News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

MB: Hirzel's firing and Comcast name-calling

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:42 AM


HERE


Spokane Deputy Brian Hirzel, known for shooting Pastor Wayne Creach, has been fired for misusing a patrol car. (Spokesman-Review)

STA considers adding express bus service from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene. (S-R)

A bill from Spokane Comcast customer, who is not, as his Comcast bill would indicate, named Asshole Brown, goes viral. (KREM)

THERE

The rise and fall of New York Speaker Sheldon Silver. (New York Times)

In France, prisons help foment extremist Islamic ideology. (Washington Post)

We're still talking about inflated footballs. (NYT)

RADIO FREE AMERICA


In the 1940s, the big free speech battle was over the radio airwaves. (The Atlantic)
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Chief says Spokane police not getting any more military equipment

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:23 AM


The Spokane Police Department doesn’t have much military equipment and it’s doesn’t intend to get any more. That’s the takeaway from a correspondence between the city’s Human Rights Commission and Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub.

In December, the commission wrote a letter to the chief raising concerns over the “militarization of the police,” a topic that rose to prominence in the unrest over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Across the country, police departments have used a federal program to acquire military equipment. Critics of this trend argue that putting more military equipment in the hands of police leads to law enforcement behaving more like an occupying army instead of a force that’s supposed to work with communities to keep them safe.

“In Spokane, preliminary analysis suggests that people of color and low income residents have shouldered the brunt of this trend,” reads the letter. “While we understand the need for police to be prepared for the worst, we also see potential problems that can arise from funneling military equipment to local police departments. Most notably, research, that is included in this letter, has shown that increased militarization of police decreases the level of trust between the police and the community they are serving and can lead to a greater spiral of violence that disproportionately affects minority communities.”

The letter goes on to recommend the department adopt greater transparency on the type of military equipment it has received, as well as how it assess risks associated with dealing with people with mental illnesses. The letter also called on the department to track the race of primary suspects in SWAT call outs.

In January, Police Chief Frank Straub wrote back stating that the police department received ballistic helmets in the late 1990s, which are no longer in use and have been replaced by helmets purchased from police equipment suppliers.

In 2010, the department acquired a “peacekeeper,” which is used to rescue civilians and/or police officers from dangerous environments.

“The helmets and peacekeeper are the only military equipment obtained by the Spokane Police Department,” reads the letter from Straub. “We have no intention of obtaining additional equipment from the U.S. military.”

The letter also mentioned that police undergo crisis intervention training to better deal with situations involving mentally ill individuals, and that the department already tracks the race of all persons contacted by police officers.

Earlier this week, the commission discussed the response from the chief. While they praised his quick response, several members wanted more information on what other type of equipment fits the definition of “police militarization,” and to specifically address officers wearing battle dress uniforms, which resemble military garb. In the past, Councilman Mike Fagan has suggested that having more traditional uniforms would improve relations between the police and the public.

The commission is drafting another letter to the chief.

Human Rights Commission Letter on Police Militarization

Chief Response to Human Rights Commission, Blaine Stum 010815


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WW: Washington State Legislature thinks about marijuana; Jamaica is about to change law on pot

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM


Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The Washington State Legislature is in full effect, and some lawmakers have pot on their mind as they scramble to get bills pushed through before the session ends.

Perhaps the most notable weed-related topic this session are attempts to bring greater clarity to the state’s freewheeling medical marijuana program and its relationship to the restrictive recreational market. One proposal that’s getting attention is the idea of essentially folding the medical program into the recreational. Proponents of the idea say that it makes no sense to have a largely untaxed and unregulated medical market running parallel to a tightly regulated recreational market. Opponents says that it will undermine the medical marijuana market, which patients rely on for medicine.

Here’s a smattering other marijuana-related bills lawmakers are pondering:

SB 5417 would direct more marijuana tax money to local governments. Jurisdictions that have banned marijuana shops would get none of it.

SB 5002 would make it a traffic infraction to posses an open container of marijuana in a car where it could accessed by the driver or passenger.

HB 1041 would allow people who have a marijuana-related misdemeanor on their record to apply to get it vacated because the drug is legal now. A similar bill introduced last session ended up going nowhere after pushback from prosecutors.

SB 5051 would allow marijuana businesses to deliver their products right to your door.

HB 1650 would allow law enforcement to auction off pot and concentrates that have been illegally grown or produced.

SB 5493 would establish that cannabis health and beauty aids (which are pot-enhanced products intended to enhance the health or appearance of the user that don’t cross the blood-brain barrier) shouldn’t be regulated like pot.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

The American Academy of Pediatrics, citing how a pot conviction can ruin someone’s life early on, is calling for the decriminalization of marijuana while also concluding that some kids could benefit from medical use of the drug.  

