, the opposition to Wal-Mart comes down to ugly classism and snobbery. The cultural, intellectual and media elite all enjoy a good cup of latte and a biscotti, but they would never demean themselves by mingling with the hoi polloi to buy a pair of cheap underwear.

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    We'll Agree to Disagree

    I consider myself an independent thinker. I am guided by my own conservative/libertarian ideology. Sometimes, my opinions will differ from those who I support, be that President Bush, the Republican Party, fellow conservatives, Wal-Mart, Bill Doba's red-zone play calling, or the Pullman City Council.

    For example, it was reported in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
    In other business, the City Council passed a resolution urging voters to vote against Initiative 933.

    I-933 would require city, county and state governments to pay landowners for any decreased value to property due to government regulations.

    The initiative is not clearly written and could be costly for the city, said John Sherman, city supervisor.

    Johnson said the initiative could cost the city more than $5 million.

    The resolution against I-933 passed unanimously.
    I'm disappointed, but certainly not surprised. I understand where they are coming from. The city council is required by the RCW to establish and administer Critical Areas Ordinances. I-933 will make those Critical Areas Ordinances more painful. Those in government also tend to be somewhat jealous of their prerogatives and don't like to have their decisions second-guessed.

    I have disagreed with the council before over the upcoming bond issue not addressing streets. I'm sure I'll disagree with them again. That's okay. That's democracy. They'll still have my overall support as long as they keep Pullman headed in the right direction.

    "Pullman, state residents battle over education with Initiative 920"

    From today's Evergreen:
    Voter: If passed I-920 will cut funding from financial programs for college students.

    Citizens in Pullman and across the state are battling over Initiative 920, a measure with education at its core.

    Controversy surrounds the initiative because it would repeal Washington’s estate tax, which taxes people’s assets or businesses after they die. It affects estates worth more than $2 million for individuals, and $4 million for couples.

    If I-920 passes, “it will cut funding from financial aid programming for college students,” said Joel Murray, young-voter outreach coordinator for the “No on I-920” campaign, which is based out of Seattle. “It will take away the programs that benefit them directly.” Enrollment spots could also disappear if the measure passes, Murray said.

    According to the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, the State Need Grant program served about 55,200 undergraduate students in 2004-05, and on average, these students received $2,265 each in funds from the program. The initiative, if passed, would repeal $100 million a year dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust, which funds K-12 and higher education, Murray said. Supporters of the initiative are not focused on education, but on the funding source.

    “They tied the death tax to the Education Legacy Trust Fund because it’s more palatable, and I think we’re better than that,” said Susan Fagan, director of public affairs for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman. “We’ve never said we’d never pay our fair share of taxes.” Fagan, who supported the measure at an initiatives forum Oct. 19 in Pullman, said the tax is not a stable form of funding and is a one-time tax that does not help communities after the money is used. The Washington State Supreme Court found educational funding to be of paramount importance, so the legislature should abide by those priorities with alternative funding methods, Fagan said. Capitalizing on a death is not the appropriate way to proceed with funding education, she said.

    Murray said education support in Washington has declined, and an alternative form of funding is not that easy to find. “It’s not easy to just go out and find $100 million,” he said. “The loss of these funds from Washington’s education would be a setback unseen in the state’s history.” Without an income tax, Washington is friendly toward businesses, and the business that have gained from the state climate can give back to society through the estate tax, Murray said.

    “We look at it as a way for the fortunate few who have benefited so much from society to give back,” he said. “I think it’s a perfectly fair tax.” Fagan said that while the lack of an income tax makes the state seem business-friendly, there are other aspects of business – such as the business and occupation tax – that make the state unfriendly toward businesses. With that in mind, a business’ contribution to the community while someone is alive is more valuable than focusing on the money gained from death, she said.

    “I would ask people to look at how people are investing back into their communities,” Fagan said. “That has to count for something.”
    Let's look at all the lies from the opponents of I-920, shall we?

    “It will cut funding from financial aid programming for college students” - No, it won't. Olympia will simply have to find another source of funding.

