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Public Periscope

Why a second opinion is so important

Spokane City Councilman Orville Barnes showed up at the Airport Ramada Inn for the council’s two-day retreat suffering from horrible stomach pains. Councilwomen Bev Numbers and Phyllis Holmes tried to be helpful, showing him ways to relieve gas pains by rolling on the floor … Hours later, Barnes was at Valley Hospital and Medical Center recovering from an emergency appendectomy. Monday, he was back in his council seat, apologizing for feeling so good … Said Barnes: “I bet you didn’t realize I’d go that far to get out of the retreat.”

Talk about short memories

See if you can follow this: The City Council listed “empowering neighborhoods” as its top priority during its weekend retreat. On Monday, it gave Gonzaga University the OK to vacate a street in the Logan neighborhood - over the objections of residents.

We recognize him. That’s umm, umm …

County Commissioner Steve Hasson made an impromptu visit to a recent City Council briefing, hoping to dissuade the members from anything that could slow Valley incorporation. Much to his dismay, the council didn’t announce him or even give him a chance to speak until he had made a fuss. … How torqued was Hasson? Listen: “It’s a courtesy always extended. Public officials always recognize other public officials, ask them to come and sit at the table. We expect to be recognized.” … Council critics might suggest Hasson’s just another one of the council’s satisfied customers.

In case you wondered

Spokane County freeholders have it on the record that when one of them speaks to a reporter, he or she speaks only for himself or herself, not the group. They passed a resolution to that effect last week. … That’s to make it clear to all the politically challenged persons who think Sen. Bob Dole speaks for Sen. Ted Kennedy because they’re both in the U.S. Senate or that Chris Anderson speaks for Bev Numbers because they both are on the City Council.

What do the peacemakers inherit?

Speaking of the freeholders’ meeting, it had its ugly moments, with some members accusing others of back-room deals and manipulation. … Rising above the fray were Chairwoman Judi Williams, who quietly and apologetically acknowledged some complaints are valid, and Vern Ziegler. His defense of the majority was so eloquent that freeholder Mike Senske said he was moved “almost to tears.”

Bon voyage

Frank McCoy is retiring March 3 after 22 years with the city Parks and Recreation Department - more than 15 as director. He and his wife have bought a 42-foot sailboat and plan to cruise the world. … The McCoys plan their first cruise to Alaska, then will head south to Mexico. They could be gone between three months and 10 years, he said.

A new meaning to road shows

County commissioners will try new things this year. On a regular basis after their Tuesday night meetings, they will have an open-microphone session for residents to speak their minds. They also may have some meetings away from the courthouse. Cheney, the Spokane Valley and Deer Park are possible sites.

Don’t tread on me

Two new plaques were installed with a tough epoxy in Riverfront Park recently, but park manager Hal McGlathery said that if light-fingered landscape artists want one, they’ll probably find a way to take it. … Two brass plaques secured with epoxy and bolts disappeared from Canada Island more than 10 years ago, he said. One still is missing; the other turned up last year in Olympia, where it was serving as a backyard steppingstone. … Olympia police confiscated the plaque after an anonymous caller gave McGlathery the offender’s address. It was remounted under the island’s twin flagpoles last spring.

Q & A

Every time I’ve come downtown lately, I start to pull into an open parking space, only to find it has a bag on the meter but no car in the space. Can I park in that space or does the owner of the bag have the right to reserve it by bagging the meter and driving off?

The bags - which repair crews lease from the city for $80 a year - can be left on a meter to reserve that space, said Bruce Steele, director of the city’s Transportation Department. The theory is that a repairman might need to come and go to get supplies to complete the job and should have access to the building. The bag’s owner is supposed to park at a meter with at least a one-hour clock and call the city if the meter will be bagged for more than a half hour. A driver who parks in a space with someone else’s bag is subject to a $20 ticket, Steele said.


The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by Jim Camden from staff reports

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