Which recreational pot shop in Washington is the highest grossing (drum roll), it’s one right next Oregon.

In Ohio, activists are saying that a marijuana legalization initiative will “positively, absolutely be on the ballot” in 2015.

Apple says it won’t allow marijuana apps on its App Store.

After the feds announced last year that tribal governments can make their own pot laws, one tribe in Mendocino County, California (of course) will start growing its own medical marijuana.

Jamaica looks like it’s poised to decriminalize marijuana. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization, but still.


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

MB: Jan Quintrall resigns while Michelle Obama rocks the Middle East

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 9:55 AM


HERE


Jan Quintrall, Spokane's beleaguered division director of business and development services, resigns from the city. (Inlander)

Autism intervention will be studied in Spokane County. (SR)

In our new issue hitting the web today and the streets Thursday, we have a story about controversial "instant-racing machines" that are supposed to be historical horse-race wagering machines, but look a lot like slots: Turns out, the Idaho State Racing Commission head, the guy who regulates the machines in Idaho? He's simultaneously a lobbyist for a track in Wyoming. (Idaho Statesman)

THERE

Months after Bergdahl, another prisoner-trade-for-hostage deal is offered. (NYT)

Finally, a story where Michelle Obama's fashion choices are actually newsworthy. (Washington Post)

The Atlantic takes on the housing vacancy story that no one's talking about. (The Atlantic)

GREENSHAMING

Seattle has figured out a way to get its residents to compost food waste — shame those who don't. (The Atlantic)

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quintrall leaves City, saying "... I have broken the public’s trust, and I can’t repair that."

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 4:59 PM

news1-1.jpg
It's been nearly three months since Jan Quintrall, division director of business and development services, kicked off a wave of controversy for firing city planning director Scott Chesney. Now Quintrall herself is leaving.

"I love the City, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve been building and the progress we’ve made,” Quintrall said in a press release from the city. “The recent attention on me has made it clear that I have broken the public’s trust, and I can’t repair that.”

In December, the Inlander wrote about Quintrall's powerful role and her penchant for controversy with her hiring and firing decisions.

Without a college degree, Quintrall did not meet the minimum qualification — cited in her job description when she was hired — of having of "a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in Business Administration, Marketing, Finance, or a closely related field." 

But she came highly recommended from Condon's city administrator, Theresa Sanders, and former city chief operating officer, John Pilcher, for her work at the Spokane Club and the Better Business Bureau. After she took the job, she was praised for swiftly bringing about considerable improvements in her division, particularly in decreasing permit times. 

“Jan has broken down barriers, pushed her division and others in the City to think beyond traditional ways of doing things, and delivered tremendous results for the citizens she served,” Mayor David Condon said in a press release. “She has laid a tremendous foundation and built a great team that Scott will continue its good work with Scott.”

The scrutiny over Quintrall, however, has not let up since she fired Chesney. The city council expressed frustration over a big ticket lunch at the Spokane Club — she complained about the expense of Chesney's staff lunches when firing him. She was also being investigated by the Civil Service Commission over her hiring of a temporary worker. 
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Kinnear running for city council

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 2:37 PM


Lori Kinnear, legislative assistant to Councilwoman Amber Waldref, tells the Inlander that she’s filed paperwork to run for city council in District 2.

The position is currently held by Mike Allen, who hasn’t announced if he’s running for reelection later this year. Downtown business owner and perennial candidate John Waite has announced he’s running.

Kinnear has served as a legislative assistant for the past six years, working on legislation that encompasses dangerous dogs, economic development, human trafficking and other issues. “I’ve learned a lot and I think it’s time to apply what I’ve learned,” says Kinnear, who also wants to work with her boss as more of an equal.

Kinnear says that she is particularly proud of recent work done by the city council on development incentives meant to avoid urban sprawl as well as a neighborhood notification system that apprises residents of cell tower construction and other development.

“I am excited about this,” she says. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. It’s a way of giving back to the community.”

Kinnear says that she’ll likely have to cut back on her hours as a legislative assistant as the campaign picks up, but she says she has no intention of resigning at this point and has the blessing of Waldref.

“I work at the pleasure of Councilmember Waldref, and the rules clearly say that she can hire me and fire me,” she says.

Kinnear, who previously lived in Seattle, has worked as a newspaper reporter, an ad copywriter, a small business owner and for TINCAN, a defunct nonprofit that helped people access technology.