    “It’s not easy to just go out and find $100 million. The loss of these funds from Washington’s education would be a setback unseen in the state’s history.” - Please, spare us the doomsday hyperbole. $100 million is a drop in the bucket. Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled legislature was busy figuring out how to carve up a $1.6 BILLION budget surplus.

    "Without an income tax, Washington is friendly toward businesses" - Not that tired old liberal saw again.

    "Business that have gained from the state climate can give back to society through the estate tax" - Let's see a show of hands. How many people think Ed Schweitzer's largesse has done more for the Pullman School District than the death tax ever will? When you look at local charities and non-profit donations, it IS those that have gained the most that give back the most.

    Let's examine further what Susan Fagan meant when she said, “I would ask people to look at how people are investing back into their communities."

    I-920, like I-933 is all about who do you trust more, the individual or big government. I-933 asks us if we want an unfettered bureaucracy to manage private property or the landowner. I-920 asks us if we want an unfettered bureaucracy to manage capital or the family of the deceased. And it is capital, not tax. When people die, they don't generally have millions in cash stuffed under their mattresses. That money is tied up in structures, servers, vehicles, investments, machinery, and all the other tools of business. That capital represents not only the deceased's work, but also the labor of possibly hundreds or thousands of others. Should that capital be sold off in order to fund the voracious appetite of our statist educational system and the greedy unions that depend on the dues-paying teachers that are hired by that system?

    Who in Pullman thinks that Schweitzer Engineering Labs would remain in Pullman if it had to be sold to another company to pay Ed Schweitzer's death tax? Who in Pullman thinks the death tax is worth losing SEL? Remember that when you mark your ballots.

    "Wal-Mart is beneficial to the nation and will be to Pullman"

    The backlash against Jimmy Blue's PARD propaganda piece has begun in the Daily Evergreen:

    Normally, when people I know get upset about the (perhaps now definite) construction of a Wal-Mart in Pullman, I smile and nod and say that I pleasantly disagree that the gates of Hell will open up once the dreaded Arkansas behemoth opens a new store here. However, Jimmy Blue’s Monday editorial lamenting the recent court decision allowing Wal-Mart to proceed should not pass without comment.

    I don’t know if Wal-Mart has ever advertised itself as a purveyor of fine, upscale quality goods; rather, it has always been a retailer that focused on making low-cost goods available to low – and middle – income families that weren’t located in, or conveniently near, large urban retail markets. In following this business model, Wal-Mart has become the largest, most effective purchasing agent working to lower out-of-pocket costs to consumers in the United States. Its presence has inspired other retailers such as Target and Kohl’s and Fred Meyers, in turn, to provide lower costs and greater choices to U.S. consumers than they would otherwise have.

    From what I know of U.S. economic and business history that’s a pretty traditional way to make a profit, and if that’s due to monopoly power, we could use a lot more of it in more sectors of our economy. Or perhaps Mr. Blue decries the downfall of the friendly small-town retail monopolist? Sure, he charged high prices and never had much selection and we couldn’t really go anywhere else to shop, but at least he was “our” monopolist, right?

    Steven Peterson graduate research assistant, school of economic sciences
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    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Mike! in Pullman

    "Endorsements prove McMorris’ ability in Congress"

    Congrats to WSU College Republican Grant Eickstadt for a great column in today's Daily Evergreen!
    On Oct. 22, The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review – the largest newspaper in the Inland Northwest – endorsed Rep. Cathy McMorris. In its endorsement – available on its Web site – the newspaper stated: “In her first term, McMorris has shown impressive growth. We’re eager to see what she can accomplish with a second.” Finally, this largely liberal newspaper in Spokane is realizing how valuable McMorris is to the citizens of Washington’s 5th district and urging their readers to send her back for another two years.

    It is no secret to anyone that democratic opponent Peter Goldmark’s inability to provide solutions to our nation’s problems, and his lack of knowledge on key issues, is evident. If he were elected, he would not only frustrate himself and his staff, but also enrage the citizens of Eastern Washington because he would not be able to get anything done, due to his extreme lack of knowledge. In the most recent debate between the two candidates, Goldmark said that since being elected to office, McMorris “hasn’t really accomplished anything,” and provided “proof” of that by further stating she has passed just two bills in the House.

