Friday, August 28, 2015

MB: Macklemore caught on tape, fed lands closed, and would-be-leaders say controversial things

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 9:22 AM


Macklemore and his crew caught live on tape vandalizing Downtown Spokane; breaking traffic laws. (Inlander)

What one police ombudsman candidate thinks of Black Lives Matter. (He doesn't sound like a fan.) (Spokesman-Review)

Maybe there won't be a teacher's strike in Spokane Public Schools after all. (Spokesman-Review)

In Idaho, many federal and state lands have been closed due to the wildfire danger. (CDA Press)


Draconian immigration policies cause hundreds to flee across the border — in Venezuela. (New York Times) 

A day after the Democratic National Committee slammed Rand Paul for appearing on stage with local politicians who've compared abortion providers to Nazis, Hillary Clinton herself compared several Republican candidates to terrorists (for their views on abortion.)  (The Hill)

Ashley Madison's parent company's CEO is stepping down. Presumably not to spend more time with his family. (Washington Post)


Did you know that Donald Trump's said some controversial things? Politico found nearly 200 of the classiest things he's ever said. (Politico) 
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rand Paul learns what Coeur d'Alene means, brings libertarian-speak to North Idaho

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 5:13 PM

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a man who loves freedom so much that he once considered using a catheter to facilitate a 13-hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate, came through the Inland Northwest to drum up support for his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

The freshman senator from Kentucky spoke in both Spokane and later that day in Coeur d’Alene Wednesday, and Boise today, to deliver his libertarian-tinged message of embracing the entirety of the Bill of Rights (not just the 2nd Amendment), expanding his party's reach to the poor and minorities and reducing government spending. 

The son of former Congressman Ron Paul and two-time Republican presidential candidate drew roughly 400 people to Schuler Performing Arts Center at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, a group that even included a white guy with dreadlocks.
White guy with dreadlocks at a Republican event - JAKE THOMAS
  • Jake Thomas
  • White guy with dreadlocks at a Republican event

U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador, an Idaho Republican who chairs Rand's Western States campaign, warmed up the crowd, telling them that the senator was a genuine conservative and that you can’t just speak to the angry people if you want to be elected president. Paul, said Labrador, is even so revered by U.S. Transportation Safety Administration agents at airports (normally the scourge of libertarian-leaning individuals), to the point they might even start a group to support him.

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A first look at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' new Spokane-shot video "Downtown"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM

That Macklemore and Ryan Lewis music video shot by North by Northwest in downtown Spokane last month premiered Thursday morning. The song is called "Downtown," and it features mopeds, 1970s looks, Ken Griffey Jr. and — best of all — Spokane.

Watch for yourself, but here's all the Spokane locations we caught:
  1. The first shot of white-bricked building is the side of The Globe on Division and Pine (here's what it looked like as they shot it). 
  2. That well-featured moped store is Northtown Auto Liquidators at Division and Garland.
  3. Macklemore tagged (think street art, not popping tags, a la "Thrift Shop") in the graffiti alley behind the Crescent Warehouse between Lincoln and Monroe. 
  4. The Fox Theater, looking like it's straight out of 1973. 
  5. The video cuts back and forth between the Parkade and atrium behind the downtown Rite Aid store — that's where we caught them dropping it low in July (and by dropping it low, I mean his dancers drop it low and Macklemore looks a little awkward). 
  6. Cruising down East Sprague, just like a Spokanite should. 
  7. The bus is outside the now-defunct Mayfair Cafe at Washington and Second. 
  8. IS THAT KEN GRIFFEY JR. in fake Pike Place Market?! (Yes.) 
  9. Roman-turned-American moto-chariot man comes out from under a train overpass in west downtown on Cedar, just south of the Rocket Bakery. 
  10. Boots and Zola on West Main are pretty clearly shown — also lookin' a little more '70s than 2015. 
  11. Main and Howard. 
  12. The crooner of the chorus dances outside the boarded-up Otis Hotel, and the crowds begin to gather outside the Montvale Hotel.
  13. Finally, the epic scene of Spokanites celebrating Downtown with Macklemore is on First Avenue, headed West toward Browne's Addition. 
Did we miss any of your favorite featured spots? Let us know! 

Macklemore is performing live on the MTV VMAs Sunday at 9 pm, presumably including the live premiere of "Downtown." 

