Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How the four candidates for Spokane police chief would tackle property crime

Posted By and on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM

The four men competing to be Spokane's next permanent police chief sat through a round of media questions yesterday. The Inlander asked each how they would address The Property Crime Problem

Earlier this week, Spokane Mayor David Condon called property crimes in Spokane the city's "number one issue," and submitted a proposal to allocate more resources toward addressing the problem, which includes pumping $1.7 million more into the police department. $1.6 million of that would go toward investigations, according to the Spokesman-Review.

Here's what each of the four candidates said: 

Craig Meidl
Acting City of Spokane Police Chief
  • Young Kwak Photo
  • Craig Meidl

A longtime Spokane cop, Meidl was a member of police leadership as property crime spiked up around 2011 through 2014, and as it began to settle back down in the last two years.

"People are tired of property crimes in the city of Spokane," Meidl says.

Property crimes are one reason why he took Capt. Brad Arleth off the lead of a race-data project that he'd been praised for.

"Every single media person I talked with today, just talked about property crimes. We need our precinct captains — who are the tip of the spear for our responses to property crimes — to focus on those property crimes" Meidl says. "The more that's put on their plate, the more distracted they are at focusing on property crimes."

Fighting property crime means working with the community to hit the root causes. The challenge, he says, are resources. He cites the example of a call last summer when he came across a man who admitted he was on meth. Meidl suggested drug rehab. At the time the meth addict was interested.

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Baroque pop-rockers Ra Ra Riot head to Spokane in October

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Fans of the Syracuse, New York-based five-piece Ra Ra Riot best get their tickets when they go on sale this Friday morning, otherwise there might be a riot...

All puns aside, the recent announcement that the upbeat indie rock group — which counts a violinist among its members, hence their oft baroque/orchestral categorization — was planning a quick stopover in Spokane had this fan beyond excited, and I've got a Google alert set to remind me this Friday morning, Sept. 23 at 10 am, to grab my own tickets ($22 for the all-ages event) to the show on Saturday, Oct. 29. 

Currently on tour to promote their fourth full-length album released back in February, Need Your Light, the band is heading to downtown Spokane's intimate venue The Bartlett, which is known to sell out when hot acts like this come through.

When the band previously announced their new album's fall tour, Spokane was not included on the list, but we're glad they decided a trip over the mountains between gigs in Seattle and Portland was worth it. Ra Ra Riot was last here back in April 2009 for an amazing show at Gonzaga University, joining Cold War Kids and Death Cab for Cutie.

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Why was Spokane Police Capt. Brad Arleth removed from his big race-data project?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 12:13 PM

Acting Chief Craig Meidl speaking at a nomination ceremony in 2016. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak Photo
  • Acting Chief Craig Meidl speaking at a nomination ceremony in 2016.

A long-anticipated research project into Spokane police contacts with the public, and how race informs those contacts, will move forward after spending a year on the shelf. The Spokane City Council Monday night approved $16,000 to fund the second phase of Eastern Washington University professor Ed Byrnes' research.

Byrnes began working with SPD Capt. Brad Arleth on the project back in 2012, and released a preliminary report in 2015. But as the next, more in-depth phase of the project gets underway, Arleth has been replaced.

One month after Spokane's acting Police Chief Craig Meidl was nominated by the mayor as Spokane's top cop, he sent an email to Byrnes. Arleth would no longer be working on the research project digging into minority contacts with police, Meidl informed Byrnes. Instead, Asst. Chief Justin Lundgren would be the liaison between Byrnes and the department.

Results from the first report indicated some disparities in contact between officers and certain minority groups, though Byrnes and Arleth cautioned that they needed a bigger data set to paint a more complete picture. That report also showed that Spokane police were more likely to search and arrest certain racial minorities, though there were not racial disparities in uses of force. 

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Police chief candidates speak, protests in NC and morning headlines

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

*Results may vary. May not represent the final police chief pick. Void where prohibited.
  • *Results may vary. May not represent the final police chief pick. Void where prohibited.


Opiate of the masses 
How a drug could help opiate addicts stabilize before getting long-term treatment. [Spokesman-Review]

Is that your Meidl answer? 
The police chief candidates are back at it again, talkin' at forums, and answerin' all manner of questions

The Fosters

Five years ago, I dug into the broken Washington state foster care system. Now, InvestigateWest takes another look at the system — and still finds it a mess. [InvestigateWest]


One man's hero is another man's Bin Laden. 
The alleged NY bomber's personal hero is Bin Laden. Me, my dad's my personal hero. Not Bin Laden. [New York Times]

Violence begets violence 

The shooting of an allegedly armed black man in North Carolina leads to violent protests. [Washington Post]

Please rise for President Bauer's Todd VanDerWerff thought the new TV show about Keifer Sutherland building the government up from scratch was pretty awesome. [Vox]
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trump Jr.'s Skittles, Tulsa cops kill unarmed black man, WSU may rethink athlete arrests and morning news

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 9:11 AM


: Former city attorney Nancy Isserlis is digging into the Straub investigation, and more specifically, into investigator Kris Cappel herself. 

