Immigration Reform

To the Editor:

In an historic bipartisan 68-32 vote, last June the US Senate passed an immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship for eleven million illegal immigrants, an innovative temporary worker program, and increased visa numbers for skilled foreign workers, as well as a nationwide employment eligibility verification system and stricter border control.  This was a result of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates. Although many predict that the bill would pass in the US House, the majority Republican leadership there refuses to bring it up.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next decade. Furthermore, it is supported by such pro-business and pro-agriculture groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and the local Washington Growers League, an influential Eastern Washington agribusiness association working on immigration in an unusual alliance with the Washington Federation of State Employees.   Interestingly, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration has also expressed support.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers needs to represent her constituents, many in business and agriculture, by standing up to US House leadership so as to pass this bill.

Roz Luther

Spokane, WA

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Update on Labor Dispute at Deaconess and Valley Hospitals

While employees have been working for a good part a year without a contract, the upper management at Spokane Valley Hospital and Spokane Deaconess Hospital have agreed to a bargaining date. This Friday, March 21, Nurses, cleaning staff, and other medical workers represented by SEIU local will be negotiating with Tennessee-based Community Health Systems that manages the Hospitals. One of the most important issues is what staffing levels are needed to insure patients at Valley and Deaconess Hospitals are adequately protected from falls, infections, and other problems that prevent speedy recoveries and long-term health.  The Labor Union is insisting that higher staffing levels are needed to protect patient health.

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Valley Hospital Spokane Valley

Photo credit to Harvey Brown

(By Kevin Graman) Nurses and other medical workers await a bargaining date for long-awaited contracts with the Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, Wa. and Valley Hospital, Spokane Valley, Wa. Their key demand for more staffing to improve patient health and safety goes unanswered by the hospitals’ for-profit owner Community Health Systems Inc.

Meanwhile, Service Employees International Union 1199NW, the union that represents nurses at Valley Hospital and technical and service employees at both Valley and Deaconess Hospitals, presses its efforts to convince the state Legislature to follow California’s lead and impose mandatory nurse-patient ratios in Washington hospitals. Read the rest of this entry

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The Different Drummers movie is a brisk paced family drama that is powered by the bond of friendship between two ten-year old boys who support each other no matter what. Just like Steven King’s “Stand by Me”, Different Drummers reminds you of what it was like to be ten years old and hanging out with your best friend – the best time in the world; the kind of laughs, adventures, mishaps, and “big” trouble that you just can’t match at any other time of your life. Co-writers and co-directors Don Caron and Lyle Hatcher capture that so in this story about the younger Lyle Hatchers childhood friendship.

It is also one of the best films that the Pacific Northwest has recently produced. If you doubt that Spokane writers, directors, and actors could do that, look at the seven awards they have already racked up. Different Drummers premiers this Friday at the AMC theaters in Spokane, WA. Drummers can also be found on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry

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Mike Fagan’s War Against Anal Cleft

nsl_plumbers_crack(By Greg Gower) Well it’s been another hot summer, here in Spokane, and once again our neighborhoods are being invaded by hordes of half-naked, sweaty, lawn care specialists and pool boys. Every year this happens and every year I’m shocked at their brazen display of flesh! Right out in the open, and in front of our children no less! It’s a good thing Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan is on guard.

“Anal Cleft,” says Mike Fagan

The glistening torso of a bronzed young man is tantalizing disgusting enough, but, in the past few years, these youths have been wearing their shorts lower and lower, resulting in the exposure of anal cleft. I didn’t know the technical term before, but now we can thank Fagan, for naming anal cleft as the problem it really is. Mike Fagan is a dedicated, conservative leader, who knows this is one of those rare occasions when government should step in and regulate our lives. Read the rest of this entry

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Photo Credit: Center for Justice

(By guest contributor Tim Connor) It has now been almost five months since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in Spokane, the city charter amendment that requires the City to have an independent police ombudsman. And, yet, we still don’t. Ombudsman Tim Burns’s continues to be shackled by the terms of a 2008 “interim” agreement negotiated behind closed doors between former Mayor Mary Verner and the Spokane Police Guild. He cannot conduct the independent investigations that are now required by the city charter, nor can he issue the independent reports that Proposition 1 requires.

And the question is: Why not? Read the rest of this entry

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Mark Hamilton's house at 217 E. Pacific Republican Pastor Mark Hamilton, who was essentially called a liar by one of his church members, was thrown off the ballot and found ineligible to run for Spokane City Council in 2013.  Why?  Because Carol McGirk and Cathy Gunderson filed a complaint with Superior Court that Hamilton was not eligible to run for office.  Read the rest of this entry

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KYRS Thin Air Community Radio

About KYRS

KYRS-Thin Air Community Radio is a non-profit, non-commercial community station on 88.1 & 92.3 FM & streaming at Since 2003, Thin Air Radio has served the Spokane area with diverse arts, culture, news and music, filling needs that other media do not, providing programming to diverse communities and un-served or underserved groups. Our signal reaches more than 300,000 people, in parts of five counties and nearly to the Canadian border. We have 60 locally produced programs, all hosted by volunteers, including the only locally produced youth and environmental programs, an Arts program, Native American, Spanish language, African-American, Asian, Russian language, Iranian-American, open poetry, a senior’s program, LGBT, women’s issues and much more. Our music programs span the genres and highlight local and independent artists. KYRS was twice voted #2 Best Radio Station in the region by readers of the Inlander weekly. Read the rest of this entry

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Mt. Spokane State Park Logging Permit Withdrawn

Mt. Spokane, one of our community’s most valuable natural areas has been under constant pressure by development and logging.  Today, the mountain won a reprieve.  The Spokane County Department of Building and Planning decided to withdraw its permit that authorized logging on the western part of Mount Spokane State Park.  This decision will help prevent the further fragmentation of the remaining old-growth forest on Mt. Spokane .  It will also preserve important Biodiversity Areas and Corridors, Riparian zones, and Moose, Elk, and other wildlife habitats.  Below is the press release issued today by The Lands Council and here is a link to their website.

Read the rest of this entry

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Candidate Mark Hamilton Ineligible for Spokane City Council?

2005-06-07 23.58.22Conservative candidate Mark Hamilton is finding out that there is more to winning and loosing elections that just the vote count on election day.  Often times it comes down the details of the law.   In fact, Hamilton could lose his race for the Spokane City Council against sitting Councilwomen Amber Waldref months before the first ballots are mailed.  It looks like Mark Hamilton is not a legal resident of the City Ward in which he is running to represent.

The picture to the right is the house in which Mark Hamilton is presently residing. The problem for him is that he has only been there for a few months . . . not long enough to meet the eligibility requirements to run for office.  (The story is also being covered at EWPolitics on this page). Read the rest of this entry

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