Spokanites are happy to see their city looking so good (albeit a little rough around the edges) — perhaps this is the best tourism video Spokane hasn't made, until now?
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MB: Journalists grieve on-air murder, WSU president remembered, Rand in Spokane

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 9:35 AM


Rand Paul, one of the characters in this year's presidential primary series, spoke in Spokane last night. (Spokesman-Review)

Negotiations with the local teachers union are rocky. (Spokesman-Review)

The life of the late WSU president Elson Floyd is remembered. (Spokesman-Review)

With all the smoke, indoor hotel stays have become popular in the region. They have a pool and cable! (KREM)


The on-air killing of two TV journalists by a former colleague left the nation horrified. (New York Times)

A bunch of migrants have been found dead in a truck in Austria. (Washington Post)

In which Homeland Security busts a website of a radical ring of, well, gay escorts. (The Atlantic) 


Five TV shows they will never stop making (NPR)
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WW: Corruption in weed worker unionizing, Larry Harvey dies, fatal crashes linked to pot?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

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

Earlier this month, Dan Rush, the director of the United Food and Commercial Workers' national medical cannabis and hemp division, was indicted on allegations that he violated labor law by improperly colluding with a marijuana grower all while lining his pockets. The indictment is significant because Rush has led the union’s efforts to organize workers in the nascent cannabis industry in California, which have extended to Eastern Washington.

SF Weekly reports that the union swiftly distanced itself from Rush, who was nicknamed “Superman” for his unionization efforts. After the news broke, Isaac Curtis, who is organizing Eastern Washington cannabis workers, called up the Inlander to stress that Rush is a separate figure from his affiliate, which he insists is free of corruption.

“This guy in California was writing toothless neutrality agreements,” says Curtis, referring to arrangements employers enter into to ensure they won’t attempt to influence unionization efforts.

Curtis says that his unionization efforts were put on pause after the news broke, but will resume shortly. Currently he’s in negotiation with the Herbal Connection Spokane, The Happy Collective and JD's Collective Garden –– all medical dispensaries that could be shuttered next year as a result of the state’s reform of marijuana laws.

“This campaign is about the employees,” says Curtis. “That’s our agenda.”

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Worker Bill of Rights will be on ballot as city declines to appeal judge's ruling

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 12:13 PM

The city of Spokane will not challenge the Worker Bill of Rights ballot initiative, ensuring that the sweeping and controversial measure will appear on the November ballot.

The Worker Bill of Rights is the fourth initiative from Envision Spokane, now operating under Envision Worker Rights, to qualify for the ballot. It would grant new protections and rights to workers in Spokane, a prospect that has the business community worried.

Earlier this month, the city challenged the initiative in court, pointing to a hearing examiner opinion that found that one provision in the initiative was legally flawed and possibly unconstitutional.

Envision prevailed in the court case, with the city retaining the right to appeal the judge’s decision.

However, Brian Coddington, city spokesperson, confirmed that it will not appeal.

“Asking a judge for clarity on the legal flaw identified by the hearing examiner was done as a protection of the citizen initiative process as outlined by City ordinance,” he wrote in a statement to the Inlander. “The judge provided additional information that voters can weigh as they make their decisions.”

Kai Huschke, Envision campaign coordinator, said in a statement, “It was the right call not to appeal, and with the corporate legal circus now complete, it's full speed ahead with the Worker Bill of Rights campaign. Spokane deserves a raise.”
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MB: Fire, foil and Ferguson

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM


The air was slightly better in Spokane Tuesday. Better, of course, being a relative term. (Spokesman-Review)

In one innovative way to save structures in Idaho from fire, the Forest Service has wrapped them in foil. (KREM)

When firefighters are out fighting fires, what happens to the families left at home? (KXLY)


Trump temporarily ejects a Univision reporter from one of his events, despite the fact that doing so may alienate Hispanic voters. (New York Times)

Wanna get mad? This company cheating lead-poisoned poor blacks out of massive amounts of settlement money will make you mad. (Washington Post)

One judge's order in Ferguson is having a drastic impact on Ferguson's municipal courts. (The Atlantic)

Finance 101

Want to understand why the stock market's been so screwy this week? Slate is here to help. (Slate)
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

City and firefighters union reach sweeping agreement to restore ARU program

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Firefighters union president Don Waller (left), Mayor David Condon (center), Fire Chief Bobby Williams (right) - JAKE THOMAS
  • Jake Thomas
  • Firefighters union president Don Waller (left), Mayor David Condon (center), Fire Chief Bobby Williams (right)

The fire department will resume its Alternative Response Unit program, which sends smaller sport-utility vehicles to non-life-threatening medical calls, as a result of the city finalizing an agreement with the local firefighters union.

