Sometimes everyone agrees on the problems even if they don’t agree on the solution. That was case last night with Apprenticeship ordinance last night. Both contractors and building trades agree that we are facing a dire shortage of skilled construction workers. The contractors we heard from last night generally seem to think this problem can solve itself. Building trades disagree and are advocating for new requirements for large City public projects to require 15% of the work to be done by apprentices in order to generate new skilled workers. We heard good points on both sides last night but I felt that the building trades had the stronger argument: apprenticeships are part of the solution not part of the problem. This new ordinance will benefit our workforce and our community. Too often I’ve heard that measures that somehow benefit our workforce (apprenticeships, higher minimum wage, paid sick leave) will cost our economy. I reject that storyline. I look around and see cities that have similar policies to what we have adopted and their economies are doing well. Dire predictions have not materialized. After one of the longest nights of testimony this year—mostly in favor—the ordinance passed 5-2 with Councilmembers Allen and Fagan voting against. You can read more about the ordinance from the Council President’s presentation here. Read the rest of this entry »
Computers are ubiquitous in our lives today, but low cost opportunities to learn more than just basic computer skills are often lacking. Enter Hour Of Code. This worldwide event seeks to educate all people about computer coding, so they can develop a deeper knowledge of what is possible with this great technology. Tomorrow, December 13 from 2-3pm at the Downtown Spokane Library (906 W. Main) there will be three workshops offered (beginner, intermediate and advanced) for people to participate in. The event is free, and you can either pre-register to use a computer at the library or bring your own. For more information, visit inkspokane.org.
Monday, December 15 at 10:30am – Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, December 15 at 1:30pm – Public Safety Committee – Council Briefing Center.
Monday, December 15 at 6pm – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, December 16 at 6pm – Bicycle Advisory Board – Council Briefing Center.
Tuesday, December 16 at 6:30pm – East Central Neighborhood Council – East Central Community Center, 500 South Stone Street.
Thursday, December 18 at 1:30pm – Spokane Transit Authority Board meeting – STA Boardroom, 1229 W. Boone Ave.
Thursday, December 18 at 3:30pm – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.
On last night’s agenda, four items passed unanimously. The first item was to set a hearing for the vacation of Pearl Street from Sharp to Sinto and from Sinto to Mission. The second item was a change to the municipal code regarding letters of credit in public/private partnership agreements. The third item was an ordinance that tweaked some minor language in our municipal code related to Solid Waste Collection. The Regional Solid Waste System was dissolved on November 17th when the city finalized the purchase of the Waste-to-Energy plant from the county. The final item was an ordinance which mandates that voter registration information be included on utility bills in the City of Spokane and on the city’ website. Read the rest of this entry »
Next Friday (December 12) at 1:30pm I will be holding a mobile office at Fire Station #4 (1515 W. 1st Ave). I invite you to stop by and discuss what issues you think should be a priority for council in 2015.
Monday, December 8 at 1:30pm – Public Works Committee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, December 8 at 6pm – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, December 9 at 4pm – Public Safety Committee (Neighborhoods) – YMCA Corporate Office, Boone and Monroe.
Tuesday, December 9 at 6pm – Pedestrian, Transportation and Traffic Committee – West Central Community Center, 1603 North Belt Street.
Wednesday, December 10 at 7pm – Southgate Neighborhood Council – ESD 101, Conference Center, 4202 S. Regal St.
Wednesday, December 10 at 7pm – Grandview-Thorpe Neighborhood Council –
Thursday, December 11 at 3:30pm – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.
Right now our current transportation benefit district (the $20 car-tabs fee for transportation) requires 10% be used for pedestrian improvements. If we don’t hit exactly 10% then the pedestrian projects get pushed to the next year. At the request of the TBD citizen advisory committee we made a change so that “at least 10%” of the money goes to pedestrian improvements—that way the dollar figures don’t have to hit exactly. Passed 5-2 with Councilmembers Allen and Fagan voting against.
Council also approved an increase, to account for inflation, to our City business registration fees. Raising fees is always unpopular, but if we wait for over 10 years, like we did the last time we raised registration fees, these adjustments for inflated cost of providing services get much more painful. This passed with only Councilmember Fagan voting against. Read the rest of this entry »
On Tuesday, December 2 at 6pm at Ferris High School, the Junior League of Spokane will be hosting a community needs forum to discuss issues that our city faces, ranging from homelessness to foster care to literacy. The forum includes community leaders and experts from across Spokane and is open to the public. Fore more information, click here.
