KXLY reported last week that the Building Industry Association of Washington paid to have 61 billboards reading "Don't Let Seattle Steal This Election" put up all over Eastern Washington. Unfortunately, I have seen none up around Whitman County.
These billboards have been officially denounced by the Rossi campaign. But the intent of the BIAW is clear. Turnout in Eastern Washington could have made a difference in the 2004 election that was decided by 129 votes. Many voters on this side of the state stayed home because they felt Rossi didn't have a chance. The BIAW is trying to motivate people to vote this year by reminding them of what happened last time. Predictably, west side pundits are wringing their hands over this. Joel Connelly of the Seattle-PI wrote in a column earlier this week:
The "Cascade Curtain" is, at times, a frustrating fact of life for folks from Oroville to Asotin.Huh? Connelly had a pretty good list of our greivances going until he mentioned I-912. Two counties, with strong Democratic contingents, voting to reject I-912 is no "hole in the curtain" (but it should be a lesson to Whitman County voters that we empower liberal Seattleites by voting against initiatives like I-912 and I-933.) In fact, I-912 is a perfect demonstration of our frustration with one-party Seattle rule. In 2005, the public was scared into voting against I-912 , the initiative to repeal the 9 1/2 cent gas tax hike, by images of Hurricane Katrina and the 1989 Loma Prieto earthquake intermingled with the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. Three years later, after internecine squabbling between the Democratic governor and the Democratic mayor of Seattle, nothing has been done to fix the Viaduct and no plan for doing so has been put forth. And there is still no word on what the $1.6 billion earmarked from the "emergency" gas tax increase to replace the viaduct is going to be spent on.
Washington went nearly a decade without a statewide officeholder from Eastern Washington. The drought was broken last December as Gregoire named Spokane-based Judge Debra Stevens to the state Supreme Court.
Our last governor from Eastern Washington, Clarence D. Martin, left office in 1941. We haven't had a U.S. senator from east of the Cascades since C.C. Dill, "Father of Grand Coulee Dam," left office more than 70 years ago.
Yet, the "Cascade Curtain" has shown holes of late, doubtless to the anger of demagogues and dividers.
Initiative 912, a bid to roll back the state's gas tax increase, was defeated in 2005, with Whitman and Walla Walla counties joining the "Wet Side" of the mountains in voting for transportation.
The Queen showing up for a press conference in Spokane to declare a state of emergency because of the wildfires there and say we are "one Washington" does not bridge the "Cascade Curtain" either.
The greivances we have in Eastern Washington go far beyond the 2004 election. That is just the most well-publicized example of Seattle getting its way, no matter what, and thus a simple and politically expedient way to coalesce the many issues swirling around.
Here's a perfect example. The Queen's campaign called a press conference last week to denounce the billboards and trotted out the President of the Washington State Labor Council, the executive director of the Washington Conservation Voters, and the communications director for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
Are you kidding me? The three special interest groups (big labor, tree huggers, and abortion activists) that probably most offend conservative Eastern Washingtonians the most? This is her "One Washington" strategy?
The biggest greivance we have in Eastern Washington against the Queen at the moment is the certainty that she is completely in bed with radical environmentalists to ensure their continued finanical support and to avoid offending the King County granola vote. For instance:
Joel Connelly wondered if the BIAW's campaign to "pour salt into old social wounds" will succeed.
I'll let State Senator Mark Schoesler answer that, in comments he made in the Lewiston Tribune back on February 14, 2008:
Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, often has to hear west-side legislators preach about what eastern Washingtonians need. This session is no different.It's time for a change. It's time to re-elect Dino Rossi as Governor of Washington.
A bill to promote the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative in eastern Washington passed through the Senate Wednesday, though it received almost no support from eastern senators, Schoesler said.
"It concerns me that Seattle senators say they know what's best for eastern Washington," Schoesler said.