Monday, October 10, 2011

City Council to discuss booze signs, ombudsman powers tonight

Posted on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM

On this rainy Monday evening, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will give her Annual Statement of Conditions and Affairs to the City Council. According to a press release from the city, Verner will discuss the city's strategy for long-term economic growth and the condition of its budget. 

After that, the Council will convene for the final readings of two ordinances: one allowing bars to display more than four outdoor signs on their windows, and another relating to the much-discussed police ombudsman ordinance.

Councilmen Jon Snyder and Bob Apple collaborated on the ordinance pertaining to the outdoor signs. The state Liquor Control Board limited to four the number of outdoor signs a drinking establishment could display, but this ordinance would exempt Spokane's bars from the restriction.

The ordinance relating to the ombudsman repeals the expanded powers that the Council approved in June of 2010. Last July, an arbitrator ruled that the Council overstepped its bounds by expanding the ombudsman's powers without bargaining with the police guild. This ordinance, if passed, would bring the ombudsman's powers into line with the arbitrator's decision.

If the ombudsman ordinance passes, police oversight will continue to be an issue at the council level: Councilman Richard Rush told The Inlander last week that he will continue to fight for the ombudsman's expanded powers.

The Spokane City Council meets in city hall council chambers at 6 pm. 

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