Monday, December 1 at 10:30am – Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, December 1 at 1:30pm – Finance Committee – Council Briefing Center.
Monday, December 1 at 6pm – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, December 2 at 7pm – Rockwood Neighborhood Council – 3612 S. Grand (Old Jefferson School).
Wednesday, December 3 at 6:30pm – Browne’s Addition Neighborhood Council – Museum of Arts & Culture 2316 W. 1st.
Thursday, December 4 at 3:30pm – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.
Friday, December 5 at 4pm – Community Assembly – Council Briefing Center.
Last night’s budget passed by the Council (6-1 Councilmember Fagan against) achieved several things I’ve been working on for years:
- Increased Human Service funding
- Continuing to reverse cuts to public safety staffing
- More stable funding for C.O.P.S. shops
- Increased planning resources
- Increased funding for neighborhood economic development
- Increasing the stability of the pension system
- Saving money by taking the Waste-to-Energy Plant under public control
But perhaps one of the most important things this budget included was improved utility rates. For the last three years I have been asking for multi-year rate setting and a re-balancing of rates so that low-volume water users and apartment residenst see a little bit of relief on their utility bills. Starting next year low-volume water users will see a $5 a month credit on their wastewater charges. In 2016 apartments will see a wastewater charge credit of $2 a month which will rise to $3 a month the following year. It may not seem like much but it helps correct a situation where these users have been subsidizing other users in our system for years. Passing a three-year rate action allows us to do this re-balancing gradually and take advantage of savings we received when the City recently got a good deal selling green bonds for our Cleaner River Faster program. Read the rest of this entry »
We have some fantastic local poets here in Spokane; and if you’re looking for an opportunity to become acquainted with some of their work, you have the chance to do so. Tonight (Friday, November 21) at 7pm there will be a poetry reading at the Eastern Washington University Riverpoint Campus (668 N. Riverpoint Blvd., in the Phase 1 Building, 2nd Floor) featuring several local poets. It is free to attend. For more information, see here.
Monday, November 24 at 9:30am – Marijuana Policy Subcommittee – City Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, November 24 at 1:30pm – Public Works Committee – City Council Briefing Center.
Monday, November 24 at 6pm – City Council Legislative Session – City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Monday’ Legislative Session is where the Council will be voting to adopt a budget for the City of Spokane for 2015. To find out who your council member is and contact them to provide input, click here.
Several items on the Council agenda last night passed unanimously. One of the major items to pass unanimously was the resolution naming the plaza next to City Hall. Council President Stuckart worked with the Spokane Tribe to come up with the name the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place, which will be accompanied by the phrase “The Place Where Salmon Is Prepared” in Salish. The resolution also calls for creating a memorial to King Cole (who was instrumental in the development of Riverfront Park) in Riverfront Park, naming the Post Street Bridge the John Moyer Memorial Bridge due to his advocacy for protecting the river during the discussion on the Lincoln Street Bridge; and the creation of a permanent stage in the Plaza or Riverfront Park to host an annual Isamu Jordan Music Festival. Read the rest of this entry »
On Tuesday, November 18 from 3:30pm to 6pm at Sheridan Elementary (3737 E. 5th Ave), the Spokane Regional Health Department is partnering with Spokane Public Schools and Group Health to offer free childhood vaccinations for children ages 2-18 years. For more information, call 509-354-7298.
Monday, November 17 at 10:30am – Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee – City Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, November 17 at 1:30pm – Public Safety Committee – City Council Briefing Center.
Monday, November 17 at 6pm – Council Legislative Session – City Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, November 18 at 6pm – Bicycle Advisory Board – City Council Briefing Center.
Tuesday, November 18 at 6:30pm – East Central Neighborhood Council – East Central Community Center, 500 South Stone Street.
Tuesday, November 18 at 7pm – Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council – Southside Community & Senior Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave.
Wednesday, November 19 at 7pm – Manit/Cannon Hill & Comstock Neighborhood Council – Sacajawea Middle School, 401 E 33rd Ave.
Thursday, November 20 at 1:30pm – Spokane Transit Authority Board Meeting – STA Boardroom, 1229 W. Boone Ave.
Thursday, November 20 at 3:30pm – City Council Study Session – City Council Briefing Center.