: Our own Chey Scott really thought she would like Netflix's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. But in the end, she was let down. 


Football priorities
Following three felony arrests of WSU football players last week, and the media attention sparked by coach Mike Leach's accusation that his players are being targeted by police, and the fact that apparently none of those players have been disciplined by the team at all — one player has been expelled by the school and still played on Saturday — WSU president Kirk Schulz says the school may reconsider how it handles athlete arrests. Of course, that can't happen until after the season. (Spokesman-Review)

Budget plan
Mayor David Condon wants to address property crime in Spokane, so he's calling for an increase of 16.3 percent in funding to do so in his 2017 budget plan. And it's a budget the Spokesman-Review really wants you to click on, apparently, since the entire body of the article links to it. (Update: they fixed it)

The image tweeted by Donald Trump Jr. yesterday
  • The image tweeted by Donald Trump Jr. yesterday
Skittle controversy
Donald Trump Jr., remarkably, may be getting more media attention than his father this morning (but probably not) because of a tweet. The tweet had a picture of a bowl of Skittles, and asks, "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem." This has caused outrage because, as many have pointed out, refugees are not pieces of candy

Terror suspect found
Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in bombings Manhattan and on the Jersey Shore, was caught yesterday following a manhunt. 

Shooting of an unarmed black man
Video surfaced yesterday of a white Oklahoma police officer shooting and killing a black man who can be seen walking away from officers with his hands up seconds beforehand. The officers were responding because the man's car had stalled. 
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Monday, September 19, 2016

TV: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, new to Netflix, leaves questions unanswered

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 4:55 PM

The BBC's adaptation of Susanna Clarke's popular book was engaging, but misses the mark in some major ways.
  • The BBC's adaptation of Susanna Clarke's popular book was engaging, but misses the mark in some major ways.

After breezing through the incredible first season of Stranger Things, and also recently tearing through the thrilling The Night Manager (which won an Emmy last night), this past weekend I faced the challenge of what to binge-watch next. After a cursory scroll through Netflix's homepage, there was one title that caught my eye: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, new to the streaming service this month.

No one wants to waste a weekend binging a show that ends up being terribly written or produced, so after a quick check on Rotten Tomatoes (90) and Metacritic (73), I was satisfied that jumping into this seven-part miniseries from the BBC, released last year, would be worth the time. A brief summary of the show had me sold, too — a tale set in an alternate historical universe, early 1800s England, in which magic is real but has been seemingly lost on the British Isle for the past 300 years. Two magicians, the show's title characters, set out to bring magic back into a respectable status fit for the "modern era." 

The series is adapted from a 2004 bestselling novel of the same name by British author Susanna Clarke. As a major fan of both period pieces and anything relating to sci-fi and fantasy, I thought, this is it — this is my next series to obsess over!

However, after finishing off the seventh and final episode last night, I was left quite disappointed, confused and let down by my high expectations for the magical world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

While I've not read Clarke's epic, 800-page novel that the series was adapted from, I have to hedge a guess that many of the world's intricate details — such as background on the multitude of its characters — simply did not translate well to screen. Though I can't imagine this story would have been better served if condensed into a feature film-length format. Nor does it seem that more episodes were needed to fill in the gaps.

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Isserlis's lawyer is using public records to dig into the Straub investigation — and the investigator

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Basically like this, but more exciting. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
  • Daniel Walters photo illustration
  • Basically like this, but more exciting.

Nancy Isserlis is no longer the city attorney of Spokane. Kris Cappel has already completed her independent investigation into the way the City of Spokane handled the resignation of former Police Chief Frank Straub. 

But a fight between the two over the Cappel report's conclusion has continued. Cappel had accused Isserlis of intentionally withholding crucial documents until after the election. Isserlis, through her attorney, accused Cappel of defamation.

And now, in a poetic touch, both sides are gathering ammunition through the City of Spokane public records process — the same records process that Isserlis has been accused of impeding. 

