Hold off confirming governor's election until serious questions are resolved, says Farm Bureau


January 6, 2005 No. 3

THE WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU TODAY URGED THE LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT a call for a new gubernatorial election, or at least to refrain from confirming the 2004 election for governor until elections officials can answer serious questions about the fairness and accuracy of the vote in King County. In a memorandum sent to grassroots volunteer leaders across the state earlier this week, Farm Bureau said voters deserve to have confidence in the election process. "We don't believe that in an election this close, with as many problems as have been demonstrated in King County alone, that we can be confident in the outcome" as it now stands, Farm Bureau said. Following the manual recount in December, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the victor over Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million ballots cast. However, during the counting and recounting process, King County "discovered" additional ballots at least nine times, and now has 3,539 more votes than it has names of people who voted.

The Legislature is scheduled to "open, publish and declare the result" of the gubernatorial election at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 11. There will be a rally in support of a new election at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, at the state Capitol in Olympia. Voters can contact their state legislators by calling the Legislative Hotline (800) 562-6000. For more about a revote, go to www.revotewa.com.


SNOHOMISH COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBERS PASSED A RESOLUTION WEDNESDAY declaring that 110 acres at Island Crossing adjacent to Interstate 5 will remain farmland and cannot be developed as an automobile dealership. (Everett Herald, Jan. 6) The county acted after Gov. Locke threatened to block gas tax funds if the acreage was not reserved for agriculture under the Growth Management Act. County officials insisted the acreage was automatically returned to an agricultural designation in 2003, when the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board rejected zoning changes that would have allowed development of the land. The council said it approved the new ordinance to clarify its position and satisfy Locke.

COLUMBIA BASIN FISH MANAGERS ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE THAN 250,000 upriver spring chinook to return to the Columbia River next year. (NW Fishletter, Jan. 6) That's about 10 percent more than this year's count, similar in size to other returns since 2000 when ocean conditions drastically improved. The managers severely overestimated the 2004 spring run, expecting 360,000 upriver chinook. However, after it came in about 40 percent less, at 222,000 fish, the group made some changes in the way it estimates the run. They have also predicted a Snake River spring/summer run of about 128,000 fish, a few thousand more than 2004's return. About 23,000 are expected to be wild fish.

THE SAME CONSERVATION AND FISHING GROUPS THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL IN having a federal judge throw out an earlier federal plan for operation of the Snake River dams have filed an amended complaint in an effort to have the revised biological opinion tossed as well. (NW Fishletter, Jan. 6) Led by Earthjustice attorney Todd True, plaintiffs again played the "doomsday card," declaring in a Dec. 30 filing with the U.S. District Court in Oregon that salmon and steelhead "are expected to continue their downward spiral towards extinction." However, they failed to mention that returns have increased four-fold or better the last several years thanks mainly to improved ocean conditions, and that such a state of affairs could last for another 20 years or so before cycling into a less productive mode.

u NewsWatch is a periodic update on news of interest to agriculture. Contact Dean Boyer, director of public relations, 1-800-331-3276 or, send e-mail to dboyer@wsfb.com to receive NewsWatch by fax or e-mail.



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