Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh: No discipline for attorney's controversial Facebook comment

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 12:17 PM

Barry McHugh
  • Barry McHugh

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said yesterday that one of his deputy prosecutors will not be punished for his racially charged social media comments. 

McHugh was on vacation when the Deputy Prosecutor Bryant Bushling's comment surfaced. 

"Over the time Bryant Bushling has worked in this office, I have had many hundreds of conversations with him about evaluating criminal cases, charging criminal cases, resolving those cases, and making recommendations at sentencing," McHugh told the Coeur d'Alene Press. " Not once have I questioned his use of appropriate factors in making decisions. He is a rational, fair and highly ethical attorney with a distinguished career of over 30 years as a prosecuting attorney. The posts will have no impact on his continuing ability to provide excellent service to Kootenai County." 

Bushling's commented on a meme posted by Kootenai County bailiff, Todd Hartman. Pete Barnes, who is in charge of the Kootenai County bailiffs, says Hartman has not faced discipline either. He added that he plans to speak with District Judge Lansing Haynes about the post to weigh possible repercussions.

We wrote about Bushling's comments in a blog post last week. That post is pasted below, ICYMI: 

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Q&A with Yoram Bauman, economist behind carbon tax initiative

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Yoram Bauman says that I-732, a ballot initiative that he helped author, could be a significant step towards solving one of the world’s most seemingly intractable problems. At the same time, he says if it passes it won’t be a big deal for most the state.

Yoram Bauman
  • Yoram Bauman

I-732, a ballot measure that will be considered by Washington state voters in November, would place a $25 tax on every metric ton of carbon pollution in the state. The idea behind it is that by making carbon emissions more expensive, businesses will emit less and look for cleaner forms of energy. However, any revenue from the tax would be offset with tax breaks, making the measure revenue neutral (although the legislature’s Office of Financial Management disputes that).

The initiative is modeled after an existing policy in British Columbia and includes a special tax rebate for low-income households. However, a coalition of progressive groups remain opposed to the measure, arguing that any revenue from a carbon tax should be used to invest in clean energy and vulnerable populations. The coalition has also taken issue with how the initiative has been crafted to appeal to more right-leaning constituencies.

Bauman, a “stand-up economist,” was recently in Spokane to pitch the measure to the Association of Washington Business. While in town, he talked to the Inlander about the politics and economics behind I-732. His remarks have been edited.

Inlander: You’ve really stressed that it’s revenue neutral. Why is that so important?

Yoram Bauman: We think that the way to get action on climate change and make it more of a bipartisan issue is to abstract it from the question of, 'Is government too big or too small?' We are changing what we tax instead of how much we tax. I think revenue neutrality is important as a way to appeal to conservatives, to Republicans, to people who are starting to care about climate change but have small government tendencies.

When this initiative was being created were there conversations about using it to fund something like the McCleary decision (which mandates basic school funding)?

There was some discussion about that, sure. I think the problem with McCleary is what is the nexus between a tax on carbon and funding for education. A carbon tax could generate maybe $2 billion a year. McCleary is maybe $5 billion.

Education will be here forever. Carbon tax revenue will hopefully decline in 50 or 100 years.

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In a partially symbolic gesture, Vancouver, WA, takes stand against oil facilities

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Oil trains pass through much of the Northwest, including downtown Spokane.
  • Oil trains pass through much of the Northwest, including downtown Spokane.

The Vancouver City Council unanimously voted last night for a ban on new oil refineries and facilities in its industrial zones.

The Columbian reports that the move by the council only affects existing and new facilities that take in an average of less than 50,000 barrels a day, meaning it won’t have any bearing on the proposed Tesoro-Savage terminal, which would be the country’s largest crude-by-rail project and would increase the number of oil trains passing through Spokane and other communities. Oil train opponents, however, say the council’s vote sends a message to state officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee, who will give final approval or denial for the terminal.

“By taking this step, the City of Vancouver is standing up for little towns like ours who don’t have the same power, but who bear the risks of oil trains just the same,” said Arlene Burns — the mayor of Mosier, a town in the Columbia Gorge where an oil train derailed and went up in flames last month — in a statement.