    Obviously, Goldmark is still unfamiliar with the duties of a representative, and if he did understand, he would know that passing legislation is one of many duties required of a representative. Committee work, participating in congressional task forces, federal casework for individuals, helping local businesses navigate through the federal government, securing funding for local projects, and identifying solutions to local and regional issues are all part of the job. It looks like someone left Goldmark in the dark about these other responsibilities, which are equally as important as passing legislation.

    Voters should focus on what McMorris has done since she was elected in 2004. She has been a champion for rural heath care – something so many of her constituents depend on. She teamed up with Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., to push for the use of health information technology to facilitate the speedy and reliable transfer of health-care information.

    The Spokesman-Review went on to comment on McMorris’s work with saving Fairchild Air Force Base: “It’s evident – despite Goldmark’s unsubstantiated insistence to the contrary – that she added a strong and helpful voice in protecting Fairchild through the last round of base closures.” McMorris is the best choice for Eastern Washington. She understands the realities of lawmaking and is a skilled politician who knows how to get things done and how to work across the aisle. Yes, McMorris is a career politician, but in her case, I believe career politicians are the best kind. McMorris knows what is important for Eastern Washington and knows what to do to get the best results.

    In addition to The Spokesman-Review; the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Tri-City Herald and The Seattle Times have also endorsed the congresswoman.
    Grant's column was also linked on the popular Spokesman-Review blog Huckleberries Online.

    "Potential Palouse brand, slogan among topics at summit"

    "The only summit meeting that can succeed is the one that does not take place."

    - Senator Barry M. Goldwater
    Here is the Moscow-Pullman Daily News take on yesterday's Palouse Knowledge Corridor Economic Summit. As I expected, they totally glossed over the Wal-Mart/big-box issues that came up, no doubt because they are distributing free issues of the paper to everyone in Moscow and Pullman today and wanted to avoid controversy:
    Marty Dickinson says the Palouse needs a brand and a slogan if it wants to market itself on a national scale.

    First, the region must decide what it wants to become and solidify its values.

    Dickinson, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, said Spokane’s theme, “Near Nature, Near Perfect” defines the Spokane area. People can hear the slogan and immediately know what it refers to.

    About 100 people met to discuss branding the Palouse as an economic destination during the Palouse Knowledge Corridor Economic Summit at the Schweitzer Event Center in Pullman on Monday.

    The summit focused on transforming the ad hoc working relationship between Washington State University and the University of Idaho into something more formal, capturing more spin-off businesses from research at the two universities and defining what the area stands for.

    UI President and event co-chairman Tim White did an Internet search and found thousands of references to knowledge corridors across the world. He jokingly said the corridor should be called Two U.

    “Don’t ask what Two U can do for you, ask what you can do for Two U,” White said.

    Although White meant the phrase as a joke, Dickinson said without a name and symbol to define the area, people still view Pullman and Moscow as disconnected.

    Dickinson said the brand represents a goal and a mind-set.

    Margaret Howlett, director of the Latah Economic Development Council, said Moscow, Pullman and the surrounding regions must focus on areas where they agree, not where they differ.

    Many of the differences, such as what kind of development the two towns want and the use of natural resources, will start to iron themselves out as they work together to formulate a brand.

    Pullman City Council member Ann Cox Heath said that before the region works on setting its values, Pullman and Moscow need to objectively identify what defines the two communities.

    WSU President and event co-chairman V. Lane Rawlins said he drove through town when he first moved to Pullman 38 years ago. He’s proud of what Pullman and the Palouse has become.

    “You can’t miss it now,” he said.

    Rawlins said the Palouse is on a good track to success.

    He said people want WSU to focus on the growth of Pullman, but he said WSU must look ahead to best serve the state and ultimately the world. The more the university looks at its center, Pullman, the less potential it has to grab grants and researchers — or “hot money” that helps fuel the local economy.

    Rawlins said every community wants to attract high-tech, high-paying jobs. He encouraged area leaders to look outside the box.

    “What about a retirement destination with the influx of retirees?” he said. “That’s going to be huge for the next 20 to 30 years, and you can’t think of a cleaner industry.

    “That’s just one idea.”

