Friday, November 10, 2017

Moody Bible Institute to close, sexual harassment claims against Louis C.K., morning headlines

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 9:26 AM

One of your favorite comedians might just be a super creep. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • One of your favorite comedians might just be a super creep.


Let's talk about sex ed, baby

Spokane Public Schools won't be adopting that controversial, Planned Parenthood-developed sex-ed curriculum after all, despite few objections being raised about anything regarding its content.


Whither the "band kid?"
Why marching band programs have either been eliminated or scaled back at Spokane high schools. (Spokesman-Review)

Bye-bye, Bible Institute
Spokane's Moody Bible Institute will close at the end of the school year, due to financial challenges. (Spokesman-Review)

Mission: McMorris Rodgers

Despite never receiving more than 40.4 percent of the vote in the past decade against Spokane's U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Democrats will try to take her down next year.  (Spokesman-Review)

A Senate GOP tax plan would focus on the middle class instead of giving a major cut to corporations, a significant difference from the House version. (New York Times)

Bill Cosby is no role model
The New York Times brings the long-simmering allegations against Louis C.K. to light, as five women accuse him of super-creepy things. (New York Times)

Yet Moore sexual allegations
Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore allegedly initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old when he was 32, which, from our elitist liberal perspective, is also super creepy.  (Washington Post)
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Spokane Public Schools won't adopt Planned Parenthood sex ed curriculum

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 3:39 PM


Spokane Public Schools will not implement Planned Parenthood's "Get Real" sexual education curriculum in its middle schools, instead opting to continue its old method of choosing sex ed material, district administration told the school board yesterday.

Spokane Public Schools administration told the school board it decided against sending the decision to approve the "Get Real" curriculum to the board. Rather than approve a comprehensive sex ed curriculum like "Get Real," the district will piece together human growth and development curricula topic by topic, like it has in the past, says Adam Swinyard, Spokane Public Schools chief academic officer.

"We are going to continue with that process," Swinyard tells the Inlander.

The process to land on the "Get Real" curriculum, starting at the beginning of this calendar year, was contentious. The district decided it needed to update its curriculum to reflect a 2015 change in state standards. This spring, the district's Human Growth and Development advisory committee recommended the evidence-based Planned Parenthood curriculum, which meets the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction standards.

But after some community members and organizations expressed concerns that centered around Planned Parenthood's involvement, administration took the option of adopting the curriculum off the school board agenda a couple of days before the school board meeting in June.

The district sent the curriculum back to the advisory committee, and board members were flooded with emails both in support of and in opposition to it. Those who opposed it mainly were concerned that it was developed by Planned Parenthood. But 500 of those emails were identical, and there was no indication the senders lived in Spokane, the Spokesman-Review reported. Of those from real Spokane Public Schools constituents, the Inlander reported that 60 out of 66 supported "Get Real."

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Dems control state government, Air Force to pay Airway Heights for tainted water, morning headlines

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 9:28 AM


With most of the votes counted, Spokane voters have turned down Proposition 2 on coal and oil trains; two incumbent Spokane County and Spokane judges held onto their seats, but the three Spokane Valley City Council incumbents lost theirs.

ARTS & CULTURE: With all the rain today, why not check out the new movies playing this week?

NEWS: Should smelling like marijuana be enough to kick a kid out of school? Parents say their legal use shouldn't get their kids in trouble


Dems again control Washington legislature
With the 45th District Senate seat in Seattle's eastside suburbs won by Manka Dhingra, Democrats now control the Senate, House, and Governor's office. Their one-vote Senate majority may help legislators pass the capital budget held up last session over political differences, but certain portions of that budget will still require 60 percent of the vote to pass. (Seattle Times)

The cost of clean water
The Air Force will reimburse the city of Airway Heights for the bottled water it's had to buy residents following news that part of the city's water supply was tainted by chemicals used in firefighting foam on the base, the Spokesman-Review reports.

Paradise lost
More than 13 million leaked documents, nicknamed the "Paradise Papers," have revealed where the world's wealthiest power players hide their money and profits. (Reveal/Center for Investigative Reporting)
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shift back to the center: Spokane Valley voters oust three right-wing incumbents

Mayor Rod Higgins' race remains too close to call; incumbent Pam Haley wins easily

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 4:47 PM

Ed Pace thought it would be a close race.
Ed Pace received just 41 percent of the vote against former councilman Ben Wick.
  • Ed Pace received just 41 percent of the vote against former councilman Ben Wick.

He knew his opponent Ben Wick, a former Spokane Valley City Councilman, had a chance. But even if Pace lost his race for Spokane Valley City Council, he thought the two councilmen who share many of his constitutionalist, libertarian political views — Caleb Collier and Mike Munch — were safe to carry the torch.

