Monday, October 5, 2015

Neil, Rachel, Rick, Morty and other important personalities in the headlines

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Oh, hey, I remember her.
  • Oh, hey, I remember her.
The man potentially responsible for the Centennial Trail assaults was arrested after walking into the Downtown YMCA and making strange statements. That's good news because Centennial Trail is a smash hit, as trails go. (KXLY)

A retirement home is found to be utterly infested with bedbugs. (KXLY)

Neil Young, (not to be confused with hero gorilla Mighty Joe Young) played a concert in Spokane this weekend, and gave us an important list of which companies are evil. (Starbucks, Monsanto, and Safeway for starters. Ticketmaster remained curiously absent from his list.) Laura Johnson has more on the sweet sounds of a man who, we hear, was well-praised in the "Spokane Daily News." (Inlander)

KHQ is confused about what Common Core math is. The Inlander explains that while a lot of people hate the way math is being taught and hate the Common Core standards, Spokane Public Schools has actually been moving in a more traditional direction with their new curriculum. (Inlander) 

As awful details keep emerging about the Oregon mass shooting, the Associated Press reports that one survivor was spared to give a package to the police

How Donald Trump tweeted his way to the top of the polls. 

Rick and Morty finished another great season with a typically hilarious, dark and depressing episode. The Hollywood Reporter interviews the co-creators, the weird Dan Harmon and the somehow even weirder Justin Roiland. It's the best show you're already watching if you have any taste in television whatsoever. Then, check out the fan art contest winners.

Saturday Night Live featured a cameo from a beloved Spokane viral sensation!
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Neil Young made his own headlines at Spokane Arena

Posted By on Sat, Oct 3, 2015 at 11:39 AM

Neil Young and Promise of the Real played a memorable and not-too-polished set at the Spokane Arena Friday. - LAURA JOHNSON
  • Laura Johnson
  • Neil Young and Promise of the Real played a memorable and not-too-polished set at the Spokane Arena Friday.

Hoots and hollers come sporadically. If we just call for him, he’ll arrive. But at 7:30 pm, the Friday night show set time, Neil Young still hasn’t appeared on the Spokane Arena stage. Suddenly, darkness. Two people dressed as farmers, complete with overalls, appear front and center. As if in a field, they begin to toss seeds around. Is this a performance art piece? Will Neil Young and Promise of the Real come through the floor of the stage as if grown from the earth?

Instead, a lone spotlight switches to the side of the stage where Young sits at an upright piano, partly obscured by speakers. His unmistakable voice rolls into “After the Gold Rush.” It’s stunning. People settle into their seats, beers in hand.

For his summer tour with Promise of the Real — which includes Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson (the latter normally plays with his band Insects vs Robots) — Young began his shows alone. Last night, the second night of the group’s West Coast tour promoting their new record The Monsanto Years, was no different. In sparse lighting, Young worked through many of the favorites like “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man” and also “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)” on piano, guitar and even organ. At 69, his voice was strong and glorious as ever. Those high notes, never eluding him.

About two-thirds of the venue is curtained off for this show, making it feel far more intimate. While the concert is well attended, the edges of the space still have plenty of seats. The people there are the ones who want to be there. It’s a lot of older men and women, many of whom look an awful lot like Young, but also some younger hipster-type fans.

Continue reading »

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KHQ doesn't understand what "Common Core" math is

Posted By on Sat, Oct 3, 2015 at 9:04 AM


Want to get parents angry? Talk about "Common Core" math.

When KHQ told viewers that they were "looking into how Common Core affects your family," the post racked up over 600 shares. 

The resulting story this week attempted to explain what KHQ calls "Common Core" math. KHQ reporter Gabe Cohen drew a contrast on a multiplication problem between "how we learned math" and what he sees as a variety of more complicated methods.

"Parents out there, many of them, are only seeing one formula, and it's this," KHQ reporter Gabe Cohen says. He points to the whiteboard. "COMMON CORE = BIG PROBLEMS."

("What?!" Spokane Public Schools' Chief Academic Officer Steven Gering says as he watches the KHQ video.)

Cohen then talks to a single mom who says the "new math" looks more like a "foreign language." "For so many parents out there, this new method has made homework time a huge headache," Cohen says.

His story repeatedly implies that these methods have only recently appeared in Spokane Public Schools. He introduces a teacher explaining how one method works by saying, "for three years, this bizarre chart has frequented boards here at Lidgerwood Elementary." 

