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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Joe Shogan

Hats on, hats off

Former Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan was well-known for his vigilance enforcing a ban on people wearing hats when testifying to City Council.

So any long-time observers of the City Council may have wondered if newly elected City Council President Ben Stuckart would be as strict, especially since Stuckart was extremely critical of Shogan's dealing with the public during his campaign.

The first test case was provided, not surprisingly, by Henry Valder, a frequent council attendee who often was ordered to remove a hat by Shogan. He approached the dias tonight with a hat on to speak about rules baring bottles and cans at Spokane Public Facilities District venues.

Stuckart didn't ask him to remove his hat.

But when Valder spoke a second time, on the council's appointment to the Spokane Airport Board, Stuckart ordered the hat removed.

After the meeting Stuckart said Assistant City Attorney Mike Piccolo leaned over and advised him to ask Valder to take off the hat.

He said he will clarify with Piccolo about the rules because it was not his intension to enforce a hat ban.

“I actually don’t have a problem with people wearing hats,” Stuckart said.

Spokane won’t consider raising parking ticket fines for six months

A plan to raise parking ticket fines at parking meters from $15 to $25 or $20 if paid within six days won't be decided until a new City Council is sworn into office.

Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan has pushed to raise the fee, arguing that Spokane's fines are low compared to many other cities of similar size. But the council has resisted and has said raising the fine is premature. Tonight, during the last meeting of the year, the council voted to push the decision on a fine increase to next summer.


The council voted for a delay after Councilman Jon Snyder said city employees believe that the costs associated with maintaining the city's parking system is more than revenue brought in from fines. However, he said, the city is making changes next year to save money. He argued that the council shouldn't vote on the plan until it's clear if current fines will cover costs.

Director of state GOP won’t follow Shogan’s call to resign

City Council President Joe Shogan reversed the order of this week’s council meeting to publicly call for the resignation of the executive director of the state Republican Party.

Four council members, Bob Apple, Steve Corker, Nancy McLaughlin and Richard Rush, walked off the dais in protest while Shogan spoke and the other two criticized him later for talking about campaign issues in the midst of a council meeting.

Shogan was responding to comments the executive director of the state GOP, Peter Graves, made last week to The Spokesman-Review when responding to questions about the party’s $25,000 donation late last month to the mayoral campaign of David Condon, who defeated incumbent Mary Verner this week.

Graves said the party decided to give to Condon to “take her (Mayor Mary Verner) out before she gets a chance at a free shot at a great congresswoman in the Fifth District.” Graves was referring to Condon’s former boss, Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and said that some had speculated that Verner might one day run for Congress.

Shogan called Graves a “coward” and his comments “reprehensible, repugnant and cowardly.”

“I and Mr. David Condon know the meaning of the last definition of taking somebody out ’cause I’ve been in combat and I know that meaning, and Mr. Condon has been in a combat support hospital, so he knows first hand what taking somebody out can mean,” said Shogan, a Vietnam veteran.

Today’s prediction: Fireworks ahead on ombudsman

This doesn't take a crystal ball or Karnak the Great: The city of Spokane and some of its citizens groups are headed for a heated fight over the current police ombudsman's ordinance.

The Center for Justice and others today are urging the city to appeal a recent arbitrator's decision that the expanded powers for the ombudsman had to be negotiated with the Police Guild. The council, meanwhile, is considering whether to repeal the 2010 ordinance that expanded those powers and go back to the previous configuration.

Read the full story about it here.

Marijuana legalization supporters interrupt Spokane council meeting

Tonight's Spokane City Council meeting was halted for about three minutes after a few protesters stood in the audience and initially refused to sit or leave the room.

The protesters were from Sensible Washington, a group that supports marijuana legalization. They stood during the annual report to the council from Police Ombudsman Tim Burns, prompting City Council President Joe Shogan to order them to sit or leave.

Rebeckah Aubertin, who said she is the Spokane recruiter for Sensible Washington, held two large signs. One read: “Stop funding dirty cops.” Another said: “Prohibition hurts family.”

When they refused to comply Shogan asked Police Detective Ben Estes to remove them and the meeting stopped.

Referring to the money the city spends for a police ombudsman's office, Aubertin told the crowd, “Fiscal responsibility would be nice, as well.”

Shogan responded: “I don't know what the hell you're talking about, lady, but that's fine.”

After talking with the protesters for a couple minutes, Estes persuaded them to leave and he escorted them outside the council chambers peacefully. About ten people from Sensible Washington stayed in the lobby of the chambers for most the rest of the meeting.

Tim Loe, who also was escorted from the meeting, said he was protesting because he has been repeatedly harassed by police as a result of his use of medical marijuana.

At one point during his negotiations with the protesters, Estes told Aubertin that signs were not permitted in the hearing.

Aubertin claimed that she wasn't holding protest signs: “These are art projects,” she said.

Shogan overheard the conversation.

“Yeah, and I'm Leonardo da Vinci,” he said.

Burns' report is available here.

