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In the most shocking breakup since Kermit and Miss Piggy, Spokane Mayor David Condon has given the boot to Frank Straub, the same guy Condon handpicked for police chief over sound advice, logic and reason. Three years ago the mayor told us Straub was the best thing since sliced brisket.
Former Police Chief Frank Straub described his management style as direct, honest and blunt, but denied Wednesday that he had been abusive or obscene while managing sometimes difficult changes in the Spokane Police Department.
Randy Hastings’ drive to work takes him to the east side of Spokane, over the dirt roads of Hillyard to the forgotten part of town where he’s kept his business – R&R Heating and Air Conditioning – since 1987. He drives past empty lots, decrepit homes, a trailer park, warehouses, laboratories and large grocery store distribution complexes. The roads shift from paved to graveled, new to old, from being bordered by sidewalks and landscaping to a fuzzy edge of overgrown weeds. Standing outside the empty building his business outgrew a decade ago, but which he still owns and leases out, Hastings points to a fire hydrant the city made him pay for, next to a road he has unsuccessfully asked the city to build for years, and at a house he’s pretty sure is a drug front.
After overwhelming support from voters in this summer’s primary election, the citizen board charged with setting the Spokane mayor’s pay is seeking applicants to fill its ranks. The city of Spokane’s five-member Salary Review Commission is short one member and seeking applicants who live in the City Council’s District 2, which covers southern Spokane.
With about two months until Election Day, the elephant in the room is the mayor’s money. Mayor David Condon has outstacked the fat stacks he put together four years ago, raising $345,000 as of the most recent filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission. That’s more than he raised four years ago, when he held a 2.5-to-1 fundraising edge over incumbent Mary Verner. It’s more than any candidate for city office in the state has pulled together this year, and it’s more than anyone running to be Spokane’s strong mayor has ever raised.
Several hundred people gathered Friday morning – the anniversary of 9/11 – to break ground on a new memorial honoring post-9/11 service members who died in the line of duty. The memorial at the southeast plaza of Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena will join other veteran monuments previously erected there.
More than two years after the Community Bill of Rights was blocked from the ballot by a Superior Court judge, the Washington state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case this week, starting a 30-day countdown for both sides to prepare their arguments.
Mayoral candidate Shar Lichty is taking aim at Mayor David Condon for what she says is a failure to provide independent police oversight in Spokane.
Calling the upcoming year “pivotal” in its large funding outlays toward street work, renovating Riverfront Park and the continued effort to stop pollutants from entering the Spokane River, Spokane Mayor David Condon released his 2016 budget proposal Monday, sticking to budget principles he’s maintained since writing his first spending plan. Condon also released a capital budget plan beside the proposed operational budget. The capital budget identifies what public facilities need to be built or maintained over the next six years. The city has identified $877 million in spending for capital needs through 2021.
SUVs will continue to respond to some medical emergencies in Spokane, according to an agreement announced Monday between the city and the firefighters union. The agreement follows a vote by the City Council last month that required the Alternative Response Units to be staffed by two people instead of one. Before the vote and the program’s temporary suspension in May, the vehicles were staffed by just one person.
As Spokane’s aging firefighters head toward retirement, and the amount of overtime pay the department consumes rattles the Spokane City Council, Chief Bobby Williams and Mayor David Condon this week unveiled a “hire ahead” program to train cadets ahead of outgoing officers. The program, first proposed by Councilman Mike Allen in 2009, will have an initial cost of $195,000, which must be approved by the City Council. Savings from vacant positions in the department and from the city’s workers’ compensation insurance will also be used to initially fund the program.
Spokane City Administrator Theresa Sanders said Wednesday she takes responsibility for the decision to transfer a police department spokeswoman to the parks department, a move that raised questions among some park board and City Council members. Monique Cotton left her position as the Spokane Police Department’s spokeswoman in May to join the parks department, but her salary is still funded through the police budget.
Cities are responsible for roads, pipes and cops, generally speaking. With the creation of a new program aimed at encouraging development, the city of Spokane is hoping to get involved in “jump-starting private investment” within its borders.
A Superior Court judge on Thursday denied Spokane Mayor David Condon’s request to block Envision Spokane’s Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the Nov. 3 ballot, saying that the state Supreme Court generally rules against preventing an election from occurring. “There is a process that the court has to give some respect to,” said Judge Salvatore Cozza.
A Superior Court judge denied Spokane Mayor David Condon’s request to block Envision Spokane’s Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the Nov. 3 ballot this afternoon, saying that the state Supreme Court generally rules that “it is not a favored act to restrain or prevent an election to occur.”
The city of Spokane asserted the mayor’s right to “initiate and control litigation” in a court document Wednesday, a claim aimed at Envision Spokane, which argued earlier in the week that the mayor didn’t have the authority to block its Worker Bill of Rights from November’s ballot. In a 12-page response, the city argued that “time is of the essence” for the Spokane County Superior Court to act and strip Envision’s measure from the ballot. Superior Court Judge Salvatore Cozza will hear the case today.
Envision Spokane is pushing back against Mayor David Condon, who last week sued to keep the group’s Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the city’s general election ballot in November. In an official response to the city’s lawsuit, which was filed at Condon’s direction, the group argues that the mayor doesn’t have the authority to prevent the measure from reaching the ballot, and that only a supermajority of City Council members can block any initiative from appearing before voters.
Spokane Mayor David Condon had the best primary election night of his elected life Tuesday, but he acknowledged the lopsided vote wasn’t a cause for unbridled celebration. “We all know what that spread means, don’t we,” he said. “We all know what happened four years ago, but I’m very grateful for the results.”
Are we confused, electorate? I know I am. On one hand, the city of Spokane has, in essence, sued its citizens on behalf of corporations, trying to prevent voters from getting even a peek at an initiative that would enshrine the kinds of workers’ rights that give the business community the night terrors. On the same day, the city sued a corporation on behalf of a river – perhaps as Sierra Clubby a move as we can ever expect from the administration of David Condon.
Spokane Mayor David Condon finished easily in first, and community activist Shar Lichty a comfortable second in the city primary. Incumbents Mike Fagan and Karen Stratton topped the field in their respective council races.