Thursday, July 5, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2018 at 9:51 AM


City Council president and mayoral candidate Ben Stuckart would like to see a taller, denser Spokane. 
click to enlarge Ben Stuckart - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
Ben Stuckart

NEWS: Should the left welcome Republicans in the resistance against the alt-right?

MUSIC: Meet the husband and wife pair looking to bring diversity to Spokane's music scene with synthesizers.


Lady Liberty
A woman climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July to protest the separation of migrant families. (CNN)

Ninja mom
A Spokane teacher is looking to become the first mother to complete the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. (Spokesman-Review)

Flashing lights
Newly installed flashing LED lights near the House of Charity shelter will alert downtown drivers to pedestrians crossing at Browne and Pacific and Division and Pacific. (KXLY)

Spokane is sad
A recent study found that Spokane has a higher rate of depression than the state and the U.S. (Spokesman-Review)

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 4:06 PM

click to enlarge At a speech last month about understanding the alt-right, Lindsay Schubiner showcases a grid highlighting the nuances of different manifiestations of white supremacist groups. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
At a speech last month about understanding the alt-right, Lindsay Schubiner showcases a grid highlighting the nuances of different manifiestations of white supremacist groups.

In a lecture last month at Veradale United Church of Christ in Spokane Valley, California-based activist Lindsay Schubiner described different ways to fight against white supremacy.

For one lesson, she pointed to John Tanton, the founder of the modern organized anti-immigration movement. As time had gone on, Tanton's anti-immigration rhetoric had become increasingly racist, even supportive of eugenics.

"There was an organized effort to discredit him and push him out of the mainstream. When folks started going after him, other people said it was impossible. But what they did is really expose his beliefs and bring conservatives on board. Because he's working in Republican spaces," Schubiner said. "They built a coalition of folks who wanted to distance themselves from John Tanton and his influence. Once more conservative folks started going after John Tanton, other people felt they could voice their disagreement."

It all culminated in a New York Times article that resulted in Tanton being largely shunned from the movement.

It's a key lesson: If you want to stop the alt-right's quest to become part of the mainstream, recruit the mainstream right to isolate them and shun them.

Indeed, local Republicans have repeatedly distanced themselves from alt-right leader James Allsup, former WSU College Republicans president. When national news broke that he'd secured a precinct committee officer seat with the Whitman County Republicans, press releases were quickly issued.

“His past statements, affiliations and actions are deeply out-of-step with the values of the Republican Party,” the Spokane County GOP chair Cecily Wright wrote.

"I don’t have a relationship with him, but I know what he stands for. His actions and words do not reflect the values of the Republican party or Eastern Washington," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers wrote in a statement. "White supremacy, racism, and bigotry are never acceptable and have no place in America or Eastern Washington."

That isn't the first time that McMorris Rodgers has condemned Allsup either.

But for some on the left, allying with the right to fight white supremacy comes with a concern: Are they giving Republicans cover to say that they’re not racist, obscuring what they see as racist Republican ideology?

Last week, Spokane Community Against Racism hosted a talk by Gonzaga lecturer Joan Braune titled "Countering the Alt-Right Threat to Spokane." Mariah McKay, former Inlander columnist and champion of various left-wing causes, reached out personally to some of her Republican friends — the sort she argues with on Facebook — and invited them to attend.

"I think it’s positive that local Republican party leaders do not see James Allsup as part of their ranks,” says McKay. “I would like to keep it that way.”

McKay argues that Republican leaders have an obligation to recognize that they have a responsibility to prevent the growth of extremist movements within their ranks. And the lecture last week wasn't about an opportunity for Republicans to grandstand, she said, it was an opportunity to ask questions.

"I wanted to make sure that they’ve had access to the information I’ve been steeped in," McKay says.

She also says she hoped that they'd ask themselves why the alt-right identifies closer to Republicans.

"Why does James Allsup think he can infiltrate Republicans?" McKay asks. "Why does he think they can get a toehold in the community? Perhaps by learning more about the history of these extremist groups, they can be more self-reflective."

McKay says the event was great.

"People, our Republican friends included, left the room feeling empowered," McKay says. "There is historical precedent for beating these people back."

And when Braune was asked about including Republican allies in the fight, McKay says, she responded that of course conservatives are a crucial part of stopping the spread of that kind of ideology.