In other oil train news, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a new rule that would require railroads to develop comprehensive plans to respond to oil spills, including the worst-case scenario. The new rule also requires railroads to share information with state and tribal emergency response agencies, including the routes and an estimate of the weekly number of trains passing through each county within the state.

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Passion, plagiarism at Republican National Convention and other morning news

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 9:33 AM


FOOD: The Couple of Chefs Catering & Food Truck will open a "Bruncheonette" on Broadway this September. 

  • The Republican National Convention started out in chaos yesterday, as a group of delegates tried to force a state-by-state roll call on the rules of the convention. The anti-Trump delegates wanted to change the rules so that they weren't required to vote on their state's primary or caucus results. Despite some loud "nays!" GOP officials crushed this rebellion. (Politico)
  • Many speakers attacked Hillary Clinton and President Obama, including former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York, who gave one of the most fiery speeches. He said most American's don't feel safe and praised police officers. (New York Times

  • And finally, there was Melania Trump, whose speech made the most headlines for appearing to plagiarize part of a speech given by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Today, Donald Trump's campaign manager denied those allegations, calling them "absurd," despite word for word similarities. Watch this and judge for yourself. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has come to Melania Trump's defense, saying that "93 percent" of the speech was different. (Try telling that to your professor.) 


New City Attorney
Mayor David Condon has picked a new city attorney to replace Nancy Isserlis, who resigned last month. Laura McAloon, an attorney with the Workland & Witherspoon firm, should begin representing the city on Aug. 31. (Spokesman-Review)

Turkey Fires Teachers 
Following its coup last week, Turkey has fired 24,000 teachers and Interior Ministry employees across the country, accusing them of having ties to the alleged coup plotters. (Associated Press)

Cleared in Freddie Gray Case
For the fourth time, prosecutors in Baltimore failed to get a conviction for the death of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering injuries while in the back seat of a police van. The highest ranking officer, who was accused of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office, was cleared of all charges yesterday. (Baltimore Sun)  
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Couple of Chefs ready new brunch spot for September opening in Spokane

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 2:49 PM

Couple of Chefs co-owners Allen Skelton and Joile Forral outside the future home of their new brick-and-mortar restaurant Bruncheonette, scheduled to open this fall.
  • Couple of Chefs co-owners Allen Skelton and Joile Forral outside the future home of their new brick-and-mortar restaurant Bruncheonette, scheduled to open this fall.

The ever-expanding culinary scene in Spokane will get a new entry this fall from an old favorite, as the folks behind Couple of Chefs Catering & Food Truck will open Bruncheonette, a "casual-dining gourmet brunch restaurant." 

Husband-and-wife team Allen Skelton and Joile Forral started Couple of Chefs in 2011, and their food truck was voted the best in the Inland Northwest by Inlander readers in 2016. Bruncheonette will expand upon the menu available in the truck to include a small selection of liquor, local craft beer, wine and cider, and will focus on made-from-scratch dishes, Forral says.

Their goal is to open the space at 1011 West Broadway in September. That's the former Knockaderry bar space, and Forral says the plan is to expand the prep area a bit so the restaurant can act as home base for the continuing catering and food truck aspects of the business. Otherwise, just a few cosmetic changes to the place should get Bruncheonette ready to launch. As of now, the plan is to be open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. 

A brick-and-mortar restaurant was Step Three on the couple's business plan for Couple of Chefs, following the catering and food truck aspects, but after searching for a good space for months, "we had actually decided to stop looking," Forral says, since the summer is such a busy season. Naturally, that's when a prime spot opened they could use.

"[Breakfast] is the food that we really like to make," Forral says, hence the focus to expand on the to-go breakfast items — breakfast sandwiches and burritos — currently available in the truck. 

The move was made possible through a loan by Craft3, a regional nonprofit that provides loans to Washington and Oregon small businesses and nonprofit organizations. 
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THIS WEEK: Chris Cornell, Nick Swardson, Julyamsh powwow and more

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Nick Swardson headlines the Spokane Comedy Club this week.
  • Nick Swardson headlines the Spokane Comedy Club this week.

