Monday, March 31, 2003


Election front on the move
Public periscope

A meeting this Friday at Gonzaga University is a candidate for a Periscope strange bedfellows award. The "Free State Project" discussion is being sponsored by the GU College Republicans and will feature one speaker who's been a regular Libertarian Party candidate in Washington and another who's been active in the Constitution Party in Idaho. ... The Free State Project is a plan by the "less government is better government" forces to move thousands of voters to a small state and essentially ta
ke over. They are looking for about 20,000 citizens willing to move to a sparsely populated state, register and get active in politics, and sway elections. ... They would back candidates -- or become candidates -- dedicated to paring back government.

This idea was hatched a few years ago by the Libertarian Party, and one of its prime proponents, Elizabeth McKinstry, is on the agenda for the 7 p.m. session in the GU Law School's Moot Court room. Also on the program is Rob Chase, who has run in Spokane -- enthusiastically but unsuccessfully -- for the state Senate and the U.S. House. ... They'll be joined by Bill Denman, who has run for Bonner County commissioner across the border in Idaho and is active in the Constitution Party, which is one of the landing spots for folks who think the GOP tilts too far left.

Proponents of the Free State Project can do the math, and they know that to have any impact with 20,000 voters, they need a state with a fairly small population base. ... Washington, with nearly 6 million people, isn't one of their target states, but Idaho, with about 1.3 million, is. Of course, if state Sens. Bob Morton, R-Orient, and Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, could ever get Eastern Washington split off into a 51st state, we'd probably move to the top of the project's list. ... The show goes on the road to North Idaho College, where it plays in the Student Union, at 6 p.m. Friday.

Making use of his time

Spokane Mayor John Powers accompanied the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce to Washington, D.C., last week for the annual effort to lobby Congress. It was a tough week to be schmoozing, what with the Iraq War in its first week. ... But Powers took advantage of the trip to raise some money for the upcoming mayoral campaign. At an evening event, he managed to pick up a few thousand dollars, campaign treasurer Roger Fruci said. ... That's gross, not net. They haven't yet figured in the cost of raising money in D.C., where canapes can be pricy.

Proud parent

City Councilwoman Roberta Greene's husband, Nate, often sits in on Monday Council meetings, but last week's town hall meeting at the East Central Community Center was a true family affair. That's because Greene's son Steven, an assistant pastor at Bethel AME Church, was on hand to give the pre-meeting words of inspiration. ... Greene said her son didn't want her to embarrass him by mentioning their relationship, but the proud mom refused to hold back, saying a little bragging is "a mother's prerogative."

We're No. 14

Spokane's listing on the American Association of Retired Persons list of "Dream Towns" is welcome news, although we're a little curious about one piece of this accolade. As reported Saturday in this newspaper's business section, the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau was pleased to announced we made the list, which will be published in the organization's magazine this week. ... AARP put Spokane on the list because we've got good quality of life, we're close to the outdoors, housing prices are low, utilities are relatively cheap and there's no state income tax -- all things that residents come to appreciate over time. But the list also notes that Spokane and other towns on its list are good places where "retirement-minded baby boomers can reinvent themselves." ... Seems like some baby boomers have been reinventing themselves every few years since they were buying Hula Hoops and Beatles 45s. We're surprised they needed an ideal location.

•Public Periscope is published on Mondays and is compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports. You can contact him by mail c/o The Spokesman-Review, PO Box 2160, Spokane, 99210; e-mail at; phone at (509) 459-5461; and fax at (509) 459-5482.

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