When the results came in just after 8 pm last night, he was shocked. All three of them lost, and it wasn't even close.

"I was surprised that all of us got beat so badly," Pace says.

Spokane Valley residents sent a message that they wanted change in their city council last night. And in a shift from previous Valley elections, this time it was the more moderate candidates who fared better than the candidates further to the right.

Munch received just 43 percent of the vote in a loss to Linda (Hatcher) Thompson, director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council. Brandi Peetz, a member of the Spokane County Sheriff's Citizen's Advisory Board, racked up 58 percent of the vote against Collier. And Pace, who recruited candidates to run against him last year, lost to Wick by a 59-41 margin, according to the newest results, released Wednesday afternoon.

Even Mayor Rod Higgins finds himself in a dogfight. His race against challenger Chris Jackson is currently too close to call; Jackson held a narrow 46-vote lead after Tuesday night but Wednesday's latest vote count showed Higgins with a 29-vote edge. Pam Haley, who describes herself as a moderate, is the only incumbent who came out of Tuesday night feeling confident in a win, taking 61 percent of the vote against challenger Angie Beem.

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FILM: What's hitting movie theaters this Friday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 2:16 PM

A-plus Photoshop skills, guys.
  • A-plus Photoshop skills, guys.

We saw some bad moms ringing in the holidays last week, and now we've got some bad dads doing the same thing. Whether or not you care is up for you to decide.

Here are the three new film releases you can catch this weekend in theaters.

Yes, they're allowing Mel Gibson to be in movies again. See, it's funny, because he plays Mark Wahlberg's dad, and they both wear leather jackets and tight-fitting T-shirts, and they don't show emotion and they're super MANLY. And it's even funnier that the great John Lithgow is playing Will Ferrell's dad, and they both wear cheesy Christmas sweaters and hug a lot, and are therefore NOT manly. Now that's comedy! Rated PG-13.

The director of The Lobster returns with another unsettling provocation, this one about a surgeon with a weird connection to an even weirder teenage boy. Critic Eric D. Snider dug the movie's creepy, deadpan style, all the while recognizing you may very well not. Rated R.

Kenneth Branagh directs and plays iconic detective Hercule Poirot in the second big-screen, star-studded adaptation of the 1934 Agatha Christie whodunit. The true mystery of this version, says critic MaryAnn Johanson, is why it was made in the first place. Rated PG-13.
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Two contested judicial races in Spokane result in two incumbent victories

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 12:19 PM

Tony Hazel, a former county deputy prosecutor appointed in April by Gov. Jay Inslee, will remain a Spokane County Superior Court Judge after defeating county public defender Jocelyn Cook by a wide margin.
  • Tony Hazel, a former county deputy prosecutor appointed in April by Gov. Jay Inslee, will remain a Spokane County Superior Court Judge after defeating county public defender Jocelyn Cook by a wide margin.

Two Spokane judges drew challengers in this year's election; both have retained their seats.

Spokane County Superior Court
Judge Tony Hazel defeated Spokane County public defender Jocelyn Cook, with 62 percent of the vote to Cook's 38 percent.

Hazel, a former Spokane County deputy prosecutor appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee in April to take the seat of the late Judge Sam Cozza, was endorsed by scores of jurists, including several judges in Spokane, state Supreme Court justices and at least 80 more attorneys.

Throughout her campaign, Cook sought to draw attention to what she believes is a flawed judicial appointment and election system in the state, asserting that those endorsements that Hazel touted as indicators of his qualifications for judges represent an inherent conflict of interest.

Spokane Municipal Court
Judge Tracy Staab defeated Adam Papini, a prosecutor who works in municipal court, with about 72 percent of the vote.

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Spokane turns down oil & coal train Prop 2; opponents vastly outspent proponents

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 11:25 AM

Early election totals show that Spokane voters largely 
  • Daniel Walters photo
aligned with the rail, coal and oil industries who called on voters to reject Proposition 2.

The local initiative would have levied a fine on owners that send train cars of uncovered coal or untreated crude oil on trains through the city by making it a civil infraction to do so.

As of the first count on election night, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 58.31 percent of voters said "no" to the proposition, and 41.69 percent said "yes." About 22.5 percent of Spokane County voters turned in their ballots.

The results were applauded by Michael Cathcart, spokesman for the Committee to Protect Spokane’s Economy, the opposition group, which was funded mostly by industries that would've been impacted.

“We’re encouraged by the early returns demonstrating community support for defeating a misguided plan to ban oil and coal traffic through the city," Cathcart says in an emailed statement. "With the city’s own legal advisors saying for more than a year Proposition 2 was unenforceable and potentially illegal, a no vote was the only responsible way to avoid costly lawsuits that would waste city resources from more important things.”

