New Spokane Span -- We were going to mention this a few weeks ago but were distracted by something else. What was it? We can't remember, but we think it had something to do with Ohio. Weird. At any rate, if you hadn't noticed yet, the new Sandifur Memorial Bridge opened on Nov. 8, down by People's Park. And it's pretty cool. With no motor vehicles allowed, it links High Bridge City Park on the south side of the river with the 37-mile-long Centennial Trail on the north. Once you're on the north side, finding your way to the Trail, or back downtown, can be a little tricky. But at the top there's a great lookout point over the whole gorge.
Now It Makes Sense -- Douglas Adams fanatics all across the state were not surprised when the results of the first recount in the gubernatorial race showed that Republican Dino Rossi beat Democrat Chris Gregoire by 42 votes. According to Adams' cheeky sci-fi Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, given to a pair of mice (actually 3D avatars of a pan-dimensional race of super-beings) by Deep Thought, the second-greatest computer of all time and space, is just that: 42. In a passage eerily reminiscent of our own thoughts on the recount, a mouse responds to Deep Thought's deliberation process:
"Forty-two!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"
"I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem ... is that you've never actually known what the question is."
Playing Spoiler -- Speaking of the epic struggle between Rossi and Gregoire, one interesting fact that has been overlooked in all the hubbub is that 63,346 votes were just sitting there, waiting to be claimed. Instead, Libertarian candidate for governor Ruth Bennett took them. It seems like shades of Ralph Nader in 2000, when he cost Al Gore the election.
So it's strange that neither camp -- nor the media -- is blaming the Libertarians for swinging the election. Maybe that's because nobody is quite sure where Libertarians might go without a candidate of their own. In an interview with The Inlander before the Nov. 2 election, Bennett told us her party had gotten a lot of flak from Republicans in 2000 because they thought their candidate, J. Mills, had cost Slade Gorton the race. Mills told us that Libertarians are hard to pin down, as their constituency is made up of "disaffected Republicans, mostly small business owners, and disaffected Democrats, lots of anti-war folks [and some] tree-hugging dope smokers." It's an odd group, but Mills and Bennett say Libertarians are united in "minimizing political influence in their lives."