But Matthew Henshaw, director of elementary curriculum at Spokane Public Schools, says none of the methods explored in KHQ’s video are new. They’ve been in use in the district for about two decades.

In fact, KHQ gets the trend precisely wrong. The Spokane Public Schools' "Engage New York" curriculum, based on the Common Core standards, have moved the district in the opposite direction as KHQ implies: The new curriculum de-emphasizes the more conceptual style of teaching math (a source of occasional parental confusion) and focuses more extensively on perfecting the traditional "standard algorithms" — the kind of math you learned growing up. 

"It’s way more traditional," Gering tells the Inlander. "We teach more standard algorithms now that we did five or 10 years ago."

To be clear, there are many legitimate arguments against Common Core. Some teachers, for example, argue that some of the standards are developmentally inappropriate for kids. Others feel that the standards have meant a loss of local control. 

But Common Core has recently become an educational boogeyman, to be blamed for anything in a curriculum, test or assignment that parents don't like. Worksheets and test questions go viral, even in subjects like history that the Common Core standards don't directly address. A lot of times the problem isn't the standard, it's the curriculum supposedly based on the standard.

It's a bit like seeing a blemish on the skin, and blaming the skeleton. 

Blaming, or crediting, the Common Core standards for the "new" way of teaching math is simply wrong. In fact, the debate — often called the "Math Wars" — over non-traditional ways of teaching math has been raging for decades.

In one camp, you have proponents of traditional math, where students are taught one way to do things, and then drilled repeatedly on how to do it. 

On the other side, you have those advocating for "reform," "constructivism" or "discovery" mathematics. Students are taught a number of different ways to solve a given mathematical problem with the goal of understanding the mechanics behind the math. They may be even be asked to try to figure out how to multiply or do long division before they're taught the traditional method. 

The goal of the Common Core was to bring a sort of truce to the math wars and bridge the gap between the traditional and reform models. Some of the traditional math proponents felt they had won an important battle with the standards. The traditional method? The method "you learned?" Where you "carry the one"? The district says that method is explicitly required by the Common Core.

The Common Core doesn't require any of the other non-traditional methods specifically, but it does encourage using a few of those methods to give students different ways to solve problems. Students are supposed to understand what's happening when they multiply, add, subtract or divide, but the Common Core standards give districts a lot of flexibility for how to get there. 

Here's a relevant summary from the Common Core standards website:
Conceptual understanding: The standards call for conceptual understanding of key concepts, such as place value and ratios. Students must be able to access concepts from a number of perspectives in order to see math as more than a set of mnemonics or discrete procedures.
In other words, teachers still may use methods like the "multiplication box" to help kids grasp what's happening when they "carry the one." But Gering says students, once they grasp the general concept, should quickly move on to focusing on perfecting the traditional method.

"Some see it as this new, complicated, 'Common Core," Cohen says in the KHQ report. "But the curriculum hasn't actually changed that much." 

In fact, the curriculum has changed. It's become more traditional. Before the Common Core, the district had previously been using "Investigations," a very non-traditional math curriculum. Many parents hated it. 

"It was very focused on conceptual understanding," Gering says, "and had less of a focus on procedural skills and fluency."

"Engage New York," the new math curriculum used in Spokane Public Schools, shifts the focus much more toward understanding how to use the traditional method, Gering says. Students practice problems. They work on speed. They drill. And while students still might still learn from more conceptual methods, Gering says, teachers shouldn't be assigning that kind of homework if kids don't understand it. 

"It’s supposed to be extended practice. They should fly through it," Gering says. "It’s not supposed to be a frustration point."

In truth, "what you learned" is still required by the Common Core
  • In truth, "what you learned" is still required by the Common Core

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Spokane designers 08 Left in national competition; also at Terrain 8 tonight

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 3:54 PM

  • 08 Left

Spokane couple Ryan and Heidi Miller's wanderlust-tinged design venture, 08 Left, is a finalist in a national competition run by Martha Stewart's homemaking empire, called Martha Stewart American Made.

The Miller's 08 Left is running in the design subcategory of furniture and home accessories, alongside dozens of other makers and artists. This is the second year the couple has entered their work into the competition. Even if it's not selected by Stewart's panel of editors and judges, 08 Left still has a chance to be named overall audience choice winner, as voted by the public. 

The annual competition, running since 2012, seeks to highlight makers, artists and entrepreneurs across the U.S. who are designing and crafting quality products by hand. There are 26 sub-categories within the contest's major focuses on crafts, design, food and style.

