Archive for January, 2013

Memorial and Potluck Honoring Craig Salins

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There was a memorial  potluck honoring Craig Salins this last Saturday January 19, in the Community Building downtown Spokane.  Craig Salins was the Director of Washington Public Campaigns and passed away unexpectedly last fall.  He was a passionate leader and advocate for campaign finance reform and government by the people, as free as possible from meddling of corporations and special interests.  Craig will be missed as a friend and leader.

The evening included the dedication of a beautiful teak bench honoring Craig – to become a sturdy presence in the lobby for activists to rest – or to stand and deliver – to say what they need to say!  Regardless, it abutted the 3rd anniversary of the Citizen’s United decision. Also, there was presented a DVD tribute to Craig, prepared by friends Lolly Bates and Mark Early from Seattle, and special guest Ken Dammand, Washington Public Campaigns board member and WAMEND attended.

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(Editorial) Police are allowed to investigate themselves.  Really, that is the current ludicrous situation. That is now what happens when a citizen files a complaint about the Spokane Police Department.  There are no checks and balances. No real oversight.  No Transparency.  Prop 1 on the Spokane Ballot for the February 12 election would change that.

Prop 1 in Spokane  mandates independent investigations of complaints of police misconduct.   It also gives average citizens a voice by creating a citizen oversight committee.  We need this to prevent another citizen like Otto Zehm from being killed.  Here is a video and transcript of Spokane City Councilwomen Amber Waldref asking us to vote “yes” for Prop 1 to support our Spokane Office of Police Ombudsman and giving him or her the authority to independently conduct real investigations.  According to Spokane City Councilwomen Amber Waldref,
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(Editorial) There will be a proposition on your February 12 ballot  to hamstring our Spokane City Council and make it harder for them to do their jobs.   Prop 2 is a confusing idea what would allow a small minority (2 out of 7) sitting council member to stop some of it the most important work.  It is undemocratic and unnecessary.

Here is a video of Ben Stuckart, President of the Spokane City Council asking for you to vote “No” on Prop. 2 in Spokane and against minority rule.

I am asking you to vote “No” on proposition 2.  On February 12 we have an election, and Proposition 2 is a charter change to require a 5/7 majority or over 70% of the people elected to the Spokane City Council to change any existing taxes or any new taxes.

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(Editorial) Spokane Public Libraries play a vital role in our communities to provide grade school children with a safe, educational environment outside of school and in the summer.  This is particularly true in low-income neighborhoods where educational materials are often not available at home.  To the right is a video of Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart asking you to vote “yes” on Prop 3, and below is a transcript of the video.

I am asking you to support Proposition 3 on the February ballot.   The election is February 12th.   Prop  3 is the Library Levy.  The Library Levy will keep branches open, because next year we are facing a five hundred thousand dollar  deficit in the library system and we will have to close branches unless something is done.

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“No Coal Trains!” through Spokane

If the coal industry has their way, coal trains will be traveling through Spokane, Wa, 12 hours a day on their way to Bellingham, Wa..  An export facility is being planned in Bellingham to load the coal from the trains onto ships that would head to China.   Local residents are concerned about the effects on traffic, quality of life, and the health of Spokane residents from the impact of coal dust.  Members of Occupy Spokane took to the streets last Friday night cardboard depictions of coal trains in protest to these plans.

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(Letter to the Editor) It seems the Spokane City Council has moved a large leap forward in affording the citizens adequate police oversight. The Office of Police Ombudsman has never had the authority to effect adequate independent review of excessive use of force complaints. To be effective and respected that must be part of the job description of the Ombudsman.

Serious, deadly serious at times, excessive use of force is still rampant in our Nation. The Council has placed on an early February ballot (Ballots to be mailed beginning January 25th) a measure to change the Charter of the City of Spokane to include effective independent review of complaints by our Office of Police Ombudsman for the City of Spokane. I would urge you to consider casting your vote in favor of this long needed independent review. (Links and video added by editor.)

John A. Olsen, Spokane, WA

(updated May 31, 2013)

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Jon Snyder Discusses Work on the Spokane City Council

jon snyderSpokane City Councilman Jon Snyder has been busy.  It is nice to see an elected official who knows the difference between running for office and governing.  Voters hate political bickering.  The want elected officials who work for them, and not just work to get re-elected.  Thanks Jon Snyder!  The  below is from his January 2, 2012, Newsletter. Read the rest of this entry

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