Tax for streets overshadows talk of task force

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A) Jon Snyder: “You can’t just say, ‘We need the streets fixed! We need the streets fixed!’ and then vote against every single remedy that we have at our disposal”
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B) Steve Corker: “If the No. 1 priority of the city was public safety, would we have the courage to vote in a B&O (tax) to ensure that was funded?”
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C) Bob Apple: “I hope the voters take a negative act towards those who think that they don’t have a right to an input”
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D) Joe Shogan: “A B&O tax in this town has got about as much chance as an ice cube in hell”

Mayor Mary Verner told the Spokane City Council on Tuesday that she will reconvene a committee that will help form policy on paving streets and select opportunities to focus “complete streets” efforts.

For the most part, the city's 2004 street bond has been used only to reconstruct streets from curb-to-curb, a policy that has been challenged by some members of City Council who believe it should also be used to improve sidewalks and make other upgrades. Verner has stood by the curb-to-curb use of the street bond, but has worked to supplement that money with grants and other funds to add amenities on certain projects.

Talk in Tuesday's meeting often turned to funding, specifically on the proposed tab tax that will be considered by the Spokane City Council next month. As you can hear in the above clips, passion among the council members about streets is high.

Snyder booted from STA board

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Shogan and Snyder face off on budget

Even without newly elected officials on the Spokane City Council, power appears to be shifting in the New Year.

One year after the council removed Nancy McLaughlin from the board overseeing the Spokane Transit Authority, the Spokane City Council voted to reappoint McLaughlin — the council's only self-described conservative — to the seat. The move booted Councilman Jon Snyder from the position.

City Council President Shogan, who proposed the change, said reappointing McLaughlin to the seat is “strictly a matter of representation.”

The city has three seats on the STA board. Spokane's other two members are Amber Waldref, who represents Northeast Spokane and Richard Rush, who represents South Spokane. Snyder also serves South Spokane. Shogan said he supported the change because the city should have an STA representative from Northwest Spokane.

Waldref, who along with Rush and Snyder voted against McLaughlin's appointment, noted that having representatives from each council district is not a requirement and isn't routine for other boards on which council members sit.

Asked why he supported adding McLaughlin back to the transit board after he supported her removal from it last year, Shogan said that last year he “had a different concern.”

He declined to explain what that concern was.

Shogan and Snyder have had a few contentious debates in the last couple months. Shogan led the effort to create a tab tax - a proposal that failed later on Monday largely because Snyder voted against it. But the most public and ugly argument between the two was over the proposal to defund a vacant deptuy fire chief position (audio of that debate from Dec. 20 is above).

Listen to Shogan’s sharp words for his City Council colleagues

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Shogan defends tab tax

Council President Joe Shogan took the lead this year on the plan to create a vehicle tab tax while others on Spokane City Council examined other ideas — including a parking lot tax. Shogan’s plan is pretty much the only tax left that might be used to help balance the 2011 budget. But it’s facing growing opposition on the council.

Three council members were especially angered by the surprise vote to move $1.5 million of street money to the city’s rainy-day fund where it could be used to help fund the fire and police budgets. That proposal wasn’t publicly vetted until Monday, just before the money was shifted in a 4-3 vote. In the audio clip, Rush is explaining that that vote makes it highly unlikely that he would support a tab tax for the 2011 budget. That, along with arguments from Corker in favor of moving a tab tax vote to January, prompted Shogan’s harsh response.

More cuts in street department may mean extra city layoffs

Spokane’s 2011 street budget was slashed by $1.5 million on Monday in a move that may mean extra city layoffs.

The Spokane City Council voted 4-3 on Monday to shift $1.5 million in street money to the city’s rainy-day fund where it could be used to reward departments with unions that made requested concessions.

City Councilman Steve Corker suggested the cut to help cover the cost of maintaining police and fire jobs. The city’s fire union recently ratified concessions that will save the city about $700,000 next year. But to save all the jobs called for in the agreement, the city needs closer to $1.4 million. A similar situation will occur in the Police Department if a tentative deal with the Spokane Police Guild is approved by members this week.

The union that represents Street Department workers, Local 270 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, hasn’t made the concessions asked for by Mayor Mary Verner. Council members said they wouldn’t have targeted the street budget had the union cut a deal.

Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said she is “disappointed” that Local 270 had not made concessions.

“The concept is we have to be as fair as possible to not reward those who are not coming to the plate,” McLaughlin said. “It’s appropriate to now look at the areas where our hands are being forced.”

Spokane takes step closer to vehicle tab tax

Spokane City Council members on Monday decided to give themselves new taxing authority.

The council voted 5-2 to create a “Transportation Benefit District.” The decision means the council will have the ability to enact a vehicle tab tax up to $20. Higher tab taxes would require public votes.

The decision did not enact any tax. Council members said they likely will hold a hearing on a proposed fee as early as November.

While the money raised would have to be spent on street and transportation projects, the law allows the city to divert other revenue currently spent on streets.

Council members Bob Apple and Nancy McLaughlin voted against the proposal. Council members said they likely will dissolve the district if the county forms a regional district at a later date. Apple said any fee should go on a ballot.

