Pin It
Favorite

Trouble Holding Liquor 

Sorting out Washington's new booze law. Plus, a new judge, and an uninvited sheriff.

click to enlarge art17671.jpg

Bottle Shock

Ben Hawkins doesn’t know what will replace the state-run liquor store in the Shadle Center. What Hawkins does know is that the transition to privately run liquor stores threatens to leave empty space at the mall.

“It’s a headache,” says Hawkins, who manages the center.

In November, Washington voters approved 1183, a law to privatize the state’s liquor stores and add two new liquor taxes. Big-box retailers like Costco, Safeway and Trader Joe’s provided funding to promote the bill. But now Hawkins and others must figure out how exactly to make the transition.

The new law allows only mega-stores of more than 10,000 square feet to apply freely for permits. But permits to run the state’s 166 liquor stores are likely to be auctioned off over the next two months. That leaves landlords and prospective liquor-store owners in a rush to figure out who will own what.

Prospective owners must bid in the auction for the permits. They must also negotiate with the landlord for the space. But if someone else buys that particular permit, the landlord will end up having to negotiate with someone else. If permit holders don’t want to use the former liquor store location, they don’t have to. But the new permit holder must then negotiate with the state to move the permit to a different site.

Landlords worry big-box retailers money might swoop in and buy up permits. And what if they just sit on them?

“I can see [companies] doing that to make the market less competitive,” says Chris Marr, control board member. (Joe O'Sullivan)

Rice to the Bench

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice will soon drop his suit and pick up a robe.

The Spokane resident was confirmed in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 93-4 on Tuesday for a position as federal judge.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended Rice for the position last year.

“As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he has earned the reputation of being both tough on crime — but also level-headed and fair in the conduct of his prosecutions,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, told the Senate on Tuesday. She also urged the body to take action on 20 other judge nominees awaiting Senate confirmation.

Rice has been with the U.S. Attorney’s Office since 1987, and he now holds the rank of first assistant U.S. attorney. He has previously been the criminal and deputy criminal chief, according to a questionnaire he submitted to the committee.

Rice was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. (Chris Stein)

Hit the Road, Mack

The Kootenai County Republican Party revoked its speaking invitation to a former Arizona sheriff and aspiring U.S. House representative last week.

Richard Mack, who is running to unseat longtime Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, was supposed to speak at the party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, according to public relations chair Joe Malloy.

“There was some concern that Sheriff Mack may not be the best representative of the party,” Malloy says, pointing to Mack’s advocacy for changing drug laws and his support of candidates from the Constitution Party and other third parties.

Malloy says a majority of the committee voted to rescind Mack’s invitation.

Malloy describes the former sheriff as “a very pro-states-rights kind of guy,” who draws a crowd, but he doesn’t know if the local GOP will find a replacement. (Chris Stein)

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Ugly Breakup
  • Ugly Breakup

    The long-running rift between the mayor and the city council president just got worse
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • Beggs for a Solution
  • Beggs for a Solution

    In the three months Breean Beggs has been on the council, he's pitched out-of-the-box ideas for some of the city's stickiest problems
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Shades of Black Lives
  • Shades of Black Lives

    A Spokane County detective's Facebook post about Black Lives Matter sparks debate among local law enforcement
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Fires Hit Home
  • Fires Hit Home

    Tens of thousands of acres burn around Spokane on Sunday and Monday; plus, DOJ weighs in on concerns over bail system
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Silver Valley Showdown

Silver Valley Showdown @ Silver Mountain Ski Resort

Sat., Aug. 27

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joe O'Sullivan

  • R.I.P. Spokane
  • R.I.P. Spokane

    Exploring the Spokane of South Dakota — left for dead long ago
    • Jun 11, 2013
  • Beating On
  • Beating On

    Ska and new wave legends the English Beat land in Spokane
    • Mar 26, 2013
  • Green Water
  • Green Water

    Will Congress say yes to more hydropower?
    • Feb 27, 2013
  • More »

More by Chris Stein

  • Ready for Anything
  • Ready for Anything

    Developing agility may help prevent injury
    • Sep 1, 2012
  • PAML's Next Step
  • PAML's Next Step

    Francisco Velazquez insists on symmetry. Even sitting at a huge table flanked by leather-backed chairs and a jumble of expensive video equipment, he makes sure his Blackberry and iPhone (the former for business, the latter for pleasure) are situated in neat symmetry with each other.
    • Sep 1, 2012
  • Burns Out
  • Burns Out

    As the city scrambles to keep Tim Burns around for a while longer, the police ombudsman says he may leave his post anyway
    • Aug 22, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Shorty's Last Dance
  • Shorty's Last Dance

    Remembering Delbert "Shorty" Belton
    • Jan 7, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation