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The Power of Positive Biking

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A while back I received the following:

Dear Spovangelist,

We came across your blog today and thought that you might want to know about a cycling jersey we are selling that is stirring up quite a buzz. The new jerseys at www.sharethedamnroad.comsend a message to aggressive drivers.

If you decide you want to write a little something about us for your blog, let us know and we will reciprocate a link back to you!

Best regards,
Jonathan Ciaccio

While I am an avid commuter and have been nearly run over on a few occasions due to driver rage or inattention, I’m not sure if I would wear one of their pre-printed shirts around town.

While I dig the inverted “Thanks!” on the front of the jerseys, certain Spokanites can get touchy behind the wheel, and I feel like the “more flies with honey” truism is particularly true in our town. Why not take the non-violent communication route?

I totally appreciate the purpose of avoiding accidents, raising awareness and keeping people safe, and am therefore more excited about Share the Damn Road’s customizable shirt options. What do you think about the following:

“One More Parking Spot”

“One Less Disease On Your Dollar”

“Please Pass Me : )”

“<- These Two Lanes Are For You”

“Go Ahead, Check Out My Legs”

“Biking For The U.S.A.”

“Zipping Between Potholes Since 2007″

“Visualize Green Lights”

Spovangelist Wins Best Blogger in the Inlander “Best of” Reader Poll

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It’s nice to come back from vacation and be greeted with community recognition. This award means more coming from you, so thanks for sharing the Spovangelist with the general public. Also, congratulations to Spokane food blogs From The Back Kitchen and Taste Everything Once for their outstanding work. With David Blaine on the production side and Remi Olsen on the consumer side, Spokane’s local food culture is alive and well and will continue to grow.

Before 2009 there was no “Best Local Blogger” category. The inclusion of blogging in “Best of” coincides nicely with the Inlander’s transition to online voting, and confirms the important role of blogging in civic dialog. (Last year there were no categories for Best Neighborhood, Best Public Park, and Best Grassroots Advocacy Group, among many others. We like to think that these additions had something to do with our role as a squeaky wheel in “Best of” 2008. Kudos to the Inlander for acting on public input and asking for more.)

Given the relative obscurity of the Spokane blogosphere among our population overall, “Best Local Blogger” effectively means “Most Visible Local Blogger” in a public input poll. Were the category “Best Local Blog” we’d have bet on Down to Earth NW for their widespread notoriety, backed by the marketing guns over at the Spokesman-Review. Given that the blogging award was for the blogger and not the blog, we think it bears mention that Remi Olsen runs several local websites including a projects page, horror movie reviews, a Twitter-style comments feed, and the Spokane Food Blog.

While we’re flattered that the Inlander sees us as a needed “slap in the face,” we think of ourselves as more of a “pinch on the cheek”. The Spovangelist is successful because people are interested in how to propel Spokane towards its fullest potential. This endeavor is much more than a catchy theme (notice how we’re right next to Best Spiritual Leader?) some idle titillation and occasionally punchy one-liners. It is the mission of this blog to explore that elusive something about our city, our culture and our place that mystifies and gives hope. It is up to us to collectively define “the good life” and to find new ways of living it together.

Social Desegregation – Mixing it up in our high school cafeterias

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Growing up on the North Side I went to Mead – “Spokane’s preppiest high school” (with Ferris coming in a close second). To make a typical story short this environment rubbed me the wrong way so I spent half my time at M.E.A.D. Alternative just across the street.

Alternative schools are often unfairly stigmatized in the larger Spokane community. Upon announcing my departure from Mead I was informed that I was “making a political, social and academic mistake.” Many wrongfully assume that Alternatives are programs of last resort. Negative stereotypes include that students fit the following categories: teen parents, juvenile delinquents, kids with violence/anger issues, substance abusers, or students that are just plain lazy.

Whether this sentiment persists out of a sense of self-congratulatory superiority or plain old ignorance we’ll never know, but I propose a simple solution to significantly shake things up:

What would happen if the entire student body of M.E.A.D. Alternative walked across the street one day to join their mainstream peers in the cafeteria for lunch? This is not as trivial of an act as you might first think. The social divide between these groups can feel like a gaping chasm at times, and there is reason to expect mainstream admins would make excuses to oppose the event if it were ever actually suggested.

