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June 19, 2006

NASCAR cash, strip club cash and other news

Posted by David Postman at 7:56 AM

I missed this in last week's News Tribune. Business columnist Dan Voelpel has interesting news about the proposed NASCAR track and its connections to a Tacoma car museum, as well as recent and apparently unusual NASCAR-related campaign donations to Norm Dicks and Patty Murray.

In December, James France, of Daytona Beach, Fla., donated $2,000 to "Norm Dicks for Congress," which might not seem unusual. Until you review Federal Elections Commission records that show France has contributed to 30 congressional campaigns since 1997 — 26 of them those of Republicans. Other James France contributions went to the Republican National Committee, Republican state committees and President Bush. Other members of the France family in Florida — also consistent Republican donors — have donated in the last few months to Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

More from Pierce County: Here's a report from the county's GOP chair on Friday's presidential visit. From up close we get a report that Bush showed "every mannerism the press whines about but that are endearing to Americans."

One self-proclaimed "violence worker" is crowing about the small protests against the Bush visit.

The Wall Street Journal says Congress may make another run on repealing the estate tax before the July 4th break, and again GOP leaders are looking to Maria Cantwell as a possible vote.

Republicans say Democrats have their own candidates to help, such as Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who was one of the swing votes against permanent repeal last week and is running for re-election in a state where the estate tax is a hot issue.

On The Stranger's blog Erica C. Barnett is following donations to the campaign to repeal the city's strip club ordinance. The group, Seattle Citizens for Free Speech, has collected more than half a million dollars. See the reports here and last week's additional $25,000 here.

The money comes entirely from the operators of Seattle's strip clubs. On the group's Web site the organization attacks the nanny city and its new strip club regulations.

Is this the type of City we want? Where the Council plays the role of nanny, unnecessarily restricting our choices of legal adult entertainment?

We think the City has more important issues to attend to. Let's reject these misguided, nanny-state rules and regulations.

They don't like nannies, but they are for women finding work.

These establishments provide a viable high-wage job for many women who are raising families and earning college degrees. If we shut down the clubs, we will put these women out of work.

The group and its seattlefreespeech.org Web site should not be confused with freespeechseattle.org, the group that tried to repeal the city's poster ban.

UPDATE: The campaign manager, Timothy Killian, just told me that about half the group's money went to collecting the signatures for the referendum. But once the city council officially puts it on the ballot this fall, Killian says his group has a "commitment to running a visible campaign."

Most of the money has come from Seattle Amusement Co., Inc., the company that owns the Déjà vu strip club, and the Colacurcio's Lake City LLC, which operates Rick's.

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