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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mayor

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Condon announces mayoral bid

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Verner seeks rule change to overlook lowest bidder for contracts

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has shifted her position on new rules allowing the city to overlook the lowest bidder for city contracts when companies have poor records following the law. Verner opted not to sign the ordinance, which was approved on a 5-2 vote on April 4. The absence of her signature doesn’t constitute a veto, which could have been overridden, and the rules will become law.

Bargaining support on agenda for Spokane City Council

With the possibility of new rounds of negotiations in which city leaders could ask for more wage and benefit concessions, the Spokane City Council may give its union employees a pat on the back. The council on Monday will consider a nonbinding resolution stating that the city supports collective bargaining for its workers.

Sixth annual Komen race has Spokane awash in pink

About 9,000 people painted downtown Spokane pink Sunday in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Now in its sixth year, the event will raise roughly $500,000. Seventy-five percent of the money will be distributed to breast cancer awareness programs or mammography testing in Eastern Washington. The other 25 percent goes to the national Susan G. Komen for The Cure Foundation, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

City of Spokane short $6.6 million in ’12

For the fourth straight year, Spokane leaders are forecasting a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the next annual budget. The city predicts a $6.6 million gap between expected revenues and expenses in the city’s 2012 general fund budget, Budget Director Tim Dunivant said in a briefing Wednesday to the Spokane City Council. The general fund pays for fire, police, parks, library and other services funded mostly by tax collections.

Rally to feature NAACP leader

The head of the nation’s largest civil rights organization will lead a march in Spokane on Sunday to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was killed April 4, 1968. Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will speak at the Demand Justice and Promote Peace event, which will include a march from the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena to Riverfront Park.

Lights out around the world honor Earth Hour

For an hour Saturday, millions of people and thousands of businesses around the world shut off their lights in recognition of Earth Hour. Landmarks around the world went dark for the hour: the Space Needle, Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building and more. The lights at one Spokane landmark, the Riverfront Park Pavilion, were shut off for the hour, which began at 8:30 p.m.

Owners, law agencies disagree on legality of pot dispensaries

Marijuana advocates say Spokane has quickly earned a new nickname: Spokansterdam, a nod to the Dutch city where the sale and use of marijuana is legal.

‘Community Bill of Rights’ group launches new proposal

A group that sponsored a ballot proposal that was thoroughly rejected by Spokane voters in 2009 says it hopes to offer voters a shorter list of requests this year. Gone from Envision Spokane’s new “Community Bill of Rights” are stipulations for the city of Spokane to guarantee its residents affordable preventive health care, affordable housing, affordable and renewable energy and regulations on local banks.

Editorial: Overpaying fire districts doesn’t serve taxpayers

When a significant West Plains annexation agreement was reached a year and a half ago, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner hailed it as a sign of improved intergovernmental cooperation. Indeed, the major local entities involved – Spokane, Airway Heights and Spokane County – appeared to strike a deal with less than the usual acrimony that happens when tax bases are juggled. So, at the end of this year, 10 square miles that includes Spokane International Airport will become part of Spokane, the city’s largest annexation in a century. Spokane also will gain some commercially developing property along U.S. Highway 2, and Airway Heights will expand by half a square mile. Spokane County, on the other hand, will lose both area and revenue, but it’s all consistent with the state’s Growth Management Act, which expects incorporated cities to absorb adjacent land that’s needed for the next 20 years’ development.

Commissioner French touts fiscal health of Spokane County

The state of Spokane County isn’t as bad as it might have been and things are looking up, county commission Chairman Al French said Friday. French told some 215 business and civic leaders that Spokane County finished 2010 in better financial condition than other counties in the state and the nation.

Mobile home will help fire department serve West Plains

Spokane’s first fire station on the West Plains won’t be the usual classy brick structure typical of the city’s other 14 stations. It will be a double-wide mobile home.

Lab analyst running for mayor

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has her first official opponent in this year’s mayoral race. Christopher W. Fenton, 32, filed paperwork last month announcing his intention to run for the city’s highest office, becoming the first potential challenger eligible to begin accepting campaign contributions.

For leaders, fire district idea gaining economic appeal

Spokane leaders have a new idea for solving their budget woes: Give up the Spokane Fire Department. Mayor Mary Verner has formed a committee to study the creation of a fire district to replace the fire department, which has served the city since 1884. The district would mirror the city’s borders and have its own taxing authority and governing board.

Mayor promises to change business permitting process

Mayor Mary Verner is promising to change the city’s permitting process in a new initiative unveiled last week in her State of the City address last week. Business concerns over permitting were highlighted last year after the owners of a bed and breakfast in the West Central Neighborhood said they were forced to close because the city’s “change of use” process became a nightmare of miscommunication and bureaucracy. City officials said they were simply following fire code and other laws but acknowledged a need to streamline the process.

Council approves tab tax

The Spokane City Council on Monday approved one new tax and delayed a decision on another. The council voted 4-3 for a $20-a-year tax on vehicles registered in Spokane, capping months of debate and reversing its 4-3 vote opposing the tax last month.