There's a ton of good things happening this week throughout the area, and you can find more than any person can possibly handle in our event listings and Staff Picks, so check those out!

Here are some carefully culled highlights of the week ahead: 

Monday, July 18

WORDS | It's time for another Spokane Poetry Slam at The Bartlett. It starts at 8 pm, and there's $50 up for grabs for the night's winner. 

Tuesday, July 19

LIVE BANDS | Only the utterly foolish would risk missing what is sure to be one of the best concerts of the summer when The Avett Brothers and Grace Potter team up for a show at Northern Quest. Read our interview with Scott Avett here and listen to one of the tunes from their new album here: 

FILM | Spokane Outdoor Movies drops by Joe Albi Stadium for a screening of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Wednesday, July 20
Chris Cornell
  • Chris Cornell

LIVE BANDS | Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell brings his magnificent pipes to the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox for a solo show that will be acoustic-based, but no less powerful than one might expect from his rock background. 

Thursday, July 21

WORDS | Author Jim Lynch swings by Auntie's for a reading from his new book Before the Wind

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Police killed in Baton Rouge, GOP convention starts today and other headlines

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 9:13 AM

LaShawn Jameison
  • LaShawn Jameison


MUSIC: Blood, fireballs and lasers — KISS played Spokane last weekend. Music editor Laura Johnson will tell you about it.

NEWS: Former EWU football player LaShawn Jameison was kicked off the team and out of school when he was charged with a murder he didn't commit. 

NEWS: Former GU law professor vying for a seat on the state Supreme Court says the court's contentious McCleary decision was wrong.

FOR FUN: We searched the darkest corners of the internet for the strangest Pokémon Go headlines so you don't have to. 

MUSIC: The Avett Brothers play Northern Quest Resort and Casino tomorrow night.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

CONCERT REVIEW: KISS brought the noise, pyrotechnics and even patriotism

Posted By on Sat, Jul 16, 2016 at 11:11 AM


Gene Simmons still has blood on his chin. After doing his best lizard impression, spewing fake scarlet liquid from his mouth onto his metal armor and then flying high into the air to rock out on a platform way above the stage, the famed bass player is back on the ground. He struts on his platform boots as if he’s walking around in the lightest Nike tennis shoes. Guitarists Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer do so as well. They play hit after KISS hit, along with some deeper cuts. Then Simmons breathes a fire ball.

Last night, KISS pulled out all of the stops for their 
KISS co-founder Paul Stanley flew to middle of the arena to sing "Love Gun." He later asked, "Who wants to see my love gun?"
  • KISS co-founder Paul Stanley flew to middle of the arena to sing "Love Gun." He later asked, "Who wants to see my love gun?"
Freedom to Rock tour stop at the Spokane Arena. It was huge and bombastic. Pyrotechnics went off nearly every song, because if you got them, you might as well use them. The very end of the show included lasers, fireworks, confetti, smoke, high-powered fans, streamers and, oh yeah, the musicians played “Rock and Roll All Nite” (two of them doing so while standing on swinging platforms that rotated over the audience). Of course, last week Simmons told the Inlander to expect the spectacle. He did not exaggerate.

From the beginning of the show, when the big KISS curtain fell and the whole band started playing “Detroit Rock City” on raised stage platforms, it was clear what the band came to do. Paul Stanley, who lost his shirt early on, yells into the microphone: “Alright Spokane, you wanted the best, you got the best.”

Throughout the night, Stanley, in a tone somewhat reminiscent of a nagging grandmother, introduces nearly every song. In the process he probably says the name Spokane more times on stage than any artist in history. He explains it’s an honor to play for us and that even though we weren’t the largest crowd (the upper level of the arena was completely closed off), we had the power to be the loudest.

He explains: “We got all the stuff you want to hear. You’re hearing the band that’s in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. They hate us, but they had to listen to you. And for that we say, ‘thank you.’”

This is a band, together for more than 40 years, who’ve sold over 100 million records worldwide. They’ve played almost every stadium there is, including the smaller towns they hit up for this tour (they’re going to Bozeman tonight) and they know exactly what they’re doing. Sure, they may look silly — these men in their 50s and 60s still wearing makeup and strutting around like royalty. But the whole thing is supposed to be a little ridiculous. It’s about having (pretty family-friendly) fun. Currently, they can still play those awesome standards like “Creatures of the Night,” "Black Diamond" and “I Love it Loud”, so they’re not going to stop yet.

Here were some of the highlights:


Drummer Eric Singer has a beautiful voice and his rendition of KISS’s ballad “Beth” especially showed that off. For this number, they even let him come to the front of the stage. People took out their lighters, swayed and sang along.

The Demon’s tongue
Oh, it was there — red, long and wild as ever. There was even a point where Simmons tried to lick Thayer with the thing, but luckily he was able to evade.

KISS fan Dave Thormahlen was one of the few who was unafraid to go big.
  • KISS fan Dave Thormahlen was one of the few who was unafraid to go big.
ourth of July re-run
And then Stanley went super patriotic. He told the crowd that the military is what holds this country together. The audience started chanting “USA, USA, USA!” He told us the band was donating $150,000 to the Hiring Our Heroes foundation and then invited the Spokane Marine Corps Color Guard to come out and we all recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then to top it off, KISS plays the “Star Spangled Banner” in glorious electric guitar harmony. “Patriotism is always cool,” Stanley said from the stage.


Where were all of the costumes, people? There was only one group of guys who went full out, nearly tripping over their platforms. Other than that, between a few painted faces and wigs, people simply donned KISS T-shirts. I truly expected more. However, let it be known that the actual costumes worn by the guys on stage were impeccable, the detail brilliant. Their costume seamstress is a genius. Through all of the sweat, the spandex, horns and rhinestones held strong. 

The Spokane Arena nearly outdid themselves with these awesome KISS cookies, and the guys were impressed, posting this on their Facebook page:

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Friday, July 15, 2016

GU professor criticizes McCleary decision as he vies for state Supreme Court seat

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 4:35 PM

David DeWolf
  • David DeWolf

In the last four years, perhaps no other issue has been more contentious in Washington than the state Supreme Court's 2012 McCleary ruling, which says fully funding basic education is a "paramount duty" of the state.

It demands that the legislature fund all transportation, maintenance, supplies and operating costs, as well as full-day kindergarten and lower class sizes in grades K-3. It also demands funding for staff salaries and raises by 2018. 

Since the ruling, the state legislature has been criticized for failing to meet the mandate, the court held lawmakers in contempt for failing to adequately fund K-12 education, and it then imposed a $100,000-a-day fine on the legislature. Some state lawmakers, however, defend the Legislature by pointing out that it has already made significant investments in K-12 education. 

But David DeWolf, a former Gonzaga law professor, says the state Supreme Court was wrong from the beginning, and that it wrongly interpreted the state constitution in the McCleary case

"They took one sentence — the 'paramount duty of the state' — and from that they extrapolated this wide-ranging authority to, in effect, remake the state budget," he says. "And I don't think that's a legitimate, or even plausible, interpretation of what the state constitution meant."

DeWolf is running for a position on the state Supreme Court in this year's general election. He will try to unseat Mary Yu, a former King County superior court judge appointed to the seat in 2014 by Gov. Jay Inslee. Two other seats on the court are up for election this November. 

DeWolf has also criticized the court for its ruling that state funding of charter schools is unconstitutional. He argues that the plaintiffs in the case did not meet the burden of proof that charter school funding was unconstitutional. For him, the court's rulings on education have jeopardized its relationship with other branches of the government. 

"I don't think in either case the court was authorized to do what it did," he says. "And in both cases it had damaging effects on the education of Washington school children."