She moved to Spokane in 2000 with her husband, whose family has lived here since 1896.


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

MB: Good cops, bad tech firms, and more drilling for oil

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 9:32 AM


HERE


Washington state already has the highest minimum wage in the nation. But it's looking at kicking up the minimum wage even higher, to $12. (Spokesman-Review)

The County and the sheriff square off over the future of the Drug Task Force. (S-R)

WSU presents its case for a med school in front of the legislature today. (KXLY)

A Post Falls cop helps a woman pay for gas. Warning: Video autoplays. (KREM)

THERE

The Army denies reports that Beau Bergdahl has been found guilty of desertion. (Army Times)

With gas prices incredibly low, the Obama White House proposes expanding drilling in the arctic. (New York Times)

The U.S.'s restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba has spurred a wave of immigration from Cuba. (Washington Post)

The firm that screwed up HealthCare.Gov is still getting paid. (WP)

HAND IT TO THEM

What's with all the obsession with hands in the movie Divergent? (AV Club)


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Monday, January 26, 2015

MB: Lunches, drones, and the aftermath of a dead king

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 9:44 AM


HERE

A few weeks after firing Planning Director Scott Chesney, in part for employee lunches, Business and Developer Services Division head Jan Quintrall bought a staff members a $400 city lunch with city money at the Spokane Club. (SR)

The University of Idaho is struggling to convince students to attend the University of Idaho. (SR)
 
Several cities in Idaho have already  "added the words." Now the state debates following suit. (Idaho Statesman)

THERE


Get ready for a lot of East Coast tweets: A massive blizzard is hitting New York. (NYT)

The White House has used drones on a lot of people — and now someone has returned the favor. (Washington Post)

The Saudi King is dead. What happens next? (The Atlantic)

PSH
A journey through the astounding, varied career of Philip Seymour Hoffman. (The Dissolve) 
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Friday, January 23, 2015

"It just wasn't fair." A revealing letter from inside Eastern State Hospital

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Sandra Carr with a photo of her son, Mark Overland, who committed suicide in August. - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Sandra Carr with a photo of her son, Mark Overland, who committed suicide in August.

Last week, we ran a story about Mark Overland, a former patient at Eastern State Hospital who was adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) in the fall of 2000. He lived at Eastern for 14 years, writing dozens of letters about his dreams of moving back to Spokane and becoming a video-game designer. In July, he was given the opportunity to move into a Spokane group home. Less than a month later, Overland — to the shock of his family and friends — committed suicide. 

We initially heard about Overland's story in October, after receiving a letter from an Eastern NGRI patient named Patrick Clark. Clark, 64, was admitted to Eastern in 1978 for assault. In his letter, he describes the stigma against NGRI patients, their feelings of hopelessness, and the systematic barriers to their recovery. (We've written extensively about the conditions at state psychiatric hospitals — and the civil rights lawsuit inspired by our coverage.)

"It just wasn't fair," Clark writes of Overland's death. "And those of us who reside and languish here in the Forensic Services Unit of Eastern State Hospital know only too well the ultimate consequences of ignorance and stigma all directed at us from a community that would rather see us locked up for life never to be part of yours because you feel we are only worthy of your derision and fear."

"I've been here 36 years," he continues, "and never have I witnessed such a hopeless set of circumstances all poised to actually impede the level of true recovery. Our great friend who took his life speaks volumes for the current bankrupt condition of the mental health system in the state."

Today, Clark gave us permission to publish his letter. Read it in full below:

patrick_clark_1.jpg
patrick_clark_letter_2.jpg

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

MB: Spokane's competing med schools, Screech denies stabbing and a king dies

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 9:19 AM


HERE


Officials from both Washington State University and the University of Washington told lawmakers in Olympia that they want to get along. However, they still seem to have competing visions for a new medical school in Spokane. (S-R)

Spokane’s drug task force is running out of money. (KREM)

According to state wildlife officials, Idaho has 1,000 wolves and 22 breeding pairs. (KREM)


THERE

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut off federal funding for abortions. (REUTERS)

The guy who played Screech on Saved by the Bell says he didn’t stab someone during a Christmas bar fight in Wisconsin. (CSM)

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died. (GUARDIAN)

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: ,

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Chad "Cheddar" Rattray Memorial/Fundraiser

Chad "Cheddar" Rattray Memorial/Fundraiser @ Wild Dawgs

Fri., Jan. 30, 3 p.m.-2 a.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Recent Comments

Top Topics in Bloglander

News (147)


For Fun! (43)


What's Up? (42)


Music (35)


Culture (30)


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation