January 10-16, 2013 | free | near nature. but not lost.
winter adventure snowshoeing | snowmobiling | getaway to whitefish, montana | sandpoint winter carnival | calendar supplement to the inlander
Spokane Valley wants to simplify business
Inside the Park Inn, one of Spokaneâ€™s oldest restaurants
Will Zero Dark Thirty earn Bigelow a second Oscar?
2 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
Itâ€™s a great timegifts, to join local your local food co-op! Local food Support your local economy by buying locally produced food!
JAN. 10-16, 2013 | Vol. 20, No. 13
COMMENT NEWS CULTURE SNOWLANDER FOOD FILM
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The â€œPoints of Departureâ€? exhibit explores the shared journey of five different artists
We Believe in Spokane...
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After years of success, El Ten Eleven was handed some life lessons and turned them into songs page 33
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& The EWU Concert Jazz Ensemble
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A Premiere Jazz Event
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How well do you think the city handled the Monday morning snowstorm? Gary Kennison Jr. It’s all right as long as they keep the sidewalks clear. For those who don’t have cars or anything, it really bites trying to get anywhere whenever the sidewalks are completely blocked by snow and ice. It’s safer to walk on the street than it is on the sidewalks in town.
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As far as I know, pretty well. I come to work really early, so by the time I come to work there’s not much plowed. But by the time I went home it was pretty much plowed out and looking pretty good.
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Lisa May Actually, I live in Coeur d’Alene, so it’s probably not pertinent. How was it there? It was better — I thought the roads in Coeur d’Alene were much more plowed than the roads in Spokane. I was actually surprised that it was not better taken care of.
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Krista Branson I think the main roads were pretty good. Side roads — I don’t know, I’m from Portland, I’m so bad in the snow. How long have you lived here? Six years. But I still feel like a Portlander.
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Devonte Cleveland I think it went pretty well. They got it out of here pretty quick, so it didn’t bother anybody and it’s not too icy this morning. Did the storm surprise you? Actually it did. When I went to sleep, it wasn’t snowing too bad, and then when I woke up there was a lot of snow out there.
Interviews by Lisa Waananen Main Avenue in downtown Spokane, 1/8/13
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Fifteen for â€™13
Start the new year by getting back to the basics of good citizenship
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comment | resolutions
arly in this new year, when all Americans, particularly Republicans, are trying to make sense of the fiscal cliffâ€™s consequences, itâ€™s time to earnestly resolve for a better year and a better country. Here are a few promises to consider for the greater good: 1. Give thanks daily for the blessings surrounding us â€” family, friends, fresh air to breathe, the ability to think and dream, to live in a free country. Too often, we take them for granted amidst our criticism of Americaâ€™s flaws and leadersâ€™ ineptitudes. The United States remains a fabulous and resilient country. 2. Dedicate yourself to read more and watch television less â€” thereâ€™s too much mindless trash on TV and an abundance of quality literature left unread. Choose five books to complete in 12 months (most Americans consume four per year). Avoiding FOX News or MSNBC for a while will lower blood pressure, allow us to form our own opinions and help us fret less. 3. Whatever oneâ€™s faith, pray often â€” more than 90 percent of Americans believe in God. Regularly conversing with the God of oneâ€™s religion is comforting and uplifting. 4. Increase commitments to others. Doing so can address some of the problems America faces. Choose a person less fortunate and provide assistance, perhaps saving someone from welfare. Volunteer for a local charity â€” helping others is satisfying and therapeutic. 5. Read the Constitution and Declaration of Independence again â€” theyâ€™re inspirational and center our thinking away from trivial political issues and personalities. 6. Get fervently behind a cause. Maybe itâ€™s tax reform, expecting U.S. representatives and senators to pass the same immigrant citizenship exam required of new American citizens or promoting a specific government improvement. There are thousands of issues to follow. Picking a topic, researching it and proposing a solution to policymakers is enlightening and engages us in the American political process, making us better citizens. 7. Request an in-person meeting with your local or national public officials. Doing so makes one an active citizen, something more than a voter. Youâ€™ll be enlightened by the experience and mindful that elected officials work for us. 8. Write a thank-you letter to a teacher, first responder, postal worker or any other public employee who serves the common good, carefully choosing words of thanksgiving to properly cite their public services. Recipients will be appreciative and strive to do a better job to justify such thanks. 9. Volunteer for one day in a neighborhood classroom to observe the rising generation and appreciate the challenges teachers face each day.
Doing so will make for better-informed voters when school levies come up for renewal. Besides, young people are joyful and stimulating to be around. 10. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper expressing your views on an issue. Choose a subject, thoughtfully articulate your concerns and if itâ€™s published, those who know you will appreciate your opinions even more. Who knows, maybe your policy idea will take hold. 11. Invite a military veteran to have coffee, thanking the veteran for service rendered and learning how military service affected the veteranâ€™s life. Youâ€™ll both be enriched. 12. Spend an afternoon in the Spokane Public Library learning about the resources offered. Youâ€™ll forever treasure the value libraries provide for a community and be aware of how much the public relies on them. 13. Learn a few foreign phrases. Americans expect foreigners to know English when they
Avoiding FOX News or MSNBC for a while will lower blood pressureâ€Ś visit us, but weâ€™re often offended when we visit other countries and all citizens there canâ€™t understand English. Foreigners appreciate communication in their native language â€” even a little. 14. Take the immigrant citizenship test (see www.uscis.gov) â€” youâ€™ll be amazed at what you donâ€™t know, or have forgotten, about America and our form of government. Better yet, also attend a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens â€” youâ€™ll see how important American citizenship is to them. 15. Smile and greet at least five strangers each week â€” at the grocery store, the cleaners or some other public place. Thank clerks wearing nametags by name. The smiles and greetings you receive in return will be surprising.
very new year offers Americans opportunities to reflect, but also look forward â€” to improve upon our shortcomings of the past 12 months. Fulfilling the list above will improve our citizenship and engage us as enlightened problem-solvers, forming opinions through study and interest. Thomas Jefferson was once taught, â€œEnlightenment is manâ€™s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.â€? Letâ€™s be sure 2013 is a year that each citizen steps closer to enlightenment. n
comment | publisherâ€™s note
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t the birth of rock â€™nâ€™ roll, DJ Alan Freed was like the attending physician. He wrote songs with Chuck Berry, got his own TV show and had spun records from Akron to New York. Then he got busted for payola â€” in fact, in 1960 he was the first to be indicted for taking money to play certain records. If Freed could create a hit â€” and big profits â€” what was $2,500 to a record label? There have been no payola prosecutions in decades, but the word has been getting tossed around since Republican icon Dick Armey blew the whistle on his old employer last week. In December, Armey resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, the political organization credited with powering the Tea Party. Armey told Media Matters he left because he objected to â€œpaid advertisingâ€? spent to get Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to weave nice comments about FreedomWorks into their broadcasts. â€œRaising money,â€? Armey said, â€œ[became] an end [unto] itself, not an instrumental activity to support the foundation work that our organization does.â€? Wait, Beck and Limbaugh are getting paid to pimp FreedomWorks? Thatâ€™s the real news here. In 2012, Beck took $1 million from FreedomWorks, while Limbaugh took an unspecified amount. Sounds like payola to me. In 2011, Politico.com dug into conservative media and right-wing fundraising and quoted one troubled conservative involved with such a group: â€œI wish more of the grassroots knew the reality that this wasnâ€™t Rush or Sean or Beck saying these things out of the goodness of their hearts. If the grassroots found out that these guys were getting paid seven figures a year to say this stuff, it might leave a bad taste in their mouth.â€? But the grassroots donâ€™t need to know that; they just need to keep writing checks. And to keep the outrage levels high, conservative media stars have to raise the rhetoric to further extremes, pushing elected officials into crazier corners. Now members of Congress are openly advocating blowing up the American economy over the debt ceiling, and 67 Republicans in the House voted against funding relief for Hurricane Sandyâ€™s victims. Unlike Freed, who could never find a job after his conviction and who died of alcoholism five years later, Dick Armey looks to be fine. FreedomWorks owes him $400,000 a year for 20 years as severance. And the group plans to stick with its pay-to-say arrangement with Beck and Limbaugh. The question in payola was, â€œDo you really think this song is great, or is somebody just paying you to say that?â€? For FreedomWorks, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, itâ€™s, â€œDo you really believe all this crazy stuff, or is somebody just paying you to say that?â€? Meanwhile, the question for America is, â€œWhich is the bigger crime?â€? n
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comment | digest on our facebook
What issues do you want the new Congress to take on this session?
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The Future of C.O.P.S.
and some original empirical research. It failed to identify I was so happy to hear that the new mayor and the new any gun control that had reduced violent crime, suicide chief of police have put together a plan for revitalizing or gun accidents.” the policing of Spokane. But wait, their plan Having more guns does not make a sounds so familiar — areas of the city with a society either more dangerous or more police emphasis and patrolling of the neighSend comments to safe. But what does? borhoods. That’s what’s already in place — an email@example.com. That question brings us back to the established organization of volunteers in 10 lack of any leadership rising above the Spokane C.O.P.S. (Community Oriented Policsordidness and shallowness of politics to find and face ing Services) shops throughout the city with a police the real issues. Every ounce of political will expended officer working out of each one, patrolling and handling in futile arguments over gun control means less spent citizen complaints. These Neighborhood Resource productively on exploring public policy that will make Officers are actively engaged with the citizens in their a real difference. We can’t afford to waste our public neighborhoods, following up on complaints. This has health resources or any more young lives. been working flawlessly for 20 years. We know what doesn’t work. Let’s figure out what But now the mayor is trying to change the function works. of C.O.P.S. to a mini City Hall in each neighborhood to collect utility bills. What is wrong with this picture? SUE LANI W. MADSEN We, as volunteers working with the police to protect Edwall, Wash. the safety of the citizens, don’t want to be turned into unpaid city clerks. We wish to remain the community eyes and ears (and sometimes arms) of our city police department. You hit the mark on most of the coal train issues (“The Coalman Cometh,” 12/27/12) except for a very important BARB HEDLUND consideration — namely the exportation of our energy. President, Nevawood C.O.P.S. Energy means jobs, period. Why are we even considering exporting our future energy needs? We have a glut of natural gas, so there is a push to liquefy and export that. Why are we willing to sell our future at wholesale Professor Herold made a good point in his commenprices for some fast bucks today? tary on guns (“Finding Our Balance,” 1/3/13) when he Since there is a glut of natural gas, why hasn’t the referred to the impact of letting go of the idea of a moral price come down to the consumers? As stated, the coal universe. When we have no responsibility to others, trains will not benefit Spokane. The jobs promised by the when good and evil are “problematic categories,” then coal companies are very short-term. When the coal terwe have no grounds to be surprised at whatever hapminals are complete, very few jobs will remain. No new pens. Yet we know in our gut that random killing is an jobs for Spokane. But there will be more diesel exhaust, evil act. It is in evil act no matter how it is carried out. more noise and more problems at the grade crossings. Before we blame the tool as a handy scapegoat, it It’s way past time to take a long look at this counwould be useful to look at the science to find out what try’s future energy needs and put a stop to the moneyworks. A study titled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce grabbing practices of big business. We will pay for these Murder and Suicide” in the Harvard Journal of Law & mistakes for decades to come. Public Policy concluded the answer is no. The authors of the study noted: “In 2004, the U.S. National Academy HERB POSTLEWAIT of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 Spokane, Wash. journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications
Mandy O’Connell: First I’d like to see them take a look at their pay scales and then adjust them according to the levels that their constituents are currently living on! Why can’t we find money for things like books in my son’s school when they live on six and seven figures? Jake Green: It would just honestly be nice to see a Congress open to creating bipartisan laws that will benefit the people that they have been voted to represent. Alyse Marshall Juliano: Reauthorization of VAWA! Jamie Bosanko: Ideally? Balancing the budget; tax reform; filibuster/ procedural Senate reform; climate change; minimum standards on paid sick/vacation leave; stagnant US wages; marriage equality; immigration reform; gun control; reauthorizing the VAWA; and just because I’m a real dreamer, instant run-off voting in federal elections. Realistically? Maybe VAWA and immigration reform if we’re lucky. David Camp: Climate protection. Eagerly awaiting Cathy McMorrisRodgers to lead the way. Lori Wilson: Make realistic budget cuts. The children, elderly and (genuinely) poor have suffered enough in this state. Maybe if they just completely restart, say “Let’s pretend everything has equal monies... Who needs more or less depending on what’s going to reverse the red better?” Rose Messick: To care about the citizens they are supposed to represent... instead of adding to the debt with pork to benefit a few so as to receive perks from corporations and lobbyists. Shame Shame. n
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comment | satire
Ready For Nothing by andy borowitz
ust hours after being sworn in at the U.S. Capitol last week, the freshman class of House Republicans said that they were disappointed that they failed to shut down the government on their first day in office. “We were all like, ‘OK, we’re sworn in, let’s shut this thing down,’” said freshman Rep. Byron Ernie (R-Kentucky). “We were all pretty bummed that the government just kept running.” Rep. Ernie acknowledged that it might have been “overly optimistic” of the freshman Republicans to expect to engineer a government shutdown on their very first day, “but bringing the government to a random standstill was the whole reason we became Republicans,” he said. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) chuckled goodnaturedly at the ambitions of the high-spirited GOP freshmen, telling reporters, “I remember what it was like to be young and full of big ideas
about crippling our historic institutions for no discernible reason whatsoever. There’s nothing like your first time.” Surveying the cherubic faces of the incoming Republicans, he said, “They’re like kids who want to close down a candy store.” Looking beyond the disappointment of his first day, Rep. Ernie said he was looking forward to “that magical day” when he and his fellow Republican freshmen get to participate in their very first government shutdown: “We’ll be paralyzing the government in the same building where John Boehner and Eric Cantor did it, and Newt Gingrich before them. It’s like playing basketball in the same arena as Michael Jordan.” n For more fake news from Andy Borowitz, visit borowitzreport.com.
