This week in the Inlander, you can look back at the year that was. That's a good thing, since history can tell us where we're heading. And nowhere is that pivot between past and future more stark than in our NATIONAL POLITICS. Will we stay stuck in the past in 2015? Will we double down on a failed Cuba policy, for example, or will we chart a new course? Will the ruling GOP turn the clock back on Obamacare and immigration reform, or will they finally see the writing on the wall that changing times require new solutions? The pace is so fast, in fact, even the Keystone Pipeline is being undercut by falling gas prices. Been-there-done-that politics are also on display in the specter of a Bush-Clinton rematch. Hopefully 2015 can be the year that America finally cleans out the fridge, dumping the stale stuff we've been force-fed for too long.

Nationally and locally, 2015 is going to be a big year for POLICE REFORMS. With what we've seen in Missouri and New York, Spokane should be proud of the way we've had this debate over the past eight-plus years. It wasn't easy, and it took the involvement of the Department of Justice, but we're now being recognized as a model for other cities.

Obviously America is not done with this issue. We all know the men and women who serve us in law enforcement take on our most dangerous work and earn our admiration and support every day. But as military-style gear has hit our streets and egregious uses of police force on citizens have become functionally legal, it's clearly become time for stricter oversight. People are angry, and the best way to channel that into something positive is by tackling reform together. Here in Spokane, despite early pushback, we had the conversation. We found common ground. Elections turned on the issue. Now we're enacting reforms. We're not there yet, but as body cameras are deployed and DOJ recommendations are adopted, we can get closer in 2015.

In one of the big surprises of 2014, Spokane somehow wound up in the running to host not one but TWO MEDICAL SCHOOLS. Sure, one is an expansion of the existing UW program, but the other could be an entirely new WSU School of Medicine. If both plans are funded, this will be the biggest thing to happen here since Expo. But after a year, this Fair will not end — it will go on, fueling our economy in ways we can't yet comprehend. The challenge is to embrace success. Such institutions would spark huge private investments. Are we ready? Do we have the proper leadership, both in public and private, to envision and create that future wisely? So 2015 will be a year to make sure we get our act together. And on this one, we've got to get it right. ♦

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 16
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About The Author

Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Ted S. McGregor, Jr. grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep high school and the University of the Washington. While studying for his Master's in journalism at the University of Missouri, he completed a professional project on starting a weekly newspaper in Spokane. In 1993, he turned that project into reality...