Spokane County Democrats vice-chair Jac Archer was fine with accepting Republicans who want to join the movement opposing the alt-right, but wasn't raring to actively recruit them.

"When I see anti-racist movements, I go to them," Archer said. "I don’t have to be convinced. I don’t have to be cajoled."

Wright, the Spokane County GOP chair, meanwhile, says she's not really a fan of pushing back against white supremacy through large “let’s-embrace-everybody kind of get-togethers.”

“That, to me, is phony,” Wright says. She worries about giving the alt-right groups more attention. “It brings more attention to the people who want confirmation that we have racism.”

She resents the idea that she had to issue such a statement against Allsup. That, to be clear, is not because she's anything close to a fan of Allsup's.

“I’d like to go punch the guy in the nose myself,” Wright jokes.

But to her, the idea that Republicans don’t support white supremacy is so obvious that it shouldn’t even need to be said.

"The way I look at it is both parties absolutely abhor racism," says Wright.

She says she marched in civil right rallies back in the '60s and says the more people focus on racism, Wright argues, the more divided the country becomes.

Rallies can throw gasoline on the fire, she says. 

"I don’t really want to honor the nutjobs with something like that," Wright says.

That's one of the big challenges in forming a bi-partisan alliance against racism. Democrats and Republicans can't always agree on what racism even is.

To generalize, on the right, racism is something evil that a person believes in their heart and mind. But on the left, the definition goes much further: Racism is about power dynamics, a toxic ideology embedded deep within societal structures.

Shortly after Trump’s election, the n-word was spray-painted on Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center. U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers reached out to then-NAACP president Phil Tyler to figure out how to respond.

Together, they co-founded the “Peaceful Communities Roundtable,” a group of community leaders from a variety of backgrounds aiming to combating racism and finding solutions. But for some on the left, it was an outrage.

"I remember people being pretty upset," McKay says, "For her to think that because she can shake hands with a black man and take a pretty picture that she's an ally of communities of color is very shallow." 

McKay raises concerns that events like these can be more of a photo-op than productive, that it can mask the actual conversation that needs to happen. 

"It’s easy to demonize one boogeyman and then turn around and pass policies that disproportionately impact [people], and not bat an eyelash about it," McKay says.

But others have been more supportive. In May, Rodney McAuley, a black pastor with Youth For Christ, told the Inlander that he'd attended the roundtables with McMorris Rodgers, and believed that the events have been genuinely influential.

"I have had occasions to be in different settings and personally observed a journey of compassion and heart-shifting in Cathy," McAuley says. "I can state that unequivocally."

Even if they don't see eye to eye, McAuley argues, they can build relationships and combat division together.

click to enlarge Pastor Walter Kendricks wants to restart the Peaceful Communities Roundtables. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
Pastor Walter Kendricks wants to restart the Peaceful Communities Roundtables.

After the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — attended by Allsup — Trump gave an " unequivocal boost" to the white supremacist movement, according to the New York Times.

White supremacist figures like David Duke and Richard Spencer praised Trump's comments that there are "very fine people on both sides."

And for some on the left, the president who spouts textbook racist comments; who launched his campaign accusing Mexican illegal immigrants of being rapists and criminals; who uses words like "infested" to describe migrants; and who refers to immigrants from Africa as coming from "shithole countries," doesn't just give aid and comfort to white supremacy, he embodies it.

"It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true — his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power," writes Pulitzer Prize finalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.

And that complicates any alliances between the left and the right to combat racism: One side supports Trump. The other thinks he's the embodiment of racism.

After the Charlottesville rally, McMorris Rodgers repeated her opposition to white supremacy. But local Unitarian Universalist minister Todd Eklof condemned McMorris Rodgers for being "complicit" in racist violence for not taking a stronger stand against Trump.

In several occasions, McMorris Rodgers has called out Trump on his offensive statements.

But that hasn't, say, stopped McMorris Rodgers from being jeered at by left-wing hecklers at Martin Luther King Jr. events two years in a row.

Pastor Walter Kendricks, the black pastor of Spokane's Morning Star Baptist Church, hosted the "Countering the Alt-Right" event. He considers McMorris Rodgers a friend and has been a part of the Peaceful Communities Roundtables. He says he appreciates the times when she has criticized Trump's offensive words.