Here’s the audio for Shogan’s exchange with Richard

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Shogan & Richard clash at City Council

Read about the exchange here.

Joe Shogan and Mark Richard’s tense exchange raises more questions on cooperation

There’s been a lot of talk about regional cooperation from local leaders this year, but recent incidents spotlight continued tensions between the city of Spokane and Spokane County.

Last week, county officials expressed frustration that the city had decided to explore the possibility of opening its own jail after the county has spent nearly four years planning to open county facility. Despite that friction, Mayor Mary Verner and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich were able to agree enough by the end of the week to make a joint statement that they would continue to work together.

A Monday night confrontation between Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Spokane County Commission Chairman Mark Richard may be harder to patch.

Richard had come to the City Council to ask the city to join a board that will determine how to spend money aimed at preventing homelessness. Richard said Spokane was the only local government that had not yet agreed to join. Verner and the city’s Human Services Advisory Board had advised the council to use a city-run process to decide how to spend the city’s portion of the homelessness money, which is raised by fees on recording at the county auditor’s office.

Richard addressed the council a few times and got up to speak to a point made by city staff when Shogan demanded that he sit down. Richard paused and remained standing for several seconds, before walking out.

To read the transcript, continue on ….

Shogan says his colleagues’ appearance on radio show is “upsetting”

Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan e-mailed his colleagues on the council this week to clarify his opinion about a radio show hosted by a man accused of threatening him.

In an article in The Spokesman-Review over the weekend, Shogan said he was OK with other council members appearing on the show, which is hosted by David Elton.

“OK meant I have no control over their actions, but it’s upsetting to me and my family that they went on (Elton’s) show,” Shogan said in an interview on Monday.

Elton hosts a weekly show on KTRW 630 AM. He said last week that he pays the station for the right to host the program.

Guests who have appeared so far include City Council members Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Corker, County Commissioner Mark Richard, county commission candidate Steve Salvatori and county prosecuting attorney candidate Dave Stevens.

Asked late last month about council members’ participation on the show, Shogan said: “They’re adults. They decide what they do,” Shogan said. “The problems I have are with David Elton. They’re not with the rest of the council.”


Unanimous praise for French, even from his ardent opponents

Monday’s City Council meeting was the last with Al French as a member.

French is finished with his second term representing northeast Spokane. Term limits prevented him from running again, but he has announced his candidacy for the Spokane County Commission.

Hell has little fury

Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan’s threat to “bring hell” didn’t stop the council — or even himself — from approving on Monday new rules governing the body.

The lone opposition belonged to Councilman Richard Rush, who expressed concern that the final version was rushed.

The rules, many routine, had been under consideration for almost a year, but they were put under the spotlight earlier this month when the council scheduled a meeting held when Shogan was out of town to set a time to vote on the rules.

Fireworks alert: Council up to something?

The Spokane City Council has a special meeting this afternoon to discuss a change in rules that would strip the council president of some authority.

It will come up while Council President Joe Shogan is out of town, and Councilman Al French is sitting in as council president pro tem.

The changes are described as a revision of Rules of Procedure, which the overview describes as a way “to provide greater clarity and consistency.”

But there are also some additions, such as rules governing legislative assistants, which the council now has. Each assistant will be hired and fired at the sole discretion of the individual council member, the proposal suggests.

Seems there is a tempest brewing over the one legislative assistant shared by French and Councilman Steve Corker, who worked more hours than allowed under an agreement between the city and the employees unions. Almost 300 hours more in the last year, according to memos.

Today’s meeting is primarily to put the proposal on an upcoming council session agenda.

In any case, Shogan will be attending the meeting via phone. He predicted some fireworks ahead.

Backup plan: Stick fingers in ears. Shout la-la-la-la

Tea Party organizations in Spokane and North Idaho had rallies last week on Constitution Day - the first day of Constitution Week - to air their displeasure with government.

OK, so some group is always unhappy with government, it’s the American way.

But sometimes, government does its best to fan the flames. Take last Monday when City Council President Joe Shogan introduced the Public Forum with an explanation of procedures to an audience that included newcomers who had come to complain about an apparent crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries.

They had the right to talk, Shogan said. But members of the council aren’t obligated to listen, and may not listen at all or even consider what speakers say. How’s that for instilling warm feelings about one’s elected officials?

Eugster v. Shogan on the charter change

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Eugster v. Shogan, take 1
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Eugster v. Shogan, take 2

Monday night’s Spokane City Council meeting had plenty of discussion about Envision Spokane’s proposed “Spokane Bill of Rights.”

Colleague Jonathan Brunt captured these two exchanges between former Councilman and current candidate Steve Eugster and Council President Joe Shogan. in the first, Eugster is saying he’s going on for just a bit longer…he actually went about 8 more minutes, but who’s counting?…and the second occurs right before the council takes a break in the action.

One thing about this ballot measure, it does get people excited. And it isn’t even definitely on the ballot, yet.

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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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