Although 08 Left launched last year, the couple are just now showing their contemporary, airport themed art to the local public at tonight's Terrain 8 arts showcase.

A graphic designer by trade, Ryan Miller's love of travel and all things relating to flight is the theme of 08 Left (the project's name refers to a runway destination in airport-speak). Minimalist airport layouts, three-letter airport codes, and finely outlined silhouettes of airport traffic control towers from around the world (including military bases) are showcased on poster prints, throw pillows, T-shirts, coasters and printed onto sheets of metal as industrial-inspired wall art.

"All my life my husband has been obsessed with airplanes — he should have been a pilot instead — and every time we would travel he would stare at airplanes and he knew all the airports so well," explains Heidi Miller. "He's in awe of the whole design of how an airport functions — he just nerds out about it."


While 08 Left's artwork may be a new discovery for many Inland Northwest residents, the couple's work has been picked up by several design-centric blogs and websites, including Houzz, Dezeen magazine, Mashable and Gizmodo. However, some may recognize the Millers for their longer-running, custom card and invitation company, Mango Ink.

Attendees of this year's Terrain arts showcase can see the Miller's 20-by-30 print on metal of the Spokane International Airport, aka GEG, tonight — the event runs from 5 pm to 2 am. It's located near the stairs leading to the second floor, in a narrow hallway. While the piece on display has already sold, Heidi says fans of it can order their own version through 08 Left's website. Prints are customizable by color, she adds, so if the original design doesn't match your decor, let them know. 

If you'd rather pay homage to another airport around the world, the couple also accepts commissions. But with 350+ designs to choose from already, it seems likely you'll find what you're looking for. 

"People who travel want to collect the places they've been, and it's this interesting collection of ways to interpret the world and how beautiful it is, and how the airports are a gateway to that and those places," Heidi reflects.

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THIS WEEKEND IN MUSIC: Neil Young, Bullets or Balloons EP release, Terrain 8 and Purity Ring

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM

  • Warner Bros. Records

Neil Young and Promise of the Real are burning up the Spokane Arena tonight. The show, based on set lists from other tour performances, will most likely begin with an acoustic solo set from Young and progressively get heavier as the evening continues. Read our interview with Lukas Nelson (Willie Nelson’s son and leader of Promise of the Real) here. Be sure to check for our review of the show Saturday. 

It’s easy to get excited about one huge free night of local artwork on display, but Terrain is about celebrating (mostly) local music, too. This year’s stellar lineup of indie/pop/electronic/funk acts will tempt you to camp out in front of the venue stage all night long — there will constantly be something different on stage. Headlining the event is Portland-based act Wampire, who will transport the audience back to a 1980s house-show dance party with their psychedelic, EDM-inspired tunes. Multi-genre Spokane acts on the bill range from the well-established to up-and-coming bands. Here's the schedule:
5 pm - Twin Towers
6 pm - Paisley Devil
6:55 pm - The Backups
7:45 pm -  Haunted Tubes
8:35 pm - The Tone Collaborative
9:25 pm - Phlegm Fatale
10:10 pm - Wamprie 
11:20 pm - Cathedral Pearls

Want more art/music? Check out First Friday listings here.

Just up the way from Terrain, Bullets or Balloons are touting their newest EP, Naturalistically, at the Big Dipper. The prolific band may have released a full-length back in February, but they’re back with seven more garage-rock songs to share. The act continues to delve into complex instrumental math rock territory with “Short Haired Strom.” The entire EP is over in just 15 minutes, and it’s completely worth your time. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 pm and is $7 at the door.

The Portland Cello Project has not one, but two performances at the Bartlett Saturday, likely after multiple sold out shows in February. One at 6 pm and another at 9 pm. For $20, go see what all the classical meets pop fusion group is about.

Purity Ring, oh Purity Ring. This Canadian electronic pop duo was too busy to talk to us this week, but we still wrote a little something up about them anyway. The band plays the Knitting Factory Saturday at 8 pm for $20. Check out tracks from their new, progressive album here.

Raise your stein to this! The family-friendly Oktoberfest Party at Two Seven Public House on the South Hill is back for yet another yet. Band performances on the parking lot stage include Jus Wright & the River City Roots, Hey! is for Horses and Boomshack String Band.

Get your heavy rock music on over at the Viking Bar & Grill for Thunder & Lightning's Spectacle of Boobs ‘n Music. Bands like Witchburn, Invasive, Volcanoes on the Sun, Drop Off, Evolved, North Fork and more come together starting at 11 am to raise money for breast cancer awareness. This is a free, all-ages event but a monetary donation will be taken.