“Is it helpful that she condemns the statements? Yes,” Kendricks says. “The flipside to that: I think it was [black novelist] James Baldwin who said, ‘I can’t hear what you say because I see what you do.'"

In other words, Kendricks feels McMorris Rodgers still votes in a way that is not in the interest of the everyday working people. He wants her take a stronger stand, not just with her words, but with her actions.

Kendricks says the Peaceful Communities Roundtables have not been held since the Inlander reported on the long history of domestic violence allegations against Tyler, the Roundtable’s co-founder.

He says he plans on reach out to McMorris Rodgers this week to restart the meetings.

“We have to reach out to the people of good will from every political party from left to right,” Kendricks says.

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Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 9:22 AM


NEWS: A new website — — lets patients compare prices for different procedures in their area based on zip code.

NEWS: Get ready. The voter registration deadline for the Washington primary election is fast approaching.


Girl dies in mass stabbing
A 3-year-old girl was celebrating her birthday party in Boise when a man unleashed a stabbing attack on her and eight other refugees. Yesterday, the 3-year-old, Ruya Kadir, died. The alleged attacker, Timmy Earl Kinner, is charged with murder. (Idaho Statesman)

Worth the money
For workers in local businesses during Hoopfest, serving an endless line of sweaty people may not be the best day. But at least it's good for business. (KXLY)

Is the North Spokane Corridor a good plan to alleviate traffic? Or is it, as some groups are saying, a boondoggle? (Spokesman-Review)

Not seeing color
Schools and colleges no longer have to consider race or diversity in admissions standards. The Trump administration has reversed the Obama administration policy, officials said today. (New York Times)

Womp, Womp
Following the lead of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a man went to a rally protesting Trump's border policies in Alabama, yelled "womp, womp!" and pulled a gun on the protesters. He was arrested. (Washington Post)

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 3:35 PM

If you plan to register to vote in Washington's August primary election the deadline for online and mail-in registration is Monday, July 9.

Barring that, in-person registration can still be done at your county elections office until July 30, and if you miss the deadline, you should contact your local election office for more information.

This week is also a busy week for statewide voter initiatives, which need to turn in signatures by July 6 to qualify for the November ballot. For this year, initiatives need at least 259,622 registered voter signatures to qualify, and the Washington Secretary of State's Office recommends the groups submit at least 325,000 to allow for invalid signatures.

On Monday, July 2, a coalition of environmental, tribal and business groups under the umbrella of Yes on 1631 submitted 370,000 signatures for Initiative 1631, which aims to fight climate change impacts and would "charge 'pollution fees' on sources of greenhouse gas pollutants and use the revenue to reduce pollution, promote renewable energy and address climate change impacts, under oversight of a public board."

The state started preparing those sheets to be counted immediately.

Another group that's been out collecting signatures is Yes! to Affordable Groceries (measure 1634), which is backed by major food companies and industry groups that want to prevent local governments from instituting taxes on things like sugary beverages and other items as the city of Seattle has done. That measure would "prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages (with exceptions), or ingredients thereof, unless effective by January 15, 2018, or generally applicable."

Groups have until 5 p.m. Friday to turn in their signature sheets.

For other important election dates, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman tweeted a chart showing upcoming deadlines:

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Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge Patients can now compare prices for some types of services between hospitals in the area thanks to a new Washington state tool. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
Young Kwak photo
Patients can now compare prices for some types of services between hospitals in the area thanks to a new Washington state tool.

Say you need your knee replaced and you live in Pullman, how do you know whether it'd be a better deal to stay in town or head up to Spokane? What about checking on the quality of care people felt they received after that surgery?

Washington state has created a new tool to help with exactly that type of decision making as part of an effort to make health care more transparent. 

By using the new site patients can compare prices for different types of surgery and doctor's visits in their area based on ZIP code and contrast that with the state average. Other information, such as the star-rating of a particular office or hospital, is also provided based on quality measures applicable to that type of facility.

Using the tool, it's easy to find out that a knee replacement would typically run you about $22,282 at Pullman Regional Hospital (based on a typical range from $18,668 to $30,639) while in Spokane it would typically run $26,297 at MultiCare Deaconess or $32,787 at Providence Sacred Heart (also based on ranges), according to 2016 prices.

