Friday, October 21, 2016

WSU student who knocked Trump supporter's phone out of his hand could be charged

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 5:41 PM

Fernando Reyes standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters holding a Trump flag and a phone - WILSON CRISCIONE
  • Wilson Criscione
  • Fernando Reyes standing in the middle of a crowd of protesters holding a Trump flag and a phone

On Wednesday, a man stood in the middle of the crowd at Washington State University's campus holding a Donald Trump flag and a phone. Surrounding him, protesters held up signs and shouted in opposition to the 'Trump Wall' that was erected by WSU College Republicans.   

The man in the middle of the crowd is named Fernando Reyes. He was recording the scene for a live video on Facebook.

More than an hour and a half into the video, one of the protesters, a student, shoved Reyes' phone away from him. When Reyes found him again about 10 minutes later, the student shoved the phone away again. 

Now, that student could be charged with a gross misdemeanor.

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More than a quarter of all Spokane County jobs fall below the Initiative 1433 minimum wage threshhold

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 2:53 PM

More than a quarter of the jobs in Spokane County pay less than $12.23 an hour. Initiative 1433 would change that, impacting fast food joints and coffee stands in particular.
  • More than a quarter of the jobs in Spokane County pay less than $12.23 an hour. Initiative 1433 would change that, impacting fast food joints and coffee stands in particular.

We've written a lot about the minimum-wage hikes proposed by Initiative 1433 — reaching $13.50 by 2020 — but so far, we haven't really gotten into just how big that change would be for Spokane County. 

In other words, just how many local jobs would have their pay structure altered because of the initiative? And how much would that cost local businesses? 

This week, Anneliese Vance-Sherman, the regional economist for King County, sent over a rough estimate from Scott Bailey of the Washington Employment Security Department.

He essentially creates a "What If" scenario.

Like, say, Earth 2, from The Flash, except instead of the alternate-universe being plagued by the malevolent speedster supervillain Zoom, this Earth 2 is exactly the same in every way except that Initiative 1433 was already fully implemented in Washington state. Then he takes that lens and applies it to the economic situation last year. 

First, Bailey provides a crucial caveat: 

"This exercise does NOT imply what the impact of an increase in the minimum wage would be, as employers may react to an increase in a number of ways (e.g. reduce profits, increase prices, increase automation, reduce hours worked, up-skill lower-wage jobs, etc.)" 

In other words, it just gives a sense of the scope of the required wage increases, not their actual impact. 

— Last year, there were 226,457 jobs in Spokane County. 

— Over 15,000 of those jobs in Spokane County were minimum-wage jobs, about 6.7 percent of the total. 

— But a much larger number of jobs — 59,608 — were paid below $12.23 an hour. Why is that strangely specific number important? Because, assuming a typical rate of inflation, that's would bring us to $13.50 by 2020: All these jobs — 26.3 percent of jobs in the county in 2015 — would have to pay higher wages if Initiative 1433 is passed. 

— Of course, many of these jobs are part-time jobs. So it's also instructive to lump part-time jobs together to look at the number of full-time equivalent jobs in the county. Last year, 3.2 percent of full-time equivalent jobs in 2015 paid minimum wage while 18.5 percent were paid below the initiative's proposed threshold. 

— Okay, that's the worker angle. But about how much more in salaries, theoretically, should Spokane County expect to pay? More than $96.6 million in today's dollars, the data suggests  — about 1.1 percent of their total payroll. 

That number differs from county to county, the data shows. Spokane has a lot more low-wage jobs than Snohomish County, so far fewer jobs would be impacted.  

Nearly a third of Lewis County is paid below $12.23 an hour currently, compared to less than 6 percent in Whitman County.

But, of course, the impact is radically different for different industries. The construction and manufacturing industries already pay their workers relatively well, so they're unlikely to see much of a change in their payroll at all. But the agricultural, fishing and forestry industries would see a significant big bump. 

And for fast-food joints and coffee shops? The impact would be massive. Taking into account the minimum wage increases already scheduled in Seattle, fast food joints and coffee shops statewide would have had to spend more than 10 percent more on average on their entire payroll to comply with the initiative. 
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Clinton/Trump comedy throwdown, Urban Outfitters opens in Spokane and more morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 9:33 AM



• The new Washington State University med school in Spokane has received preliminary accreditation

• Rigged elections? Virtually nonexistent. Rigged elections and conspiracies on television and in movies? Everywhere, helping stoke the fury of unenlightened voters

• Former Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath dropped by Spokane Thursday and shared some words of wisdom. 


