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The Super Breakdown 

A look at some of the other stuff on Spokane-area ballots.

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State Senate, Legislative District 4

When Bob McCaslin died earlier this year, a longer-than-it-should-have-been partisan battle was waged to find a temporary replacement. Jeff Baxter, a Republican Party functionary and businessman, was chosen over Republican state Rep. Matt Shea, who was strongly angling for the job. Baxter apparently decided he liked the job because he’s running this year to keep it, and he’ll have to run again next year, when McCaslin would have faced re-election. Michael Padden, Baxter’s opponent and also a Republican, was a state representative for more than a decade before becoming a Spokane County District Court judge in 1995. (ND)

Spokane School Board, Position 5

Heroes and villains, of course, are in the eye of the beholder. To conservative and anti-tax activists, Sally Fullmer is the hero of academia, ready to swoop in to a school board that, they say, too often kowtows to district administrators’ demands. Fullmer wants to rewind math curriculum to back when it “worked,” to topple sclerotic bureaucracy, to tie salaries to results. But there are other groups, like teachers’ unions, who support DEANA BROWER and consider Fullmer the villain. Brower supports the union and is optimistic about the direction the district is heading. (DW)

City of Spokane Proposition 1

Overwhelmingly rejected by voters in 2009, the COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS is back, if in a much-diminished form. But can you blame its framers, Envision Spokane? The criticism last go-around was aimed at the proposition’s reach. So Envision slashed it and put on the ballot four parts instead of nine. Nonetheless, with just a fraction of its financial backing from last time, the Bill of Rights has gained little traction. Even its opponents have largely stayed away from the fight. (ND)

Spokane Valley City Council Races

Funny thing about allying with a group of like-minded allies to overthrow the City Council: Pretty soon your squad is the one others are aiming to overthrow. Incumbent City Councilman Dean Grafos, up for re-election, brags about his success in toppling the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan, the Valley’s version of urban planning. Yet, his opponent, John Carrol, bashes him for the exact same thing — arguing that eliminating a vision for the city center was a mistake. While Grafos’ allies have not put together a coalition as clear as the previously anti-SARP “Positive Change” crew, Grafos, Marilyn Cline, Chuck Hafner and Arne Woodard all took part in the same mutual fundraiser. And each of their opponents on the ballot — Ben Wick, Orvella Kendall, and Dee Dee Loberg, respectively — say killing SARP is poor planning. (DW)

Spokane Valley Proposition 1

Sprague Avenue was economically sputtering even before the recession. Some local business owners blame the street itself. To hear them tell it, one dark day, the mad city planners at Spokane County took a couple of two-way streets — SPRAGUE AND APPLEWAY — and forged them into a single, sinister couplet of economic destruction. In other words, the big one-way meant less shopping from drivers on their way home. Now, the current City Council has offered the city a chance to reboot the street to its two-way origins, but at a price: a $2.1 million bond paid for by an increase in property taxes. Taxes are never popular in the Valley, but with the one-way also increasing fire truck response time, some voters say it’s necessary. (DW)

Spokane County Measure 1

As Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke likes to say, “Animals know no boundaries.” It follows that establishing REGIONAL ANIMAL CONTROL should be easy. But it isn’t. After squabbling over the issue for some time, city and county leaders finally got behind a plan to build a new facility for a nominal amount to the region’s taxpayers. A site has been found and a provider of services identified, but in an age of tight budgets, asking voters to levy a property tax on themselves for even the scant 5.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value could be a stretch. (ND)

Washington Initiative 1125

This proposal is another shot in Tim Eyman’s lengthy battle to limit the size of government. In essence, it would mandate that money taken on TOLL ROADS be used only for construction and maintenance on the same road. But it would also put the control of setting fares in the hands of the Legislature, which has been decried as unneeded intrusion of politics into an otherwise apolitical mechanism. The state’s Office of Financial Management estimates that the measure could make bonding transportation projects prohibitively expensive. (CS)

Washington Initiative 1163

This proposal would create a requirement for LONG-TERM CARE WORKERS to undergo training and background checks by Jan. 7, 2012. It would hold off on the same requirements for community residential providers until 2016. Supporters say the initiative would protect seniors from unscrupulous care providers, and reinforce a similar initiative that was passed in 2008 but they say has been stymied by the Legislature. Detractors say it would mandate training without including a way to pay for it, and would make care more costly. (CS)

Washington Initiative 1183

This proposal to privatize THE SALE OF LIQUOR is backed by Costco, Safeway and other large grocery chains. They say privatizing and taxing booze would increase competition and generate new revenue for public safety programs. It would also restrict the sale of liquor only to large stores, which are supposed to have the security in place to stop the sale of liquor to minors. Opponents say the measure would actually starve the state of revenue and could lead to an increase in underage drinking, while doing nothing to actually lower the price of liquor. (CS)

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