Democracy’s about to get a little bit sweeter in Washington state.
Thanks to a bump in population, it looks like the Evergreen State will pick up a 10th congressional seat, according to a blog out of Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office. We won’t know for sure until census data is finalized at the end of the year — but if we do, it’s nothing new.
After the 1980 Census, Washington picked up an eighth district, and the 1990 Census gave us our ninth.
What part of the state this new district will encompass is yet to be determined. There will still be 435 seats in Congress, as there have been since 1911. This means that from sea to shining sea, districts must be “reapportioned.” Washington will squish its districts to encompass less area, but equal amounts of people, while states such as Illinois, Iowa and Michigan will lose a seat in Congress and change their districts accordingly. (New York and Ohio are expected to lose two seats each.)
The task of re-districting falls to a special commission of two Democrats, two Republicans and a fifth member chosen by the other four. Their recommendation goes to the state Legislature, which will make the final decision. (Nicholas Deshais)
GREEN LIGHT, PHOTO RED
Continue to flash that winning smile as you roll through red-light intersections: The Photo Red cameras will be watching.
This Monday, the Spokane City Council unanimously approved to extend the Photo Red program — which takes pictures of motorists running red lights at seven select intersections — until 2013.
Since November 2008, when the program began, 14,555 tickets have been issued. At $124 dollars a pop, that’s a substantial amount of money. While only a portion of that revenue goes to the city itself, $350,000 has already been transferred into the city’s traffic-calming fund.
The program makes the city money, but it’s still unclear whether it reduces accident severity. Police point to reduced collisions on Hamilton and Mission this year, but a Spokesman-Review study found total collisions at the camera-watched intersections had actually increased between 2008 and 2009.
Hopefully, the city can do a more in-depth analysis next October, City Councilman Jon Snyder says: “We can take action to stop the program at any time.” (Daniel Walters)
GRAB YER SHOOTIN’ IRONS
Somebody called the cops in Coeur d’Alene Monday to report shots fired. Or hooked, sliced or shanked, perhaps.
The crime? The daily scanner report posted at Huckleberries Online reads thusly: “12:28 p.m. Someone on a house boat is hitting golf balls from the deck onto the floating green at the Coeur d’Alene Resort golfcourse.”
Outlaws! Cads! Hey ... what iron you use for that?
We called Maj. Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office to see if there is any sort of a crime here. If not, we suspect houseboat rentals may spike.
“There would be littering, if you are leaving things on someone else’s property. There is trespass ... and if there is anybody on the floating green there could be assault,” Wolfinger says.
Wolfinger reports that the marine division took the sheriff’s boat out onto the lake and told the offenders to move along. (Kevin Taylor)