by Pia K. Hansen and Dan Richardson
Foley-esque? -- It was a little weird to hear Congressman George Nethercutt rattle his saber in Boeing's direction last week. He said if the now-Chicago-based aerospace giant closed its Airway Heights plant, he wouldn't look kindly on the company's future needs -- and as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, he has the clout to back such a statement up. Funny thing is, doesn't that sound like just the kind of quid pro quo, horse-trading politics he so effectively skewered Tom Foley for back in 1994? Maybe pork is an acquired taste, and when local jobs are at stake, it can taste pretty good. Stick it to 'em, Mr. Fol... er, Mr. Nethercutt!
Open Minds = Open Library -- Kudos to Spokane Library Director Jan Sanders and to the 52 full-time city library staff for coming up with a plan to reopen the Downtown Library on Saturdays. The staff agreed to rotate schedules during 2002. That, plus the addition of five part-timers, means the downtown branch will be open along with all other branches from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays, starting Feb. 23.
Clowning Around -- The Spokesman-Review recently ran a political cartoon showing as clowns the media organizations that want cameras in courtrooms. Not exactly a shining defense of the Fourth Estate. Indeed, if we're clowns, why be in the business at all? And if transparency in government is such a bad idea, what are we doing reporting on public affairs?
Garbage In, Garbage Out -- * 29,468: Pounds of garbage picked up by state Ecology Youth Corps crews along Spokane County roads in 2001.
* 176,554: Pounds of garbage collected from the roadsides in the six most populous Eastern Washington counties (Franklin, Grant, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman).
* 62: Number of new Volkswagen Beetles equal to that weight.
Railing Against Light Rail -- Councilman Steve Eugster has come loudly out against light rail. He was recently quoted saying, "To think that a client base will come if the facility is built is foolishness and political arrogance."
It's not that light rail is necessarily a great idea, but railroad systems throughout America, light or otherwise, have typically been built ahead of demand. People laughed when Portland's Metro spent millions extending its rail line to the suburbs, but now you can't get a seat on the rush-hour shuttles. Hmmm... maybe we're onto something here. Could it be that Councilman Eugster opposes light rail because he can't figure out how to take supply-side economics to court?
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