Big Gigantic are big in the EDM world right now. And they’re not just two guys playing turn tables, they also play saxophone and drums over their instrumental jazzy/electronic music. Catch them at Knitting Factory Sunday night. Look out for our review of the show come Monday morning.
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Moscow Farmers Market named Idaho's best; local market season wraps up soon

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 11:39 AM

  • Moscow Farmers Market Facebook

Since 1977, the Moscow Farmers Market has been providing Palouse residents with fresh produce, meat, baked goods, flowers, plants and handmade arts and crafts. This year, the market was recognized for its longterm success by the American Farmland Trust, a national nonprofit with the mission to preserve the agricultural trade for generations to come.

From the American Farmland Trust website:

  • Family farms who sell at farmers markets have nearly a 10 percent greater chance of staying in business than those selling goods through traditional channels. 
  • Businesses near farmers markets report higher sales on market days — supporting the local economy and generating extra tax revenue in the community. 
  • Farmers market shoppers save on average nearly 25 percent on food annually — when compared to shopping at grocery stores.

Throughout this summer Farmland Trust held its Farmers Market Celebration, during which the Moscow Market was voted the No. 1 farmers market in Idaho and one of the top 25 in the U.S. The public could vote for their market in five areas: People's Choice, Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community and Champion for the Environment. Moscow's market placed at the top in each for all Idaho markets. 

The Moscow Farmers Market is held every Saturday, from 8 am-1 pm, through the end of October, in downtown Moscow's Friendship Square.

Here's a roundup of other regional farmers markets still running as this season's harvest begins to wane:

Bonners Ferry Farmers Market | Last day of market is this Saturday, Oct. 3, from 8 am-1 pm. At 6181 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry, Idaho. (208-267-2780)

Chewelah Farmers Market | Fridays, through Oct. 23, from 11:30 am-5:30 pm. At the northwest corner of City Park. (509-963-4353)

Coeur d'Alene Farmers Market | Wednesdays, from 4-7 pm, through Oct. 28. At Sherman Ave. and Fifth St. (208-772-2290)

Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market | Fridays, from 3-7 pm, through Oct. 16. In the parking lot of Knox Presbyterian Church, 806 W. Knox Ave. (

Fairwood Flea & Farmers Market | Tuesdays, through Oct. 6, from 3-7 pm. At the Fairwood Shopping Center, 319 W. Hastings Rd. (466-0682)

Hayden Farmers Market | Saturdays, from 9 am-1:30 pm, through October 31. At the corner of Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue. (208-772-2290)

Kendall Yards Night Market | Wednesdays, from 4-8 pm, through Oct. 14. On Summit Parkway, between Cedar and Adams Alley. (

Liberty Lake Farmers Market | Saturdays, from 9 am-1 pm, through Oct. 10. Town Square Park, 1421 N. Meadowwood Ln. (290-3839)

Moscow Farmers Market | Saturdays, from 8 am-1 pm, through October 31. Friendship Square, Fourth Ave. and Main St. (208-883-7132)

Northeast Washington Farmers Market | Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9 am-1 pm, through Oct. 31. At Main and Astor, downtown Colville. (509-935-0555)

Pullman Farmers Market | Wednesdays, from 3:30-6 pm, through Oct. 28. In the Spot Shop parking lot, 240 NE Kamiaken St. (509-334-3565)

Sandpoint Farmers Market | Wednesdays, from 3-5:30 pm and Saturdays, from 9 am-1 pm, through Oct. 10. Farmin Park, Third and Main. (208-597-3355)

South Perry Thursday Market | Thursdays, from 3-7 pm, through Oct. 29. The Shop parking lot, 924 S. Perry. (

Spokane Farmers Market | Saturdays and Wednesdays, from 8 am-1 pm, through Oct. 31. At 20 W. Fifth Ave. (995-0182)

West Central Marketplace | Tuesdays, from 3-6 pm, through mid-Oct. (see Facebook for updates). A.M. Cannon Park, 1920 W. Maxwell.

Scenes from the bustling Thursday Market in South Perry. - THURSDAY MARKET FACEBOOK
  • Thursday Market Facebook
  • Scenes from the bustling Thursday Market in South Perry.

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This morning's top headlines

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 9:36 AM


In case you missed it at

-Charges for men involved in attack on local transgender woman are dropped
-Q&A with Spokane's Interim Police Chief Rick Dobrow

A massacre on the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon, left 10 people dead including the gunman.