Maybe possibly happening?
Is the Ridpath finally, truly on the path to a brighter future? The Spokesman's Shawn Vestal thinks so. 

Attention Spokane shoppers
You've been waiting so patiently for this day to arrive — Urban Outfitters is now open downtown after a year of construction. And today there's a party to celebrate the reopening of Wall Street downtown as well. (KXLY/KREM)

Get your stoke on
A Seattle businessman has bought Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, and says he plans to "up the stoke" at the ski resort and water park. Better wear water wings if the stoke gets too upped. 


March on Mosul continues
The anti-ISIS forces battling to retake Mosul in northern Iraq made more progress Thursday despite repeated suicide-bomber attacks. (Washington Post)

Wait and see
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump now says he'll accept the results on Election Day "if I win." That's not looking very likely as of today. (New York Times/

Trump and Clinton hone their standup
A day after facing off in their third and final debate, Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton sat (almost) next to each other at a fundraiser for underprivileged kids, and roasted each other in generally light-hearted speeches. They even shook hands at the end of the night. (CNN)

Here are some highlights from the Al Smith dinner: 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

New WSU medical school has received preliminary accreditation, kicking off the recruiting process

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM

WSU Spokane's health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus - WSU-SPOKANE
  • WSU-Spokane
  • WSU Spokane's health sciences building on the Riverpoint campus
When Kirk Schulz took over as Washington State University president earlier this year, he said one of the main things that attracted him to the job was the chance to open the second publicly funded medical school in Washington. 

He won't have to wait much longer. 

This week, the school passed a major milestone in its goal to enroll the first students into the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine by August 2017. WSU received preliminary accreditation from the accrediting agency in the U.S. and Canada: the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. 

That means WSU can begin recruiting students, though it can't accept them until early November, after WSU is voted into the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

"This is a significant moment in Washington State University's 126-year history," said Schulz in a statement. "It puts us one step closer to educating physicians who will practice in Washington's underserved communities and furthers the university's land-grant mission to serve the needs of the state." 

The University of Washington used to partner with WSU to offer medical education in Spokane, but that changed after WSU announced plans to launch its own medical school. The two schools butted heads over the plans to expand medical education in Spokane, with the UW concerned WSU's program would hurt their the UW's expansion plans for Spokane. The two sides later came to an agreement that WSU would freely pursue its own medical school.

Late WSU President Elson Floyd sold state legislators on his vision, convincing lawmakers to change a 100-year-old provision that allowed only University of Washington to operate a medical school in the state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed that bill into law a year and a half ago, and the legislature also gave WSU $2.5 million to begin the accreditation process. Floyd died in June 2015 after a battle with cancer. 

The UW, meanwhile, partnered with Gonzaga for its medical education program. This school year, as part of the partnership with the UW, Gonzaga welcomed 60 new medical students on its campus in September — the largest-ever class of medical students in Spokane. 

But with WSU receiving preliminary accreditation this week, the rift between the two medical school programs seems to be in the past. Schulz last week told the Inlander that he was supportive of the UW-Gonzaga partnership, saying both medical schools will be good for Spokane. And Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh issued a statement yesterday congratulating WSU for receiving accreditation. 

"This is a wonderful step toward continued growth of health science education and related research for the Inland Northwest, and a significant milestone for Spokane," McCulloh said. 

WSU expects 60 students in its inaugural class. Students will receive medical education across four of WSU's campuses: Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver. The goal, according to the school, is to help fill health care gaps in rural and medically underserved areas of the state. 

John Tomkowiak, founding dean of the college of medicine, said students training in different settings across the state will increase the likelihood that they remain here to practice medicine. 

"We're absolutely ecstatic," Tomkowiak said. "My team has worked so hard to get us to this point. Now we can move ahead with our work to begin recruiting medical students and preparing doctors to meet the state's health care needs." 
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Trump's Aleppo ramble, WSU "Trump wall" and morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:56 AM

If you're reading this, then you made it. Last night was the final presidential debate before the election. You should read our Election Issue (here's a taste), and then you should go vote November 8.

