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Posts tagged: city council

Joe pops a cork, recesses the council…,

Good morning, Netizens…


Occasionally Spokesman-Review writer Jonathan Brunt hits a news story dead on, and in this morning's paper, his coverage of last night's City Council meeting just about got the job done. The Red Light scenario, of putting red light cameras on as many intersections as possible, has both its proponents and its detractors. What is unfortunate, however, is that the Spokesman was the only member of the news media to pay even a pittance of attention to last night's City Council meeting, and the resulting brouhaha between mouthpiece Council President Joe Shogun and George McGrath over new red light cameras.


What's at stake are red light cameras at four proposed new intersections, and statistics which George McGrath asserts the red light programs are actually cash cows, and that other cities involved in the program have pulled out for a variety of reasons. Sergeant Joe immediately called a recess to the meeting and returned armed with police statistics which he insists show otherwise.


“You’re frickin’ wrong,” Shogan told McGrath after presenting the police statistics.


Wait a minute here. Who, besides a few members of the City Council and various heads of state in the Spokane Police Department actually trusts Spokane police statistics?


Suffice it to say that I doubt if venerable George McGrath, who seems to have this fetish to attend most City Council meetings where he keeps a sharp eye on proceedings, not to mention any expenses which strike his attention, trusts any statistics from City Hall, let alone the Police Department.


Kudos to Mr. Brunt for covering a story which apparently no one else in the Spokane news media either wanted to cover or felt worthwhile.



Spokane Election Part I nearly completed…

Good morning Netizens…

Opening salvos this morning before things get too hectic.

Well, it does appear that the election runoffs have completed and no real surprises took place, although I thought Steve Eugster might have drawn a bigger percentage of the total. Perhaps it is because this year, instead of appearing at Unity in the Community’s slam-bang gathering in Riverfront Park this year, Eugster neglected to wear the outrageous shorts he wore the first year he ran for City Council position. Maybe the shorts scared people into voting for him, perhaps not. Did you vote for Eugster?

The real race to watch come the election will be Nancy McLaughlin who, it appears, will face community agitator and gracious lady Karen Kearny. Don’t underestimate Kearney’s power base, for there are a lot of people who remember her fondly for her stands on “uncomfortable” issues in the past. Given proper handling, this could be a truly fascinating election between these two.

Get ready for the heat today. There are still a few last days of real summer left, and it seems they are all arriving in the next week and one-half. There is nothing like the heat to warm up a good election I say.


We have an Ombudsman—sort of…

Good morning, Netizens…

You have to always give credit to the elder spokespersons in our Fair City, because their sense of right and wrong nearly always are spot-on when it comes to recommending clinically good decisions. No, I am not bespeaking the lackluster members of the Spokane City Council. Bob Apple aside, the City Council ‘s lack of decisiveness and acumen is only equalled by their ability to hold decent public meetings where the public can speak to issues without fear of being escorted from the premises. There are other elders in our community who speak well, have cogent thought processes and aren’t afraid to speak their piece, even in front of the august City Council members.

Now take last night’s City Council meeting, for example, where they ratified the lackluster Police Ombudsman who-has-no-authority. As I have stated in the recent past, having a Police Ombudsman without full investigatory powers similar to those held by the Ombudsman in Boise, Idaho, is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Apparently most of the elder spokespersons in our community agree with that.

Marianne Torres perhaps coined the description best when she described hiring Tim “Hippie” Burns as Police Ombudsman like “a fox watching the chicken coop”.

Now you might not like Marianne Torres, because of some of her political stances. You might want to ask her why, if she is as sage as she appears, why she never ran for City Council. Maybe it is because she is too savvy to do something crazy like run for a City Council position. On the other hand, Mz. Torres aptly speaks for the disenfranchised, the downtrodden in our midst, most of whom question just about everything passed into law in our fair city. You take away the Ombudsman’s authority and what do you have? Nuttin’ baby. Everyone except the members of the City Council and the Mayor seem to agree with that.

Of course, if you have attended and/or watched City Council meetings past and present, you would know George McGrath. I am told there is even a George McGrath fan club, given the length of time he has appeared in the Citizens Forum pointing out the inequities of our city government. Typically armed with a sheaf of public documents, and loaded for bear, George can be counted upon to point out gross stupidity in our midst, and has done so for decades. George was escorted from last night’s City Council session for muttering deprecations from the audience about the ombudsman position. He is right when he says there is nothing being accomplished for the citizens.

That’s the problem, in my eyes. We have a Police Ombudsman bereft of any real powers, and a City Council and Mayor who do not know when to shut up and listen to our village elders.

However, we have a Police Ombudsman now. Sort of. Our City is still married to the Police Guild, a quasi-secret society of police that make their own rules as they go along. Can you agree with them or the Village Elders? It’s a choice, you know.


No Reason Given, says Mayor Mary…

Good evening, Netizens…


We have a candidate for police ombudsman. His name is Timothy Burns of Visalia, California, a retired police officer now working as a neighborhood preservation advocate.

“I am excited to be able to move this process closer to conclusion,” Verner said in a prepared statement. “I believe Mr. Burns is the right selection for our community.”

Did you notice something was missing? There was no explanation why she chose Burns over the other two candidates, the FBI official and Texas A&M instructor, or Greg Weber, a Spokane attorney and former deputy director of the Washington State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Tony Betz.

I gave Queen Mary her moniker because of her yakkety-yak-don’t-talk-back attitude, with the exception of when she is singing “Proud Mary” with Doug Clark for grins and giggles. Did we have a snow emergency? Her immediate response took fifteen lines of print to deny it. Most anytime she has something to say she is chattier than a Chatty Cathy doll stuck in overdrive.

Who muzzled Queen Mary on her choice of ombudsman and why? Is there an unseen hand keeping her from explaining why she chose Burns?

Now it goes before the City Council for ratification. Maybe we’ll learn the reason(s) for her choice, but probably not.


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