ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Spin Control

Recorded man pleads guilty to drug charges

The man captured on camera at a downtown skate park handing out what later tested as methamphetamine has pleaded guilty to charges and given credit for time served in jail.

Tyas Kelly, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance last week, according to court records. He received a 14-day jail sentence with credit for time served.

Police watched Kelly hand out the drugs at the Under the Freeway Skate Park late last month using a camera installed by the city. Officials said the camera is not monitored by a uniformed officer, but feeds into a room where police take their breaks and fill out reports. The camera is also not covered by a recent surveillance ordinance passed by City Council that requires Spokane police to report any new cameras or other equipment to the city because it is installed on Parks Department property.

Today’s fun video: Aging of a president

 

Being president ages a person. Or so this video of Barack Obama shows.

Two-thirds of voters skipped primary

Less than one in three.

That's the final statewide turnout of voters for the Aug. 5 primary, which stands at a smidgen over 31 percent.

Spokane County did marginally better, at 35.3 percent with the final count certified this afternoon. At least it moved up over one in three.

Perhaps a more important percentage from the primary is 1 percent, the votes needed for a write-in candidate to advance to the general election when running against someone who appeared on the ballot unopposed. Spokane County has two such winners. Mary Wissink got enough votes to go up against Timothy Fitzgerald in the fall for Spokane County clerk. Ziggy Siegfried picked up enough to challenge incumbent Jeff Holy for a 6th District state House seat.

Another look at some statements from McMorris Rodgers’ town hall

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers offered remarks Monday night at an annual town hall covering topics ranging from federal spending to climate policy. Here's a closer look at some of those statements, and the information that supports or rebuts them:

Statement: “Last January I had the honor of giving the Republican address after the president’s State of the Union … If you listened, I didn’t mention President Obama once. The reason was because I think, for so many  me included week after week hearing the division between Republicans and Democrats just attacking each other isn’t getting us where we want to be, and it creates a lot of frustration.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did not mention Barack Obama by name in her 10-minute long rebuttal his State of the Union address in January. However, she did mention the office nine times, though whether many of those could be counted as attacks on his policies is debatable. A sampling of her mentions:

“Tonight the President made more promises that sound good, but won’t solve the problems actually facing Americans. We want you to have a better life. The President wants that too.”

“The President talks a lot about income inequality. But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality… And with this Administration’s policies, that gap has become far too wide. We see this gap growing every single day.”

“Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder.”

Watch the entirety of her address below (video provided by The New York Times):

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

City Hall Scoop: Hoofing It

The gavel pounded not even 30 minutes into last night's Spokane City Council meeting, and Council President Ben Stuckart erupted at attendees for cheering and applauding. He called for a five-minute recess and warned the crowd that another “outburst” would send the rest of the meeting behind closed doors where no one would be allowed to testify.

The issue at hand: someone testifying in favor of repealing the controversial city ordinance passed last year that made it illegal to sit or lie on public sidewalks.

When he returned and the council was back in session, Stuckart said “the minute” the sit-lie law was passed, problems ceased downtown. Stuckart's right. Those problems, which reached a fever pitch last summer, have largely subsided, but activists find fault with law as a constitutional affront, not a safety measure.

Hafner: “only resolution to it will be to move the plaza”

Some of Spokane's political insiders are abuzz with an Inlander blog item reporting that former STA Chairman Chuck Hafner is refuting The Spokesman-Review's characterization of his comments regarding the future of the downtown transit plaza in Sunday's paper.

But here's a portion of the briefing last week that Hafner gave to the Spokane Valley City Council in which he expresses frustration over the inability to satisfy the complaints of downtown business interests and predicts that they will succeed in getting it moved, saying: “Mark my words … the only resolution to it will be to move the plaza.”

The full briefing can be found on the city of Spokane Valley's website.

Hafner, in an interview with the SR last week following the council briefing, said he hopes his prediction is wrong and explained that the STA board has spent years trying to appease downtown businesses — unsuccessfully — but that it's never good enough.

McMorris Rodgers challenges Pakootas to 3 debates

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers challenged Democratic opponent Joe Pakootas today to three debates this fall, including two in Spokane. Pakootas said he planned to counter with a proposal to do at least two more in other areas around the large congressional district. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

McMorris Rodgers mailer used photo without permission, friend says

A week after Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent a taxpayer-funded mailer with the wrong date for a public town hall meeting, residents in Liberty Lake are crying foul over another postcard they say used a woman's picture without her family's permission.

Tom Brattebo sent the following letter to the editor to the newspaper this weekend:

I'll add another view to the numerous letters regarding Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' recently sent (at taxpayer expense) “Senior Update.” The older woman in the picture was a friend of mine for over 35 years. She passed away in January of 2013. The picture was taken a few months prior. The lady was a retired school teacher and principal. She never wanted for medical care through her state retirement and Medicare programs. She did much to assist the less fortunate.

Permission was not solicited by the congresswoman's office for use of this photo. They had no knowledge that she had died.