comment | education
How To Earn a D+ by jim hightower
he “ivory tower” of academia has become overshadowed by a new edifice on campus that is reaching ridiculous heights: the tower of mammon. As public universities have been driven by budget-whacking lawmakers to seek ever-more private funding, what were once centers of free thinking are increasingly dominated by corporate sales gimmicks. “A lot of schools are taking a much more corporate approach,” exulted a PR executive who works with top administrators, marveling that “a CMO didn’t even exist on most campuses 10 years ago.” A who? A chief marketing officer. Marketing what? As explained by the CMO of the University of California system, “the changing funding landscape” requires universities to sell themselves to moneyed elites, which means academic institutions must rework what he calls “their visual identities.” Forget intellectual pursuits, we’re talking about corporate branding. Iowa’s Drake University, for example, rebranded itself a
couple of years ago with the slogan “Drakeplus.” That was intended to sell students and donors alike on the clever equation that Drake-plus-you would equal remarkable results — even excellence. This might have been an inane but innocuous bit of PR-puffery, except that the school’s marketing geniuses chose to reach for PR artistry, substituting the letter “D” to refer to Drake. Yes, that meant that the official brand they created to characterize their institution of higher learning was: “D+.” Not exactly a standard of academic excellence. Educational achievement is not a product of marketers, but of… well, of educators. A school with plenty of good teachers will sell itself. So here’s a marketing concept: fire the CMO and hire a couple more teachers. n For more from America’s populist, check out jimhightower.com.
JANUARY 10, 2013 INLANDER 11
THE NEW AN OPEN LETTER TO PEOPLE WHO LOVE MUSIC
A NEW YEARâ€™S RESOLUTION WE PLAN TO KEEP TO:
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FROM: THE STAFF AT KOOL 107.1 First and foremost we resolve to give you 107.1% of the coolest songs of all time. While in reality we realize that this is somewhat subjective, if you love music from the 70â€™s, 80â€™s, and today, mixed with classics from the 60â€™s, we think youâ€™re in for some great music in the year ahead. Secondly, weâ€™re here â€œLIVEâ€? to make your mornings fun again! Weâ€™ve brought back Rob Harder and Mark Holman, two local legends who have been starting your day with a smile and laughs for almost 25 years. Weâ€™ll be the first to agree with youâ€Ścorporate radio sucks. Weâ€™ve seen (and unfortunately lived) the cookie cutter approach that delivers sterile â€œout of marketâ€? music feeds and voices. It doesnâ€™t work, and it certainly wasnâ€™t filling our need for local flavor, and personalities who know you want more than sugar sprinkled on top. Thatâ€™s why we started KOOL 107.1, a LOCAL station, owned and operated by local people like you. More importantly, weâ€™ll keep you up to speed on whatâ€™s happening here in our community. Be it weather, traffic, or whatâ€™s happening this weekend, weâ€™ll do our best to keep you in the know.
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Our pledge? Turn us on, and weâ€™ll do our best to turn you on to great music, along with friends that will have you laughing on a daily basis. The reward for reading our resolution? The first five people who call our request line, (which incidentally is 509-315-8030) when we play Celebration by Kool & The Gang, Friday, January 11th, will each receive a pair of free lift tickets to Lookout Pass. Letâ€™s have more fun in the year ahead! We plan on it, and invite you to join us at KOOL 107.1 FM, and online at www.kool1071.com
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12 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
Open for Business
Spokane Valley doesn’t hesitate to brag about how much nicer they are about permits than in the past By Daniel Walters
hen Walmart tried to build a supercenter on Spokane’s South Hill in 2006, 600 people filled a high school cafeteria, many of them slamming the corporation’s impact on traffic, wages, benefits and surrounding businesses. The outcry worked. Walmart built elsewhere. But in the more conservative Spokane Valley, the opening of a new Walmart this October not only was uncontroversial — it was celebrated. In fact, last month, the face of the Walmart manager, Brian Mansfield, topped a billboard paid for by the city of Spokane Valley, proclaiming in giant text: “Spokane Valley
has been the best city when it comes to obtaining permits.” He starred in a television advertisement as part of the same campaign. “The city of Spokane Valley helped us achieve our goals with the permitting process by making it so easy,” Mansfield says in the ad. As jaunty music plays, the camera pans across the store. “They were so willing to come out to the store at any given time. The city is so probusiness-like that they were willing to help get our store open on time on October 17.” In Spokane and Spokane Valley, candidates campaigned on “pro-business” promises to make permitting ...continued on next page
Walmart’s Brian Mansfield is touting Spokane Valley’s business savvy. young kwak photo
NEWS | GOVERNMENT
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A billboard marketing Spokane Valleyâ€™s permitting process.