Our nation continues to mourn as more news filters in about another mass shooting. A 26-year-old male, equipped with body armor, three handguns, and an assault rifle, killed nine and injured more yesterday. According to a father of one of the victims, the shooter asked students their religion before opening fire. (CNN)
Meanwhile, Eastern Washington University takes its own worse-case scenario drills seriously. (KXLY)
Also, an Oregon army veteran is recovering after his family said he rushed the gunman. (KREM)
President Obama addressed the nation. (Seattle Times)

The Taliban claims responsibility for shooting down a crashed plane in Afghanistan.
NATO has confirmed that 11 people, including six US soldiers, were killed in a C-130 military transport plane crash in Eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban, notorious for exaggerated battlefield claims, says they shot it down but NATO has not yet confirmed that.

Economy added 142,000 jobs in September and unemployment stays at 5.1 percent.
These numbers do fall short of what economists had predicted. Sectors that gained jobs were healthcare, business, retail and food services.

Spokane weekend weather: High is low-70s, low is low-40s

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

What we know so far — and what we don't — about the mass shooting in Oregon

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 3:28 PM

A 20-year-old man killed multiple victims at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, today.

Initial news reports on the number of people killed vary, but the officials in the office of the Oregon attorney general, Ellen F. Rosenblum, are saying 13, according to the New York Times. Other reports have said 10 people are dead, with at least 20 others injured. The shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College. 

CNN, NBC and CBC are reporting that unnamed shooter is dead.

Reuters is reporting the man was shot by police.

Watch President Barack Obama's reaction: 

What we don't know, according to the New York Times: and click here for live updates via NYT
Watch reaction the governor of Oregon:

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East Spokane mural painting paves the way for Fresh Soul restaurant

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Gonzaga students came out last weekend to help paint the forthcoming restaurant's building. - MAKAYLA WAMBOLDT
  • Makayla Wamboldt
  • Gonzaga students came out last weekend to help paint the forthcoming restaurant's building.

Last weekend, Michael Brown’s long-envisioned dreams exhibited the first signs of realization to Spokane’s East Central neighborhood in the form of a vibrant mural on the side of a dilapidated building on east Fifth Avenue. The location is the site of what last was home to Flippers Ice Creamery, and where Brown now intends to create his mission-driven restaurant called Fresh Soul.

The colorful occasion drew dozens of Gonzaga students from a class titled “Art, Race, and Public Space: U.S. Murals” taught by professor Shalon Parker. Under the vision and direction of local artist Ellen Picken, students had the opportunity to learn outside the classroom, while brushing up their painting skills in the process. While the students’ contribution appears in small, brightly colored squares spread across a background of bright blue, these shapes are some of the first physical stepping stones toward the restaurant’s future opening in early 2016.

While Fresh Soul is expected to operate as a café serving southern-style cuisine, its mission transcends beyond food. Brown, a long time resident of the East Central neighborhood, envisions Fresh Soul to be a place that benefits the area’s youth through employment, job training, and mentorship with the goal of empowering students to further their education. The nonprofit restaurant is the manifestation of a grassroots initiative to foster transferable job skills to local teens through a number of community partners. One of these partners is Spokane Eastside Reunion Association, an organization that strives to promote community through basketball camps, mentoring, tutoring, and now, through its support of the local café.

“Fresh Soul is going to be much more than just a restaurant,” Brown says. “We want to motivate and teach our kids skills that will inspire them to continue their education, and provide a platform for success and to find their passion.”

A big proponent of the project is to create a physical presence in the community that will hopefully further a sense of revitalization in the East Central area, a lower-income neighborhood of Spokane. While this past weekend filled the block of East Fifth with a little more color, Fresh Soul is still seeking the remaining funds needed to open, an estimated $100,000. Find more information and stay updated on its progress here

  • Makayla Wamboldt

  • Makayla Wamboldt

  • Makayla Wamboldt

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Q&A with Spokane's Interim Police Chief Rick Dobrow

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 12:19 PM

Spokane's Interim Police Chief Rick Dobrow - MITCH RYALS PHOTO
  • Mitch Ryals Photo
  • Spokane's Interim Police Chief Rick Dobrow

Interim Police Chief Rick Dobrow sits with his hands folded across his lap in the office next to his former boss — Frank Straub. A shiny gold badge on his chest reads "CHIEF" and his new business cards just arrived. 

After former Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub was forced to resign last week, Mayor David Condon appointed Dobrow as interim. The mayor has said that he does not yet have plans for a nationwide search for a new chief.

