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Community Comment

Archive for February 2012

The Council has a new set of gonads…

Good morning, Netizens…


Oh my God! Without so much as a flicker of anticipation, last night the Spokane City Council stood up and made a statement regarding Sgt. Brad Thoma and the potential for a lawsuit over his firing that may have surprised some and perhaps infuriated others. Regardless of how one views this event, it can easily be said that the new-and-improved Spokane City Council and Mayor David Condon seem to have a difference of opinion regarding the controversial firing of Sgt. Thoma and all the other legal baggage this may ultimately involve.


The plan was to rehire the fired police sergeant and give him $275,000 in back pay but it was rejected by an outraged Spokane City Council on Monday.


“I not only say, ‘No,’ but I say, ‘Hell no,’ ” Councilman Mike Fagan declared, drawing applause from some in the council audience, an act that would have rendered former Council President Joe Shogun warped by his gavel, irate and speechless, but only aroused a mild-mannered rebuff from current Council President Ben Stuckart.


Make no mistake about what is at stake here. Despite what Bob Dunn, Thoma's legal body armor may assert in his public statements, Sgt. Thoma was driving drunk as a skunk, was involved in an auto accident while intoxicated and then compounded matters by leaving the scene of the accident. If you or I were caught thus, we could easily still be serving time in the clink, not collecting $375,000 dollars in back pay plus legal fees. All of the rest of this soap opera is pretty much legal hijinks by Sgt. Thoma's legal council and the brand-new set of gonads recently acquired by members of our City Council.


A newer wrinkle that has been suggested by his legal council is that Sgt. Thoma is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act since he is an alcoholic. I thought the only people who qualified for that protection were members of our fine city's Prosecuting Attorney's staff. Oh wait a moment. That has perhaps changed since The Globe is closed and no longer is holding legal council meetings during the lunch-and-martini hour.


My, isn't this a wonderful turn of events! Of course, your opinions may differ.



Catching back up…

Good afternoon, Netizens…


There has been another death in our family. Actually, given my age and the number of people I know, it seems as if there is always a death in my family somewhere. Some, like my late ninety-some year old father-in-law whose death back in Nebraska was anticipated to some degree, the most recent passage of a personage known to many members of my family as “Sick Grandma” by my granddaughters, passed away recently at Sacred Heart of complications of a series of medical conditions too numerous to mention.


In my absence, thanks to Jeanie and many others, Community Comment has continued to roll along or, considering the number and diversity of gaffes coming from our “new-and-improved” City Hall, perhaps we should consider Community Comment as the Mouth that Roared? I am, of course, playing with words a bit here, and I hope no one takes that as acceptance of our new Mayor's actions on a number of fronts.


In other areas, personally, I am aghast at Community Chore Services being discontinued from the Catholic Community Services budget. Community Chore Services have, in the past, provided services that no one else provides to the homeless and needy in Spokane, services that most ordinary people take for granted, such as the means to get to a clinic or doctor's office when you are sick and broke.


Do the Republican candidates who have toured through the region recently have a viable solution for such people? Do they even care? Somehow we must keep the safety cushion for such folks alive and well or there will be even more deaths in the family of man.



I Want the Same Rights as Spokane Police

So, the latest and oh so similar story (same ol' same ol') has come to Spokane AGAIN.   Thanks to Chelsea Bannach's article - once again I am amazed and angered that the City of Spokane has no spine!

Brad Thoma gets rewarded for acting badly - totally unprofessionally, totally contrary to the job description he failed to adhere to.  

How can a police officer break the law - whether or not he is on duty - and, after he is justifiably fired, get back pay???  This is outrageous!  Why can't city officials, including the new mayor, get a grip!  Enough of this!  

Clean up on aisles 78 through 159.  


Mayor Condon unveils how he will improve the Police…

Good morning Netizens…


Although the final verdict is not in yet, Mayor David Condon believes he has a plan improving the public's image of the Spokane Police Department. Yesterday he went public with his Police Action Plan.


The key components to this plan are:


  • Oversight: The city believes open, transparent and accountable government works best for the citizens of Spokane.

  • Community Involvement: Community involvement is a key element to an improved relationship between citizens and the Police Department.

  • Training: Additional areas of training and possible changes to existing training will improve the quality of and confidence in law enforcement.

  • Enhanced Delivery of Service: By improving the delivery of services, including data collection, the Police Department can improve accountability and public confidence.