swifter and easier. Both have made efforts in that perspective of not just throwing the rulebook at direction, but the Valley is unique in advertisthe applicants, but walking them through all the ing it. It has spent $75,000 of leftover economic different regulations.â€? development money on print advertisements, Thatâ€™s meant new reorganization: a new billboards and TV and radio spots, bragging development services coordinator now assists about having the â€œFriendliest Permitting Process permit-seekers in navigating through all the in Washington.â€? different phases and departments. Two planners But it wasnâ€™t always so friendly. have been moved permanently into the permitTraditionally, says John Hohman, commuting center to provide additional on-the-spot nity development director, the Valley was more expertise. And the Valley is getting rid of its two hands-off. They may have handed the developer â€œpermit specialistâ€? positions and replacing them a copy of their regulations, pointed them to their with more advanced â€œpermit facilitators.â€? website and then let them fend for themselves. â€œWhat weâ€™re looking for is a more educated, But thatâ€™s not the case anymore. better experienced individual that can help direct Mike Jackson has been city manager since people when they come in the door,â€? Hohman 2010, when former City Manager David Mercier says. If a resident wants to add a garage to their was dumped by the new crop of conservative house, for example, they may not even know Spokane Valley council members. Jackson says where to start. A permit facilitator, he says, when the previous community development would have the broad knowledge to help them director retired, he began looking for someone to immediately, instead of passing them off to take the department in a different direction. someone else. â€œThis is something weâ€™ve heard about in the The department also went digital. Hohman Valley since incorporation,â€? Jackson dumped a drawer full of paper permitting says of permitting problems. â€œItâ€™s documents, many out of date, into recycommon throughout any city â€” cling. Now the forms are online, always Send comments to permitting is a challenge wherever updated with the latest version. In 2013, firstname.lastname@example.org. the Valley aims to make it even easier. you go.â€? Thatâ€™s when Hohman was â€œWeâ€™re getting away from application hired, and he began working on a forms,â€? Hohman says. â€œroadmapâ€? to improve permitting. The last 18 Youâ€™ll be able to walk into the city, he says, months have been about turning permit employsit down, and the permit facilitator will interview ees from gatekeepers into guides. you. Sheâ€™ll ask a series of questions about your â€œThe biggest change is our perspective project, then fill out your paperwork for you. and attitude,â€? Hohman says. â€œWe have taken a You wonâ€™t have to write a thing.
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14 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
or the city of Spokane, the permitting overhaul hasn’t made billboards, but the changes may be just as dramatic. It began with a November 2011 “kaizen” event — an intense, in-depth efficiency-management seminar used to solve a specific problem and brainstorm how to cut waste. “After that was done, we had a survey based on in-person and over-the-phone interviews for people who have been through the process,” says Jan Quintrall, director of business and development services. “Shockingly enough, we talked to our customers. We heard about the inconsistency. We heard about the silos. We heard about lack of follow-up.” The “silos,” Quintrall says, referred to the habit of each department only concentrating on its specific role, without communicating about the project as a whole. Mistakes get made that way. “We had the customer bring in seven sets of plans to seven different departments,” says Quintrall. “A lot of them were repetitive. So by having everyone in the room and everyone talking to each other, that doesn’t happen.” Even as Mayor David Condon’s tight budget cut positions, Quintrall began moving her employees to the permitting department: Thanks to restructuring, a department of 10 grew to a department of 30. She says all the changes have slashed the initial response time of 60 days nearly in half. And in February, the city of Spokane will officially open the “Developer Service Center,” a one-stop shop for anyone in the city needing a permit.
eanwhile, Walmart’s not the only business praising the Valley. When Tacoma Screw Products opened its new Spokane Valley location last year, the company’s executive adviser, John Wolfe, says he had to go through the typical eight or 10 required permits, including demolition, plumbing, electricity, mechanical permits, site plan reviews, sign codes, even a seismic capacity permit to ensure the storage containers could survive an earthquake. “It was outstanding,” Wolfe says, praising the Valley’s accessibility. “I’m over in Tacoma, and I could pick up my phone and call any one of the [Spokane Valley] departments. … I ended up feeling like I found some new friends.” And Dennis Crapo, with Diamond Rock Construction, says that permitting in the Valley has been “extremely difficult” in the past, but that they’ve “improved vastly.” The question, he says, is whether it will continue to improve. Putting up a billboard claiming to have the friendliest permitting process is one thing, “but a reputation is earned over time.” n email@example.com
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JANUARY 10, 2013 INLANDER 15
news | digest
need to know
The Big News of the Past Week
Politics Leaving It Behind T
hree years ago, the direction of Spokane Valley irrevocably changed. Mayor Rich Munson and the City Council had been pursuing a sweeping, zoning overhaul, hoping to renew Sprague Avenue and channel development to create a strong city center. But then came Brenda Grassel and the Positive Change group. After the 2009 election, the group seized control of the council and completely reversed course, dismantling the plan, restoring the former zoning rules and narrowing the vision of Spokane Valley government to its bare essentials. But Grassel stepped down from her council position on Jan. 1. She’s leaving the city limits, moving to acreage in unincorporated south Spokane County — making her ineligible to serve on the council. When we caught up with Grassel as she finished her term, she said she’s most proud of the way the council reorganized the budget, funneling more investment into long-term road preservation. The Valley, she says, managed to repeatedly balance its budget, despite plunging revenues and rising health care costs, without raising taxes. That meant negotiating with the union — but it also meant cutting out lots of little expenses. The council, for example, saved money by eliminating catered dinners from its meetings.
