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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Greater Spokane Inc.

Sunday Spin: Spokane delegation makes its annual trek west

OLYMPIA – A delegation of more than 80 Spokane-area folks arrived here last week with their annual “agenda” – some might call it a wish list – of things the Legislature could do to make life better for the state in general and the center of the Inland Empire in particular.

This annual trek to the capital sponsored by Greater Spokane, Inc., herds well-briefed leaders of business, political, education and civic groups through the marbled rooms and committee rooms and is the envy of many other cities and counties around Washington. It has prompted the sincerest form of flattery, imitation, from other communities but many legislators still say Spokane’s full-court press lobbying remains the best.

At least that’s what some tell members of the Spokane throng. Others offer recollections of their last visit to the city or Spokane Valley, or some other anecdote to show they are all paisans. . . 

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

Prospects poor for highway package, GSI group told

OLYMPIA – Don't get your hopes up for new money to finish the North-South Freeway, a group of business, civic and political leaders from Spokane was told Wednesday.

The chances the Legislature will pass a package of big road projects paid by a gasoline tax are almost non-existent.

Some legislators blamed politics or the lack of support among Republican legislators from the Spokane area. Others blamed problems at the state Transportation Department. Some said a package can't make it out of the Legislature during the current abbreviated session. Others said any package that did would surely wind up on the ballot, where voters would reject it.

Together, they painted a bleak outlook for one of the top items – and by far the most expensive – on the Greater Spokane Inc. 2014 agenda as more than 80 local leaders arrived in Olympia for their annual three-day lobbying session. .  .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog. 

Two forms of ID, please

WASHINGTON — A change in Pentagon security procedures almost derailed Spokane's most recent formal pitch for new refueling tankers to land at Fairchild Air Force Base.

A group of city business and political leaders were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with lawmakers and bureaucratic bigwigs to lobby for several pet projects. Chief among those was ensuring the new KC-46A tanker aircraft, rolling off Boeing production lines in Everett, would wind up in Fairchild's hangars.

But several members of the group, including Mayor David Condon and Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Rich Hadley, found themselves on the curb looking in when Pentagon security required two forms of identification to enter the building…  

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

Spokane and others make pitch for STEM money

WASHINGTON — A group of education and industry professionals from Washington state offered U.S. lawmakers their suggestions to promote science, technology, education and math instruction Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

The meeting, co-hosted by Washington STEM, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sen. Patty Murray, focused on the skills gap that exists in the four disciplines between graduates and industries. The panel included representatives from Microsoft, Highline School District south of Seattle and Greater Spokane Incorporated President Rich Hadley.

Washington state ranks first in the nation in STEM jobs per capita. However, it ranks 46th in advanced degrees earned by students in those fields.

Hadley stressed the need to align class offerings in early and secondary education with the demands of the modern workforce. He said health care training was key in the Spokane area.

“The life science industry in Spokane is probably the largest benefactor of increased STEM training,” Hadley said. He pointed to several biomedical programs at Spokane Public Schools as successes of STEM-targeted instruction in eastern Washington.

Sen. Maria Cantwell addressed the panel, calling for compulsory computer science education in secondary curricula and expressing her interest in an immigration proposal that would channel fees from skilled worker visa applications to domestic STEM education funding.

WA Lege Day 11: Spokane folks making the rounds

OLYMPIA — More than 80 people from the Spokane area — business leaders, public officials, health care professionals — are getting face time with state officials today.

It's part of the Greater Spokane Inc. annual “flyover”, a lobbying blitz for local issues. In some recent years, they've been looking for support on big projects, like the new med school at Riverpoint. This year, there's no huge “get”, although they do need about $5 million in operating funds for the new school.

They're getting briefings on health care reform, transportation projects and education. This afternoon they meet with what's being called the “six corners” — Gov. Jay Inslee, a leader from House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom.

In the days before the Senate was run by a coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, a standard leadership meeting was known as five corners. In other words, leadership in Olympia is now a hexagon, rather than a pentagon.

Inslee has a press conference at 11:30 a.m., which will be carried live on TVW. Republican leaders and Tom have a press conference at 12:30 p.m., at which they will likely be asked to respond to things Inslee says.

The Spokane delegation caps off their day with an evening reception at the Governor's Mansion, and apparently with nightcaps at their hotel, if yesterday's Q and A session with Inslee's policy director Ted Sturdevant is any indication.

There's also a full day of committee hearings, covering everything from wholesale liquor sales to subversive activities to ballot design. A complete list of  hearings is inside the blog. 

