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Recent Comments

Re: “Why House of Charity refuses to feed most panhandlers

Most of the panhandlers I've met since I started doing late night homeless outreach in Jan 2013 are homeless or so poor they can't afford toilet paper or dish soap or tampons. I have no idea what facts Rob McCann is using to base the statement that panhandlers are not homeless. Did you know that businesses downtown (especially along 3rd) lock their bathrooms to the public and require a purchase? Did you know that panhandlers are sometimes trying to get enough money to buy a coffee so they have a toilet to use later that night? Did you know that the downtown library has installed signage that says grooming is not allowed in their bathrooms and have started limiting access? That at a recent board meeting the designers of the upcoming project just north of the library stated that they are making plans so the area won't attract the "wrong kind of people"? This is public space I'm talking about, not even a private business. The war on the homeless is going strong.

By the way, there is nothing illegal about panhandling. It is Constitutionally protected free speech.

8 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 02/03/2017 at 6:31 AM

Re: “Why House of Charity refuses to feed most panhandlers

McCann claims that homeless people starve and disfigure their four-footed family members in order to gain sympathy and more money in panhandling. He is stirring up hate (and perhaps even violence against) homeless people. Why on earth would you perpetuate such dangerous stereotypes against a group of people? People in Spokane have been killed for being homeless! Remember the homeless amputee who was set on fire while sleeping in his wheelchair in downtown Spokane? Remember the homeless men beaten to within an inch of their lives and left for dead in downtown Spokane?

Do I meet addicts when we are out and about on our homeless outreach adventures? Of course. Do we help them? Of course. Why wouldn't we? Do we also meet people who are not addicts? Absolutely. Who are we to judge who is worthy or unworthy of our help? Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion and respect.

20 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 02/02/2017 at 10:27 PM

Re: “Why House of Charity refuses to feed most panhandlers

God help those poor souls out on the street who come to House of Charity seeking food or shelter. Apparently Rob McCann won't. The level of judgmental superiority in deciding who is unworthy of help or compassion is astounding. I'm ashamed I ever recommended HoC to people on the street as a resource. When did Spokane get so mean?

15 likes, 27 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 02/02/2017 at 9:57 PM

Re: “Sacred Mt. Spokane

Don't even get me started on the white artist commissioned to paint a series depicting the First Nation people's history of the Spokane River. Why any of the local Native artists in our community... um, like Ric Gendron weren't approached for this project completely blows my mind. Nothing against the chosen artist or her artwork, this is just another example when Native people are overlooked in regards to honoring their own culture and traditions. It's a sad commentary on the ignorance and white privilege in this town. I really hope the sacred sites on Mt Spokane aren't desecrated for white people's profit. Especially since the economics of expanding a skiing resort (more white people's privileges) seem really stupid and risky when scientists are predicting less and less snowfall in our future due to climate change.

110 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 01/16/2016 at 10:22 AM

Re: “Sacred Mt. Spokane

For reasons that I don't understand, I've noticed that the Spokanes seem to be even less valued and less respected than the other regional tribes. Examples: the drama stirred up in the business community over the Spokanes building a casino; bringing a Native storyteller from Seattle to present at the opening ceremonies at Sasquan and calling him "local" instead of honoring the actual traditions of Spokane First Nation people*; the past looting and selling off of their history and artifacts by rich white people in the museum and arts community; the appropriation of their sacred traditions by New Age whites who call themselves shamans and hold "authentic Native" spiritual community events; and the insulting way we have uplifted and honored those who massacred and destroyed the Spokanes way of life by naming streets and other monuments for their murderers and crime scenes.

*at least the storyteller at Sasquan had the grace and respect to acknowledge the local Spokane tribal people in his presentation and explain he had obtained their permission to tell his traditional stories in their region (even though the ignorant white organizers had no idea how disrespectful their actions were)

As for the comments that imply Mt Spokane can't possibly be sacred to the First Nation people of Spokane, because you can't find evidence in any books (written by white people!) obviously you have never been to a live storytelling event such as with Barry Moses from the Spokane Tribe where he talks about the sacred traditions and shares the sacred stories of his People. Here's a link to a peace event I attended that was held on top of Mt Spokane in 2009, with a few details of how and why the mountain is sacred to the First Peoples to inhabit the region:…

109 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 01/16/2016 at 9:28 AM

Re: “After SPD sit-lie comments, Stuckart proposes ‘bias-free policing’ ordinance

And would people please just stop with the whining to city council about the homeless and/or panhandlers getting in people's way, chasing them down the street for a handout, and being terribly intimidating ALL WHILE APPARENTLY SITTING OR LYING ON THE SIDEWALK? Either they are chasing you and intimidating you and "scaring you to death" by approaching you OR they are violating the no sit/lie ordinance and they are siting or lying down and thus NOT chasing you. You can't justify the need for no sit/lie in the same breath as citing fear for your safety while walking to your car because one of these people have followed you. Either they are up and about, following you around, OR they are sitting/lying on the sidewalk. Two separate issues.