The sight of thirty or so misfit young people marching into “the Mall” to mingle with old friends and intentionally make new ones would be quite the spectacle. I predict there’d be a moment of shock as mainstreamers wondered “What is going on here? Who are THEY?” This would quickly dissipate as the alternative students dispersed around the room to say hello.

It would take a lot of guts on behalf of M.E.A.D. kids to assert themselves in this way and I suspect many would not feel comfortable doing so. But what an effective approach it could be! Who wouldn’t want to

Authors: Jenny from Articlehack.com

An Open Letter to the Spokanite in all of us

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This is a letter written by the woman I have the biggest lady crush on. She’s darn cute, super smart and is the lead singer of a band. If she and I both had not found our respective significant others I would ask her to run away with me (except not away, like to Browne’s Addition or something.) Caroline Francis Schibel is the lead singer of the band Mon Cheri, my dream girl, and someone that gives a damn about our fair city.

 
Photo Credit: The Inlander

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Spokane lately (especially my love/hate relationship with it) and of course after much debate (and internal struggle) a light bulb went off in my head and I literally almost fell out of my chair when I realized *gasp! “My love for this city is stronger than my hate!”… DUH, that’s why I’m still here. Now I suddenly want to aid in making Spokane a better place, legitimately (you can smack me for not thinking of this before, I deserve it).

Here is the crisis our city faces: all of the cool people with their neat ideas and their entrepreneurship LEAVE SPOKANE to make it big somewhere else. Do the math! If everyone with a good idea leaves (at least 90% of them do) then Spokane will continue to just chug along as it is, sputtering its remaining drops of creativity into damn near nothingness. Not acceptable. I’ve seen many promising people start to try to dabble in the non-existent scene that is Spokane (only a “scene” about twice a year when events like Elkfest and Terrain happen, and thank God for those eh?) and when Spokane doesn’t respond, said promising people leave and become Seattle-ites or Portlanders, which is basically like a giant F YOU to those of us remaining here. So I’m going to propose an idea for you entrepreneurs: STAY. No, it’s not going to be easy. Yes, the city can be hard to work with and can make owning and running your own business kind of like digging your own grave, but we have to start somewhere, right? Besides, I’m really good with a shovel (and using it to knock sense into the city runs across my mind constantly.) I’m willing to NEGOTIATE rather than fight, and I have a really hard time taking no for an answer.

All joking aside, the most recent events to make me despise my beloved city (heh) involve The MAC and The Empyrean… WHY do we act like we hate the arts and the local businesses so much? I see the glimmers of hope, I see people starting to try to do something with Spokane, and I get so damn excited. Then, something weird happens with the sprinkler systems (or lack thereof…seriously?) or there’s a budget cut or a sudden lack of funding, and we’re left with the bitter tears of those people who put so much work into a business that would absolutely THRIVE in other cities but gets turned on by its own. Doesn’t that make you angry? At least a little bit?

It sure makes me angry, especially since Spokane has so much potential (think Garland area, the ever adorable Perry District, Browne’s Addition, South Hill, Downtown etc). This place is cheap to live in, and it’s begging for more people to realize that it can also be a cheap place to THRIVE in. Hell, Spokane is even considered to be one of the safest places to live in the US (as far as natural disasters go, that is); and if we could just hurdle this stupid meth habit crap, we’d really top the charts!

So I want to hear your ideas. I want to know how you think we can band together and reach out to more than just the 10% of us that always get involved… it’s all about growth, right?! I know that I could get some people from the Valley excited about making Spokane better (don’t scoff at the Valley, that’s my childhood turf!), and using our amazing networking skills, we could actually get a TON of people in-and-around the area involved.

I know that people in Spokane are already starting to try to make this all happen, so please don’t think that I’m not acknowledging the massive effort a lot of you have already put forth in making this a better place. I just don’t want it to hit a wall: I want it to break all those damn walls down and start thriving. I want to feel good about loving this city as much as I do. I want to see people succeed, I want to see them gain support from their community! I don’t want the barriers of “valley” vs. “city”  or “South” vs “North” or “punk” vs “hipster” to hold us back either: we’re going to need all the help we can get.

I want to get involved, that’s for damn sure.

So the big question is: Who’s with me, and where can we meet for beer?”