    Both presidents said the universities already work together, and White said they need to take their relationship a step further. Instead of individual professors working together, White proposed a liaison to catalogue the services and human resources they have to better cooperate.

    It would also be a handy resource for people wanting to start a business.

    Howlett didn’t know what the next step will be after Monday’s conference. She suggested that a committee sit down and mull over the ideas and come up with a plan of action.
    Call me crazy, but don't we have a "brand" already, courtesy of Mother Nature? It's called "The Palouse." I knew about "The Palouse" when I lived in Virginia, long before I moved to Washington. "Palouse" conjures up images of rolling wheat fields, picturesque small towns, WSU and UI. What new "brand" could anyone come up with that would top that? "Branding" locations usually ends up being an expensive boondoggle anyway. Look at Washington State's "SayWA" and Seattle's "Metronatural" campaigns for recent examples.

    In any case, a brand is the least of our problems. Sure, we have a potential labor/talent pool in the graduates coming out of WSU and UI every year. But what is going to keep them here? Housing is simply not affordable for young families. And the entertainment/retail infrastructure is not in place either. Pullman City Councilman Bill Paul brought this point up. Amplicon Express president Robert Bogden rather blithely responded that "there is more to life than shopping." That is true, but it still does not take away from the reality that when people have to drive long distances to get the goods/services/entertainment they desire, or order them off the Internet, that adds to our cost of living and detracts from our quality of life. Our geographical remoteness also continues to be an issue. Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson focused much of his comments on improving air service at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, such as direct flights to Boise.

    All in all, the Pullman government delegation (Johnson, Heath, Paul, et. al.) represented us quite well. The same cannot be said of Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney, whose vision for the Palouse did not seem to include high-tech industry, the subject of yesterday's summit. Chaney, it seems, wants us to mimic the "sustainable economy" of a small Mexican village she just visited. We can all sit around and make straw hats and clay pots for all the "eco-tourists" coming to the Palouse. What a joke!

    Do I think much will come of this summit? No, but it was exciting to see all the progress we have made. Again, it is the entrepreneurs that make it happen. As was pointed out yesterday, there are no venture capitalists in Pullman or Moscow. We have to grow our own companies for the most part. The best thing the two communities can do is to address the issues that we can control: clearing the decks of regulations that make housing and the cost of living so high.

    I enjoyed the summit more for the comradeship than anything else. I sat with fellow "Wal-Mart fanatics" April and Russ Coggins and Don Pelton. I had a chance to visit with Whitman County Commissioners Jerry Finch, Greg Partch, and Les Wigen, Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, Pullman City Supervisor John Sherman, Pullman Council Members Ann Heath, Bill Paul, and Keith Bloom, and Pullman Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fritz Hughes, among others.

    Here in America...

    I step into the Redmond, Washington Sprint store yesterday to talk to them about my phone bill. While there a lady and a guy were helping me. The guy pulls up my account, and the lady all of a sudden started to tell me what was going on with my account.

    Only I could not understand a word she was saying. As it turned out she was talking to me in Spanish. After about two sentences worth of talking. She stopped talking. Then she said she was sorry. She is use to having to translate and forgot I spoke English.

    WSU President Lane Rawlins Supports Pullman Wal-Mart

    The Palouse Knowledge Corridor Economic Summit yesterday was supported by Businesses & Residents for Economic Opportunity, the Greater Moscow Alliance, the Moscow Civic Association, and the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development. However, it was made clear at the beginning that the focus would be on high-tech industry, not big-box or other retail development.

    Despite this admonition, the topic of big-box stores kept coming up. Somewhat unexpectedly during his remarks, WSU President V. Lane Rawlins stated that he believed that Pullman needed a Wal-Mart Supercenter and he felt the debate in the community was good.

    Later, an unknown commenter (I assume from Moscow) asked how the area could be trying to open the door to some national businesses (high-tech) while closing it to others (big-box retail). It will be interesting to see how this is reported in the Daily News today. I'm surprised that neither the Tribune nor the Evergreen covered this major story.

    More on the summit later.

