Slide Show Of Jon Snyder

Senator Billig unveils charter school proposal

OLYMPIA – Charter schools would be accountable to locally elected school boards, making them constitutional and able to continue to receive funding under bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane.

“At this point, it’s no longer about how you voted on the charter school initiative,” said Billig. “The fact is we have real kids in charter classrooms who deserve certainty about their education. We should find a way to provide stable funding for these schools and ensure they are complimentary and accountable to the rest of the local public school system, which benefits the children in the charter schools as well as the entire community.”

Billig’s bill creates “District Charter Schools” within the local school district, which not only complies with the Supreme Court decision because they will be under the control of the locally elected school board, but also means funding will be stable and reliable since these schools will be well within the definition of basic education.  This bill creates a charter option for local school districts but a district would not be required to create a district charter school.

Charter schools were approved by voters in 2012. This past September, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that charter schools were operated in ways that violated the state’s constitution and could no longer receive public funding.

“This bill could work in concert with other charter policies or stand on its own as the charter school solution,” added Billig. “Either way, it can be utilized to help current charter schools continue as well as create increased options for school districts seeking more varied choices for students and families in their community.”

As a result of this legislation, district charter schools created by local school districts may be afforded independent elements similar to traditional charter schools such as formulating curriculum, freedom from some district policies, management of portions of the schools’ budgets, and the ability to manage the school’s staff more independently.


For interviews: Sen. Andy Billig, 509-990-9219

For more information: Jon Fowler, 360-786-7535

Police Leadership Advisory Committee Forums and Input


A few weeks ago, the Mayor formed the Police Leadership Advisory Committee, which is tasked with leading a conversation about what the community is looking for in its next police chief and provide input about what a culture audit of the Spokane Police Division should consider. The committee will be tasked with three primary objectives related to the police chief search:

  • Review and make suggestions to the current police chief job description
  • Identify the attributes the community is seeking in the next police chief
  • Recommend the hiring and selection process that should be used

To help guide us in this process, we have been conducting public outreach. Today, we have two public forums scheduled for that purpose:

  1. Police Leadership Advisory Committee Forum at noon at West Central Community Center (1603 North Belt Street).
  2. Police Leadership Advisory Committee Forum at 5pm at East Central Community Center (500 S. Stone Street).

All members of the public are welcome to attend and provide their input. If you cannot make it to these forums, we are also accepting input via email and phone at the address and number below.

Phone: 509-625-6281

How to Report Windstorm Damage


Greater Spokane Emergency Management is collecting information from residents and businesses on damage and losses suffered during the November 2015 windstorm. If your Spokane County home or business sustained damage as a result of the storm, you may be eligible for federal disaster assistance as you begin to clean up. Follow the important steps for reporting damages to personal property at this link. If you have any questions, please contact Gerry Bozarth at 509-477-7613.

Councilmember Snyder on TV Program Council Connection

Each month, Councilmembers have the opportunity to take part in a program broadcast on City Cable 5 (Channel 5 on Comcast) known as Council Connection. The program can be a way for Councilmembers to highlight projects, events, initiatives or places throughout the city. For the month of December, Councilmember Snyder filmed two segments: one that gives viewers an inside look at the recent Chinese Lantern festival that took place in Riverfront Park with Sam Song (Acting Riverfront Park Director) and another that tours the Bing Crosby Collection housed in the Crosby House at Gonzaga University with Stephanie Plowman (Special Collections Librarian at Gonzaga). The full program is about 42 minutes long and can be watched in full above.

Billy Frank Jr. Tell Your Story Act Passes House of Representatives


Yesterday the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed the the Bill Frank Jr. Tell Your Story Act; an act sponosored by Representative Denny Heck (10th District, WA) that would add the Nisqually tribe leader and civil rights hero’s name to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. A companion bill in the Senate was introducted by Senator Maria Cantwell. To read more about the act and it’s passage in the House, click here.


Billy Frank Jr. was known as a tireless champion for treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and salmon recovery. He was on the front lines in the campaign against state-imposed limits on tribal fishing, known as the Fish Wars in the 1960s and 1970s where he organized “fish-ins”—modeled after the sit-ins of the civil rights movement. Those efforts lead to the 1974 Boldt decision, which reaffirmed the Tribes’ rights to half of the fish harvest in Washington.

Billy Frank Jr. was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, and posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. As chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC), Frank worked to bring together tribes, local, state, and federal officials to further strengthen treaty rights and environmental protection laws. For more information on Billy Frank Jr., click here.