And, I am married to a “Bette from Spokane.”

Brattebo said the woman, pictured below with the congresswoman, is 91-year-old Maxine Davidson. Brattebo and his wife, Bette (not that Bette), befriended Davidson, a longtime teacher and principal for Spokane Public Schools. A memorial scholarship bears her name at Eastern Washington University, according to an obituary published in the Spokesman-Review.

Maxine Davidson shakes Cathy McMorris Rodgers' hand in a picture on a mailer sent out this month.
Photo courtesy of Tom Brattebo.

Brattebo's wife retained power of attorney for the retired school teacher, he said. She died in January 2013, a few weeks after the photo was taken with the congresswoman used in the mailer. The couple was not contacted by McMorris Rodgers' office before the mailer was sent. They found out about its use when it arrived in their mailbox last week, Tom Brattebo said.

“It was upsetting,” Brattebo said. “She's been gone for a year and a half.”

Davidson enjoyed the photo and kept a print of it in her room at the nursing facility where she lived, Brattebo said. But based on his perception of Davidson's politics, it's unlikely the Brattebos would have OK'd the picture's use in the material sent by the GOP congresswoman, Tom Brattebo said. 

The Brattebos contacted McMorris Rodgers' office, who apologized for the image's use. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the photo was published due to a breakdown in office policy.

There was a breakdown in our standard approval process at the staff level for use of this particular photo. Going forward the office will work to make certain the approval process is enforced which means in order to use a photo appropriate permissions of those featured will be obtained.

-Statement from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office

McMorris Rodgers is scheduled to appear at an hour-long town hall meeting tonight at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. The event is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. She faces challenger Joe Pakootas, a Democrat, in the November general election for the 5th Congressional District seat in the U.S. Congress.

GOP control of Senate likely in 2015 unless. . .

Mapping the vote: Here's how the votes in the 6th District Senate Primary shape up. For a bigger view of those results, or to compare them with a hypothetical matchup from 2012 *, click on the documents below.

OLYMPIA – Republicans are in the driver’s seat to control the Washington Senate in 2015 unless Democrats can improve their showing in a handful of races like Spokane’s 6th District contest between incumbent Sen. Mike Baumgartner and challenger Rich Cowan.

Primary results from the Baumgartner-Cowan race aren’t as close as some other contests, but with relatively few competitive districts left after the 2011 redrawing of district boundaries it’s likely to get the most attention of any Senate election in Eastern Washington. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

*Baumgartner and Cowan didn't run against each other in 2012, but they were both on the ballot, running for federal office, against incumbent opponents and both lost in the 6th Legislative District. Just for the heck of it, we compared their vote totals from the Senate and House races with the primary vote totals. They are remarkably similar.


Documents:

Conservative Spokane councilman cited in liberal magazine

The recent conduct of police in Ferguson, Mo., has made many call into question the militarization of police departments, notably today by Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a potential presidential candidate come 2016. 

But more surprisingly, Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan, easily the most conservative member of the council, questions the trend in the pages of that liberal stalwart, Mother Jones:

“While the pace of police militarization has quickened, there has at least been some pushback from current and former police officials who see the trend for what it is: the destruction of community policing. In Spokane, Washington, Councilman Mike Fagan, a former police detective, is pushing back against police officers wearing BDUs, calling the get-up “intimidating” to citizens.”

So there you go. Mike “Mother Jones” Fagan strikes again.

Today’s fun video: Fallon sendup of House of Cards

 

Fans of “House of Cards” will probably love “House of Cue Cards.” People who haven't seen the former might not get some of the jokes, but Jimmy Fallon makes a surprisingly good Kevin Spacey.

Town hall date misprinted on McMorris Rodgers mailer

Staff for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said they realized too late their error in the published date for an upcoming Spokane town hall event on a mailer that hit the district last week.

A Cathy McMorris Rodgers mailer lists the wrong date for a town hall meeting

The glossy mailer lists the date of the event as Thursday, Aug. 18, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Center in north Spokane. But the 18th is a Monday, not a Thursday.

A spokeswoman confirmed the event will take place Monday, Aug. 18. The error was discovered after the mailers had been sent to the printer, the spokeswoman said, and a newsletter with the correct date was sent out electronically to digital subscribers of the congresswoman's emails.

McMorris Rodgers is expected to speak for an hour at the event Monday, which follows a strong showing in the four-person primary for the seat she's held since 2005. She last visited Spokane for a town hall a year ago, where many attendees wore their hearts on their sleeves.

Grain loading deal reached

Dock workers and a major grain company in Vancouver have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, clearing the way for smooth shipments of grain as the wheat harvest gets underway and removing a bone of contention between some legislative Republicans and Gov. Jay Inslee.

The AP report on the agreement can be found inside the blog. A bit of back story: In the midst of the labor dispute, United Grain imposed a lockout in February 2013 after saying a union worker had sabotaged company equipment. The longshoremen set up picket lines. Federal and state grain inspectors, who must check the wheat before it was shipped, were hesitant to cross the line. 