We sat down with the 21-year veteran of the SPD last Friday afternoon to get his thoughts on his new responsibilities, the direction of the Spokane Police Department and Straub's tenure.
INLANDER: What's your No. 1 priority as new chief? 

DOBROW: Actually, we have three priorities, and they haven't changed. No. 1, we're going to continue our efforts to drive down crime. Under Chief Straub’s leadership, we have been very successful in fighting crime. We’re riding on a double digit crime reduction right now, but I think we can do better.

No. 2: I don’t think the relationship between the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane community is where it can be. We have come a long way in the years since former Chief Straub came to the Spokane Police Department. People can see there has been kind of a shift in tone, and I think the trust in the community and the Spokane Police Department is stronger, and I think that people have seen from our actions that we’re committed that we’ll continue to build upon that relationship because it’s absolutely critical. We see what’s going on in the rest of the country and we don’t want that to happen here in Spokane.

No. 3: We still have this [Department of Justice] collaborative reform effort, and matter of fact, the mayor, the city administrator and I had a conference call with the Department of Justice C.O.P.S. (Community Oriented Policing Services) office at 11 o’clock this morning, assuring them that we are totally committed. Our commitment level has not changed with a change in leadership.

We’re continuing to move forward with the implementations of 42 recommendations. And I am very very proud of the success so far and how far we have gone.

Will you make any staffing changes? 

No, and you wanna know why? There have been so many changes in just the last three years, I think what people want internally is for the machine to slow down. For us to be able to pause, catch our breath... and figure out what we need to do to make every single person feel like they’re a valued member of the organization and create an environment where everybody feels safe to be able to express an opinion and provide information without feeling apprehensive and create an environment where people are energized to come to work. 

You see yourself as a stabilizer? 

I do, because you wanna know something? I'm a cop. I was hired as a cop, I worked the street, I worked by way through the chain of command, and I know what it feels like to have an unsettled feeling in my stomach. I don't want people distracted by what's going on in here. 

There was some concern when Frank Straub was first hired that he wasn't a commissioned officer, how important is that?

In the eyes of cops, it’s very important. Credibility. I’m not saying that it’s deserved in some cases, but cops are a different group of people, and they’re a rough crowd.

What's the most vital fix for SPD?

Trust within the organization. People feeling that the environment is safe enough to where they want to participate in providing information, whether it’s through committees or whether it’s just ad hoc. And asking people for suggestions about 'How do we improve? What are better ways to do things?' 

This is where I differ from former Chief Straub. I’m not an academic, and I have never claimed to have all the answers. There are a lot of very, very talented, bright people within the organization, and I think they deserve a voice. 

Is that the kind of environment Straub created? 

Yes. It definitely makes things more difficult. 

You were assistant chief for a while under Straub. Did he mentor you in any way? 

He may not have done much formal mentoring, but I was recording everything that he did — the positive and some things that I might not find effective.

Can you give me an example of each of those? 

Yes, for every action you take there’s a reaction, and you have to think of every single potential consequence. And sometimes if you make a decision too quickly, you might miss one of the collateral effects. In order words you have to recognize an incident not specifically for what it is but what it may become or what its potential could be.

And an example of what you learned doesn't work? 

I’ll tell you this: He never created an environment where I felt safe enough to be entirely candid with him. It was always very formal. I always addressed him by 'Chief.' It was never a relaxed environment even if we were out at lunch together.

We talked about [managing] people, and I would say that's a challenge for him. 

Did you ever disagree with any of his decisions? 

Yeah on a couple of disciplinary things. I’m more of a disciplinarian. [Straub] can be pretty abrupt and hard line, but he seemed to be kind of soft-sided sometimes when it came to some of the disciplinary issues.

I can’t speak freely about our internal affairs investigations, but an investigator would make a recommendation for a suspension of 40 hours, for example, and [Straub] would counter with, 'How about half that?'

How long do you plan to stay in this position? 

As long as the mayor wants me to be here. If I was asked to stay on a more permanent basis, I would commit to that. There is way too much at stake to not take an opportunity that I’m given to lead an organization that is just a few clicks from greatness.

The job description for police chief requires a college degree. Do you intend to pursue any higher education?

I'm 55 years old. I'm done with my education. Life experience adds a lot to how effective you are, and I have just under 34 years of being in this business, working in almost every aspect of law enforcement. I would put that up against a degree. But really at this point if education becomes such an issue, then I wouldn’t compete.
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