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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ethics panel delays review of French

A review of city Councilman Al French’s work on bus bench advertising rules was delayed again Wednesday. For the second meeting in a row, the Spokane Ethics Committee did not reach a quorum.

Endorsement: Waldref has grasp of complex challenges

Northeast Spokane District 1 will have a new representative on the City Council, with term limits forcing the departure of Al French. Both candidates are opposed to Proposition 4 and support investigative powers for the police ombudsman, but there is little agreement beyond that. Amber Waldref has been dubbed a “wacko Seattle greenie” by statewide initiative czar Tim Eyman. And why is he weighing in on a local race? It’s because Waldref’s opponent, Mike Fagan, co-founded Voters Want More Choices, which is the voter initiative factory run by Eyman. Thus, Fagan has been dubbed the “Tim Eyman of Eastern Washington.” Behind the simplistic labels are two candidates who have worked to make northeast Spokane a better place.

Vote ires council president

Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan accused four colleagues Thursday of lying, back-stabbing and maneuvering to weaken his authority while he was out of town. He promised to return next week, “bringing hell with me.” Councilman Al French insisted that it was Shogan who was out of line, breaking existing council rules on “mutual respect” and blocking proposals that the council majority supports by not including those proposals on meeting agendas.

County leaders considering higher taxes, fees

Spokane County drivers may be required to pay an extra $20 per year to register their vehicles and voters may be asked to approve an extra 3.75 cents per gallon in fuel taxes, starting in 2011.

Former mayor Powers gets last laugh on rooftop gardens

John Powers, former mayor of Spokane, lives in a Seattle building with a rooftop garden so massive that residents take walks in it. “We have pine trees on this thing,” Powers says. “We have prairie grass. We have wild and domestic flowers. We have vegetable gardens. It’s a park in the sky.” The irony is not lost on Powers, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2003. He proposed a green roof for Spokane’s City Hall in 2002, long before the concept was trendy. He was mocked for the idea, and City Council opposition put a pitchfork through it.

Council opts for park advisory committee

The Spokane Park Board will set up an advisory committee, but not an oversight committee, to keep an eye on the price of projects connected to a $43 million bond issue voters will be asked to approve in November. That distinction may be more semantic than real, but it divided the Spokane City Council on Monday night.

Al French’s condos tax-free for 10 years

Portions of a 10-story building planned by City Councilman Al French will be tax-free for 10 years. The City Council on Monday approved a multifamily tax exemption for ParcTwo20, a residential, commercial and office project across from Holy Family Hospital.

Panel to take another look at red-light cameras

A Spokane committee will take another look at companies that want to provide photo equipment that catches red-light runners after reports that its top recommendation faces allegations of problems in Canada and the United States. The Spokane City Council will hold a public hearing Monday evening about whether to install the system, known as photo-red, at an undetermined number of dangerous intersections. Cameras set up at the intersections record the license numbers of cars that run red lights, and the owners can be sent citations after photos are reviewed by police.