Linda Smith Farthest Of The Far Right

This state has come a long way since the days in the 1930s when it was known as "the Soviet of Washington." It now can boast THE most conservative lawmaker in the entire nation, Rep. Linda Smith (R-Vancouver).

Smith achieved this distinction last week when Roll Call, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper, released its political rankings, placing House conservatives in an ideological spectrum from "a tad right of center" (almost moderate) through "off the grid" (next stop: Genghis Khan).

Rep. Smith won the pole position on the far right, surpassing such well-known right wingers as California's Robert Dornan and Oklahoma's Steve Largent, a former Seahawks player.

How did Smith elbow out other aspirants, including the bulk of this state's delegation? Roll Call's managing editor Craig Winneker says the paper arrived at its conclusions by crunching numbers.

Roll Call drew on rankings supplied by three interest groups, the Christian Coalition, Americans for Democratic Action and the National Taxpayers Union. (The ADA numbers were reversed, so that a zero became a 100 on the conservative scale.)

In Roll Call's ideological spectrum, members of this state's delegation closest to Linda Smith were Reps. Jennifer Dunn, Doc Hastings and Randy Tate. Their votes placed them in a "far right" category, with Dunn ranked as the most conservative.

Rep. Jack Metcalf placed closer to the center, along with the more "liberal" Gingrichians. Rep. Rick White cast his votes along with "establishment conservatives," a group defined as "Barry Goldwater in 1964."

Winneker said that, "About a year ago, we rated the entire U.S. House from left to right. This year, we did the conservatives and skipped the rest."

Table talk: Sur La Table is getting a face lift. But, during remodeling, it's business as usual at the landmark Pike Place Market kitchenware shop.

The contractor, Richard Adatto of Adatto Construction, is increasing display space and repairing leaks. Adatto says, "The deck on the floor above (adjacent to offices of architect Arne Bystrom) has leaked into the store since Day One. When we're through, rain won't fall inside the store any more."

Think of it as the passing of an era: No more designer drip buckets at Sur La Table.

Full coverage: That sweet and swinging production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Paramount Theatre has inspired the Bon Marche to launch an "Amazing Coat Drive." Donated coats (take them to the downtown Bon's fragrance counter by Sept. 20) will go to New Horizons, a shelter for women and children.

Tidy profit: Capitalism triumphs in Fremont, right at the feet of the district's statue of Lenin. Stationed next to Lenin are a pair of portable toilets. Parked next to the toilets during the Fremont Market were two youngsters.

The enterprising kids, who were sitting on folding stools, had a Costco-sized container of wash and dry towelettes. They were selling them for 25 cents.

Mr. Outside: It must be the political silly season. A bumper sticker sighted on Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle this week: "Fidel in '96. The ultimate Washington outsider."

Jean Godden's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Local News section of The Times. Her phone is 464-8300.