Grassel, the owner of Precision Cutting Technologies, was also one of the driving forces behind the Valley’s ordinance preventing panhandlers from asking for money in roadways. “It had really gotten out of hand in the amount of panhandling going on,” Grassel says. “One landowner had a little mini-camp going on in his property. At first I was told we couldn’t do anything, that it was all decided because it was a First Amendment right.” But when Grassel says she started researching it, she found many municipalities were able to limit panhandling for safety reasons by preventing them from stepping into streets. “We came up with a much better ordinance than the city of Spokane did,” Grassel says. “They didn’t create the ordinance for the entire city limits. All they’ve done is to move [the panhandlers.] I understand they’re not really enforcing it. ” She says she hopes her temporary replacement, who will be appointed by the council, will share her general philosophy. “I have an ideology of what City Council should do and city government should do,” Grassel says. “It’s a pretty basic service ideology. We should be providing police, infrastructure and roads.” — DANIEL WALTERS
Departing Spokane Valley councilwoman Brenda Grassel talks the budget and her vision for city government.
We went briefly over the fiscal cliff before Congress got it together and properly kicked the can down the road on federal government spending cuts and widespread tax increases. As part of the deal, however, people earning more than $400,000 annually did see their taxes go up.
Idahoan Joseph Duncan has an appeal to spare him the death penalty after his conviction of the 2005 murder of a 9-year-old boy. Duncan has said he has no interest in an appeal, but court-appointed lawyers filed one anyway.
From now on when a complaint is received, social service agencies will have 24 hours to help the inhabitants of the homeless camp beneath the freeway in downtown Spokane get to a shelter before the city evicts them.
Apparently this winter’s snow strategy is to blanket everything and then melt quickly in order to cause the maximum possible discomfort. Well played, Mother Nature.
young kwak photo
Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub called for more community and policing strategies to cut violent crime. December saw seven citywide homicides, matching the seven that happened in the rest of 2012.
Number of votes Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador received last week to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was re-elected speaker with 220 votes.
What’s Creating Buzz The number of FBI background checks run prior to firearm purchases in Washington state for December 2012, up from 44,046 in December 2011.
SNOW: We’ve got your rundown of texts, maps and cameras to keep track of the winter weather. HOAXES: Feeling nostalgic for 2012 already? Don’t. It was full of fake videos and unfulfilled promises (apocalypse, anyone?). Some of the year’s biggest hoaxes are on Bloglander.
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16 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
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NEWS | BRIEFS
Wanted: Pot Leader Washington seeks a marijuana manager; plus, Whitworth gets sexy NOW HIRING
The Liquor Control Board is looking for someone someone to take the lead on this whole LEGALIZING MARIJUANA thing. The agency is hiring a â€œmarijuana licensing and regulatory managerâ€? â€” someone to manage just about everything that comes along with Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana for people 21 and older, but gave the board a year to craft regulation of the drug. The new regulator will oversee ongoing public comment, the implementation of regulation and â€œstate, local and federal agency collaboration,â€? according to a post about the job on the stateâ€™s website. The gig pays between $80,510 and $87,664 a year and is based in Olympia. In total, the board hopes to hire about 35 new staffers to help regulate pot, but thatâ€™s dependent on the stateâ€™s yet-to-be-approved budget. â€” HEIDI GROOVER
confirms Stephens was placed on paid leave last month, but did not release any details regarding the nature of the internal inquiry. She says no one else has been placed on leave in connection with the matter. â€œNo other information [is] being provided to the public,â€? she says. Stephens, who joined the department as a reserve officer in 1984, rose through the ranks to major of the Operations Bureau. He served as interim police chief from January to October 2012, at which point newly arrived Chief Frank Straub took over the department. Officials say Stephens was placed on leave Dec. 20, the day before Straub revealed a new command structure that included demoting Stephens to the rank of captain. Earlier that month, Stephens said he was excited to lend his institutional knowledge to the new chiefâ€™s efforts to â€œdevelop a strong command staff.â€? â€” JACOB JONES
Former Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens remains on administrative leave from the Spokane Police Department pending the outcome of an unspecified internal investigation. Department spokeswoman Officer Jen DeRuwe
It took less than two years for the abandoned website of the Whitworth University student newspaper to start redirecting visitors to a hardcore pornographic website. Type in â€œthewhitworthian.comâ€? into browser and
