SPOKANE -- City Council member Steve Eugster has written an initiative that would make it impossible for the city to spend any more money on the River Park Square parking garage -- for anything other than operating expenses and ground lease -- without asking Spokane voters for approval.
"Basically this is to amend the city charter so you can't use general obligation bonds for any public-private partnership any more," says Eugster. "And if a decision is made by the people, [the City Council] can't trump it with an emergency vote."
The initiative, which is known by its number 2001-1, may be on the November ballot if supporters succeed in gathering the necessary 3,600 signatures by September 21.
"I suspect this can all be done by the first of September, so there should be plenty of time to get it on the ballot," says Eugster. If that doesn't work out, he says the signature gathering will continue through the fall so the initiative can make the spring special election ballot.
"I'm assuming we'll have a special election about the street issues about that time," says Eugster.
The initiative is officially sponsored by Taxpayers for Responsible Government (TAG).
"We want to give people an opportunity to respond to these expenditures," says David Bray, spokesperson for TAG. "Clearly River Park Square is a catalyst for this initiative, but it would also apply to other public-private partnerships, like a new convention center, for instance."
Wild Salmon Film Fest
SPOKANE -- The local chapter of the activist group Save Our Wild Salmon (SOS) is showing some of the most significant wild salmon films at the Community Building tonight.
"We have a copy of the original footage of the last salmon feast of the Celilo Indians," says Kell McAboy, Eastern Washington organizer for SOS. Celilo Falls were originally on the Columbia River, but they were flooded after The Dalles Dam was completed in 1960.
"This was a historic place for the tribe for gathering," says McAboy. "What we have is the original film footage put on video, from the Oregon Historical Society. It shows the tribe gathering and fishing, and there is dancing on it, too. They knew it was the last feast."
Among the other videos showing are select segments of a four-part series on Idaho salmon recovery issues.
"We are showing part four, which explains the conflict between the different sides," says McAboy, "the industry and the scientific and the conservation side." There will also be a rerun of a CBS 60 Minutes segment from last fall.
After the films, McAboy hopes people will stick around for some salmon policy discussion.
"Representative McDermott and about 40 co-signers, both Republicans and Democrats, are working on this Salmon Planning Act, and we'd like to tell people about that," says McAboy. "If this goes through, it would call for economic and engineering studies to be done in addition to the current federal plan."