Standing with Fire Chief Bobby Williams and Don Waller, president of the local firefighters union, at Fire Station No. 1 in downtown Spokane yesterday, Mayor David Condon announced a sweeping deal between the union and the city that would allow the program to move forward while also resolving other lingering issues.

“Today is a major step forward for medical service in our community,” said Condon. “We are maximizing resources by sending the right people to the right place at the right time."

Nearly 90 percent of the 35,000 annual calls for service to the fire department are medical in nature. The idea behind the ARU program is that most of these calls can be addressed more efficiently with smaller SUVs rather than larger gas-guzzling firetrucks and engines.

The new agreement was prompted by an ordinance passed by Spokane City Council last month that mandated that the ARUs be staffed by two firefighters. The new ordinance was drafted to address concerns that a single firefighter could potentially be ill-equipped for some medical emergencies and could be unsafe if confronted by a violent individual.

Speaking at the press conference, Waller said that he hoped the agreement would set a new tone for relations between the city and the union. The agreement, which still needs a few more signatures from union officials before it’s a done deal, also resolves a legal dispute between the union and the city over the hiring of Mike Lopez, who was appointed assistant director of integrated medical services.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart praised the agreement and said that it was council’s ordinance that paved the way for an overarching agreement.

“That’s our job as a policymakers is to force actions sometimes,” he said. 
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Washington running out of time to meet judge's deadline on mental health evaluations

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Washington state health officials better pick up the pace if they're going to meet the January deadline for reducing wait times for court-ordered mental health competency evaluations and restoration.  

So says the monitor appointed by U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman back in April. Pechman issued a permanent injunction to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, ordering them to reduce wait times to seven days for competency evaluation and restoration of mentally ill defendants. Pechman ruled that the amount of time those defendants are waiting in jails is unconstitutional. DSHS later appealed part of that ruling.

DSHS has until January to comply with the seven-day waitlist time limit. Currently, the average wait time for evaluation at Eastern State Hospital is 60 days or longer and 12 to 15 days at Western State Hospital, according to information provided to the court from the respective facilities. According to the most recent waiting list, the longest wait time for a bed at Eastern State Hospital is 120 days, the longest wait for an evaluation is 144 days.

In her first quarterly report, Danna Mauch, an expert in public health systems appointed to monitor the department's progress, found that the state is in danger of missing the 2016 deadline despite steps they've already taken.

So far, DSHS has passed a Biennial Budget totaling $40.9 million that allows for 90 more beds and 13 more forensic evaluators between both facilities. Western will get eight more evaluators and 45 more beds; Eastern will get five more evaluators and 15 more beds, according to the budget.

In July, the state made offers to 12 evaluators, and eight accepted positions at Western State Hospital, but no one wanted to work on the east side of the state. After speaking with department officials about the possibility of emergency hiring, they said the plan was for evaluators from Western State to fill in the gaps until they can hire new people. 

Western State Hospital added 10 new beds in June 2015 and plans to add five more in September. Eastern State Hospital will add 15 beds by November.

However, the court orders for competency services continue to pile up and give Mauch cause for concern that DSHS won't meet the deadline. An incomplete figure from April 2015 indicates there were 336 competency cases, 918 in May and 1,486 in June. She is also concerned the steps taken so far do nothing to improve the situation for those currently waiting. 

"The critical conditions in the jails suggest that interim urgent measures to clear backlogs are in order," she writes.  
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MB: ISIS destroys history, Jeb battles Trump, and Dicker buys Montvale

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 9:42 AM


Soon, Spokane may have  police ombudsman again, at long last. (Spokesman-Review)

Jerry Dicker has purchased the Montvale hotel. (Spokesman-Review)

71 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand have arrived in the Northwest to fight wildfires. (KXLY)

A fearsome attack submarine now bears the name... "USS Idaho." (CDA Press)


Working on a swift timetable, ISIS has sped up the destruction of priceless artifacts and pieces of history in Syria. (New York Times)

US stocks are great again (but it's still pretty rough in China.) (Washington Post)

The Trump v. Jeb battle is raging full force. (New York Times)


Does it really matter if we call a collision a "crash" or an "accident"? (Mother Jones)
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