While I am a great believer in the democratic process, I do not necessarily believe the voters always get what they expected once the elections are complete. Sometimes, such as these, the voters either do not fully understand what is being said, or are being misled as to the intentions of the newly-elected officials. Here are some examples of the Police Action Plan that perhaps neither Mayor Condon nor Acting Chief Scott Stephens ever thought of when they wheeled out this plan:

While they ostensibly believe open, transparent and accountable government works best for Spokane's citizenry, they should also apply the tenets of openness, transparency and accountability to the shadow figure of the Police Guild. Perhaps other citizens would feel more at ease.

Improving the relationship between the citizens and the Police Department requires inherent trust on the part of the citizens. However, saying it doesn't make it so.

Changing or improving the training given to police will improve the quality and confidence in the police. This, too, will take time.

The improvement of the delivery of services, including data collection, could improve accountability and public confidence. Eliminating the abhorrent and repulsive behavior of certain past transgressions might help improve public confidence. The Chief, the Mayor and the Prosecutor could start by eliminating Rocky Treppiedi as a Assistant Prosecutor.

In the meantime we will wait and see what elements of the Police Action Plan are addressed and/or completed and in what order.

Of course, your results may differ.


Mayor Condon gives glowing report of future plans…

Good morning, Netizens…


I did watch Mayor David A. Condon in his 100 day report. My first impression of our new Mayor is that he certainly talks a lot by moving his hands. Few of our Mayors in my memory of such things, seemed to have an interest or the capability of doing such a thing in public speaking, but hand movements can tell you a great deal about the inner workings of the Mayor's mind, and David Condon seems to be no exception. Unfortunately he continues using the same empty hand gestures as so many of his predecessors, it leaves me seriously wondering how many of the promises he has made in his presentation this morning he will either be capable or earnestly willing to keep.


He introduced the various members of his transition team/current staff, although I did notice he never once mentioned the name of Rocky Treppiedi, since Rocky is a lesser entity in the hierarchy of City Hall. Am I and others to assume we are facing four more years of Mr. Treppiedi's belligerent attitudes about the public, or will David Condon get rid of him while he is at it?


He never mentioned the Police Guild, not once. After all is said and done, they are the jackass that wags the tail of the police department. That, too, cries out to me for correction, but I doubt it will be solved as easily as Mayor Condon waves his hands.


I am sorry, but I neither saw nor heard anything of great content, but a lot of promises, nearly all of which were of good intent. However, as multiple generations and former Mayors can attest, good intentions will probably not improve the plight of our poor town. That, too, is unfortunate. Maybe we can set thing aright this time around. Of course, as always, your results and beliefs may differ from my own.



We finally are home once again…

Good morning, Netizens…


My Gawd we are back! We made the initial run to Nebraska by studying NEXRAD weather radar and matching those findings with a road atlas. Normally at this time of year, there is no way you would catch me driving across the Dakotas and then down to Nebraska. I have too many memories of driving that route, only to end up spending nights in various odd places waiting for the blizzards to end. It was incredible to my way of thinking that the dreaded northern route was spotlessly clear of snow and relatively cloudless. We made the outbound trip to Nebraska in 24 hours and thirty minutes precisely.


The evening we arrived, Lincoln, Nebraska had one of the biggest blizzards ever! The major East-West Interstate, Highway 80, was closed. Schools and most other public gatherings shut down, unfortunately including the planned memorial for Suzie's dad, Harm Harms. When we awoke after our mind-numbing odyssey, we were trapped, since none of our two wheel-drive cars could even get out of the driveway until Sunday when the snowplow cleared the road.


I come from a dysfunctional family where family gatherings were better-known for feuds that flared into battles than any sense of togetherness. By comparison Suzie's entire family, including over 100 cousins, nephews, brothers and sisters are a closely-knit crowd. Their memorial for much-beloved Harm and his widow was a classic study in the love they feel for one another. If one chanced as a stranger, to arrive at such a gathering as we attended, within an hour you would be family, or so the saying goes.


It seemed too short, our stay in Lincoln, but we both have lives and allegiances that call us home. We climbed into our beast of burden and, thinking we might get lucky taking an old and familiar route home, we headed toward Spokane. We were a bit nervous about the weather to our North, but having just survived a blizzard, we felt invincible. That was our folly, and we ended up spending the night in a Days Inn in Sheridan, Wyoming, victims of horizontal snow, ice fog and horrible driving conditions. Egods!


