A big agenda and a long meeting last night. Where to begin? Let’s start with items that weren’t unanimous. The Council went through a three-month process which included a lot of community outreach and a bunch of back and forth on priorities to arrive at our new and improved 2015 State Legislative Agenda last night. This passed with approval of all Councilmembers except Mr. Fagan. There was only one item on the agenda that garnered much feedback and that was our medical education priorities. The agenda supports both WSU and UW medical education projects. Both are listed as a priority for the City of Spokane. WSU’s 4-year, researched-based medical school is listed as a higher priority purely based on its much larger economic impact to our city. For the record I’m not a Husky or a Cougar, I’m a Geoduck. Washington is one of the biggest states in the country that still only has one medical school. If UW or EWU or CWU, or whoever, were proposing a full, 4-year, researched-based medical school in Spokane I believe Council would make that one of our highest priorities as well. But WSU has a proposal on the table and two decades worth of planning and momentum behind the U-District, which covers about one-fifth of our land area in the downtown core of Spokane. The Council is proud to support both UW expansion of WWAMI medical education slots in Spokane and funds for accreditation of a new WSU med-school, and we look forward to advocating for both in the State Legislature this year. By all accounts even if both were to pass we may still need more resources to address our medical challenges of the future. You can see the full agenda as passed at the bottom of this post.
Two items passed 5-2 last night. First was an ordinance codifying current policy on anti-bias policing. The 2nd was a interfund loan of $500k to the library to help them upgrade check-out and computer technology. These technological upgrades are the key to library services improving after the temporary library levy lid lift expires in three years. This move will eliminate some positions but Council worked hard with staff and the library board to find a way to have almost all the positions reduced through attrition, while improving library service. Both Councilmembers Allan and Fagan voted against both these measures. Read the rest of this entry »