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    Wal-Mart: The Road Ahead

    While attending yesterday's Knowledge Corrdidor Economic Summit (more on that later), I learned from local government officials what the plan is regarding a building permit for the Wal-Mart Supercenter and any potential PARD appeal.

    PARD has 30 days to appeal Judge Frazier's decision. If they decide to proceed, the Division III Appellate Court in Spokane has 15 days to decide whether to hear the case or not. It is not likely any building permit will be issued by the city until those decisions have been made.

    If PARD appeals and loses, the city and Wal-Mart have the right to request to be reimbursed for any legal expenses related the appeal, which could be tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, if the appeal will be legthy, PARD may also have able to post an appeal bond, which would equal to the amount of anticipated lost Wal-Mart sales, potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

    For example, remember the story about the proposed Wal-Mart in American Canyon, California. Opponents there were forced to pay legal fees to the city and Wal-Mart after an unsuccessful appeal.

    Prior to that appeal, the opponents had to post a bond:
    Construction on a Wal-Mart Supercenter here will continue despite a court ruling that work should stop until two lawsuits against the project are settled in June, company officials said Monday.

    The city issued a building permit to Wal-Mart for the new store on Friday, three days after Napa Superior Court Judge Raymond Guadagni granted a stay on preliminary construction for the project.

    However, Guadagni ruled the stay will not go into effect until a $180,000 bond is posted by the group requesting it, American Canyon Community United for Responsible Growth.

    The funds are meant to protect Wal-Mart from damages due to lost construction time if the lawsuits are resolved in the company's favor.

    That security had not yet been delivered to the court by Monday afternoon, and Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff said construction work will proceed until it does.

    "We have all the appropriate entitlements and, until the stay is in effect, we will continue to go forward," Loscotoff said.

    "Our customers and our supporters expect us to bring that Supercenter to them as soon as we can and we want to do that for them."
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    Monday, October 23, 2006


    As I mentioned yesterday, the Spokesman Review accused Peter Goldmark of running a campaign that just bashes McMorris, especially on veteran's issues, rather than offering an alternative. Godlmark's shills in Pullman (Bryan Burke, Don Orlich, have played along at this game).

    Now, Spokesman political blogger Frank Sennett reports receiving this robo-call from the Goldmark campaign:
    "I'm Ian Anderson, Corporal, United States Marine Corps, medically retired. Peter Goldmark is strong on national security. I've served our nation in Iraq, so I've seen scum and I've seen toughness. Cathy McMorris' new ad is lying about Peter Goldmark. It's very disrespectful and unethical. Peter Goldmark is strong on national defense. He's got the integrity our country needs. This is Cpl. Ian Anderson asking you to vote Peter Goldmark. This call paid for by Goldmark for Congress."
    Corporal Anderson was wounded in Iraq, and has certainly earned the right to his viewpoint and be bitter if he chooses. But the Goldmark campaign is not going to win many friends in the 5th District with ads like that. Scum is a pretty strong term. Is it any wonder voters tune out? It shows the degree to which radicals like Burke, Orlich, et. al. and others have pushed the Democratic Party to the left.

    "Send Olympia a message: Vote yes on I-933"

    "A goverment that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."

    - Attributed to Barry Goldwater
    Here's a column from John Carlson on I-933:
    Here's an excellent guidepost to use when you're deciding ballot initiatives: When one side asks you to read the text of the initiative, vote for that side.

    That is what supporters of Initiative 933, the property rights measure, are asking people to do while the opponents make dire warnings and claims about the measure that are now so ridiculous they border on the comic.

    Initiative 933 is a response to government bullying of land owners, most of them small, and almost all of them rural. The tipping point was a series of county land-use restrictions imposed after 1995 that included the Critical Areas Ordinance, which required 65 percent of a rural landowner's lot to remain untouched and no more than 10 percent of the lot covered by buildings or pavement (like a driveway).