We were already late, so we pounded the pavement hard, arriving in Spokane late last evening, no 24 hour trip this time. We are truly glad to be home, where everything is familiar and comfortable once again.


I'll tell more about the trip later on today or tomorrow.




Changing plans…


Good  evening Netizens…


I cannot begin to explain this. But thanks to friendly relatives, one with an Internet connection I am marginally able to connect with folks back in Spokane, despite the fact we are surrounded on four sides by real Midwestern-style blizzard, complete with zero visibility  and steady thirty mile-per-hour winds. According to the local weather bureau this blizzard covers part of four states and already has shut down most travel options, including the memorial services originally slated for my late grandfatber-in-law that originally slated for today. That was cancelled by the caterers, and moved until Monday.

Cell phones and Ipads abound in this house full of ten overnight guests, some of whom arrived just as the storm really began to hit its stride last evening. There is easily a foot of snow outside in the yard, and for the most all of us feel very lucky to have arrived here at all.


One note to Spokane’s street department—the main streets in Lincoln, Nebraska were completely cleared of snow by one o’clock this afternoon although the Interstate is now closed East of Lincoln due to slide-offs.


Since none of our ordinary cars could even ford tbe back-country road outside we organized  a homemade convoy of a heavy-duty four wheel drive pickup and an all wheel drive GM van and went into Lincoln for Chinese food and more catching up on family news  and gossip, and a good time was had by all.


In the afternoon all of us retreated to the former apartment of my late grandfather-in-law and began boxing up his huge collections of pictuea and memorability, a sometimes contentious battle of the wills, based upon my experiences with my own dysfunctional family.


So as the wind  howls outside with a purpose, we are dining on pizza and still making up for lost time in renewing old family acquaintances in a hundred year-old farmhouse somewhere in the snowbound backcountry of Nebraska, wondering how long we will wait until the plows come and bail us out of here.


Yours until tomorrow weather permitting.




What is Average Anyway??


I thought that I was the quintessential average woman.  No way!  Not anymore!  It's Ellen DeGeneres!  So says J.C. Penney.

I'm on a roll for our Blog theme today, which is, what is the standard for average in 2012?  One Million Moms are unable to define the average woman and boy, am I happy about that!  If I had a daughter, I would not want her role model to be the “average” size-4, anorexic model we are seeing in every commercial and magazine cover.  Thank you, JC Penney, for not taking the low road.

I was ten years old when Barbie came out.  She was my role model.  And I have failed to meet her standards ever since.  I do not want my daughter, or any young girls entering their teens, to have to aspire to something that is unattainable and even worse, unhealthy.

Ellen DeGeneres has a lifestyle different  from mine – but she is wholesome, beautiful, funny, and honest.  She is not aspiring after an image of a doll.

You go,Girl!



Same-Sex Marriage Approved by Senate

Good morning Netizens,

Hopefully I can rouse your interest and comments while Blogmeister David Laird is traveling this week.

The latest and greatest piece of news recently is that the Washington State Senate has approved of Same-Sex Marriage.  See

I think this is a good thing, but I have realized that I'm not just your average every-day woman.  So you may think differently.   I believe that our times, they are a-changin'.  I, for example, am in a unmarried relationship with my significant other - Mechanic Man - for 26 years.  We have outlasted our friends' marriages, and many second marriages.  

A friend asked me to tell him some good things about Mechanic Man - and when I finished, I realized that I have everything I want in this man that any woman would want in her husband.  So - I'm ahead of the game and a piece of paper making it final is the only difference.

Your thoughts?


Absent w/o official leave…

Good morning, Netizens…


I regret to inform everyone that I may be absent from this fine Blog for about five days. There has been a death in my extended family and my family and I are leaving sometime late tomorrow to drive to Nebraska and attend the memorial for Suzie's dad, who passed away day before yesterday at the ripe old age of 94 years of age. I have already contacted JeanieB and she will be keeping an eye on things in my absence. Given the size of the families involved and my temporary location in rural Nebraska near Lincoln, I may not even have Internet access for the duration of my stay. Having said that, I will try to keep in touch.


The drive promises to be interesting, of and by itself. We will be driving through the snow belt, and arriving in Nebraska into 50+ degree weather in a relatively new car of which I know very little. The passes East of here are receiving snow as we speak. Great! Just what I wanted to hear!


So with some trepidations about the trip and sadness for Suzie's Dad who was a remarkable man in life, I will hopefully be returning sometime next Monday.



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