The no sit/lie ordinance (10.10.026) does nothing to protect you from people who chase you down the street asking for money. That would be the anti-aggressive soliciting ordinance or the anti-intimidation ordinance which is a completely separate law (10.10.025). Or, if you are concerned with someone obstructing the sidewalk or the doorway to a business, that's also covered in 10.10.025. Not in the no sit/lie ordinance.

See Spokane Municipal Code Title 10 Chapter 10 (Offenses against peace and order) here:…

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 09/23/2014 at 12:01 AM

Re: “After SPD sit-lie comments, Stuckart proposes ‘bias-free policing’ ordinance

The problem is that a new ordinance banning bias-based profiling does nothing to remedy the problems that have been created by the no sit/lie ordinance. These problems include:

1) the police hassling customers, visitors and downtown workers from sitting or lying on the sidewalk in a non-threatening manner
2) creating an unwelcoming and unfriendly atmosphere in the downtown core with police and private security hassling shoppers and visitors
3) creating a double standard for when it is okay for people to violate the law (like during Pig Out in the Park) and when it is not okay (when young people are sitting on the sidewalk)
4) or the problems created with private security forces picking and choosing who they will threaten and intimidate about sitting on the sidewalk in front of their place of employment, whether or not their targets are exempt from the law

Earlier in the year, police representatives stated publicly that they were not targeting the homeless, rather, they were targeting "aimless youth" and "street kids" that hung out around the Olive Garden (Homeless Coalition Meetings) . Now police say they ARE targeting the " homeless people sitting and lying, trying to get in people's way to get handouts, that sort of thing."

Various entities and individuals have looked at ways to make panhandling illegal in the downtown core and have been frustrated by that pesky thing called Constitutional Rights which allow for freedom of speech. So laws were passed against "aggressive panhandling" which made it illegal to intimidate or harass people. So the panhandlers began sitting down with their signs, because how could that possibly be interpreted as being aggressive? Then the no sit/lie ordinance was created to prevent that form of panhandling as well.

Downtown Spokane Partnership representative Mark Richard stated publicly that the no sit/lie ordinance was written without consideration for people who "didn't look like the rest of us" (June 12 Sit/Lie Community Conversation with Service Providers for the Homeless) and indicated that a step back was needed to reassess that way of exclusionary thinking. He also indicated that the tables and chairs outside of Riverpark Square was for everyone to use, not just shoppers at the mall.

However, downtown private security forces continually harrass, intimidate, and threaten anyone that has been targeted as "undesirable" to sit downtown, whether that be on the sidewalk or in chairs provided for the community. Whether those individuals are protesting (and exempt from the no sit/lie law) or not.

The downtown business community has installed torture devices called "mosquitos" which emit an annoying sound with the sole purpose to drive away people age 30 and under. These devices are installed at the Symons, Peyton and Washington Trust buildings in the core of downtown, around the STA plaza. Yet an article in the Spokesman Review this week talks of needing to welcome young people to Spokane, in order for our city to thrive and have a bright future, and that the majority of bus riders are 30 and under.

So which is it, downtown Spokane? You keep contradicting yourself. Do you want to be welcoming to everyone and non-biased? Do you want to especially welcome those 30 and under who are the hope for the future of our city? Do you really want to welcome those from the rural areas (who don't dress or look like the rest of us) to visit downtown? Or do you want to drive them away with your buzzing torture devices, police and security who hassle anyone who doesn't look or act like they have money to spend, and with laws that are unfairly directed to impact the poor and homeless most harshly? Doesn't everyone have the right to exist downtown as long as they aren't threatening or harming anyone? Even if they aren't shopping or spending money in the shops and restaurants?

15 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Joan on 09/22/2014 at 11:23 PM

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