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Booster Gone Sterling 

Marty Dickinson’s new digs. Plus, McMorris Rodgers takes on Obama and a totem pole goes away.

click to enlarge Marty Dickinson
  • Marty Dickinson
Marty Dickinson's job for the past decade has been as a booster for Spokane — first with the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council, then as president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

But now Dickinson has left the world of boosting business to boost a specific downtown Spokane business: She’s the new corporate communications executive for Sterling Savings Bank.

“The downtown weathered the economic [crash] better than most,” Dickinson says, crediting, in part, the mix of national and local businesses. Even while business shuddered nationally, she says, additional business — like the Apple Store — came to Spokane.

Sterling, heavily invested in construction, wasn’t quite as lucky. It had been dealt a massive blow by the collapse, losing $885 million in 2009, and it was on the verge of collapse. Regulators swooped in, demanding Sterling raise an additional $300 million in capital.

The bank issued a horde of new shares, depreciating individual shares’ value, but thanks to an infusion of money from two big national equity firms, Sterling returned to “well-capitalized” status.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity,” Dickinson says. “They’re very well-positioned. They’re structured in a way to grow the bank. … They plan to become aggressive moving forward.” (Daniel Walters)

McMorris Rodgers: Where Are the Jobs?

President Obama has said it: He wants the Republicans to eat their peas.

As negotiations over controlling the nation’s budget collapsed, were revived and collapsed again, the president has seized the position of adult-in-chief.

“Let’s step up,” he said at a press conference this week. “Let’s do it. I’m prepared to do it. I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done. And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing.”

He continued, “It’s not going to get easier.

It’s going to get harder. So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas.”

Over the course of the last week, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Eastern Washington, has become the voice of opposition against Obama’s fiscal plan.

The vice-chair of the House Republican Conference, McMorris Rodgers has made the round of the major news networks, rebuked Democratic plans at press conferences, delivered the weekly GOP response to Obama’s regular Saturday address basically asking one question: Where are the nation’s jobs?

Her question comes on the heels of last week’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report that showed the nation’s unemployment rate idling at 9.2 percent, an indicator that the economic recovery may be imperiled.

She pilloried the Democratic lawmakers for what she says is excessive government spending and regulation. “From the look of things, the Democrats who run Washington don’t have a jobs plan; they have a spending agenda,” McMorris Rodgers says.

She argues that without cutting spending and driving down the nation’s debt, job growth will remain stagnant.

For their part, Democrats accuse Republicans of being more willing to defend the rights of corporate jet owners, oil companies, millionaires and billionaires than those of average citizens.

Obama says he’s willing to compromise on Democratic sacred cows, trimming benefits from programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Republicans, he says, are unwilling to compromise.

But maybe she and Obama can find some common ground. In her radio address, she said, “The American people have already sacrificed in lost jobs, more debt, and chronic uncertainty. It’s time for Washington to do the sacrificing.” (Nicholas Deshais and Chris Stein)

Garry, Memorialized

Ground was broken last week on the “Gathering Place” monument in Chief Garry Park.

The monument will replace a totem pole placed in the park after the removal of the original Chief Garry Park statue and will be a more “culturally appropriate” representation of the famous chief, says Jamie Sijohn, spokeswoman for the tribe.

“That totem pole has no cultural bearing on Garry and the Spokane tribe,” she says. “The totem pole comes from Western Washington tribes. It has nothing to do with Spokane tribe or Spokan Garry. We love the fact that there’s a park named after an important tribal member, but at the same time he needs to be honored culturally.”

The Spokane tribe has spent the last year fundraising to support a new memorial in honor of Chief Spokan Garry. With the support of local community groups, school coin drives and personal donations, the tribe was able to meet its fundraising goal of about $34,000 for materials. Work will be provided in part by volunteers.

“I don’t think there is anything in that park that gives an idea of who the person is and what tribe he’s from, and that’s what this piece will help do, and help accomplish,” says Sijohn. (Kaitlin Gillespie)

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