Initiatives, Propositions, Levies, and Bonds Archives

Spokane City Initiative 2015-1: Immigration

(Letter-to-the-Editor) Any pretense for passing proposed Spokane City Initiative 2015-1, allowing city police to stop and interrogate anyone strictly to ascertain immigration status, would already have been eliminated if US House Republican leadership, including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, had done their job. They never allowed a full House vote on the bipartisan immigration bill passed June, 2013 by the US Senate, even though the bill had enough House votes to pass. And President Obama would have signed it. The bill resulted from bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates, and would have rendered Initiative 2015-1 obsolete. Read the rest of this entry

Pin It

Moral Leadership: Gay Marriage and Legalized Pot

Well what do ya know.  The lion share of Washington State voters now say they are supporters of gay marriage and legalized marijuana use, which were passed by state wide initiatives.  Washingtonians now favor gay marriage and  legalized marijuana use by 20 percentage points and 19 points respectively, according to Public Policy Polling.  Hats off to all the courageous people who have been fighting for these issues for decades if not longer and who had to endure scorn, ridicule, and sometimes worse.

It appears that some voters in Washington State had the heebbie jeebies about gay rights and pot smokers in 2012, and they just could not get themselves to vote for it.  I suspect many of them even knew in their gut that a “yes” vote was the morally correct one.  Now that both of these have passed, the issues are no longer as taboo.  That is what progressive moral leadership does.  It changes people’s world view in favor of human dignity and civil rights.

In 2012 Washingtonians voted to approve gay marriage by 8 points. Now voters in the state say they support gay marriage by 20 points, 56/36. 78% of voters say that its being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with only 22% claiming gay marriage has affected them negatively. Also 65% of voters in the state think gay conversion therapy should be illegal to only 14% who think it should be allowed. Majorities of voters across party lines- 78/6 with Democrats, 63/14 with independents, and 51/27 with Republicans- think conversion therapy should not be allowed.

Also in 2012 Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana usage by 12 points. Now voters in the state say they support marijuana being legal by 19 points, 56/37. 77% of voters say marijuana being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with likewise only 22% claiming marijuana legalization has affected them negatively.

Pin It

Wamend.LincolnRally(By Stacey Cossey) Saturday, April 25th marked the launch of Wamend’s Initiative 735: Get BIG Money out of Elections!   Over a hundred Spokane and Northeastern Washington citizens took to the streets to protest the ‘big’ money that is flowing into our political system, influencing the outcome of our elections.

Ordinary citizens carried signs, marched across the Monroe Street Bridge and gathered around the statue of Abraham Lincoln.  In a statement of political art, Abraham is seen to ask “Whatever happened to a government of, by and for the people?”while the people reply “Get BIG Money out of Elections!”

Read the rest of this entry

Pin It

(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,
Read the rest of this entry

Pin It

(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.

Read the rest of this entry

Pin It

(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.

Read the rest of this entry

Pin It

(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)

Pin It