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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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French backs off on letters

Candidate Al French says he was just trying to be helpful when he wrote letters to the editor for his supporters to sign and send. “I have several written and you can have your pick,” French told Robin Sparrow on Friday on his personal Facebook page. “I have others (supporters) that are submitting, too. Or you can write your own if you like.”

Mager faces 4 GOP challengers

As the only Democrat and the only woman, Bonnie Mager stands out among the candidates for her Spokane County commissioner position. Standing apart could help her survive next month’s primary election if Republicans split their votes among Steve Salvatori, Al French, Jeff Holy and David Elton. But in Washington’s top-two primary system, being the only Democrat no longer guarantees a ticket to the Nov. 2 general election.

French cleared on ethics

The Spokane Ethics Committee has cleared City Councilman Al French in accusations that he violated ethics rules when he supported maintaining bus bench advertising. French asked the committee in August to take up the case after he was criticized for leading an effort to maintain bus bench ads. Late last year, the committee received two complaints alleging that French’s successful effort to change city law to allow bench ads was aimed at helping a business client who is a part-owner in an advertising company.

Spokane City Council OKs 2010 budget

Spokane leaders last week climbed out of a $7 million budget hole and approved the city’s 2010 budget with no layoffs and no dramatic loss of city services. The approval allows officials to concentrate on a bigger financial challenge: a predicted deficit of more than $10 million in 2011.

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.