In the spirit of the couponing craze, it’s Triple Tuesday here at The News Tribune.
Gregoire steps down – Maybe she just wanted to get it over with.
Maybe she thinks her “late” start in the 2004 election is to blame for the multiple recount result.
Maybe she thinks American political campaigns are just too darned short.
Whatever her rationale, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced last week her decision not to run for a third term.
Even though few people thought she would run again – only two governors in 122 years of state history have even tried for a third consecutive term – Democratic insiders worried that a delay would help Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna. That was the conventional wisdom even though Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee hasn’t exactly been shy about his efforts to seek the nomination.
And there is no historic pattern that the timing of the current governor’s announcement has any bearing on the success of his or her party. Until Gregoire’s late-spring announcement, the earliest time a governor has bowed out – at least in the last 50 years – was Gov. Gary Locke’s decision in early summer.
Candidate Gregoire had the longest lead time of any winning candidate – yet suffered the closest result. By contrast, Locke had the shortest notice (February of 1996) yet won easily.
So now Gregoire gets to fight for relevancy for the last one-third of her term, and the rest of us get to suffer through an 18-month gubernatorial contest.
Pierce County districting – The once-a-decade process is getting close to completion and finally has a bit of controversy. The latest of four plans – each one a response to complaints and concerns about the previous plan – has 7th District Councilman Stan Flemming living outside his district.
That’s because in districting master Steven Garrett’s Map D, University Place would no longer be with the Gig Harbor Peninsula but would be joined with Lakewood and the military bases instead. That has caused a debate over whether UP has more in common with Gig Harbor than with Lakewood. Also, would placing the peninsula in with West and North Tacoma, rather than more conservative UP, help Democrats?
Under the county charter, the new lines must create districts “approximately equal in population.” But the charter requires new districts be “composed of geographic units and natural communities.” So not only must incorporated cities be kept together but also community development plan locales such as the familiar Midland and South Hill to the more-obscure Crocker (it’s between Orting and Carbonado).
Only Tacoma is split up, due to its large population. In Map D, Tacoma makes up all of the 4th District, less than half of the 7th and less than one-third of the 5th. In addition, Northeast Tacoma is in the 2nd, which is dominated by the Puyallup Valley.
So Tacoma could elect one or four members of the new council, but most likely two – the same as now.
A final map is due June 28. The five-member districting committee has until July 13 to amend (with four votes) or approve (with three votes). But if it doesn’t act, the final map is deemed approved. (Links to maps at http://bit.ly/Polibuzz.)
Cheney Stadium – It’s late to the ballgame, but the Tacoma City Council is finally doing what should have been done for 18 months – casting a skeptical eye toward the ballpark renovation project.
Since first presented with the plans in winter 2009, the council has acted more as cheerleader than overseer. Facing carefully crafted information designed more to sell than explain, the council asked few hard questions. The exception was David Boe, who limited his own effectiveness by how he revealed his business connections to one of the losing bidders.
Was the project on time? On budget? Did taxpayers and fans get the best deal possible?
Led by Jake Fey, some council members are now trying to get real numbers and real information from a city staff that has not been especially forthcoming with either.