But in case you missed the final debate (and you missed a doozy) here is a sample. Donald Trump was asked to clear up his thoughts on Aleppo, the embattled Syrian city that has been a focal point in the conflict there. Trump incorrectly stated that Aleppo had fallen. Read what he said and tell us if you got anything out of it: (H/T Vox)
"Well, Aleppo is a disaster. It's a humanitarian nightmare. But it has fallen from any standpoint. I mean, what do you need, a signed document? Take a look at Aleppo. It is so sad when you see what's happened. And a lot of this is because of Hillary Clinton. Because what's happened is by fighting Assad, who turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought, and now she is going to say, 'Oh, he loves Assad.' He's just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We gave them $150 billion back. We give them $1.7 billion in cash. I mean cash, bundles of cash as big as this stage. We gave them $1.7 billion. 

Now they have aligned, he has aligned with Russia and Iran. They don't want ISIS. But they have other things because we're backing, we're backing rebels. We don't know who the rebels are. We're giving them lots of money, lots of everything. We don't know who the rebels are. And when and if, and it's not going to happen because you have Russia and you have Iran now. But if they ever did overthrow Assad, you might end up as bad as Assad is, and he is a bad guy. 

But you may very well end up with worse than Assad. If she did nothing, we'd be in much better shape. And this is what has caused the great migration where she has taken in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who probably in many cases, not probably, who are definitely in many cases ISIS-aligned. And we now have them in our country and wait until you see this is going to be the great Trojan horse. 

And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks for doing a great job."
There are more than a few incorrect statements in there. Assad was aligned with Russia and Iran before the Syrian civil war broke out, for example, not as a result of it. And refugees as a "Trojan Horse," as Trump says, doesn't hold either. Actually your chances of being killed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion. But the larger point is Trump's response to a major policy question is basically ignorant drivel.

And now your morning briefing:


• The Trump Wall at Washington State University. WSU students were there. This is what they saw.

•  Here's what Halloween costumes Washingtonians are Googling more than any other states. 


• Area law enforcement agencies have switched to a more detailed method of collecting crime stats. The changes will make it look like crime is rising and will make it difficult to make year-to-year comparisons. On the other hand, we'll get a more details, and hopefully more accurate peek into crime in Spokane. (Spokesman-Review

Wells Fargo is now under criminal investigation for identity theft after allegations surfaced that the bank opened millions of accounts and credit cards for customers without their knowledge. The United States' third largest bank just lost it's good standing with the Better Business Bureau, perhaps the biggest company to ever lose that accreditation. (Reuters, CNBC)

• Although largely out of the spotlight of national media, Native Americans are killed by police at a higher rate than any other group. A must read. (In These Times)
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prepare for the "Big One" with The Great Washington ShakeOut

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 5:08 PM

This graphic shows the location of the Cascadia subduction zone.
  • This graphic shows the location of the Cascadia subduction zone.

Tremors are still radiating out across the Pacific Northwest as a result of the New Yorker's piece published last year detailing the potential impacts of a massive earthquake hitting the West Coast. Many of us, myself included, were forced to realize how unprepared we were for a natural disaster of this magnitude. Now, the biggest question is: What do we do if it happens?

Back in June of this year, more than 20,000 first responders with regional government agencies worked on earthquake preparedness through the Cascadia Rising project — tomorrow it’s the public’s turn. This Thursday, Oct. 20, for the fifth consecutive year, residents of Washington have a chance to collectively duck under desks and stand in doorways, preparing for a possible earthquake with the Great Washington ShakeOut.

Though it may seem like the Eastern side of the state has less to worry about, our region has experienced eight earthquakes in the last year above a 1.5 magnitude; the last time Spokane saw two earthquakes above a 3.5 magnitude within the span of a year was back in 2001 — only 15 years ago, which is not a ton of time seismologically. With the knowledge that an active fault line runs under North Spokane — extending from Spokane International Airport, through Hillyard, and toward Beacon Hill — it’s possible that the area could see another like the ones in 2001. And, ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Preparedness isn't complicated, and you can delve into how exactly to get ready on the Great Washington ShakeOut's website. Gov. Jay Inslee sums it up well, saying: “This is the perfect time to check to make sure your emergency kits are up to date, that your business has a continuity plan or that you’ve designated an out-of-area contact in case our local cell towers are down. Most important is learning the right way to protect yourself — practice dropping down, covering your neck and getting under a desk or table and holding on until after the earthquake ends.”