youâ€™ll find a review of the new Hobbit movie and a profile of an undocumented immigrant student. But type in â€œwhitworthian.comâ€? â€” the newspaperâ€™s URL until 2011 â€” and it will automatically direct you to NomPorn, a website brimming with sexually explicit images. â€œOKâ€Ś thatâ€™s awesome,â€? former Whitworthian editorin-chief Jerod Jarvis sarcastically says upon seeing what the website had become. â€œUnfortunately, we feel we were screwed over by College Publisher.â€? Jarvis helmed the paper in 2011, when it opted to move away from College Publisher, a platform that managed hundreds of college websites. MTV U had sold College Publisher to a private firm, which began to charge for the previously free service. Eventually whitworthian.com was auctioned off. A look through screenshots at the Internet Wayback Machine and Domain Tools show that the site has taken a number of forms since August of 2011, including a Wordpress blog composed in the Thai language. But now itâ€™s been registered by someone out of Tel Aviv, Israel, and forwarded to pornography. Casey Smith, product developer at College Publisher, says the domain shouldnâ€™t have lapsed: Domains are usually owned by the client, not by College Publisher. â€œThatâ€™s awful for Whitworth right now,â€? Smith says. Whitworth University only heard about the problem on Tuesday, says university spokeswoman Nancy Hines. Theyâ€™re emailing the owner in Tel Aviv to ask him for the domain back and are pursuing legal actions through InterNIC, an agency that handles domain name complaints. Whitworth University filters pornography oncampus, Hines says, itâ€™s unlikely the porn site could be accessed from campus. â€” DANIEL WALTERS
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NEWS | TRAFFICKING
Battling Backpage The first serious attempt to curb sex ads for minors on Backpage.com was over before it began. Now what? BY HEIDI GROOVER Expires: January 31, 2013
Wednesday January 16, 2013
Linda Elkin, Regional President of U.S. Bank, and Grant Forsyth, Chief Economist at Avista, to-gether, will provide a regional ﬁnancial update on where we are today and what the future holds. They will be accepting questions from attendees. 11:45 am to 1:00 pm First Presbyterian Church 318 S. Cedar St, Spokane Luncheon costs $15 for general admission & $5 for students Reserve by Monday, Jan. 14th @ noon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (509)777-1555
here’s an understandable sense of urgency when lawmakers talk about the state’s finances, or educating its children or funding its social services. But at least one state senator is talking about something else. “There are kids being trafficked,” says Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, who’s soft-spoken until she gets to this issue. “It exploits women and men, girls and boys.” Last session, Kohl-Welles sponsored SB 6251, a bill targeted at sites like Backpage. com for their role in sex trafficking of minors. The law criminalized causing or aiding the sale of sex with a minor and was aimed at forcing sites like Backpage.com to verify ages or shut down their adult sections entirely. It was hailed nationally as the first of its kind, uniquely able to go after the long-elusive online sale of minors. But soon after the bill was passed, it was challenged in federal court and swiftly struck down by a U.S. District Court judge who ruled it unconstitutional. Now Kohl-Welles and her allies are left to repeal one of their proudest accomplishments and figure out what to do next. “We worked very hard to have a bill that would pass constitutional muster. We thought we had it right,” Kohl-Welles says. “I don’t think it was a weak bill, but it was a difficult bill.” According to challengers and the judge, the law’s downfall started with how broadly it was written. It could have swept in Internet providers and sex ad-free sites if they host other people’s (potentially illegal) content. Along with Backpage — a Craigslist-like classifieds site with “adult” and “escorts” sections — the Electronic Frontier
Foundation challenged the law on behalf of the Internet Archive, which catalogues millions of sites on its Wayback Machine. General counsel for Backpage Liz McDougall called the legislation “regrettable, shortsighted and ill-informed.” But it’s unlikely that pushback against Backpage is over. Kohl-Welles says she hopes to introduce another, similar bill in the coming session, which begins on Jan. 14, and says she’s working with state legal staff to come up with better language. (Though neither she nor Dan Sytman, an attorney general’s office spokesman, would give specifics about what that language might look like.) Other states, including Connecticut and Tennessee, have considered similar bills. McDougall says lawmakers need to invite sites like Backpage to the discussion to “better understand the Internet.” “The reality is it’s not possible in the Internet realm to review every bit of thirdparty content,” she says. “The result would be that what’s allowed on the Internet is whittled down to only the most innocuous content. We felt we had no choice [about challenging this bill].” In January 2012, Backpage made about $2.6 million from ads for prostitution or body rubs (ads range from $3 to $15 each), according to classified advertising consultants The AIM Group, the only group to report detailed stats about the site. “It does not require forensic training to understand that these advertisements are for prostitution,” reads a letter to Backpage signed by 46 attorneys general, including Rob McKenna, last August. “This hub for illegal services has proven particularly entic-