On August 19, John Spencer Stewart made a huge records request to the city of Spokane, focusing — not on Straub — but on Cappel's investigation. Stewart, part of the team that successfully defended Isserlis in the lawsuit filed by Straub against her and other city officials, requested a vast variety of documents pertaining to the investigation, including:
"email, text messages, voice messages, telephone logs which including the time and date of telephone calls made and received, and any other form of communication between and among City employees, City Council members including, but not limited to, Council President Ben Stuckart and their staff, the investigation liaison group of four (Laura DeBacker McAloon, Brian McClatchey, Breean Beggs, and Rick Romero), and the Kutak Rock, LLP." 
On Aug. 29, Stewart followed up with the clerk's office, clarifying that he wanted his request to go back as far as when "discussion of the engagement of a private investigator or firm [first] took place."

He also requested the curriculum vitae for Cappel and any other members of her investigatory firm who may have authored the report.

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Monday Morning Place Kicker: WSU demolishes Idaho, EWU magic & Seahawks no longer score TDs

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Hey there sports fans. Here's hoping everyone had a great weekend of football watching, but if you missed out, let's get you caught up.

On a blustery evening out in Cheney, things did not go well for then-8th-ranked EWU to start out. The Eagles were down 24-7 at halftime to 10th-ranked Northern Iowa in a game in which all-universe wide receiver Cooper Kupp sat out with an injured shoulder, and their starting quarterback Gage Gubrud had been benched.

But then Antoine Custer, a freshman, took back the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown and backup quarterback Reilly Hennessey led a number of miraculous drives that culminated in Eastern lining up for a field goal that would put them up by a point. Then this happened:
Boom. Eagles win 34-30. They are now ranked 4th in the FCS ranks.

There was a only one way things could get worse for Washington State's football program on Saturday, and that would be if they lost to historically terrible Idaho in the Battle of the Palouse.

The week leading up to the game included the following: 
• Head Coach Mike Leach calling his team a "junior college softball team"
• Leach indicting the everyone-gets-a-trophy culture that's apparently ruining humanity and, in turn, football
• Leach claiming that the Pullman Police Department was conspiring to arrest his football players
• Three more WSU players getting arrested for various physical altercations

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Hero thieves, villainous football players and other morning headlines

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 9:38 AM


Ready to Rummmmbbllle
Mayor David Condon wants to see fewer of these. Thieves, not hamburgers.
  • Mayor David Condon wants to see fewer of these. Thieves, not hamburgers.
Our education reporter has a big summary of all the trouble that the fightin' Cougar football players have gotten into off the field

Piping Up 

We have a roundup, complete with pictures, of the recent North Dakota pipeline protests

Slammin' and Jammin'

Tonight's head-to-head poetry slam and other cool events this week


Shea's Shade
Rep Matt Shea and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's long-running feud continues, with Shea speculating, without evidence, that a sheriff's deputy was tied to a triple-homicide case. [Spokesman-Review

Unthickening Thieves
Mayor David Condon wants to pour more money into fighting property crime, and hopefully finding my three stolen bikes. [Spokesman-Review]


A Spokane Paralympian has won gold — and broken the world record— in the discus throw. Nice work all around, people. [KXLY] 


Water under the Bridge over Troubled Water

Yeah, prosecutors say, Chris Christie totally knew about the bridge lane closures. And so does the defense. [New York Times

The Heroes of De Blasio's New York

Thieves in New York and New Jersey helped foil a terrorist's bombing attempts. [DNAInfo]

If the glove fits...

The People vs. OJ wins big at the Emmy's. [The Atlantic

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

THIS WEEK: Dolly, Dierks, Destroyer, craft beer fest, Fiesta Spokane and more

Posted By on Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Tacocat headlines a show in Spokane Tuesday.
  • Tacocat headlines a show in Spokane Tuesday.

You can ward off the oncoming cold seasons by staying active — it's true! And by "active," I mean by getting out and about for some fun that you can find in our event listings and Staff Picks. 

In the interest of collective warmth, here are some highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, Sept. 19

WORDS | The Spokane Poetry Slam is changing formats to feature a head-to-head poetry tournament, with the audience deciding who wins. This Monday's edition is the first, so taking your judging (friendly judging, but still judging) seriously. Also part of the evening are performances from two Portland poets, Jane Belinda and Jamie Mortara. 

Tuesday, Sept. 20

FESTIVAL | The annual WSU Humanitas Festival kicks off Tuesday, bringing all manner of cool events and activities to the Pullman campus. Be sure to check the schedule and see something stunning, mmmkay?

LIVE BANDS | The oh-so-entertaining Seattle rockers Tacocat have been through the area a couple times in recent years, and I've heard nothing but great things about their shows. Tuesday, they headline the Bartlett, where they'll be joined by Dude York. 

COMMUNITY | It's time for another Pop-up Power Hour, where you can mix and mingle with all manner of nice folks at the Lincoln Building in downtown Spokane, while enjoying a drink and a nosh. 

Wednesday, Sept. 21

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