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Waiting Game 

(Most) statewide initiatives meet filing deadline; plus, ex-Spokane police chief again draws a paycheck

click to enlarge Former Chief Frank Straub has landed a new job in the other Washington.
  • Former Chief Frank Straub has landed a new job in the other Washington.


People wanting to change state laws flooded into the Washington Secretary of State's Elections Division last week with big boxes full of signatures. July 8 was the deadline to turn in the 246,372 valid signatures from registered voters necessary to qualify INITIATIVES FOR THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. Four campaigns turned in many more than the required number of signatures and are now waiting to see if their measures will make the cut.

Those turning in signatures included I-1501, which would increase penalties for identity theft targeting seniors and other vulnerable people. Sponsors of I-1464 turned in signatures for their measure that would create a publicly funded campaign finance system while restricting private campaign donations. Backers of raising the state's minimum wage via I-1433 dropped off signatures earlier that week. The campaign for I-1491, which would make it easier to get a court order temporarily preventing someone exhibiting mental illness or violent tendencies from accessing firearms, also turned in signatures.

It's also notable who didn't turn in signatures: Just Want Privacy, a group sponsoring a ballot measure that would overturn a Washington State Human Rights Commission rule allowing transgender people to use public bathrooms of their choice, announced on its website that it didn't gather enough.

Now, workers in the Elections Division will verify signatures, starting with I-1433, which should be completed by July 22, according to spokesman Brian Zylstra. After that, he says, workers will spend three to five days on each of the remaining initiatives. If they qualify, they'll join an already-approved ballot measure that would tax carbon emissions and another calling on Congress to enact campaign finance reform. (JAKE THOMAS)


Frank Straub has a new gig. Spokane's former police chief is now director of strategic studies for the Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated to helping police departments through research and technical assistance.

What's perhaps most interesting about STRAUB'S NEW JOB, however, is his bio page on the Police Foundation website, which states: "Dr. Straub retired as the Chief of the Spokane, Washington, Police Department, where he received national recognition for the major reforms, community policing programs he implemented and significant crime reductions achieved during his tenure."

Although it's unclear whether the bio was written by Straub, the characterization of the circumstances under which he left Spokane are a little off. In fact, they appear to be in direct contradiction to his lawsuit against the city, in which he claims he was fired.

Last month, a federal judge dismissed Straub's $4 million lawsuit against the city, Mayor David Condon, City Administrator Theresa Sanders and former City Attorney Nancy Isserlis. Straub claimed that the city violated his due process rights when it published letters from police leadership accusing him of "retaliation," "degradation of character," and "personal attacks," among other things, without first offering him a chance to defend himself.

Judge Thomas O. Rice cited a signed letter of resignation from Straub as the basis for his dismissal. Straub's attorney, Mary Schultz, has appealed the judge's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. (MITCH RYALS)

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