Poll shows Culp leading Newhouse

A poll by Spry Strategies showing Loren Culp ahead of incumbent Congressman Dan Newhouse in a hypothetical head-to-head has been floating around Washington’s 4th Congressional District. Polling guru Nate Silver lists Spry Strategies as a relatively new polling firm and grades their reliability as a B/C.

The December 9-11 poll shows Culp leading Newhouse by about 7% with 31% undecided. The poll has been highlighted in Breitbart, which describes Spry as “Republican aligned.” There’s no mention of who paid for the poll.

The 2022 congressional election could be a repeat of the 2014 race between Newhouse and Clint Didier. Newhouse eked that one out in the general election by about 2500 votes courtesy of Democrats who viewed him as the lesser of the two evils.

Newhouse’s vote in favor of impeaching Trump after the Capitol insurrection, which was already a sure thing in the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, could give 4th district Democrats something to hang their hats on in 2022. 

Fortify Holdings, which has yet to complete a hotel to micro-apartment conversion, now wants to buy the Clover Island Inn and the land under it owned by the Port of Kennewick

Fortify Holdings, a company out of Portland owned by Sean Keys, gave the Port of Kennewick the same hard sell this week that they gave to the Richland City Council a few months ago

The company wants to buy the land under the Riverfront Hotel owned by Richland and the land under the Clover Island Inn owned by the Port of Kennewick. Fortify seems willing to promise almost anything to buy the land on the Columbia River under the two hotels that it plans to convert to micro-apartments.

While Keys’ firm has purchased at least 16 hotels in eight cities, five in the Tri-Cities, for conversion to micro-apartments, records show that none of them have been completed.

The Imperial and The James in Spokane are closest to completion. For weeks at the end of 2021 rental companies advertised those apartments as becoming available in January 2022. The Observer received an email this week from a Spokane rental agent who said that the two hotels were still under construction, but apartments would be available to rent in April.

Benton-Franklin Superior Court down to two court reporters

The Observer emailed Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller to ask about the dwindling number of court reporters at the Benton-Franklin Superior Court. He replied, “There are concerns about the number of court reporters in Superior Court, but it has not affected any trial or docket, perhaps a silver lining of fewer trials and dockets during Covid.”

Richland police will have body-worn cameras next week

Richland announced Friday that by the end of next week, each officer on the police force will be using a body-worn camera.

Richland Police Chief John Bruce started the process for obtaining cameras last February. Later, the state legislature passed a bill requiring police officers to record custodial interrogations for felonies. The bill did not mandate cameras but cameras were needed to meet the new requirement.

According to the announcement, Richland police vehicles will have dashboard cameras soon.