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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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Smart Bombs: Mayor seduced by secrecy

By choosing secrecy, Condon ignored the lesson of all political scandals: Nobody wins when the truth is treated as the problem.

Editorial: City, public would’ve benefited from formal investigation into Straub complaints

Mayor David Condon should not have had to explain the city’s cautious handling of complaints by then Spokane Police Department spokesman Monique Cotton. Nor why the timing of the release of records regarding her promotion – coming in the middle of one of the biggest natural disasters in city history and delayed until after the election – isn’t suspect.

Shawn Vestal: It seems likely City Council will keep its liberal majority

In the wake of last week’s primary election, there is a much more interesting question than whether Mayor David Condon will hang on for a second term. Will the City Council’s liberal, veto-proof supermajority stand? Or will it be demoted to a simple majority? Or will it be bolstered even further, to a “super-duper” majority?

Clinic brings free medical care

The Spokane County Fair and Expo Center will be transformed early next week into a working field hospital that will provide free dental and medical care on a first-come, first-served basis. The event, Your Best Pathway to Health, will serve patients Monday and Tuesday. Boxes of medical equipment, office supplies and drugs began arriving Friday afternoon for the event.

City street crews change course with break in winter weather

Spokane street crews have gotten a break from snowplowing this winter, but the tradeoff is an early start to pothole season. Monday, Spokane Mayor David Condon held a pothole-filling demonstration to talk about the effort to keep the holes filled. The mayor even got his hands a little dirty filling one of the holes on Belt Street just north of Boone Avenue.

Spokane, county begin talks on urban growth

Top elected leaders in Spokane and Spokane County spent two hours Monday morning talking about how to plan for future growth in the community. It was the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings intended to bring collaboration on growth, rather than disagreements that erupted last year when county commissioners expanded the urban growth area by 4,100 acres.

Shawn Vestal: Ombudsman rule imperfect but promising

Spokane’s new path on police oversight has been greeted by some reform proponents as a horror, a travesty, a failure. Even supporters have been lukewarm about it: Best we can do. Give it a chance. In truth, though, it is a triumph. Not because it purely honors Proposition 1 and the city charter. It doesn’t. Not because it provides perfectly unfettered independence to the ombudsman. It doesn’t. Not because it is ideal. It’s not.

Condon, Mielke back Regional Justice Commission proposal

Local officials are backing a key recommendation coming out of a yearlong study of the region’s criminal justice system: creating a Regional Justice Commission with a paid, professional administrator to oversee reforms. Spokane Mayor David Condon and Spokane County Commissioner Todd Mielke on Friday said they are moving ahead with criminal justice reforms recommended by the experts who conducted the study.

City of Spokane offering new ways to keep updated during snow season

Spokane is prepping for its annual battle with Old Man Winter and city officials are touting new ways for residents to keep up with constantly changing snow conditions. “Everywhere that you could possibly get information, we’re going to be feeding that out in real time,” Mayor David Condon said Tuesday, as street crews prepare to switch to their winter readiness schedule this week. In addition to alerts on television and via a phone hotline, Condon and Street Department Director Mark Serbousek said residents may receive notifications through Facebook, Twitter and text message about plow locations and whether vehicles parked on the streets need to be moved.

Spokane Mayor Condon’s budget focuses on public safety, street repairs

Spokane Mayor David Condon’s 2014 budget would hire 25 new police officers, restore fire service at Station 9 on the South Hill and put $2.5 million more into street maintenance. The fire station at 1722 S. Bernard St. would be returned to full fire protection capability with the filling of four new firefighter positions.

Vestal: Pitch to add police officers must come from the top

We need more cops. This is old, old news. We needed more cops last year, when the mayor decided that what we needed was a tax freeze. We needed more cops several years ago when the police department announced a free pass for property crimes because of a staffing shortfall. And we needed more cops when the department walked that back furiously, all while blaming – who else? – the media. We needed more cops when the mayor and police chief announced their nifty new reorg, which we need less than we need more cops.

Knitting Factory concert hall back in business

The Knitting Factory concert hall is back in business. Spokane city officials lifted the entertainment license suspension after the concert hall’s management agreed to discuss changes that would help ensure the safety of its patrons.

City lifts ban on concerts at Knitting Factory

Spokane City officials today announced that they lifted the suspension of the entertainment license for the Knitting Factory after the concert hall’s management agreed to discuss changes that would help ensure the safety of its patrons.

Spokane police to get federal review

After years of controversy and calls for outside scrutiny, U.S. Department of Justice officials will arrive next week to begin reviewing police shootings and other uses of force by Spokane police officers. The rare federal intervention, conducted by mutual agreement with City Hall, will examine the Police Department’s culture and all incidents over the past four years involving officers’ use of deadly and nonlethal force. Spokane police officers have shot and killed eight people since March 2009.

Feds to review Spokane Police uses of force

After years of controversy and calls for outside scrutiny, U.S. Justice Department officials will arrive next week to begin reviewing police shootings and other use of force by Spokane Police officers.

Police use of force review wrapping up

Spokane’s quest to restore police accountability will largely succeed or fail based on the department’s ability to improve how it investigates its own officers, a consultant concluded. Police procedure expert Michael Gennaco, whose work helped steer the city’s Use of Force Commission, found Spokane Police officials sometimes did a great job documenting officers’ use of force. Gennaco also found problems, however, including investigators asking leading questions, failing to ask key questions of officers and not interviewing key witnesses.

Police face reorganization

The Spokane Police Department, hoping to restore public confidence, will embark on a major reorganization next month designed to make existing resources more efficient at achieving the ultimate goal of reducing crime. The reorganization is contained within the department’s new strategic plan unveiled Friday by police Chief Frank Straub, and it comes just a day after an independent panel examining the use of force by Spokane police officers recommended 26 major changes in the department’s training and internal investigations.

Use of force panel offers 26 recommendations to improve police department

A yearlong review of the Spokane Police Department found a professional organization committed to public service but lacking in identity and needing improvements in how it investigates its own officers. The draft report by the independent city Use of Force Commission was released Thursday with 26 recommendations for how the department needs to improve, with the ultimate goal of restoring public trust following the scandal surrounding its handling of the Otto Zehm investigation.