    There was no need for the Critical Areas Ordinance in the first place. King County already had the Sensitive Areas Ordinance and the Growth Management Act in place to put a brake on growth and protect rural areas. But with Seattle Democrats running the county executive's office and the County Council, they got greedy, and pushed the CAO into law on a party-line vote. Landowners like Edwina Johnston, now in her 70s, found their land deliberately regulated to a fraction of its value. In Johnston's case, 30 acres of land once zoned for six houses near Preston suddenly had "no build buffer" areas placed around two tiny seasonal streams (with no fish in either) imposed by new county rules. Today, Johnston would be lucky to have even one home on the property. So absurd are these regulations that if you bought five acres in rural King County and wanted to build a house, barn and driveway and farm the rest, it would be prohibited on the grounds that farmland (which the county says it needs more of) would harm the natural state of the undeveloped land.

    What if Johnston had subdivided her land in the early '90s? The government would have imposed steep "impact fees" on the developer to pay for the direct and indirect costs of that activity, because the beneficiary should pay the costs. So how much is the county willing to pay Johnston for changing the rules to keep her land in its natural state?

    Not a dime. It wants Johnston, and landowners like her to absorb the costs of keeping the land as is. The anger provoked by that attitude explains why I-933 is on the ballot.

    As Todd Meyers of Washington Policy Center (disclosure: I'm a founder and former president of the group) stated in a recent study on the initiative:

    "Environmental regulations are built upon the principle that those who benefit from an activity, such as a manufacturing plant, must also absorb the costs of that activity, like paying to reduce the pollution they emit. Likewise, according to this principle, when the public benefits from keeping land in a natural state, the public should also pay for that benefit, instead of imposing the entire cost on individual landowners."

    I-933 codifies this principle by stipulating that any new rules (like
    the CAO) adopted after 1995 (in other words, after the Growth Management Act and Sensitive Areas Ordinance were already in place) that encroach on a land owner's rights must either be waived if desired by the land owner, or the landowner would have be compensated for the lost value of the land. In Johnston's case, if the county wanted to impose additional no-build areas around those two no-fish seasonal streams, they would either compensate her for the lost value, or knock off the bureaucratic BS and issue her a waiver, which is more likely.

    Opponents of I-933 predict that it could cost the state nearly $9 billion. The same type of predictions were made when Oregonians were considering a similar initiative, Measure 37 two years ago. But instead of costing $344 million a year, Measure 37 has cost closer to $3 million a year.

    To augment their scare tactics, opponents of I-933 recently had seven Washington governors — Chris Gregoire and six of her predecessors — announce their joint opposition to the initiative. All of the current and former governors happen to be nice people and most of them had successful administrations. But none of them prevented people's property rights from being weakened when they had the chance, and some of them played an active role in diluting those rights. When I asked one former governor about Johnston's case he said "Life is unfair". Well, yes it is, but a vote for I-933 will make it considerably less unfair.
    I'm convinced most people against I-933 have not read the initiative. Claims bordering on the comic is right.

    Here are some excerpts of what we have seen written on the Palouse in the last few days:
    Most local governments (counties in particular) already are strapped for funds, and cannot afford to pay for estimated (speculated?) “losses” incurred by an individual who obeys the zoning regulations, which the initiative would require. (see estimated costs at www.ofm.wa.gov/initiatives/933.asp). Thus, they will usually be forced to waive the requirement (incurring administrative costs along the way), and you could find yourself with unexpected and sometimes oversized or otherwise objectionable structures or businesses next door in your residential neighborhood, or with a large residential development next to your quiet retreat in the country. Many types of development will negatively affect the value of neighboring properties, and the initiative provides those property owners no recourse.
    For example, family housing once protected by zoning laws will be unprotected from adjacent development that could include big-box businesses, heavy industry, strip bars, porn bookstores, sex offender housing, mines, oil fields, gravel pits, incinerators, etc. The neighboring homeowners affected by this laissez-faire development will receive no compensation for their lost property value. Regulations that preserve agricultural land will be challenged. In rapidly growing areas this means no protection from skyrocketing property values and commensurate property taxes; goodbye to small family farms. Contrary to deceitful claims by proponents of I-933, the initiative does absolutely nothing to change existing eminent domain provisions in Washington state.
    These are all outrageous lies. I-933 will repeal no zoning. Sex offender housing and adult entertainment stores are even specifically exempted from I-933 and yet they still use that as an example.

    Frankly, the fact that people are willing to go to such lengths to preserve the government's totalitarian power scares the hell out of me.