Sunday Spin: Get ready for Round 2 on Bill of Rights

Conspicuous by their absence last Monday were leaders of Greater Spokane Inc., when the City Council voted to place the latest version of a Community Bill of Rights before voters.
That shouldn’t be taken as a sign the business community is okey-dokey with the ballot measure.
The council had no choice in the matter, as some members made clear. Envision Spokane gathered the necessary signatures to put a charter change on the ballot, and that, pretty much, was that.
Two years ago, there was a bit more in play. . .

WA Lege Day 17: Spokane comes to Oly

OLYMPIA — State legislators won't spend much time on “the floor” today, but  have a full slate of hearings on everything from foreclosures to college efficiencies to smoking in cars with kids.

Meanwhile, members of the Greater Spokane Inc. delegation is scheduled to hit town around noon, where they will meet with key legislators on health care, transportation and spending issues over the next two and a half days.

What do they want most? Some movement forward on a medical school in Spokane. What are their chances? Remains to be seen. But they'll have a chance to lobby legislative leaders and the governor at various points.

Republican leaders have their weekly press conference at noon.

Among the bills up for committee discussion this afternoon is SB 5016, which would allow law enforcemenet officers to ticket anyone for smoking in a car with a person under 18. It would be a secondary infraction, meaning that police couldn't stop you just for smoking with kids in the car. It's up for discussion in the Senate Transportation Committee at 3:30 p.m.

The Senate Higher Education Committee is looking at SB 5107, which would consolidate all the boards of regents for the state universities and colleges, and make one Board of Regents of 19 people for all baccalaureate granting public schools. It would abolish the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the governor's Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board and the Council of Presidents.

Commissioner’s forum cancelled

If you were planning to get up early to catch a candidate forum between Bonnie Mager and Al French on Tuesday morning, you can sleep in.

The Greater Spokane Inc., which was sponsoring the forum at Family Home Care in Liberty Lake, said today that forum is cancelled. Mager had to bow out because of a family obligation, GSI said.

Lege to Spokane group: Don’t get yer hopes up

OLYMPIA – A Spokane-area delegation on its annual pilgrimage to the state capital got a consistently downbeat message this week: Don’t expect money for new programs or projects.

“The message is being reinforced: There is no money,” Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said. It’s a message that comes as no surprise, but may good for some people to hear it repeated, she said..

With Washington state’s well-publicized budget woes, the message was expected, said Rich Hadley, president of the Greater Spokane Inc. which organized the trip.

“We’re trying to protect (what we have), to prevent damage from being done,” Hadley said during a break between presentations from leaders of both parties and both legislative houses.

Anti I-1033 forum Thursday a.m.

City and county elected officials will discuss the potential impact of I-1033 at a forum Thursday morning sponsored by Greater Spokane Inc. It starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Service Station, 9315 N. Nevada; tickets are $20.


On the agenda are Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson, Airway Heights Mayor Matthew Pederson and all three county commissioners.


The impacts they predict will most likely be bad. There’s no pro I-1033 people on the program, although it’s almost certain that sponsor Tim Eyman will have some rejoinder afterwards.

Push to save Shriners

Politicians and local business persons are gathering Thursday morning in an effort to convince the Shiners to keep their Spokane hospital open.

It will be bipartisan, with Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, in front of the hospital building on the lower South Hill. They’ll be joined by members of Greater Spokane Inc., which put out a “Save Shriners” announcement Wednesday.

Press conference is 4:30 p.m. Thursday, 5th and Lincoln.

Popping in at the Pentagon

Greater Spokane Inc. is on its annual “mission to Washington, D.C.” where it will have a first-ever audience with the two top Air Force honchos, AF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and AF Secretary Michael Donley.

The mission is a yearly opportunity for local government and business types — many of whom deplore federal spending and the size of the federal deficit — to lobby members of Congress for some money for programs in the Inland Northwest. One of the things they desperately want is for the Air Force to build a new aerial refueling tanker to replace the KC-135 … and stick the first couple dozen of them at Fairchild Air Force base.

They’ll get no argument from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who will be escorting them to the Pentagon, her staff reports in a press release. The Eastern Washington Republican notes that Fairchild crews are flying tankers that are more than 50 years old and “we wouldn’t get on a passenger plane that old. Our military shouldn’t have to rely on planes that old, either.”

Or, as GSI President Rich Hadley put it: “We thought about driving a ‘57 Ford to D.C. to make the point that the KC-135 refueling tankers must be replaced and that Fairchild AFB is ready to be the first operational base to accept them.”

Which suggests a number of questions…

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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.

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