Jim Lee, chairman of proponent committee Safer Spokane, thanked all their volunteers and supporters, and said while they knew it was a long shot, they hadn't expected the opposition to raise more than a quarter of a million dollars, or spend so much on advertising, to defeat the measure.

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Council: Burke to join Beggs, Mumm; Prop 2 fails, Wick, Peetz lead Valley insurgency

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 9:21 AM

At 28, Kate Burke will become the youngest member of the Spokane City Council. She received nearly 60 percent of the vote in northeast Spokane's District 1; her election maintains the council's six-member liberal majority. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • At 28, Kate Burke will become the youngest member of the Spokane City Council. She received nearly 60 percent of the vote in northeast Spokane's District 1; her election maintains the council's six-member liberal majority.


Entering Election Day, Spokane's city council leaned heavily toward liberal/progressive philosophies and policies; that'll continue to be the case after all the ballots are counted.

Not all of the mailed ballots are in, and just over one-third of you voted — 34.16 percent of the nearly 305,000 registered voters in Spokane County. All numbers have been updated to reflect Wednesday afternoon's newest ballot count.

In the District 1 race, Kate Burke will join the council after breezing past Tim Benn. Breean Beggs (District 2), serving the rest of his first term, and Candace Mumm (District 3), beginning her second, retained their seats as well:

District 1 (Northeast Spokane, including Hillyard)
Running to replace term-limited Councilwoman Amber Waldref:
Kate Burke 58.3% • Tim Benn 41.7%

District 2 (South Hill, Browne's Addition, West Plains, most of Downtown)
Beggs was appointed to City Council in February 2016:
Breean Beggs 57.9% • Andy Dunau 42.1%

District 3 (Northwest Spokane, from West Central to Indian Trail)
Mumm, the incumbent, was elected in 2013:
Candace Mumm 53.1% • Matthew Howes 46.9%

Proposition 2
• By 57.5 to 42.5 percent, Spokane voters rejected the ballot initiative that would have fined owners of oil and coal trains who did not take steps to make their cargo safer; there were significant questions regarding the proposition's legality, and the industry-funded opposition raised more than $160,000; Prop 2 backers brought in less than $6,000.

Spokane Superior Court, Position 6
• Tony Hazel, appointed to replace the late Sam Cozza in May, defeated Spokane County public defender Jocelyn Cook with 61.6 percent of the vote.

Spokane Municipal Court, District 1
• Adam Papini, a city prosecutor who continued to run after being charged with a DUI in Cheney in June, lost to incumbent Tracy Staab, receiving just 26.3 percent of the vote.

Spokane Public Schools, Position 5 • Incumbent Mike Wiser, appointed to the school board in March, received 62.9 percent of the vote to Jennifer Thomas' 37.1 percent. Another school board member, Deana Brower, was unopposed.


A libertarian, defiantly far-right majority on Spokane Valley's city council is giving way to a more centrist group of candidates, shifting the balance of power in the city of nearly 100,000; Mayor Rod Higgins, in a race that finally has been called, defeated Chris Jackson by 271 votes. (winners in bold type; incumbents in italics):

District 1:
Rod Higgins 50.8% • Chris Jackson 49.2%
District 2: Brandi Peetz 57.1%Caleb Collier 42.9%
District 4: Ben Wick 58.6%Ed Pace 41.4%
District 5: Pamela Haley 61.4% • Angie Beem 38.6%
District 7: Linda (Hatcher) Thompson 56.5%Mike Munch 43.5%

7th Legislative District • Bordered by British Columbia on the north and Idaho to the east, it consists of parts of Spokane and Okanogan and all of Stevens, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties: Republican Sen. Shelly Short of Addy and Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber of Republic, who succeeded Short in February, won with 68 and 67 percent, respectively.

For the first time in 91 years, Seattle elected a woman mayor: Jenny Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney, defeated urban planner Cary Moon 56 percent to 44 percent and will succeed former city councilman Tim Burgess, who replaced scandal-plagued Ed Murray in September. Bertha Knight Landes was the city's mayor from 1926-28. (Seattle Times)

In Seattle's eastside suburbs, Manka Dhingra defeated Jinyoung Englund by 10 points in the 45th District; her victory gives Democrats control of the Washington State Senate, which had been the only legislative body on the West Coast held by Republicans, and returns one-party rule to Olympia for the first time in four years. (Seattle Times, New York Times)
How will Democratic control of the state Senate affect policy decisions in Washington? The Spokesman-Review's Jim Camden points to seven potential changes in Olympia.

