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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Governor takes control of local cops, prompting pushback from mayor

The governor of Washington declared that he was taking Spokane’s Wobbly problems into his own hand, prompting pushback from the mayor of the city. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The governor of Washington declared that he was taking Spokane’s Wobbly problems into his own hand, prompting pushback from the mayor of the city. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Gov. Ernest Lister announced that he was taking Spokane’s anti-Wobbly campaign “into his own hands.”

Lister signed a declaration in which he took control of Spokane city and county law enforcement as it related to the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobbly) troubles.

The declaration came 24 hours after Spokane police raided all three Wobbly meeting places in Spokane and arrested 94 people.

Spokane’s commissioner of public safety, John Tilsley, said, “If there is anything Gov. Lister can do to supplement what we have done already and are prepared to do in the full exercise of our police powers, let him go to it.”

Mayor Fassett wasn’t quite so accommodating. “Gov. Lister cannot take charge of our police department without declaring martial law. This he opined was unnecessary, and it was for this reason that city officials decided to proceed under their local police powers.”

He said all that the city wanted was “general action.”

From the education beat: Professor N.D. Showalter of the Cheney Normal School (today’s Eastern Washington University) issued a warning to the education community: Pay teachers a higher salary or expect them to quit.

The wartime labor shortage meant that other professions were luring teachers away.

“A teacher cannot be blamed for deserting her desk, when her sister, who is employed in other lines of endeavor, is commanding a far larger salary,” Showalter told a meeting of teachers and superintendents.

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