The Great Washington ShakeOut is happening across the state on Oct. 20 at 10:20 am. More than 43,000 individuals and organizations are expected to participate in Eastern Washington alone, with over a million signed up across the state. Set your alarm for 10:20 on 10/20 for a coordinated earthquake drill, and join other Washington residents as we hold on dearly to the hope that the Big One doesn't happen in our lifetimes. 
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'Trump Wall' at WSU is met by scores of protesters

Posted By and on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 4:32 PM

The scene at WSU today as College Republicans erected a "Trump Wall," drawing numerous protesters. - TAEHLOR CRIM / MURROW NEWS SERVICE PHOTOS
  • Taehlor Crim / Murrow News Service photos
  • The scene at WSU today as College Republicans erected a "Trump Wall," drawing numerous protesters.

PULLMAN — On Wednesday morning, a handful of conservative students drove a homemade “Trump Wall” into the the heart of Washington State University's campus with a pickup truck.

The plywood wall was painted to look like brick, with the word "Trump" painted in large gold letters. A strand of red caution tape was strung around it.

“The literature that we’ve been handing out says, and this is what we believe, we believe that legal immigration is a good thing,” said James Allsup, president of the WSU College Republicans Club. “What we don’t want is people to break the law and take advantage of our legal system and cheat the line, that’s what we don’t want.”

Hundreds of counter-protesters gathered on the campus's main wall, with signs and orange ribbons pinned to their shirts to show their support for immigrants. They outnumbered the conservative students who were demonstrating in support of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has proposed building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

As the morning wore on, the counter-protest grew as students watched from the top of the library and the steps of the Compton Union Building. Students chanted and held homemade signs. Andrea Chavez, a 21-year-old human development and psychology double major, spoke to the crowd about her own experience having been undocumented herself.

Chavez spoke about the two times she crossed the border, once when she was 6 months old and a second time when she was 5 years old. She said she remembered running through the sewer and then to the safe point with two strangers acting as guides.

“It’s part of who I am. It’s part of who I became,” Chavez said. “I don’t tell many people but I had to say something.”

  • Taehlor Crim / Murrow News Service photos
The conservatives stood along the steps as the chants continued to start and subside a few feet in front of them.

Blaise Schile, wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat and a Trump T-shirt, held a "free hugs" sign as he talked with a friend on the steps. The 19-year-old finance major said he originally supported Rand Paul, but he has admired Trump since he was a child because of his status as a business man. Schile is a finance major and would like to be a “real estate mogul” like Trump in the future.

Schile said that he prefers to talk about policy rather than candidates and welcomed conversation with people who disagree with him.

“I think that we actually need more immigration, which is actually Trump’s plan, to have more people coming in on work visas, legally,” Schile said. “What worries me is jobs going to non-residents and citizens that could be going to other impoverished Americans and a big majority of those are African Americans.”

Shortly after, Schile joined a group of conservatives who were talking with a man about Trump’s tax and health care policies and the recent release of the tape where Trump is heard making vulgar comments about woman. The man’s face was red as he argued his point. A sign reading "80% of women crossing the border illegally are raped" in black sharpie was visible just behind his head.

  • Taehlor Crim / Murrow News Service photos
The protest spanned hours but remained peaceful. Several heated conversations developed along the steps as the two groups clashed but the four police officers standing on the outskirts of the mass did not have to intervene.  

One Trump supporter, Murphy Harkins, 27, said that he was happy with how peaceful the protest was.

Harkins, an alumni of Portland State University, came to Pullman to support the conservative students. Harkins said he knows that these protests can be controversial and could cause people can get out of hand, so he wanted to offer his support to the organizers.

Lashae Daniels, right, confronts a Trump supporter. - TAEHLOR CRIM / MURROW NEWS SERVICE PHOTOS
  • Taehlor Crim / Murrow News Service photos
  • Lashae Daniels, right, confronts a Trump supporter.

While the protest was a political statement for some, for others it was personal.

Chive Aramburo, holding a sign that read "America is diversity" with a Mexican flag drawn within the bubble letters, has a sister who is currently undocumented and grew up with undocumented parents.

When he was a young boy, he used to wait up nervously to make sure his mom would make it home from work since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would make periodic sweeps of the warehouse she worked at in central Washington.

