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Spokane County commissioners shifted the source of funding for The Fox theater this week, but their attorney insisted the original plan to take money from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax was legal. Deputy Prosecutor Jim Emacio, the county’s chief civil attorney, said the county has given some of that tax money to The Fox or the Spokane Symphony off and on since 1985. The amounts have ranged from $10,000 in the early years to a high of $22,000 in 1999.
Spokane County commissioners shifted the source of funding for The Fox theater this week, but their attorney insisted the original plan to take money from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax was legal.
Spokane County will have to come up with a new plan to give money to the renovated Fox Theater. The old plan – to take about $21,000 a year from the county’s share of the hotel-motel tax – is illegal, the county’s Hotel Motel Tax Advisory Board told county commission Chairman Todd Mielke on Monday. The advisory board balked at the 2010 budget proposal for an estimated $405,000 the county expects to collect from the lodging tax. Collections are projected to be down, and the Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau will see its payment cut from $275,000 to $250,000. The Spokane Regional Sports Commission would be frozen at $75,000.
The Spokane Symphony staged a Beethoven mini-festival over the weekend with two excellent concerts at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. Conductor Eckart Preu took the highly appreciative audience from Beethoven’s First Symphony into his innovative middle period, with stops at the Fifth Symphony and the Violin Concerto. Both concerts were filled with the kind of festive dramatics that is Beethoven’s trademark.
Perhaps you are familiar with an old saying: even a broken clock is right twice a day. I’ve found that maxim valuable as I wade through the recent hand-wringing and recrimination among journalists and their critics over the fact that most mainstream media were slow to pick up on the story of corruption at ACORN. New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt (a former colleague) and Andrew Alexander, his counterpart at the Washington Post, are among those who have asked whether that laggard performance reflects an unfortunate deafness to conservative media. As one of my readers put it, “There is a lot wrong with ACORN, and Fox was the only channel talking about it.”
Sixteen buildings, projects and organizations received recognition in the second Mayor’s Urban Design Awards. The awards, presented every two years after consideration by the Spokane Design Review Committee, went to projects as diverse as the restored Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox and the city’s new pools, a skate park in Hillyard and the Riverpoint campus of Washington State University and Eastern Washington University near downtown.
Glenn Beck was mad. He’s the right-wing talk-radio host who has a television program on the Fox News Channel. Advertisers were fleeing his Fox program en masse after the civil-rights group Color of Change mounted a campaign urging advertisers to boycott Beck, who labeled President Barack Obama a “racist.” As the campaign progressed, Beck began his attacks against Van Jones. Jones was appointed by Obama in March to be special adviser for green jobs. He co-founded Color of Change four years ago. After weeks of attacks from Beck, Jones resigned his position at the White House last Sunday. Beck had said on “Fox & Friends,” the network’s morning show, July 28: “This president I think has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people. … This guy is, I believe, a racist.” This inspired colorofchange.org to launch its campaign urging advertisers to drop their sponsorship of Beck’s Fox program. The campaign had a powerful impact, with companies such as Progressive Insurance, GEICO and Procter & Gamble immediately pulling their advertising. Since then, more than 50 companies have joined, including Best Buy, Capital One, CVS, Discover, GMAC Financial Services, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Travelocity and Wal-Mart.
A long, tantalizing list of acts has just been announced for this season’s Fox Presents series at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. Here’s the complete lineup (including a few shows that were previously announced): • The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m. – The jazz master responsible for the classic “Take Five.” $32-$62.
The Spokane Symphony announced significant cost-cutting measures last week, including 20 percent pay cuts for administrative staff and a number of changes in the upcoming 2009-’10 repertoire. A number of pieces have been switched, with an eye toward the budget. Also, one guest soloist, violinist Philip Quint, has been replaced with the symphony’s Mateusz Wolski. The Symphony on the Edge concerts at the Knitting Factory and the Chamber Soiree concerts in Post Falls have been canceled. Executive director Brenda Nienhouse talked recently about these developments. Q.What has prompted the symphony to take these belt-tightening steps?
Martin Howser, who finances conservative causes and candidates and comes from a wealthy Spokane family, has filed for bankruptcy. He is attempting to shield his wife’s assets – estimated in the millions of dollars – from lenders and other creditors, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings in Spokane. Howser is the grandson of the late Martin Woldson, the Spokane pioneering businessman and railroad builder whose name now graces the refurbished Fox Theater. Howser’s aunt, Myrtle Woldson, donated the money to the theater renovation effort. Howser continues to live on the South Hill’s well-heeled Sumner Avenue with his wife, Charis Howser.
In the “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” Department, Berry Picker Kibby reports a close encounter with a sixtysomething F-bomber in the parking lot of Super 1/Kathleen Avenue. Seems Kibby spotted an old brown Lab mix waddling in the parking lot toward Highway 95, as she was leaving Ron McIntire’s store recently. She and two other women stopped the mutt and were about to contact management when the owner arrived. When Kibby & Co. asked if the dog was OK, the owner responded she was simply old and had jumped out of the back of his pickup (which was full of yard debris). Mebbe, said Kibby’s companion, the dog is too old to be riding in the back of a pickup. To which, the owner responding with an F-bomb and a don’t-tell-me-how- to-take-care-of-my dog. The hothead launched another cluster of F-bombs when the women explained they were trying to keep his dog from wandering into traffic. ‘Ere the owner and his limping dog walked off, Kibby stated: “That’s not how a real gent talks to a lady.” P’haps the hothead has been listening to too much rap music? She said … yes!
The City of Spokane will replace the signs it placed last month on meters in the new downtown Entertainment Parking District in an attempt clear up confusion over who can park there, and for how long.
Like the Observer – the strange man who keeps popping up during investigations then disappearing – “Fringe” has mysteriously vanished. The Fox drama has made plans to leave New York, where a tax credit for TV and movie production is likely ending, and move to Vancouver, if it comes back for a second season.