DeWolf retired as a full-time professor from Gonzaga following the 2015-16 school year, and he has a consulting practice on the side. He is a fellow at the Discovery Institute, which describes itself as a "hub for scientists, educators, and inquiring minds who think that nature supplies compelling evidence of intelligent design." DeWolf has authored publications on how to teach the "evolution controversy" in schools from a legal standpoint, and says he was quoted on the U.S. Senate Floor by former Sen. Rick Santorum during discussion of an amendment of the No Child Left Behind Act. 

DeWolf says serving on the Supreme Court is one of those dreams that every law student has in their first week of class. All law students, he says, think to themselves "what if I end up in a position of writing opinions instead of reading them?" 

"It's a dream that every lawyer thinks about, and the planets aligned for this opportunity."
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Spokane County Jail inmates no longer on lockdown 23 hours a day

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:19 PM

  • Young Kwak Photo

For the first time in 15 years, most of the inmates in the Spokane County Jail are allowed out of their cells with access to books, TV, showers, the phone, games and the rec room. All floors except 6 West, which holds maximum security inmates, and the all-female floor, are now on direct supervision. 

"The research is very clear that the direct supervision model creates a safer environment inside jails and prisons," says Jacquie van Wormer, criminal justice administrator for the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council. "There is less stress, less grievances, less serious incidents, less infractions when you have that sort of a system."

Direct supervision is an inmate management strategy where corrections officers interact directly and continuously with inmates to deter problematic behavior.

The change comes after negotiations between the corrections officers' union and jail administration cleared the way for officers to work at both the county jail and Geiger Corrections Center, says jail director John McGrath. 

Previously, corrections officers weren't allowed to float between the two facilities, which created inmate-to-officer ratios that made it unsafe for inmates to be out of their cells most of the day. 

"The population has been kind of stagnant," McGrath says. "So with that we were able to look at current bed space and break down classification levels. We had an abundance of minimum security inmates that we could then relocate to Geiger if we were to send more staff members out there to supervise them." 

The jail's return to direct supervision was also called out among recommendations from the National Institute of Corrections, a federal agency within the Department of Justice. 

NIC's other recommendations touch on policy and procedure revisions, the inmate classification process, healthcare and sanitation. Here are a few highlights: 

• "Ensure that inmates with urgent medical or mental health concerns receive timely health assessments at the jail and/or transferred to the emergency room for these assessments. Within 14 days after the admission to the Spokane Correctional Facility all inmates should receive a health assessment." 

• "Ensure that discharge reports on inmates released to the jail from outside hospitals accompany the inmate to the jail and are immediately provided to the jail medical staff for their immediate review. Similarly, ensure that facility medical information connected with SHUTTLE inmates accompany the inmate to the Spokane County Jail and are reviewed by health care staff." 

• "Improve levels of sanitation throughout the facility. Set and enforce expectation for appropriate levels of sanitation through training of staff and inmates and routine internal inspections." 

• "Continue with refurbishing of housing units. Some units, which have not been recently refurbished are in need of cleaning, painting and repair/replacement of furnishing fixtures." 

• "Provide ongoing specialized training in high risk/liability areas including suicide prevention, managing inmates and mental illness, etc."

• "Work with the union to ensure flexibility in determining when, and if, a second officer is required to be assigned to a housing unit. It is not uncommon, given the proper tools and support, for a housing unit officer in more recently constructed facilities to effectively manage 64-72 inmates in a direct supervision environment." 

Van Wormer says the improvements also come as a result of jail administration's reliance on data and commitment to reducing overcrowding, a requirement of the $1.75 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation

"I think the jail has really improved over the last few years with their use of data, their offender management system and thinking about needed changes through a data lens," she says. "This is a prime example. This happened because of data analysis."

When it was first constructed, the Spokane County Jail was intended to be a direct supervision facility with a 1 to 46 ratio of guards to inmates. With staff shortages and an inmate population constantly pushing past the 462 inmates it was originally designed to hold and past the 188 additional beds added later, inmates were kept locked in their cells almost the entire day on weekdays and were on lockdown all weekend.

"This makes life easier for the officers," McGrath says. "They can interact with the inmates and see how they interact with others. They have more access to normalcy where they can watch the news or go to their cells and take a nap." 
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