His parents are now citizens, but the mother of one of his close friends is not. She was forced to leave the country, leaving her son without family.

“Can you imagine going to college, going to a university with something like this going on where you don’t feel welcome and not having your family for support? How alienated he must feel,” Aramburo said. “People don’t see those aspects, things that are just kind of pushed aside because of the political agendas of the Democratic and Republican party.”

  • Taehlor Crim / Murrow News Service photos

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New security measures at Spokane Arena, INB PAC; here's what you need to know

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Arrive early for events at the INB PAC to get through new security measures in ample time. - INBPAC.COM
  • Arrive early for events at the INB PAC to get through new security measures in ample time.

Guests attending events at two of downtown Spokane's busiest venues may notice some new security measures the next time they head to a Chiefs game, concert or Broadway show. 

A few weeks ago both the Spokane Arena and the INB Performing Arts Center rolled out new security measures, including walk-through metal detectors at entrances, as part of ongoing efforts to create a safer environment at the two facilities managed by the Spokane Public Facilities District.

Public Facilities District CEO Kevin Twohig says the new protocols have been implemented not in response to any specific local or national event, but "certainly in response to what is going on nationally and internationally."

"We pay attention to events on an international basis, and when sports and entertainment venues have become the target of attacks, we felt that we needed to step up and prevent that from happening in Spokane," Twohig continues.

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Water rights, water boarding and other Wednesday morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 9:52 AM

Torture survivor Suleiman Abdullah. He has a Spokane connection—he was tortured by techniques designed by psychologists with offices in Spokane. - ACLU
  • ACLU
  • Torture survivor Suleiman Abdullah. He has a Spokane connection—he was tortured by techniques designed by psychologists with offices in Spokane.


Min Maxing 
How did minimum-wage advocates clear the field to push for a $13.50 per hour minimum wage in Washington? They captured Seattle first. 

Pearl Jam before Swine
Will the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame be wise enough to recognize the brilliance of Pearl Jam? Or will they continue to be utter fools? Dan Nailen investigates. 


Water We Talking About?

Water rights in the West! A new Washington State Supreme Court decision could impact Spokane County in radical ways. [Spokesman-Review]

Dr. Feel Bad
One of Spokane's torture psychologists would prefer his tell-all book not tell all before his trial. [Spokesman-Review]

McMulling a Third Party Vote

Will Idaho catch Evan McMullin fever like Utah has? [Spokesman-Review]


Block the Vote 
Will Trump's vote-rigging screams result in voter intimidation on election day? [New York Times]

No More Computer For You Young Man
Equador unplugs Julian Assange from his Internet access. And if he's not careful they'll take away his XBox privileges, too. [Washington Post] 

You Know who else directed hateful mobs against Jews? 
How Trump fever has resulted in a tide of online hate against Jewish journalists. [The Atlantic
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How Seattle's $15 minimum wage kneecapped opposition to statewide wage hike

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill to gradually increase Seattle's minimum wage to $15 in 2014. - SEATTLE.GOV
  • Seattle.Gov
  • Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs a bill to gradually increase Seattle's minimum wage to $15 in 2014.

If polls and campaign contributions are anything to go by, Washington state — which, at $9.47 already had one of the highest minimum wages in the country — is about ready to boost its minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020.

This month, a KOMO News/Strategies 360 poll found the Raise Up Washington initiative, which would also guarantee sick leave for all workers, was leading with 62 percent supporting.

And the cash difference was even more dramatic: As of last week, over $3.3 million in cash contributions had been raised for Raise Up Washington. That's more than 50 times as much as the anemic $66,500 in cash raised by the No on 1433 campaign. 

It's big difference from 2013, when the city of SeaTac — population 27,875 — was the site of a massive battle over an initiative to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Supporters gathered $1.6 million, while opponents managed to raise over $650,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat it.

But despite this initiative applying to the entire state of 7 million, opponents have only raised about a tenth of that this year. The wind appears to have gone out of the opposition. 

Some of that could be simply the fatigue of defeat: Why dump money into a cause you'll probably lose? 

"They see the same polls we see," says Jack Sorensen, spokesman for Raise Up Washington. 

Yvette Ollada, the spokeswoman for the "no" campaign, suggests many concerned businesses know they won't be able to compete with initiative funders like billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.

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