The clock is ticking to register to vote in Washington. Residents with state IDs can register online at sos.wa.gov/elections until midnight Monday. Without a state ID, voters must mail in the form (also available on that site). Those must be postmarked by Saturday since post offices will be closed Monday in observation of Columbus Day.
As of press time, the state has 3,808,710 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division. Nearly 72,000 of them have registered in the last month.
If you need to register or update your address and you miss the Monday cut-off, your county’s elections office can help you in person through Oct. 29. Spokane County’s office is at 477-2320.
— Heidi Groover
It irked some Spokane City Council members last week when city officials announced that the piece of city-owned property under Anthony's Restaurant had an “apparent” buyer.
But the six council members who called for the city to lengthen the bid process appear to be out of luck.
“When they picked Anthony’s and sent out the press release, they also initiated the bill of sale,” says Council President Ben Stuckart.
Since the sale has been started, council members will likely only get to give an up-or-down vote. Stuckart says the bid should have taken into account what types of development projects the property could be used for, and how many jobs such a project could create.
He’s called the property under the restaurant, which overlooks the Spokane River and views of downtown, as “the last piece of [city] property we’re ever going to be selling that will shape the future of Spokane.”
“My sense is the council is not happy as a whole,” Stuckart says, when asked whether he thinks the council will vote to approve the sale.
— Joe O’Sullivan
The controversial COEUR D’ALENE SCHOOL BOARD had already frustrated some parents by killing the International Baccalaureate program, citing too much expense for too little benefit. But that decision still left the Primary Years Programme (PYP), IB’s elementary school program intended to teach critical thinking at Hayden Meadows Elementary School.
At Monday evening’s meeting, the crowd was so large it spilled out of the meeting space, into the foyer and out to the parking lot. One person, says Christa Hazel, vice-president of the PTA at Bryant Elementary, set a beach chair outside, as an evenly split discussion stretched for four hours.
This time, she says, the cost of the program wasn’t the issue. Instead, the philosophical underpinnings of PYP — advocating that children strive to be “global citizens” — became the center of the controversy.
“Certainly, I don’t share all the values of the IB program as a parent — it talks a lot about moral relativism,” board chair Tom Hamilton said earlier this year. “But that’s not for me to dictate to the entire school district.”
But in the end, the board of three recently appointed members, and two elected representatives who had been endorsed by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, unanimously voted to end the program.
Some audience members were angry that, after all that debate, the board chairs read pre-written statements before they voted. But Hazel says she expected it.
“If you’ve been watching the school board for any length of time, what happened last night was not a surprise,” Hazel says.
But soon frustrated PYP supporters will have a recourse.
“We have three appointed board members who will be up for election in May,” Hazel says.
— Daniel Walters