ing for those seeking to sexually exploit minors.” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called it a “godsend to pimps, allowing customers to order a girl online as if she were a pizza.” But Backpage is also a marketplace for completely legal sales — adult services like phone sex and stripping, and the type of miscellania you’d find on Craigslist. McDougall says it regularly turns over information on ads it believes to be for minors, a luxury authorities may not enjoy if advertisers migrate toward offshore sites. “It’s this sort of Brave New World,” says Gonzaga Law Professor Mark DeForrest. “As technology has arisen, legislators are trying to deal with problems that arise with that new technology. Sometimes they’re not really certain where the boundaries are around the First Amendment.” Washington has a reputation for taking action on sex trafficking issues. The state was ranked first this year in state ratings given by the Polaris Project, an advocacy group that pushes for laws against human trafficking. The ratings gauge states on whether they have a legal framework that “combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.” Kohl-Welles acknowledges momentum on the issue could lag with budget issues distracting lawmakers from policy changes, but she’s not letting up. “I’d like to get to a point in society when there is no sexual exploitation, but I don’t know that that’s going to happen,” she says. “In the meantime, I will do everything I can to stop sexual exploitation of minors.” n
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18 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
OLYMPIA 2013 The session starts Jan. 14. Here’s what you’ll be hearing about:
The state BUDGET will undoubtedly dominate the conversation, especially initially, as the state faces a $900 million shortfall for coming years. Outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed one budget with no new revenue and deep cuts, and another that increases school and parks spending but reduces a fuel tax break and extends an in-patient fee that goes toward Medicaid. We have yet to see incoming Gov. Jay Inslee’s take on it, but legislators will hash out the details of their own versions, meaning a slew of potential cuts and the expected “cut spending” vs. “increase taxes” arguments. And that’s also drawing attention to the state’s other huge unanswered question. A year ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that Washington was not adequately funding public EDUCATION. But how to fix that problem has come back to a deep divide among lawmakers, with some rallying behind an “education first” mantra, arguing public schools should be the state’s first priority, and others worrying that will result in too many social service cuts.
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Gov. Christine Gregoire signed anti-trafficking legislation last spring. “Some legislators are caught between two major issues,” says 6th District Rep. Kevin Parker. “[But] when we look at those issues, scholars are saying the ladder out of poverty is education.” Parker and House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, both say TRANSPORTATION will be another hot topic. Unfunded projects across the state — including the North-South Freeway — will compete for money. Sullivan says the house will have a new committee focused on technology and the economy, and he expects Inslee to release a “GREEN JOBS” package. Last week, at a gathering of progressive activists, 3rd District Representative-turned-Senator Andy Billig said he’s planning to focus on ELECTION REFORM. He ultimately hopes to limit spending on initiatives, but considering constitutional protections of spending-as-speech, that’s unlikely for now. In the meantime he’s working on a bill to list the top three or five funders of initiatives on ballots and in voter guides. — HEIDI GROOVER
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How to stay sane while planning the big day
ven if you set out with the best intentions, thereâ€™s bound to be some issues that pop up as you plan your wedding. Thatâ€™s why we asked local wedding professionals what their tips are for undertaking the big task of planning your big day, so you can get hitched with as few hitches as possible. Oh, the Budget Itâ€™s human nature to avoid unpleasantness, especially when youâ€™ve got more fun things to do, but skirting the budget planning process in favor of dress shopping and cupcake sampling is the easiest way to sink a wedding. â€œ[Budgeting] is probably the most uncomfortable part,â€? says Jessica Sheady, who co-owns Spokaneâ€™s Soiree Event Design with her business
20 INLANDER JANUARY 10, 2013
partner, Ali Messer. â€œBut once you do that it gives you an idea what is feasible.â€? As wedding and event planners, the duo is acutely aware of how easy it is for couples to get carried away, and determining your budget early on is the best way to keep your impulses at bay. â€œThere are so many different vendors and things that you can spend your money on, and before you know it, you can ruin your wedding,â€? says Messer. â€œA budget allows you stay on track.â€? If you donâ€™t plan on hiring a wedding planner to lead you through the entire process, many will offer services a la carte, meaning you can pick and choose which elements of your wedding you could use an extra hand with â€” such as budget planning â€” and pay only for those. Soiree even ...continued on page 22
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