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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mayor

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Panel won’t overturn decision on police ombudsman’s powers

Efforts to expand the Spokane police ombudsman’s authority to conduct independent investigations into alleged officer misconduct have suffered another blow. The state Public Employment Relations Commission has not only rejected a request from the City Council to consider overturning an arbitrator’s decision blocking the expansion; it sent a letter highly critical of Spokane’s legal strategy, noting it was the city that opted for arbitration rather than a commission review.

Mayor’s FAQs on Zehm case short on real answers, again

It is sad that the Otto Zehm case is becoming a political spectacle. Sad, and absolutely appropriate. Because it’s hard to see what else – apart from insistent public pressure and repeated uncomfortable questions – might lead to an actual public accounting of how the leadership has led.

Mayor promises review of Zehm case

A hastily arranged briefing by Spokane Mayor Mary Verner on Friday announcing her desire for a complete internal and external review of the Otto Zehm controversy turned into a platform for Councilman Bob Apple to denounce what he called the city’s history of “sweeping incidents under the rug.” Apple, who was not invited to Verner’s announcement, said he agrees with Verner’s idea but believes it has come years too late.

Mayor promises ‘thorough’ review of Otto Zehm case

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner announced this morning that a “thorough internal and external review” of the five-year-old death of Otto Zehm would start when the legal cases are finished.

White House nominates Verner for board post

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Condon calls Zehm case “indictment” on city government

Spokane mayoral challenger David Condon today called the city’s handling of the Otto Zehm case “an indictment” on city government, and called for greater police oversight as well as at least one dismissal from the city attorney’s office.

Feds sought meetings with city leaders on Zehm case in 2009

U.S. Department of Justice officials two years ago had significant enough “ethical concerns” with the city of Spokane’s legal department that they asked to meet with Mayor Mary Verner, police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and City Council President Joe Shogan. But none of the three ever responded, and it’s unclear whether City Attorney Howard Delaney even informed them of the request that an assistant U.S. attorney labeled “urgent.”

Mayor, community dedicate new Garry park monument

About 200 people showed up at Chief Garry Park on Wednesday for the dedication of a memorial inspired by the park’s namesake, revered Spokane tribal leader Spokane Garry, who died in 1892. The Gathering Place monument, incorporating several Spokane tribal themes, replaces a deteriorating concrete statue of Chief Garry, which was removed in 2008, and the short-lived appearance of a totem pole favored by coastal tribes.

Timeline of events in Otto Zehm case

• March 18, 2006: Otto Zehm, 36, a mentally ill and unemployed janitor, is beaten, Tasered and hogtied inside a Zip Trip convenience store by seven Spokane police officers after being wrongly identified as a suspect in a possible theft. Acting police Chief Jim Nicks says Zehm was combative and “lunged” at the first officer on the scene, Karl Thompson, forcing the use of defensive tactics. Officers say Zehm has a prior arrest for assaulting a police officer. • March 20, 2006: Zehm dies at Deaconess Medical Center. Police acknowledge that the potential theft report that led to the confrontation was unfounded.

Verner’s winning margin unrivaled for sitting mayor

In Spokane, where voters routinely chew up and spit out their chief elected officials after one term, Mayor Mary Verner’s primary win Tuesday was rare. But to finish with nearly twice as many votes as her closest opponent, David Condon, is unprecedented. It’s a story best told by numbers.

Doug Clark: Mayor race yields losers, worse losers

The primary is past tense. The shocking election results are (mostly) in. In capturing a whopping 59.9 percent of the vote Tuesday night, incumbent Mary Verner is making the most serious run at becoming the city’s first two-term mayor since way back when FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover showed up to work in a red satin prom dress.

Verner beat the field in most precincts

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David Condon is no Jim West

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Verner takes commanding lead in re-election bid

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner took a commanding lead in early results Tuesday, capturing 16,290 of the ballots cast. Challenger David Condon laid claim to the second spot in the five-way primary with 8,515 votes.

Verner vows to seek resolution in Zehm civil suit

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner announced today that she is seeking “all courses of action” to end the civil case surrounding the fatal 2006 confrontation between Spokane police and mentally ill janitor Otto Zehm.

Councilwoman wants Prop 1 advisories on November ballot

Spokane voters could get a hint from the Spokane City Council when deciding the fate of a citizens initiative on the November ballot. The City Council will consider on Monday the addition of two nonbinding questions for the November election. The two proposals would ask voters how the council should respond to Envision Spokane’s Community Bill of Rights if it’s approved: raise taxes or cut services.