Caroline Schibel

Member of Mon Chéri

Lover of Spokane, WA

Preach it, sister. I’m with you.

Comparing Calories

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By Brother Merriweather

Here at the Spovangelist we’ve devoted a lot of attention to the food consciousness emerging in our community, from flourishing neighborhood gardens to the delicious products of Spokane area farmers. Many of us would agree that learning about the path of our food from seed to stomach is a satisfying experience. Yet with new revelations about the true cost of manufactured food, Spokanites have even more to gain from local production and consumption than we might realize.

A University of Washington study published in July shows that nutrient-dense foods are growing ever more expensive per calorie than refined grains, sweets, and fats. Basically, this means that fresh produce and whole foods are increasing in price much faster than Doritos, Hot Pockets, soda, Pop Tarts, and other “foods” chemically engineered to intrigue our taste buds.

This price disparity has a disproportionate impact on people who live on fixed incomes from sources like Social Security, Food Stamps (EBT), or Women, Infants and Children’s supplements (WIC). If the study’s forecast about escalating price disparity is accurate, people with fixed food budgets will continue to see their dollars being incapable of purchasing enough healthy food to feed themselves and their families.

Why should budget-constrained families be consistently forced to make unhealthy food choices? Even those of us who are not living at the poverty level often choose processed foods to make ends meet. Healthy food might seem unreasonably pricey, but consumers are actually shielded from the hidden costs of processed food. 30 billion dollars are spent every year supporting corn and soybean production, which makes foods containing high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats) much cheaper. The actual cost of processed food is higher than it appears on the supermarket shelf.

 

Obesity in Washington and elsewhere is most prevalent in low-income families, which really drives home the point that empty calories from cheap food aren’t worth it. When people try and sustain themselves on high-calorie, low-nutrient food, we end up with paradoxically overweight and malnourished families. If we focused efforts on making healthful foods available to people at all income levels, costs related to obesity and health would also drop dramatically. After all, fresh fruits and vegetables are nature’s medicine; these foods are actually health protective, reducing the likelihood of obesity and subsequent medical expenses.

Of course, the first step to a national push for universal access to healthy, nutritious food starts here at home. Within Spokane, I have been inspired by the movement for affordable nutrition being spearheaded by organizations like p.e.a.c.h., Plant a Row For the Hungry, and One World Spokane Cafe. Second Harvest also plays a crucial role, offering “Food $ense” classes to educate families about healthy eating on a limited budget.

 

Sun People Dry Goods Garlic and Cover Crop Workshop in East Central

Sourcing food locally is an huge step in the right direction in battling the price disparity between healthy and unhealthy foods. Keeping food production close to where we live cuts down on delivery and storage costs, and when direct relationships with farmers are formed, can even cut out costs associated with food brokers and packaging materials. When we support local producers by shifting our dollars to our local food system, we expand the local economy, increase our access to affordable, healthy food, and help to relieve the unfair burden of ill health on vulnerable members of our community.

3 Deadly Excuses to Stop Stalling Spokane

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When you ask people in the park what they like about Spokane they say “it’s not too big” and “doesn’t have traffic like Seattle”. Some think Spokanites are “friendly” while others point out our access to nature and recreational resources.

On the flip side, comments about barriers to Spokane’s success contain equally generic and uninspired viewpoints. But this set of assumptions has a much more dire effect on our regional mindset. Let me challenge the basis of the top three most cherished Spokane excuses:

1) Spokane just needs more time.

PROGRESS IS NOT A FUNCTION OF TIME

Ask yourself “How many thousands of years was China under dynastic rule?” It is naive to assume some natural process of growth towards more democratic and/or sustainable societies. These practices do not develop on their own. They result from cultural patterns that are directly influenced by a complex variety of real world circumstances. THIS is where the focus should be kept, not asking “Is the time finally right?” I would agree with the truism that “timing is everything” – but this nugget of wisdom shouldn’t be taken proscriptively.

Creating your own opportune moments is a powerful skill to develop. If we can get past the limit imposed by this ‘glacial time assumption’ the challenge becomes identifying methods that accelerate the process of change itself. The social time scales of the past should not be inappropriately applied to the ever-changing possibilities for the future.

2) Spokane needs new people.

