by Inlander Staff Foggy Memory -- Two weeks ago in this space, we commented on how Mayor John Powers decided not to participate in a candidate forum hosted by a local political action committee, Taxpayers for Accountable Government (TAG). In that item, we mistakenly claimed it had been fined by the state Public Disclosure Commission for its behavior in the mayor's race of 2000. TAG was involved in that race, offering "education" for voters, as PACs are allowed to do, and the group was mentioned in an investigation that also named other groups like CFOG and Metropolitan Mortgage, the local company that has funded many a local political campaign.
"There was an investigation into the complaint, and the case was dismissed against everyone except Metropolitan Mortgage," says Doug Ellis of the Washington PDC. "TAG was not involved in this case at all." (Met Mortgage later paid a fine.)
David Bray, one of TAG's leaders, says TAG will be involved in some way in the mayor's race this fall, but he and others are waiting over the summer to decide which issues need added emphasis. Ellis says TAG was fined $100 in 2001 for failing to report how much it paid a lobbyist.
Ellis adds that his agency will be watching as the second race for strong mayor of Spokane gets underway after Labor Day. "It looks like it's gonna get heated over there," he says.
Sorry about Nader, But... -- The Green Party of Washington State is attempting to mobilize citizens to oppose plans to buy voting machines to "Help America Vote," as the federally funded effort is called. Critics are peeved that the fancy new computerized voting machines leave no paper trail. Green Party officials have secured the signatures of 200 computer engineers calling for rewriting the code running the machines so that a paper trail would be created. That way, contested elections can be recounted, rather than re-downloaded. To sound off on the issue, call Secretary of State Sam Reed at 360-902-0630 by June 27.
Big Number -- Somebody finally added it all up, and it is impressive: $1 billion. No, we're not talking about how much two Seattle stadiums cost; it's how much has been invested in downtown Spokane since 1999.
The Downtown Spokane Partnership, along with River Park Square, has produced a map showing all projects, great and small, including $14.5 million in residential projects like the Blue Chip Lofts; more than $125 million in mixed-use projects like Steam Plant Square; nearly $100 million in public projects like the not-quite-a-reality convention center expansion; and more than $100 million in nonprofit projects, like the new MAC and the Fox. Check it out at www.downtown.spokane.net