(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.
(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
(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.
(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.)
Spokane is the major city in Eastern Washington. For a century, it has been a cultural, economic, and political hub of the Inland Northwest. It was once a railroad town. However, the trains are now few. Our economy has become more centered on light industry and the information economy.
We held the World's Fair in the 70s, and we still host Hoopfest, Pigout in the Park, and the Lilac Festival. If you like small town's that feel big. You will like Spokane.