Washington State is filled with quaint little towns and geographic points of interest with lilting Indian names such as Snoqualmie, Quilliute and even Pysht.
But until Tuesday, no one really expected to be living for the next 10 years with a place called Kiskaddon's Pimple.
Folks should have known better. The Washington State Legislature is in session, redistricting is the order of the day and the rambunctious Republicans have control of that political goldmine for the first time in almost three decades.
The Republicans came out with their long-awaited plan Tuesday morning and, as with the rumblings from nearby Mount St. Helens, the state has not settled down since. "Horrendous!" cried the Democrats. "Gerrymander!" cried others, including a few moderate Republicans who find themselves out of favor with the controlling conservatives.
Kiskaddon's Pimple is named for Sen. Bill Kiskaddon, a freshman Republican. His new district was drawn with scrupulous logic, its boundary following the street that separates King and Snohomish counties in the Seattle metropolitan area. t
The problem is that Kiskaddon's district is in King County, south of the line, while his home is in Snohomish County, north of the line. The proposed new district takes a strange little two-block diversion to include Kiskaddon's home and then goes back to its natural flow. On a map, it looks like the phenonomenon for which it has been named.
The redistricting plan, which carves out entirely new districts for the state's seven congressmen and an eighth granted by the 1980 census, was drawn up with the highest Republican technology available -- financed by a $161,000 appropriation in state funds to the Rose Institute, a conservative think tank in California.
The Rose Institute, at Claremont College in Pomona, has redistricting contracts with Illinois, Washington, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania and is dickering with several other states. Some contracts are paid with Republican or business-group funds. Others, as in Washington, are paid for by state funds. b
The plan was popped on the unsuspecting Democrats Tuesday, morning, five days before the legislature is scheduled to quit for the year.
Adding to the wonder of it all was that, after the expenditure of $161,000, the Republicans proposed a complicated bill full of concensus information accompanied by an array of ordinary state highway maps superimposed with rough felt-pen district lines.
One unhappy Democrat complained that the felt-pen lines were so thick that they often were two miles wide and left perhaps as many as 50,000 people in never-never land.
Shortly after the redistricting plan was disclosed, State Sen. Phil Talmadge was speaking on the floor about the marvels of American space technology, paying tribute to the moon landings and to two University of Washington scientists who had helped make the heat-resistant tiles for the space shuttle.
"If Senator Talmadge wants to go to the moon," cut in a colleague, "it must be in his new district."
Others thought the moon looked pretty good. Sen. George Fleming, the head of the Democratic caucus and the only black in the Senate, has represented most of the minority community in Seattle for more than a decade. The redistricting takes most of that area away and replaces it with blue-collar whites in south Seattle.
Fleming asked the Republicans whether they had taken race into consideration in their thinking.
"We are all Americans," intoned the architect of the plan, Rep. Bob Eberle, Vashon Island Republican.
U.S. Rep. THOMAS S. Foley, a senior Democratic congressman from eastern Washington who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, woke up to a proposed new district that had taken away most of his wheat-farming constituents and given him the nuclear-power community of the Tri-Cities, home of the Hanford Atomic Works.
Even a Republican -- U.S. Rep. Joel Pritchard, a Seattle moderate whom the conservatives have always eyed suspiciously -- discovered himself to be in alien territory. He estimated he lost 70 percent of his constituents in a district that once was compactly confined in Seattle and now leaps over Puget Sound to a neighboring county and stretches northward toward the nearby town of Everett.
The Republicans are candid about it. They say Pritchard had to bear the pain because, after all, they were out to nail Seattle's Democratic congressman, Mike Lowery. So they took all of Pritchard's white-collar Republican suburbs and gave them to the Democrat instead.
Life is never simple in Olympia, a town in which the last four Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have been brought down by one kind of scandal or another and a Democratic governor was ousted in a primary last year after she said, among other things, that one of her angry constituents could "go to hell."
But the turning point came on Friday the 13th last February when a dissident Democratic senator, Peter von Reichbauer of rural Vashon Island, bolted his party conections and became a Republican.
Von Reichbauer's revolt turned the Senate, which the Democrats had held by a one-vote margin since the Republican deluge last November, over to the GOP. This gave the Republicans control of both houses and the governorship for the first time in almost three decades.
It also happened just after the 1980 census, when the legislature carves up both legislative and congressional districts and draws the state's political map for the next decade. The Republicans did it with the gusto and casual disregard for the cries of the outnumbered that they had grown accustomed to in the past.
Until the Von Reichbauer conversion, 80 percent of the legislators, including Republcans, had agreed that redistricting was so politically explosive that it should be done by a nonpartisan commision. That was written into the Republican platform -- before the GOP won control.
"A platform is only needed when the train is in the station," said Fleming, who would lose most of his minority constituents. "When the train leaves, there is no need for a platform."
Democrats and others are planning court suits and initiatives to overturn the Republican plan, which is expected to be steam-rollered through the legislature this week.
And Von Reichbauer, the man who made all this possible? That new congressional district granted by the census just happens to include his home on Vashon Island and is considered fertile Republican territory.
Von Reichbauer steadfastly denies he cut a deal like that and says he's not especially interested in running, although he hasn't ruled it out.
And, looking at the state highway maps with their broad felt-pen boundaries and the $161,000 price tag, Republican leaders are beginning negotiations to see if the Rose Institute might cut the price a little.