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    Public Periscope

    BY Jim Camden
    03/12/2001
    by Jim Camden on 3/12/01.

    Pat on the back

    New City Councilman Dean Lynch got the expected level of sincere congratulations and faux condolences last week after being named to the open seat. A former co-worker at the state Division of Child and Family Services - from which Lynch recently retired - e-mailed a note that seemed to hit the nail square on ... ''Tired of dealing with disgruntled constituents? Tired of being caught up in the slow moving bureaucracy? Tired of the dread of your name showing up in the paper under public scrutiny? You could always retire from DCFS and take a job on the Spokane City Council!''

    With this morning's expected announcement of Jack Lynch as the city's new chief administrative officer, Public Periscope expects a certain amount of confusion over names. And while we brace for a certain amount of jokes, we'd like everyone to avoid the obvious puns, such as ''a Lynch mob mentality at City Hall.''

    Like being back in school

    In the wake of the earthquake, state lawmakers have had to adapt to the loss of their opulent but damaged legislative digs, trading them for cramped hearing rooms. To deal with this, they now have four pages of temporary House rules ... Through journalistic digging, we have obtained a copy, and offer some samples: Members are to sit in their assigned seats and are not to 'trade' seats. In recognition of the close quarters of holding session in Hearing Room A, members may remove their jackets. Non-essential items, including beverages, will not be delivered to members' desks.

    Under such Spartan conditions, we're thinking they may wrap up the session on time.

    Feeding together at the trough

    One of the perks of being a state lawmaker is frequent access to free food. Lobbyists take their favorite solon to lunch, gun groups hold free salmon feeds at the range, and there's no shortage of evening receptions staged by groups anxious to tout their agenda ... But our favorite so far has been Dairy Day, which last Wednesday consisted simply of a couple of Dairy Princesses and a Dairy Association guy in an old milkman cap setting up several coolers on the Capitol lawn. They handed out free ice cream bars and chocolate milk to all comers - no agenda, no handouts, no two-handed handshakes ... And, in the interest of full disclosure, we have to say that news of free ice cream emptied the offices of the (shameless) Capitol press corps faster than the earthquake did.

    Dairy Day was originally scheduled for Feb. 28, but postponed because of the quake. Fears of milkshakes.

    Name that quake

    No one seems sure what to call the earthquake that injured more than 400 people in Western Washington and caused still uncounted millions in damage, at least. But there are some contenders ... There's the Ash Wednesday Quake, for the day it happened. The Nisqually Earthquake, taking its name from the river that runs through that area. Or ''The Rattle in Seattle'' - which is mostly for the tourists, one T-shirt vendor explained ... Any better thoughts out there?

    A generational thing

    Some people never tire of talking about President Bush's tax cut. But for those who are, Washington Citizens for a Sound Economy will offer tax talk plus snacks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Luigi's Italian Restaurant in downtown Spokane ... While we can't fault them for the come-on, we were surprised at a comment in the announcement by director Gary Strannigan: ''Americans have gone an entire generation without a tax cut and they're due a break.'' ... Actually, there were some significant tax cuts for children and education in 1997, but he's probably referring to the big Reagan tax cut. But that was in 1981. Is teenage pregnancy so bad that we can consider 20 years a generation?