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Cut And Paste 

Nancy McLaughlin copies campaign materials; plus, new developments at the Ridpath

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Cut-and-Pastegate

Mud season continues. And for Nancy McLaughlin, it’s been particularly messy.

McLaughlin, a Spokane city councilwoman and 3rd District state Senate candidate, acknowledged this week that some of the issue positions on her website were copied straight from a GOP site.

“If I had actually been aware that it only had been copied and pasted, I would have made it my own,” she tells The Inlander.

But “plagiarizing to me means an unauthorized use … for school, work or whatever,” McLaughlin says, adding that since so many of her “ideals as a conservative candidate line up,” she didn’t think the Senate campaign committee would disapprove.

The councilwoman adds that the pasted portion represented about 15 percent of her issues page.

Her acknowledgement comes less than a week after she apologized to her opponent, Rep. Andy Billig, for misstating his position on campaign mailers she sent.

The allegations arose when the Inland Northwest Leadership PAC — a political action committee that Billig has contributed to — began circulating screenshots of McLaughlin’s campaign site appearing alongside the copied portion of a website for GOP state Senate candidates.

“Her approach is to recycle old Republican talking points,” Billig says.

While he had heard of the issue with McLaughlin’s website, Billig adds that he no involvement with the Inland Northwest Leadership PAC’s release of the screenshot.

McLaughlin says she is rebuilding her website.

— JOE O’SULLIVAN

The Ridpath Apartments?

For months, apartment developer Ron Wells, well known for restoring historic buildings in Spokane, has been rumored to be first in line to try to save the troubled Ridpath Hotel. But when asked about it, he’s kept consistently silent.

Minutes from an Aug. 21 predevelopment conference, however, reveal Wells’ plans for a $2 million project called the Ridpath Club Apartment, possibly beginning this October. The project would convert Ridpath tower and the next door Y building into apartments on top of restaurants, storefronts and basement parking.

There’d still be lot of hoops to jump through, of course: permits, inspections, repairs and actually purchasing the building from its entangled owners.

Mickey Brown, with Eagle River Development, confirms that he is one of Wells’ partners on the project. Brown already owns a very small piece of the Ridpath and says he’s under an agreement with a third party not to elaborate more on the details of the project.

He does hint that there’s at least one more person involved on the project with him and Wells. “Anyone who’s had success in Spokane over the last 40 years, he’s done it,” Brown says of the mystery party. “Not a bad track record.”

— DANIEL WALTERS

A Town Full of Ombudsmen

When the United States Ombudsmen Association holds its national convention in Spokane next month, will the city still have a police ombudsman?

Probably. Police Ombudsman Tim Burns — who says he helped bring the convention the Spokane for Oct. 8-12 — says he’ll be here for it.

Spokane Mayor David Condon decided not to extend Burns’ three-year contract, which ended in late August. But the city said it would let Burns stay through September.

Burns now says he’s in negotiations with Condon’s office for a new contract, possibly one that will keep him here into next year.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist confirmed that Burns is in talks with Condon, but says she doesn’t have any additional details.

— JOE O’SULLIVAN

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