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Good idea? Connecting politicians with citizens on Google Hangouts

Here’s an idea - Google Hangouts with citizens and local politicians. It’s another way to talk face to face over great distances. Some selected Google+ users had the rare opportunity to ask questions to President Barack Obama in a video chat on Monday. Reuters' Anthony De Rosa explains: 

He answered questions about the economy, job creation, small business, and the use of drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama referenced a New York Times story on the use of drones, which he called “overwritten,” and said that the use of drones had not resulted in an unusual number of civilian casualties. Asked about the anti-piracy legislation that set the Internet on fire, Obama said, ”When SOPA came up on the hill, we expressed some concerns about the way the legislation had been written.”

Share: It’s one way to answer the questions of millions of citizens. Locally, would you like to see this happen with state and city officials?

Local State Senator Opposes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Local State Senator Opposes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

It's the first week of the 2012 legislative session in Olympia and lawmakers are already going head to head about a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.  Last week, Governor Christine Gregoire announced she plans to propose a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.

If passed, Washington would be the seventh state to recognize same-sex marriage.  However, some lawmakers argue marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) issued a news release today opposing the bill.

“I do not support changing the traditional definition of marriage," wrote Senator Padden.

"I will oppose any bill that attempts to redefine marriage as anything other than its historic definition as a union of one man and one woman," explaining further. "Marriage has always been understood as a comprehensive relationship between a man and woman, as husband and wife, grounded in their complementary nature and their ability to naturally conceive and give birth to children, as father and mother.

“The state has always recognized the special nature of that relationship and its benefits for society as a whole."

Election 2011: Provisional Ballots at CenterPlace

Election 2011: Provisional Ballots at CenterPlace

For whatever reason, dozens of voters found their way to make-shift election centers scattered across Spokane County to vote the old fashioned way. In a booth. It’s not a method that’s advised for everybody. For those that have unfortunate accidents happen to their ballots on election day, it’s the only option.

Spokane County Elections provided the stats for their election center, located at CenterPlace. The numbers were... interesting.

Central Valley High School students prepare for Rally in the Valley

Central Valley High School students prepare for Rally in the Valley

Students from Central Valley High School’s AP government classes are getting a lesson in event planning and politics. With the guidance of their instructor, Bill Gilchrist, they’re planning “Rally in the Valley”, a debate of issues for Spokane Valley candidates and the Spokane Valley residents they hope will vote for them.

“It has not been easy,” Gilchrist explained. He continued, “There have been some obstacles, but it shows perseverance and even courage. You have to constantly look for solutions.”

One student, Drew Brown, ASB president, said politicians are the challenge.

Spokane Valley to discuss next year's budget during upcoming city council meetings

Spokane Valley to discuss next year's budget during upcoming city council meetings

The City of Spokane Valley has a proposed budget of $57 million for 2012. They will not be raising the rates of property taxes maintaining their status as one of the lowest municipal rates in Spokane County. City manager, Mike Jackson, says its their conservative spend and fiscal planning that makes up their financial strength.

In an email sent out Tuesday evening, the City outlined the some areas of note in their proposed 2012 budget.

Former Spokane deputy city manager hired as interim deputy city manager for Spokane Valley

Former Spokane deputy city manager hired as interim deputy city manager for Spokane Valley

In order to ensure backup, based on city code, to the Spokane Valley city manager, the position of Deputy City Manager was filled on an interim basis by the City.

Roger Crum will be serving as Deputy City Manager until further notice. When appointed, city manager, Mike Jackson indicated that he would look at permanently filling the position until 2012.

Prior to Crum's hiring, finance director Ken Thompson had previously provided backup during extended absence of the city manager, but he recently retired leaving no backup.

Ballot Return Statistics for the City of Spokane Valley

Ballot Return Statistics for the City of Spokane Valley

The City of Spokane Valley has one of the lowest return of ballots so far during the Primary election in Spokane County. So far, 16% of issued ballots in Spokane Valley have been returned. Spokane County Elections says that total ballots returned as of this morning [.PDF] has added up to 35,544. Ballots are due tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17th by 8 p.m.