In some ways, 2012 is a year to forget. The economy ran flat as we all held our breath to see what would happen with the presidential election, in which billions were spent pumping hot air into the public sphere. But I’m proud that so many voters withstood the misinformation and made their own decisions. Maybe 2012 will mark the end of the attack ad era.
I’m proud of local voters, too. Washington state set itself at the forefront of progressive change by endorsing equality for everyone and by not supporting the war on drugs. In both instances Washington is “calling the question,” and since the election the Supreme Court has decided to judge gay marriage. And in legalizing marijuana, Washington and Colorado are forcing the feds to craft a national drug policy that makes sense.
In Idaho, who could have predicted that public schoolteachers — the villains to so many Republicans — would win the day? Voters overturned the Luna Laws and drew a hard line against right-wing ideology. So refreshing.
In Spokane, I was proud of how arts patrons rushed to the defense of the arts. Both the Spokane Symphony and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture had tough times this year, and people stood up for both the institutions and the artists. Hopefully 2013 will bring new ways to grapple with the challenges they face.
I’ll also remember 2012 as a year when we’ve become even more proud and aware of our past. The Davenport Hotel celebrated 10 years back in business, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose little old Spokane for its annual convention. One stop on the attendees’ tour was McKinstry’s new Spokane and Inland Empire Railroad Building (SIERR), which had just won the Valerie Sivinski Award for Outstanding Rehabilitation. I have been in the SIERR Building, and it is a beauty.
That kind of pride may be best captured on the cool graphics of Spokane’s newly rebranded No-Li Brewery. Their Born & Raised IPA features iconic Spokane features like the Spokane Falls Skyride, the Monroe Street Bridge and the Clock Tower. Now they’re exporting our local vibe to anyplace that likes a good beer, which is pretty much everywhere.
The Clock Tower is a perfect reminder of the importance of preserving our heritage. Locals saved the tower when it was slated for demolition, and we all love it. But they couldn’t save the train station it was attached to. Wouldn’t that be a great building to have around today? For 2013, we need to work on two biggies — the Ridpath and the Jensen-Byrd. Can’t picture it? Just look around. We’ve done it before.