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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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Shawn Vestal: Eichstaedt steps down, but leaves a legacy of civic improvements

Try and picture the legal and political landscape of Spokane without the Center for Justice. On issue after issue, it is almost impossible to imagine the same results without the involvement of the center, its clients and the man who’s led it for the past six years, Rick Eichstaedt. Whether or not you share the center’s progressive vision, you can’t dispute that it’s been woven durably into the city’s civic life.

Attorney Rick Eichstaedt to step down as Center for Justice director this month

Eichstaedt, 45, has led the nonprofit legal team since 2012. He created a legal defense for the Spokane River in his 13 years with the Center for Justice, and also took several local cases involving reforms at Spokane City Hall and opposing a ballot measure regarding local policing of immigration laws.

City Ethics Commission defers decision on final complaint against Condon

A decision on the final ethics complaint remaining against Spokane Mayor David Condon in relation to former police Chief Frank Straub’s ouster was deferred until after Ethics Commission members meet in a confidential “executive session” to discuss the complaint’s merits.

Petition for sheriff’s office independent review is a political move, Knezovich says

Calling the process of selecting an ombudsman for the Spokane Police Department “a political nightmare,” Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich on Tuesday dismissed a petition requesting independent civilian oversight for his department as redundant. “This is being driven by a few political opponents of mine,” Knezovich said at a news conference called a day before organizers planned to deliver more than 1,000 signatures to Spokane County commissioners requesting a new body to oversee operations of the Sheriff’s Office.

Spokane sues Monsanto in action tied to PCBs in river

The city of Spokane has filed a lawsuit against the international agrochemical giant Monsanto, alleging that the company sold chemicals for decades that it knew were a danger to human and environmental health, and is at fault for polluting the Spokane River. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane, is similar to suits filed recently by San Diego and San Jose against the Missouri-based agriculture company for compromising municipal water sources with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

Spokane City Council sends immigration initiative to county for verification

Upward of 200 people converged on Spokane City Hall Monday night to voice both support and concern with a police department policy that says the immigration status of an individual “shall not be the sole basis for a contact, detention or arrest.” The policy, which has been on the books for a decade and was  reaffirmed by the Spokane City Council last fall in a city ordinance, has come under attack by people who argue it turns Spokane into a “sanctuary city” and encourages lawlessness. Detractors have gathered signatures to place a repeal of the immigration law on an upcoming ballot.

Outgoing police ombudsman Tim Burns wants Spokane to focus on the progress

In his last days in office, outgoing police ombudsman Tim Burns said ongoing mistrust of Spokane police is rooted in past events, and that it’s time for the community to acknowledge the large strides that have been made in police reform. “Oversight will always be on the agenda, from Otto Zehm’s day forward,” he said.

Shawn Vestal: Body camera policy evolving in positive directions

Seventeen Spokane police officers put on body cameras 13 weeks ago. In the time since, at least two important things have happened: Chief Frank Straub said the department was tightening the rules to give officers less discretion in turning off the cameras, moving toward a default position of “always on.”

Spokane County Commission candidates at odds over urban growth boundary

The future of a neighborhood in north Spokane County has become one of the most debated topics in this year’s race for County Commission. Al French and his fellow Republican Commissioner Todd Mielke say expanding the urban growth boundary to include the area along U.S. Highway 2 is necessary to protect the Little Spokane River from sewage runoff seeping from aging septic tanks. The extension of the growth boundary, a designation that enables governments to extend services such as sewer lines, would solve a problem before it gets out of control, they said.

Spokane joining nationwide ‘ban the box’ trend

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday the city would join a nationwide trend to “ban the box” and no longer ask city job applicants about their criminal background. At a news conference Monday, Condon said revising the city’s employment application would open “another pathway to access” for people with criminal pasts and give them “more equal footing for meaningful employment.”

Inslee proposes strict standards for cleaning up waterways

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed new standards for cleaning up Washington’s waterways immediately drew criticism from some business and labor groups that they will be too expensive and from some environmentalists that they are too lax. The plan, which is still in an early draft stage, was announced Wednesday. It would require stricter standards for 70 percent of the chemicals regulated by law and “no backsliding” on the others, Inslee said.