Related Coverage, Page 3
Almost 100 people showed up for an urban farming open house on Tuesday evening at the downtown library. The meeting was the first action step following the local food conference in April, and it was opened by City Council President Ben Stuckart. “I’m in this because I want a goat,” Stuckart said, before he explained that the municipal code regulates what types of gardening and animal keep is allowed in residential areas.
It’s always such a drag coming back from vacation. Not only do I have to start thinking about committing some actual work, but there’s the chore of ridding my computer mailbox of the bazillion garbage emails that crawled in while I was off still not catching fish at the lake.
The battle at the ballot box briefly entered City Hall on Monday night, as supporters and opponents of Envision Spokane’s Bill of Rights squabbled over changes to the initiative process. The changes, which dealt primarily with swapping out the legal review of the city attorney for one earlier in the process by the city’s hearing examiner, were passed 6-1, with Councilman Mike Fagan opposing.
A housing plan on the east fringe of Spokane that has been dormant since the 1970s may soon get a jumpstart if tax subsidies for the 220-acre development are approved by city and county officials. The subsidies are part of a tax-increment financing plan to be considered by the Spokane City Council on Monday. The effort would allow construction of streets, sidewalks and water facilities, not just in the planned development of 1,500 residential units but also for the “light industrial” section of town bounded by Freya and Havana streets and Princeton and Broad avenues.
The state’s top civil liberties watchdog group is arguing that a proposed Spokane law doesn’t go far enough in requiring City Council approval before the city purchases surveillance equipment such as unmanned drones. In a letter to City Council members, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington said Thursday it supported the “overall intention” of the ordinance written by Council President Ben Stuckart, but that it “excluded from its scope some key pieces of surveillance equipment.”
Compare East Sprague Avenue with South Perry Street and someone’s bound to call you crazy. One is a dismal stretch of concrete and dilapidated storefronts located in a prime spot between the University District and the hospitals. The other is a walkable, tree-lined haven with trendy eateries – a shining example of what can happen when a neighborhood center does everything right.
For decades, riding a bike west on the Centennial Trail out of downtown Spokane entailed pedaling next to cars, waiting at red lights and navigating rutted roads. By the end of summer, that will be just a memory.
Before they’ve even taken to Spokane’s skies, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart wants to send drones a message: We’re watching you. An ordinance written by Stuckart would require City Council approval before any department purchases “certain surveillance equipment” such as unmanned drones. The ordinance would also require departments to establish protocols for the use of the equipment, as well as how data collected from the equipment would be stored and accessed.
On Monday, Mike Fagan passed around a list of anatomical definitions to members of the city’s Public Safety Committee, including fellow Spokane City Council members, the police chief and the police ombudsman. The words on the list – “perineum,” “areola” and “anal cleft” – were meant to help the committee understand Fagan’s latest ordinance, a push to crack down on so-called bikini baristas.
Call it a race for supremacy at City Hall. A tug of war between the mayor and City Council president. Just don’t call it boring.
Jon Snyder knows he’s in a fight for his political life. His two opponents in the race to represent Spokane City Council District 2, John Ahern and LaVerne Biel, are making sure he knows it. Two years after joining the council in 2009, Snyder watched two of his progressive compatriots fall to their more conservative opponents.
A legal review of citizen initiatives filed in Spokane has been proposed by city leaders as a way to bring “certainty, clarity and transparency” to a form of participatory democracy that Washingtonians helped usher into American politics more than 100 years ago. Standing side by side at City Hall, Spokane Mayor David Condon and Council President Ben Stuckart announced Wednesday they would work to amend the city’s initiative process by adding a “quasi-judicial” legal review of the initiatives by the city’s hearing examiner, a position currently held by Brian McGinn.
About 10 men openly carrying their firearms went to Spokane City Council Monday to show their support for gun rights. The council unanimously supported a firearm ordinance sponsored by Councilman Mike Fagan that he said “synced up” city code with state law. Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin was absent.
Perhaps lost in the recent debate about a proposed pedestrian bridge in Spokane’s University District is its massiveness. It wouldn’t be an inconspicuous walkway like the three pedestrian bridges over Interstate 90 east of downtown. Nor is it much like the quaint-by-comparison pedestrian suspension bridges in Riverfront Park.
Lay down your arms – at least when attending a Spokane Shock game or Bon Jovi concert. Spokane city leaders are considering changes to local ordinances that strengthen rules banning firearms in public assembly facilities, specifically the Convention Center, the INB Performing Arts Center, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and Joe Albi Stadium. Among other things, the ban clarifies that even handguns carried by individuals with concealed pistol permits are prohibited.
The push to strip civil service protections from managers is continuing at City Hall. Later this month, the Spokane City Council will consider a request from the Park Board to divide the Parks and Recreation Department into three departments.
The troubled candidacy of Mark Hamilton came to an end Friday. A Superior Court judge ruled that Hamilton failed to meet residency requirements for a Spokane City Council seat and prohibited his name from appearing on the general election ballot in November.