“Health care can be an enormous expense for many families, and giving people a way to compare the prices and quality will help people be better informed and prepared about their options,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in an announcement about the tool. “It’s also enormously helpful for lawmakers, employers and providers to have increased transparency about the costs related to using and buying health care.”

Not every service or type of surgery has data available on the site.

Here are the prices of some other types of services, according to results on the site, searched using Spokane's 99201 ZIP code:

Delivery by Cesarean Section
Typical price in Washington: $16,004
Typical low/high: $12,564 to $20,137
If you went to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, the typical price was about $11,344 in 2016, while it was $14,191 at Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital.

ER Visit
Typical price in Washington: $571
Typical low/high: $437 to $781
It was typically $539 at Providence Holy Family Hospital, $451 at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital, and $349 at Lincoln Hospital in Davenport.

Breast Tissue Sample to Check for Cancer
Typical price in Washington: $2,504
Typical low/high: $1,754 to $3,454

Urgent Care Visit
Typical price in Spokane County: $216
Typical low/high in Spokane County: $164 to $226

People can also use tools on the website to compare quality of care based on area and type of insurance coverage. 

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Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 9:15 AM


The new music venue being opened by the owners of the Bartlett has a name, and lucky for you, it might open this fall.

MUSIC: The new seating area at Northern Quest didn't disapoint as a crowd showed up for some '90s nostalgia last week.

NEWS: How do you fight hate without giving groups attention that can bring their bigotry into the mainstream?


Boise knife attack injures children, adult refugees

After being asked to leave a low income apartment complex in Boise, Saturday, a man is accused of stabbing six children and three  adults, all of whom are refugees, at a 3-year-old's birthday party, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Leftist wins presidency in Mexico
Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won the Mexican presidency after running on a platform where he vowed to fight corruption in the government. (Associated Press)

Thousands march across country calling to unite families
"Families Belong Together" marches took place in cities around the nation this weekend, with protesters calling for the reunification of parents and children who were separated at the border as they entered the United States. (NBC)

Somewhere, in our galaxy, far, far, away
A Japanese spacecraft has traveled more than 177 million miles from Earth to meet up with an asteroid, and scientists are now studying the surface from a safe distance with the craft before deciding where to land on it and take samples from below the surface. (NPR)

The last straw
As of Sunday, Seattle food service businesses can no longer serve drinks with plastic straws in them as the market on compostable alternatives has caught up, marking the end of an exemption to a decade-old city rule that required the businesses switch to recyclable or compostable to-go items only. (Seattle Times)

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 2:10 PM

click to enlarge Caleb Ingersoll reveals the logo of the upcoming venue Lucky You Lounge. - NATHAN WEINBENDER
Nathan Weinbender
Caleb Ingersoll reveals the logo of the upcoming venue Lucky You Lounge.

The name of the next music venue opening in Spokane: the Lucky You Lounge.

It's the latest business venture from Karli and Caleb Ingersoll, the owners of all-ages concert venue the Bartlett, and it will fill the space formerly occupied by the Sunset Junction tavern at 1801 W. Sunset Blvd. in Browne's Addition.

At an unveiling event at the Bartlett last night, the Ingersolls said they hope to have the new place open by October or November.

"The people that fill up this space have made it possible for us to dream about the next space," Karli Ingersoll said after playing a video showing the progress of the new location. "When you guys come to shows and support live music, it makes us dream bigger."

"We wanted to make this space the best small venue you've ever been to," Caleb Ingersoll said to applause. "It's been amazing to see the life this place has taken over the years."

During the event, the Ingersolls announced that the Bartlett sold 14,000 tickets in 2017. They name checked the owners of the Observatory, the Big Dipper and the Red Room Lounge for supporting their ventures and helping create a more vibrant music scene in Spokane. They also praised local business owner and developer Dan Spalding, who leases both the Bartlett and the Sunset Junction building to the Ingersolls.

Some other details about the new space: Lucky You will be a 21+ venue, and it will be equipped with two full bars and a restaurant. Unlike the Bartlett, Lucky You will be open every day for business, regardless of whether a show is going on. The capacity will likely be between 350 and 400; the Bartlett's current capacity is 150. The Ingersolls hope the larger space will attract touring bands that typically skip over Spokane.

According to the Bartlett's Instagram, they've raised $35,000 to finish the project and are aiming for a fundraising goal of $40,000. You can purchase shirts, tickets and passes here to contribute to the cause.

