You know . . . sometimes you meet another person and realize you have met a great human being.  While speaking in Spokane oationn the need for police reform, retired Seattle Police Chief, Norm Stamper, gave me that much respect.  It was not because of his accomplishments, knowledge, or oratory skills.  While significant, these are not the source of his exceptionalism.

It is his humility and courage behind it.  Norm Stamper has the self-honesty to share his own mistakes and lessons learned, and do so in a way that compels others to examine their own life and strive for self improvement.  In the movement for police reform, Norm Stamper is a leader in the best possible way . . . by example.

In the video to the right, Chief Stamper discusses the time he falsely arrested a citizen out of power lust, and how having to confront what he did changed him into the reformer he is.

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Occupying St. Paddy’s Day in Spokane

St. Paddy’s Day has been celebrated in different ways by different people.  Sometimes, it has been used as a day of protest in the Irish tradition of fighting the establishment as this video documents.  Of course, the most common tributes to Irish culture have usually been parades, bagpipes, and partying.  It was also occupied by Occupy Spokane.

For 1,000 years, St. Paddy’s Day was a religious day of observance of Saint Patrick and celebrated with Irish bacon and cabbage.  It became more secularized when Irish Immigrants formed the Charitable Irish Society of Boston and held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17th, 1737 to draw attention to their plight.

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Our new WordPress blogging platform

Hi Friends,

After a bit of a hiatus, Spokane Watch is back.  If the site looks different, it is because I recently moved it to WordPress.   I transfered  as many of the posts and pages as I could could from Soapblox to our new WordPress blogging platform .  –Bryan E. Burke, Administrator

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New Jail? No Deal!

By Stillwalkn

A new jail will not make us safer. But it will make us poorer. It will cost every resident of the county nearly $3,000 over the course of the project. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford an increase in my taxes unless it’s absolutely essential.

What would make a new jail absolutely essential? Would it be an overflow of dangerous violent offenders, so many we would be renting beds in other jails because we had no room for them in our existing jail? Even if this was the case, and it is NOT, we could still explore more cost-effective options, like remodeling existing buildings. If the state can do that, why can’t the county?

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Debates and Non-Debates

When is a debate not a debate? When it is a joint press conference!

Because that is what passes for a debate for candidates these days. It is a collection of one minute and thirty second sound bites that some candidates handle with varying degrees of success.

The point is that we learn very little about the candidates grasp of the issues or their overall philosophy in these little snippets of information.

In a classic form of debate the opponents ask question of each other and put forth their assertions in blocks of five minutes or more. In that kind of format lightweights like a certain congresswoman we know would run out of gas before the time was up. The major disadvantage of longer blocks of time is that television doesn’t accommodate very well, an attention span of anything longer than an eye blink. The other part of that is that there are few candidates who are interesting to watch and listen to for more than 60 seconds.

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A spirited race for the Spokane District Court, Pos. 6

Most local judicial races are a bit dull, and unfortunately voters don’t pay much attention to them.  However, this is not the case for the race between incumbent Judge Debra Hayes and her challenger Tim Note for the District Court, Position 6, in Spokane County.  There have been a number of spirited exchanges among the candidates and their supporters about face book pages, missed work, and the ability to get a fair trial.  We hope the posted interviews of the candidates that were conducted over the last couple weeks will provide some additional, more objective information.

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Bill Gates, Sr. at 1098 Fund raiser in Spokane


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This interview of Judge Debra Hayes was conducted by Bryan E. Burke, Exec. Director of Eastern Washington Voters on Thursday, September 16, 2010 and Sunday, September 19, 2010.  Deborah Hayes later approved these notes for accuracy.

What is your background? I grew up in the Northern part of the county on a farm that my dad worked but did not own. There were 4 kids in the family.  We were quite poor but I did not realize it until I entered junior high and the differences became obvious. I graduated from Riverside High School.  Following graduation, I spent time as a stay-at-home mom, then worked as a bank teller, supervisor for the savings department, and was then promoted, and I spent some time as a stay at home mother.

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Tim Note, Candidate for District Court Judge, Pos. 6.

This interview of Tim Note was conducted by Bryan E. Burke, Executivce Director of Eastern Washington Voters, on Sunday, September 5, 2010. These notes were later approved by Tim Note for accuracy.

What is your background? I grew up in the North West, and attended college at the University of Montana. However, I got my degree from Oregon State in political science. I worked in the trucking industry as an operations manager before attending law school (and I still maintain my class A CDL). I move to Spokane to go to law school, at Gonzaga, on a merit scholarship, in 2001. I graduated on time in 2003, and then I worked full time for six months with University Legal Assistance that gives free legal help. I took the bar in February of 2004. I interned with the public defender office, and was hoping to get a job with them but one did not open up. I then went to work as an associate with David Hearrean’s law firm doing defense work. I started my own office in May of 2008.

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In Memorial: George Avellar

George Avellar


A friend of many and father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and neighbor, George Avellar, of Spokane unexpectedly passed away Sunday, August 22.  He will be missed tremendously by all who knew him. I knew him from his caring participation in Eastern Washington Voters.


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