by Ted S. McGregor Jr. & r & In off years, with fewer personalities to cloud the issues, we learn a lot about ourselves on Election Day. How we vote on initiatives can be very telling. In 2005, people defied the conventional wisdom and showed they are willing to spend more money to serve the common good. They preferred to pay a bit more to fuel up their cars so they can have smooth roads to drive those cars on. But what's really remarkable is how narrowly this anti-tax measure failed -- by fewer than 30,000 votes as of Tuesday night. These kinds of initiatives used to pass without any trouble at all.
We also learned that people (again, by a fairly narrow margin) will not trade a chance for cheaper health insurance for their shot at one of those jackpot verdicts we've been hearing so much about.
Locally, Spokane's residents stepped up to the plate to shoulder the city's budget shortfall. Whether it's read as a vote of confidence for beleaguered Mayor Jim West or simply a desire to not turn the city over to petty criminals may not matter much -- Spokane citizens just wrote a very big check to bolster city services for two years. And Spokane County residents were in a similarly generous mood, as they supported a new funding source for treating the mentally ill.
But statewide, they're less charitable towards smokers, stating in no uncertain terms that they don't want smokers to sit by them while they eat or drink.