You can follow Lucky You on Facebook for updates.

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Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 11:09 AM

click to enlarge Sir Mixalot rocked the crowd of big and small butts Thursday night. - DAN NAILEN
Dan Nailen
Sir Mixalot rocked the crowd of big and small butts Thursday night.

If you ever doubt the power of nostalgia to inspire people to pluck down their hard-earned money and party down, you should check out one of these traveling package tours like the "I Love the '90s" show that stopped by Northern Quest Resort & Casino Thursday night.

A lineup of Young MC, Color Me Badd, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Salt-n-Pepa and Vanilla Ice nearly filled the newly reconfigured outdoor stage at Northern Quest, drawing fans of all ages (thanks to parents bringing their kids along) to pay between $40 and $80 for a few hours of fond memories, and performances that ranged from lackluster to highly entertaining.

The best part of these multi-act packages is that they're designed to be all-killer, no-filler, meaning the audience gets the hits and few (if any) new songs. That would explain why opener Young MC only did two songs (maybe three — it was hard to tell as I was stuck in the Will Call line when he started, more on that issue below), and "Bust a Move" was clearly the one the crowd knew. Good thing, since the not-so-Young MC had the audience "sing" roughly every other line.

The rest of the artists involved all had plenty of fans going totally apeshit at the sounds of, say, Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up," or Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It." It seemed like there were a lot of birthday parties or bachelorette parties going on — either that or people have started wearing the exact same Vanilla Ice t-shirt in groups of 10 when they go out together.

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Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 9:52 AM

click to enlarge A gentleman drags a bicycle and rolling suitcase with lopping shears strapped to the back over Sandifur Bridge on the morning of Friday, June 29. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
A gentleman drags a bicycle and rolling suitcase with lopping shears strapped to the back over Sandifur Bridge on the morning of Friday, June 29.

The Sasquatch music festival has gone the way of Elkfest. There won't be one next year.



After a Spokane home is burgled thrice, the Spokane Police Ombudsman asks how the public's experience with property crime has been. (KREM)

Stripping sheets
After a spate of suicides, the Spokane County Jail is getting rid of bedsheets. (Spokesman-Review)

A highway runs through it
The Spokesman-Review takes a look at the impact of the North Spokane Corridor on businesses and homeowners caught in its path. (Spokesman-Review)

Assault on the free press
Five were killed in a mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper. (New York Times)

Truth deficit
No, the deficit is not decreasing, contrary to the claims of Trump's top economic advisor.  (Washington Post)

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge Japanese Breakfast performs at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in May. - DEREK HARRISON
Derek Harrison
Japanese Breakfast performs at the Sasquatch! Music Festival in May.

Cut the mics: Sasquatch!, the annual music festival that has taken over the Gorge Amphitheatre every Memorial Day weekend since 2002, is reportedly coming to an end.

"I will no longer be producing the Festival, nor will it take place in 2019," Sasquatch! founder Adam Zacks wrote in an email announcement that was reprinted by Willamette Week earlier today.

"17 years is a long time to do anything. The Beatles lasted a mere 8 years, a fact so astonishing it is difficult to believe," Zacks' statement continues, referring to the breakneck pace with which the Fab Four released its string of groundbreaking albums. "While we didn't accomplish anything as indelible as 'Hey Jude,' the Festival left a lasting mark and proudly represented an independent spirit."

Several Inlander reporters attended the most recent Sasquatch! just last month, which attracted thousands with a lineup that included the likes of Bon Iver, Modest Mouse and David Byrne. Over the years, Sasquatch! has brought everyone from Kanye West to the Cure to Coldplay to the small town of George, Wash., and the fest was regularly selling out (often in a matter of hours) at its height.

But attendance had been dwindling since a failed attempt to expand Sasquatch! to two weekends in 2014. It was reported in the Oregonian that despite the Gorge's 25,000-person capacity, only about 11,000 ticket holders showed up in 2016. Passes for the festival had also ballooned to $325 this year, a price tag that doesn't include the additional cost of camping for the weekend.

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of Sasquatch! is clearly a major loss for the festival culture, and for live music in Washington.

"May the spirit that made Sasquatch! so special live on. Onward to the next adventure," Zacks' statement ends.

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