NEWS BRIEFS: Cathcart pushes for more language accessibility at City Hall

Plus, McMorris Rodgers stands up for the internal combustion engine; and West Bonner school's boss gets the boot.

click to enlarge NEWS BRIEFS: Cathcart pushes for more language accessibility at City Hall
Erick Doxey photo

The Spokane City Council will soon consider a law that would require city departments to improve language access for people with limited English proficiency. The ordinance, introduced by Council member Michael Cathcart, says a 2022 council resolution encouraging city departments to adopt a language access plan resulted in "limited progress," and that Spokane is still lagging behind other Washington cities. The new ordinance essentially turns the council's request into a requirement. If passed, city departments would have to start budgeting for language access next year and fully implement language access plans by the end of 2025. The city's Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Inclusion would be tasked with hiring a "language access coordinator" to monitor the citywide efforts to translate public-facing documents and other communications into Spokane's commonly spoken languages — namely Spanish, Slavic, Russian, Vietnamese and Marshallese. The ordinance is slated for a vote in early October. (NATE SANFORD)


Last week, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers took a stand. For the internal combustion engine. The Eastern Washington lawmaker, whose district is home to numerous hydropower dams and Palouse wind farms, took to X (formerly Twitter) to voice opposition to the "ban on gas-powered cars." Specifically, she was hailing what's called the "Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act," or H.R. 1435, which she says will "prevent Governor Jay Inslee's radical ban on gas-powered vehicles in Washington state" that is "chipping away at our freedoms." The legislation was largely passed along party lines, with just one congressional Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, supporting it. In December 2022, Washington state's ecology department adopted rules that would ratchet up the number of new zero-emission vehicles sold in the state "until zero-emission vehicles make up 100 percent of new sales starting in model year 2035," according to Ecology. Nearly 40 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Electricity generation accounts for 20 percent. (NICHOLAS DESHAIS)


Another one bites the dust as one more West Bonner School District leader is ousted. Less than a week after two school board trustees — Susan Brown and Keith Rutledge — were officially recalled by voters, Superintendent Branden Durst was told that he cannot remain in the position. Durst was appointed to the position in June, without the necessary experience — namely, he doesn't have experience working with students at an accredited school. He applied for an emergency provisional certificate that would allow him to remain in the position, but was denied by the Idaho Board of Education. "There is no pathway for Mr. Durst to obtain the legally required certification to serve as the West Bonner County School District superintendent," Idaho Board of Education Executive Director Matt Freeman said in the board's decision. While the board has approved three of these emergency certificates since 2015, they say that going forward these certifications will only be considered for teachers, not administrators. (COLTON RASANEN)

Pictures with Krampus @ Petunia & Loomis

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