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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Citizens Retreat’ To Report Results Council Also Expected To Act On Police Review Commission

They’ve told each other how they feel about Spokane city government.

Tonight, they’ll tell the City Council.

Organizers of last month’s “citizens retreat” plan to give a report on the event touted as a priority-setting session for residents who want a say in how their government works.

John Talbott, the retreat’s primary organizer, refused to elaborate on what the group would tell the council, saying he didn’t want to steal the limelight from the 200-plus people who came to the event.

He did say the group planned to warn the council that there probably will be another retreat.

Residents who attended the two-hour, Saturday morning retreat urged the council to listen to their concerns and vote accordingly. They talked about everything from code enforcement to conflicts of interest, annexation to the Pacific Science Center.

The retreat nearly died before its debut when the council denied Councilman Chris Anderson’s request that the $285 rental fee for council chambers be waived and demanded payment up front, in cash.

Anderson, who sponsored the retreat, and Mayor Jack Geraghty received checks and cash from as far away as Newport, Wash., to help pay retreat expenses. Cash donations and pledges totaled nearly $1,900.

Also tonight, the council plans to:

Take action on a proposal to reorganize the Citizens Review Panel, which looks into complaints of police misconduct.

Because the police unions hadn’t reviewed the proposal, the council several times delayed a decision on whether to replace the panel with the Citizens Review Commission.

If approved, the commission would be smaller than the panel, with seven members instead of 11. It also would have access to more information than its predecessor.

After looking at the plan, police unions recommended three changes to the original commission proposal. Those changes include strengthening the confidentiality agreement and allowing the unions to recommend two commission members.

The mayor has final say on appointments.

Almost no one seemed happy with the review panel’s progress last fall. Some complained it was too big, others said it had no authority. Still others said the police department was uncooperative.

Mayor Jack Geraghty formed a committee to revamp the panel when it looked like it couldn’t survive the controversy.

Councilman Joel Crosby, who chaired the committee, calls the proposal “the most acceptable thing we could get for everybody.”

Have a hearing on a petition initiative aimed at using taxpayer money to pay for the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.

LaVerne Kettlety gathered more than 4,000 signatures hoping to get the proposal on the September ballot.

If approved, the initiative would dedicate 0.1 percent of the city’s annual general fund - about $103,000 - for the spay and neuter program.

The council briefing starts at 5:30 p.m. in the fifth-floor conference room of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

xxxx Meeting The council meets at 6 p.m. in City Hall

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