Last October, the Washington State Patrol began escorting inspectors into the facility, saying he hoped this would lead to a settlement. Last month Inslee said he was cancelling the escorts because no progress had been made, and he hoped the change would bring both sides back to the bargaining table and lead to an agreement.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed an ethics complaint in last July against Inslee with the Executive Ethics Board, contending the governor was failing to protect public employees and “using his office to unfairly benefit his political allies.” The board dropped the complaint last week, saying the governor's actions didn't appear to violate the state Ethics in Public Service Act and the board didn't have jurisdiction over the matter.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, welcomed the agreement, saying in a prepared statement he was “glad cooler heads prevailed and these two parties were able to reach an agreement.”

Inslee released a statement calling the agreement “outstanding news” and notified United Grain Company that state grain inspectors will resume inspections immediately. 

City Hall Scoop: Plazas and Trolleys

The Spokane Transit Authority is its own government entity, but it got a good going over at last night's Spokane City Council meeting.

Two items passed by the council dealt with public conveyance: a resolution supporting the $5.8 million renovation of the STA Plaza, the downtown hub for public transportation; and a resolution supporting a trolley-like electric bus connecting Browne's Addition to Spokane Community College.

Both items had supporters, and both items found an enemy in George McGrath, who speaks at almost every council meeting during almost every public testimony. 

Read more after the jump.

DNR: No burning, period, on state lands

OLYMPIA — The Department of Natural Resources has banned outdoor burning on all of the agency's lands, no exceptions, it said this morning.

The ban comes after a weekend which saw new wildfires in Ferry and Kittitas counties and the total amount of land with active fires go to more than 313,000 acres. The Carlton Complex is listed as more than 90 percent contained, but none of the state's six other active fires are more than 40 percent contained.

The ban includes campfires on DNR campgrounds, fireworks, sky lanterns, tracer ammunition. It's also advising that logging operations, land clearing, road and utility right-of-way maintenance by drastically curtailed because of the high fire danger.

Sunday Spin: A class in primary math

The weekend after the primary seems like a good time for a lesson in primary numbers, which is offered by the Poli Sci Department, not the Math Department.

Election Math 101 teaches us that the most important number is who has the most votes. But other numbers matter, particularly in a Washington state primary, which is brought to you by the number 2 – as in the top two vote-getters go to the general election, no matter what. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

McMorris Rodgers schedules Spokane town hall

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will hold a town hall meeting on Aug. 18 at Spokane's Lincoln Center.

Her congressional office said today the session is set for 5 to 6 p.m. at the center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.., and will provide an opportulinty for her to talk about work she's doing in Washington, D.C., and listen to constituents to “bring your thoughts and ideas to Congress.”

McMorris Rodgers also has scheduled a series of community meetings this month in other cities in Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District which she calls “conversations with Cathy.”  A list of dates and places for those meetings is inside the blog.

Today’s video: 40 years ago, Nixon called it quits

 

This may not be a date that ranks with Dec. 7, 1941 or Sept. 11, 2001, but some people might remember where they were when President Nixon announced he was resigning.

Bonus: Here's how The Spokesman-Review reported it the next morning. Note that the only “non-Nixon” feature on the front page is the “Expo Today” lineup.

Mapping the vote: County Commish race

As colleague Mike Prager reports in today's paper, Spokane County Commissioner Al French thinks he'll improve his vote totals in the fall as the election moves from his District 3 to the entire county.

French has a point that District 3 trends more Democratic than the other two counties based on the 2012 presidential election. But comparing the map of presidential vote to his run against two opponents — one Democrat and another an independent who was formerly a Democrat — and it would seem he had more than just a partisan headwind in the general.

The map above is available in more detail in the PDF file below. The other PDF file is the 2012 presidential results. Political geeks might enjoy comparing and opining whether they think French is right.

The 2012 map was made for that election. The primary map was made yesterday for the story analysis, but there wasn't room for it in the paper (It doesn't work as well small.) But there's always plenty of room on the Internet.


Documents:

New police precinct building raised questions of conflict when purchased

Yesterday, at a press conference to release his 2015 budget proposal, Spokane Mayor David Condon stood in front of a Hillyard warehouse that will soon be home to the city's second police precinct.

The idea is, by decentralizing the police force into a precinct model, police work will become more community-oriented and responsive to neighborhood concerns.

In our report in today's paper, we mentioned that the building was purchased in 2005 for $410,000 using seizure funds. We didn't mention that the sale almost a decade ago raised some eyebrows, which came to light this morning thanks to some additional sleuthing.

According to a story that ran on the front page of the March 16, 2005 edition of the Spokesman-Review, the police department bought the building from a retired Spokane police captain and the deal was brokered by a retired Spokane police chief.

The property was owned by Chuck Crabtree, who retired in 1981 as captain in charge of the department’s uniformed division. Former Assistant Police Chief John Sullivan was one of two real estate listing agents, and was reported to earn a share of the $24,600 commission on the sale.

Read the original story below.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here