Good evening Netizens...
From the depths of the rather long-winded discussion about the Ombudsman, I heard a recurring theme come wafting down the elevator shaft deep in the basement of Spokane where I often spend hours and hours hopefully peering upward toward the street grate overhead. This repeated vision, whether you encounter the depths of depravity or the heights of glorious achievement in Spokane, varies widely from where you sit. Before the Great Recession, there were only a few living in the damp basement, but with more and more people out of work on unemployment, more children going hungry and a community inability to recognize how poor we are, I suspect there are more now than ever before living below the streets.
So with full countenance of both the heights and depths of society in Spokane, and given the dramatic distance that separates the two, my question for one and all is, what do you like and dislike the most about Spokane?
My personal choices are:
We still have a place where, just before the dawn or just after sunset, you can sit alone, unmolested by the river's edge and contemplate what matters most in life, and blithely watch the river in Spring flood dashing by. It can be a place of unequalled beauty and tranquility, a place to find solutions to your life and a place to find any particular God that works for you or, if you cannot find one, you can enjoy the search process.
Even in these bad times, if you are literate, a dedicated worker, willing to “ride for the brand” and willing to learn new ideas, you can find work in Spokane. I know too many that started with their dirty bare feet on the paving stones who now work for a living wage who were willing to try.
Spokane is, above all else, a city that has heart. Some say it is made out of tinfoil, plastic trash bags, pomegranate seeds and little else, but but I have seen folks who will give you the shirt off their backs to help you out if you truly are trying to better yourself.
We are a City of ancient trees, gaily flowering bushes, carefully-laid flower beds and gardens of incredible stature featuring every kind of vegetable known to man. Oh, and I forgot to mention the small stands of apple, pear and peach trees that seem to grow in every lot in town. I pity the soul who doesn't have the urge to go dig in the soil once in awhile, for it is a noble calling indeed.
If we pause in our daily dash to wealth or glory, we might notice there are indigenous tribal cultures who preceded us in living along the river, and that their lives and civilizations had mores and values that were equal to or exceeded our own in some cases. It is quite often too easy to forget them, to ignore them in the passage of time, but this land is sacred to them.
It is far easier to complain than it is to accord credit where credit is due. Readers of Community Comment could start by saying a private “thank you” to the Spokesman for giving us this place to speak our peace and be heard, even if we have an ax to grind with the Cowles Family. This newspaper, both virtual and in print, deserves our support!
We need a health care system we can afford.
We have a long, tortured and illustrious string of former Mayors to which our citizens can point with obvious disdain. Given her inept handling of the snow overload last winter, the incredible bus bench fiasco to name just a few, it remains to be seen whether Queen Mary Verner will be re-elected during the next Mayoral campaign. Your results, of course, may differ.
We have a police department that is well-known throughout the region to have a past history of abhorrent policies and procedures at the highest levels of their organization. Sometimes the rank-and-file officers who trod the streets each day are not accorded the credit they so richly deserve, but on the other hand, it remains to be seen whether Chief Kirkpatrick is really going to change the past policies and procedures, to undo the past arrogance and epidemic mismanagement of our Police Department.
We have an incompetent, deeply-entrenched City Government, beginning with the various unions that represent their respective interests, not the interests of the City-at-large. Public works, Street Department, Water and Sewer... what a mess! Then we have the City Council President who seems to weekly increase his overwhelming unpopularity.
...And please Lord, if you are thinking kindly of me, no more snow storms like we had last winter. We lost most of our 401k and are just poor working elderly folk, so we cannot afford to leave for warmer climes just yet.