by Cara Gardner and Paul Burgarino In the Running -- SPOKANE - Don Barbieri, the recently retired president and CEO of WestCoast Hospitality Corporation, announced his bid for Washington's 5th Congressional District on Tuesday morning.
"I look back on my 34 years in business and civic activism, and I know I have a driving passion to make a difference in Eastern Washington," says Barbieri. He is new to politics, but is a past chairman of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and current Commissioner of the Economic Development Board under Gov. Gary Locke.
"The government needs to have visionary leadership that says we will not tolerate a life for our kids and grandkids that does not provide affordable education and healthcare," Barbieri explains. "I intend to do that aggressively but in a way that's not combative. Many of our leaders look upon leadership as being combative."
Barbieri was born in Spokane and went to college at Santa Clara University in California. He has worked to promote and offer affordable housing to low-income families and seniors in Eastern Washington for more than 20 years.
Barbieri lists collaboration as an important goal in improving the economy, healthcare and education systems throughout the Inland Northwest. "I don't pretend to know how to write future legislation," Barbieri says. "But I do know how to collaborate and pull people together."
Barbieri is the only Democrat who has announced his candidacy for the 5th District congressional race. There are currently four Republicans running: state Sen. Larry Sheahan, Spokane County Sheriff Mark Sterk, Spokane attorney Shaun Cross and state Sen. Cathy McMorris.
Still Burning -- SPOKANE -- The Green Party of Spokane County and People for Environmental Action and Children's Health (PEACH) will host a public forum on Saturday to discuss incinerating Spokane's waste-to-energy (WTE) plant.
Dr. Paul Connett, professor of environmental chemistry at St. Lawrence University in New York, an internationally renowned researcher on toxic waste and human health, will be the keynote speaker, first explaining the dangers of incineration and landfills and then advocating alternative strategies. WTE plants are known producers of dioxin, considered among the most dangerous of carcinogens.
Spokane's plant processes at least 248,000 tons of garbage annually. The power generated at the incinerator is sold to Puget Energy for a set price, based on a contract that runs through 2011. The Green Party hopes to address whether the plant should be retired or expanded after the completion of the 20-year agreement.
"In order to make a good decision about the incinerator, the process has to start now," says Paula Reynolds-Eblacas, a member of the Spokane Green Party. "Hopefully we get some additional citizen involvement and awareness as a result of the event.''
"The city undertakes a review of the facility every five years," says Bonnie Mager, vice chair of the Citizens for Clean Air. "If we wait until 2008, we won't be able to look over the data and possible harms thoroughly enough."
The forum is on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 7-9 pm at the Gonzaga Law School Moot Courtroom, 721 N. Cincinnati St. Call: 747-4400
Wheels of Justice -- MOSCOW, Idaho -- What is life like for people in Iraq or Palestine? This Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3-4, the Wheels of Justice Bus Tour is coming to Moscow, carrying people who can answer some of those questions.
On the bus are activists and experts who will talk about what it is like to live in a Middle East under occupation.
"We are raising awareness about war and occupation. We're trying to create a dialogue," says Sharona Ovrahim, road manager for Wheels of Justice, which is sponsored by Voices in the Wilderness.
At 3:30 pm on Friday at Friendship Square, the bus will be the center of a rally against occupation in Iraq, followed by a vigil for peace and a community potluck sponsored by the Anti-Imperialist Collective. At 7 pm, tour guests will join a panel discussion on human rights at the U of I Commons.
On Saturday morning, the Wheels of Justice Tour will be at Moscow's Farmers' Market before hosting another potluck at Moscow's East City Park. This is to be followed by a candle ceremony on the Snake River at Swallow's Nest Park in Clarkston, Wash., at 7 pm to honor the lives of those lost in the Iraq conflict. Visit www.wheelsofjustice.com or call (208) 883-0157.