Hubless? -- SPOKANE -- Earlier this week, the Spokane Transit Authority announced that it has contracted with the firm Auble, Jolicoeur and Gentry to conduct an appraisal on the market value of the downtown STA Plaza, the transit system's hub.
Responding to a 2003 suggestion from some community members, STA and the firm will look at other and additional uses of the building, including selling the whole thing off. The appraisal comes as part of STA's new mission to complete a "community-based comprehensive evaluation of the Plaza operations."
As Transit Board Chair Dick Denenny says, "This is an effort on Spokane Transit's part to explore ways to make the highest and best use of their public facility."
What exactly that means to the future of public transit in Spokane remains unclear, but the appraisal should come in by the end of June.
Noam on the Range -- SPOKANE -- If it's possible for an academic to achieve rock star status, then Noam Chomsky is John Lennon. That being the case, we thought we'd let you know well in advance that the celebrated academic will make two speaking appearances in the Inland Northwest -- first at Gonzaga, then in Pullman -- two weeks from now. Mark your calendars.
Chomsky is hailed as one of the most important scholars of our age. As a linguist, he pioneered theories of Universal Grammar, creating a coherent, global way to approach the similarities and inconsistencies between different languages.
"The fact that many people refer to much of modern linguistic theory and research as 'Chomskyan,'" says WSU associate English prof Lynn Gordon, "illustrates the breadth of his influence."
But Chomksy's not just a wordsmith. The MIT professor is also a veritable juggernaut in the fields of philosophical and political discourse. A fierce critic of American foreign policy over the last 50 years, he has authored books like Hegemony or Survival, Understanding Power and 9-11 and will speak at Gonzaga on "America's Quest for Global Dominance." His WSU lecture is titled "Imminent Crises: Responsibilities and Opportunities."
"Reading Chomsky is like standing in a wind tunnel," Business Week has written of his political writing. "With relentless logic, he bids us to listen closely to what our leaders tell us -- and to discern what they are leaving out ... Agree with him or not, we lose out by not listening."
You'll also lose out by not getting there early. Like any good rock star, we predict Chomsky will draw a formidable sea of fans and groupies. Expect a crowd -- and bring a lighter.
Noam Chomsky will speak at Gonzaga University's Martin Centre at 7 pm on Thursday, April 21 (call 323-6715 for more info), and at Washington State's Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum at 3:30 pm on Friday, April 22 (call 335-8055). Both lectures are free.
Giving Spokane The Finger -- SPOKANE -- Weary liberals, conspiracy theorists and cynics gasped in horror last week after catching word that The Finger, a monthly paper covering city politics and culture, was pulling up stakes and shipping off to Seattle.
The word they heard most loudly was the F-bomb, which was sprinkled liberally throughout a flyer e-mailed to friends and fans. The flyer leads in bold-faced capital letters: "F--- SPOKANE." It goes on to drop the F-bomb on the city's "hot-shot bartenders and baristas," the "aristocratic South Hill," and the "homogeneously white population" saving a special "f---" for Spokane's "sophomoric pseudo-journalism" (guilty as charged).
At the bottom is an explanation. Spokane is crumbling, its businesses are failing and its brightest minds are leaving for greener pastures. So, too, must The Finger.
Surprise! "It's actually an April Fool's Day joke," says Fingerer Seth Vincent, of the expletive-happy flyer.
In other Finger-related news: Vincent sent out an e-mail Monday alerting friends to a shrine going up on the fence surrounding the Rookery Block, in honor of the historic buildings knocked down there last fall. An accompanying picture shows Finger contributor Lily Morris (author of controversial editorials for the SFCC Communicator) spelling out the word "WHY" on the chain-link fence with what appear to be flowers. The e-mail implies that the decoration began Sun., April 3. We checked the next day. Like the buildings it was meant to honor, the shrine has been removed.