Garbage & Storm Debris update

City of Spokane Solid Waste Collection crews today are reporting ongoing issues with servicing garbage, recycling, and yard waste carts in alleyways. Solid Waste trucks can’t access about 80 to 90 blocks of alleys that are normally used for collection service because of power lines and trees.

If possible, residents who live on these blocked alleys are asked to put their carts out on the streets in front of their homes for pick up this week. If that’s not possible, the City will accept extra trash from these residents when alleys are again accessible.

Meanwhile, free emergency tree and yard waste storm debris disposal is available through Sunday, Nov. 29. In the first five days of the free service, the City logged about 3,400 visits to the free disposal sites with about 1,360 tons of storm debris collected. That number doesn’t include all of the material removed by City crews; those crews also are using an additional Water Department site for some of their work. Read the rest of this entry »

Weather Forecast and Power Outages

weather forecast

At emergency management meeting with city officials yesterday, we recieved information from the National Weather Service about the upcoming forecast that we wanted to share to ensure people are prepared. According to the National Weather Service, high temperatures will dip below freezing Monday night as the chance of snow rises. They are forecasting at least two inches of snow through Tuesday, and winds picking up Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday with the potential for 35 MPH gusts. For more information, click here.

For those without power looking for a place to warm up or get a meal, click here for resources.

Windstorm: What To Know Now

On the evening of November 17, 2015, our city was pummeled by wind storm that leveled trees, damaged homes and cars, and left 180,000 people without power.

The Street Department and Avista have been working hard, around the clock, to clear trees and restore power; but the sheer amount of damage this storm has caused means there are still thousands of people without a place to stay, power at their homes and damage and debris to clean up.

With temperatures this low, the City is working to ensure citizens have places to stay warm, get food, power phones and computers and have resources to clean up debris and damage done to the their property. For safety, Avista is reminding citizens to treat any downed power line as a live line. Do not touch it, and call Avista at (800) 227-9187.

The resources below should help cover those needs as we continue to get our city back to normal.

  • A list of overnight warming centers for people without power can be found here and here.
  • Five Spokane Public Schools and several branches of the Spokane Public Library system are
    open today for citizens to come in for warmth and charge electronics such as phones. See
    details here and here.
  • A list of open grocery stores for people in need of groceries can be found here.
  • A list of urgent care facilities that are currently in operation can be found here.
  • An up-to-date map of trees currently blocking streets can be found here.
  • Information on outages for customers on Avista power can be found here.
  • A list of licensed arborists to help with tree and large tree debris removal can be found here.

In addition to these resources, the City has extended curbside pickup for yard waste for two weeks (through December 18, 2015) and is accepting large emergency storm debris for free at the Northside Landfill, the Waste to Energy Plant and the North County Transfer Station. For more details, see here.

The City is also sponsoring a training today at City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd) at noon to train citizens who want to help with door-to-door safety checks in places like East Central. If you’re interested, please stop by.

Macklemore, Spokane and Downtown

In July of this year, streets of downtown Spokane were closed off with signs that suggested something was being filmed here. At first we weren’t sure what it was; then news came out that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were filming something. Fastforward two weeks later, and we finally got to see what they were doing: shooting their music video for their new song “Downtown.” If you haven’t seen this video by now, check it out and see how many locations you can name. There’s also a great photo slideshow that went up on Vanity Fairs website by Seattle based photographer Zoe Rain that you can look at here.

With over 15 million views since its release two weeks ago, the video is showing parts of our great city to tons of people across the globe who have yet to experience what downtown Spokane is like. Let’s hope it inspires some of them to come and see what more our city has to offer. Thanks to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for coming to Spokane to film this!

Health Experts, Event Organizers Offer Tips for Beating the Heat

From a press release via Spokane Regional Health District:

With extreme heat on its way, and large crowds of athletes and spectators expected in Spokane and northern Idaho this weekend for Hoopfest and Ironman Coeur d’Alene, health experts are warning the community that hot weather can be more than just uncomfortable—it can pose a threat to people’s lives.

Hoopfest staff ordered cool-air misters and fans for this weekend and organizers plan to have extra water for court monitors, who usually spend six to seven hours on the asphalt courts. Volunteer medical teams staffing Hoopfest will be prepared to treat heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sun burns. Ironman organizers will be providing specific tips to its athletes for avoiding heat-related illness at the pre-event athlete meeting and to its athletes and volunteers via email. Athletes who are exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion may also be asked to pause for health evaluation at check-points during the race. Read the rest of this entry »