In Virginia, Democratic lieutenant governor and physician Ralph Northam was elected governor, defeating former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie; the party also swept statewide offices and is poised to flip the state's House of Delegates, where the GOP had held a commanding 66-34 advantage. (Washington Post)
Phil Murphy, who ran on a platform including aa $15 minimum wage and legalizing marijuana, took back New Jersey's statehouse from Chris Christie, who leaves his two terms in office as one of the nation's least popular governors. (New York Times)
Analysis: President Trump's election-night tweets made a bad night for Republicans much worse for himself. (Washington Post)


Harvey Weinstein is even worse than you thought he was
The sordid tale of the Hollywood mogul, accused of sexually assaulting multiple women, now includes an army of spies — private investigators, including former members of Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency — hired by Weinstein to harass and intimidate actresses and journalists, according to the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow.
These 63 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. (Vanity Fair)

Trump to Kim: "Do not try us"
President Trump, addressing South Korea's parliament, had a characteristically blunt message for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump is now in China for high-stakes talks with President Xi Jinping on his five-nation, 12-day tour of Asia. (BBC, New York Times)
During his speech, the president departed from Asian security concerns to promote his Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey. (Washington Post)
"America First" means putting human rights last during Trump's trip to Asia. (Vox)

Arrest in Valley slaying
A multi-agency manhunt lasting several hours ended yesterday with the arrest by Spokane police of 37-year-old David Campbell, accused of stabbing to death a woman believed to be his ex-girlfriend earlier in the day in Spokane Valley. (Spokesman-Review)
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Avista and utility commission holding open meetings Wednesday afternoon, evening

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 4:38 PM

On Wednesday, Eastern Washington residents will get two chances to give input on where they get their electricity from and how much that electricity costs.

First up, the Washington Utilities and Transportation 
Commission will host  an afternoon session from 1 pm to 3 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Spokane Valley City Hall, that will include a presentation and chance to comment on Avista's 2017 Electric Integrated Resource Plan.

The plan spells out where the utility produces electricity, and where it plans to get electricity from over the next 20 years.

Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club have criticized Avista's plan as being out of touch, as the utility is one of the few remaining owners of the Colstrip coal power plant in southeastern Montana that plans to rely on the facility well after 2030.

Avista is planning to use the facility until at least 2037, which could put Eastern Washington ratepayers at risk of a hike in prices if other owners pull out of the project as well, says Caleb Heeringa, a Sierra Club spokesman.

They contrast Avista's decision with Puget Sound Energy in western Washington, which plans to close two of the four units at Colstrip by 2022, and recently filed a settlement that assumed the other units wouldn't be used past 2027.

In the evening, the UTC will hold a public comment hearing with Avista, this time on the utility's General Rate Case, which sets how much electricity will cost, and as proposed, would reflect an increased cost for Washington state customers. The hearing is at 6 pm, at the Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St. in Spokane.
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How would Stuckart's campaign finance proposals affect a run for mayor?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 4:18 PM

City Council President Ben Stuckart wants to reform the way elections are conducted in the city of Spokane. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • City Council President Ben Stuckart wants to reform the way elections are conducted in the city of Spokane.

Last year, City Council President Ben Stuckart announced he was running for mayor — in 2019.

Sure, Stuckart ended up dropping his mayoral ambitions to run against Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, then dropping those national ambitions to deal with family health issues.

But recently, two things have happened: First, the buzz about whether Stuckart may run for mayor, after all, has increased significantly — speculation that Stuckart has neither confirmed nor exactly denied.

Second, Stuckart announced a proposal to dramatically overhaul the city's campaign finance system for mayor, city council and municipal court races.

So that leads to the obvious question: If Stuckart runs for mayor, would his campaign finance changes make it easier or harder for him to win?

That depends on the sort of candidate he's up against.

Stuckart's plan would make it much easier for a candidate to start fundraising late:

It wasn't absurd to announce his run for mayor three years early, Stuckart told us last year, it was necessary. That's the sort of head start that fundraising takes.

"I think I’m going to have to start on fundraising in early 2017," he said then. "Because I think it’s going to take quite a bit."

After all, Mayor David Condon had started fundraising for his reelection almost immediately after winning his first term. The fact that he'd built up such a huge campaign war chest — nearly $170,000 before 2015 hit — may have contributed to the fact that Condon only attracted a relative unknown as his challenger.

Stuckart's plan, by contrast, would only allow donations to a candidate to occur during the year of the election.

“I’m cutting my own knees off if [I decide to run],” Stuckart says. “If I’m going to announce for mayor, it’s gotta to be next year. And then I’m going to be announcing for mayor, and not be able to raise money and use my built-in advantage.“

Stuckart argues that incumbents would be hurt by his reforms. Incumbents currently have a long time to raise money and an easier time using their position to attract funds.

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