NEW BODIES WON’T REPLACE OLD ATTITUDES

Often I hear it said that we have to “be patient” and wait for all the old fossils to die off before things can really start to move ahead. A variation on this idea is that Spokane needs to import a bunch of “enlightened” Californians or outside corporate talent to cancel out the effects of suspicious natives or make our economy sing.

It is hopelessly narcissistic to assume that attitudinal barriers to change will disappear with certain members of the society that espouse them. Let us not forget that these people have children (often times a larger number of them) and ideas about the what makes the world tick have a funny way of transferring through generational lines. At some point social activists will have to suck up their uncertainty and (gasp) actually engage the criticisms they despise.

3) Spokane is too poor.

HOW WE SPEND IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TOTAL SPENDING

First off, as an American city, Spokane has a lot of fat to burn. The question is how we burn it. Are our dollars squandered on flat screen TVs or invested into energy efficient dishwashers? Do we allow our limited money to be vacuumed out of the local sphere by national and international corporate conglomerates, or do we circulate our dollars faster and more effectively in our own vibrant micro-economy?

Culture change can be spearheaded on a shoestring. The question must involve how to win hearts and minds, the money will follow. Just ask a preacher! Let’s remember one doesn’t loose weight by buying a fancy gym membership, one actually has to work out to get rid of those pounds.

Garland Block Party is BACK

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  • “The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.”― Terrence McKenna

Music is like food. A dedicated artist can nourish you. In that frame, Patrick Kendrick is a gourmet chef–a gourmet chef that has been treating our fair city with his culinary delights almost on daily basis (Plus he’s so dreamy). From the intimate, sweaty and raucous shitshows put on at Mootsy’s to offering his broad vision to organize the wildly popular Terrain and Volume festivals, Kendrick and his mothership, Platform Booking, have curated, yet again, another gem. I give you:

 

Poster design by Nick Tibbetts
Poster design by Nick Tibbetts
You down with GBP, oh you know me!

Runway Renegades

My first thought was, “Shit. A Runaways cover band!” But was pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong! The Runaway Renegades is a collection of local clothing designers and models (for the GBP they’ll be featuring work from 6 local designers from Eco Chic, Mechanical Mannequin, Blackwood Art, Chevalier, Assassin Apparel & Glamartia.) In my opinion, it’s a cool and classy way to end a superb day.

Violent Vickie

This lady, hailing from San Francisco, California, doesn’t f***k around, I mean, shouldn’t her name tell you that? Throwing together a pot of boiling hot & bombastic beats, mixed with her haunting vocals and layered and intricate synth work , Violent Vickie is light years ahead of the electronic game, and is producing some of the most prolific music I’ve heard to date.

For fans of: Bruxa, Crystal Castles , & Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Nude Pop

Is incredible, and yet I still don’t really know anything about them. I caught their impressive opening set for El Ten Eleven, at the Red Room and have been in love with those boys ever since. NP creates dreamy garage rock and cerebral pop with delicious sprinklings of shoegaze, psychedelia and post punk framing themes of feelings of isolation and living against relationships. Don’t miss these guys, because soon they’ll be off to Seattle and the next time (most likely) that we’ll see them will be on a TV somewhere.

For fans of: For fans of: Battles, El Ten Eleven, The Antlers

Cathedral Pearls

I have said this many, many times. I love the Cathedral Pearls. Listed last year as one of “12 Washington bands you should listen to now” by Paste magazine, local power couples Caleb & Karli Ingersoll (of the Bartlett) and Max & Carrie Harnishfeger make wonderfully infectious and danceable tunes that has been taking the PNW by full force. If their performance is anything like the last I’d seen, the whole family will be up and dancing within the first few songs.

For fans of: Neko Case, Ivan & Alyosha, and Sallie Ford & The Outside Sound

Summer in Siberia

I don’t think I’d be the best person to describe how much ass Summer in Siberia kicks. You should probably ask anyone who managed to make it into their jam-packed, dance filled & romping show at Volume this last month. I couldn’t even make it into the bar, but could still tell that people in there were getting down, and shaking what their mothers gave them! I’m ecstatic to get to see them live finally! I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard of theirs (on their bandcamp) so far!

For fans of: Foals, White Lies, Editors

Daethstar
I love loud in your face electronic music, the closer my ears are to bleeding and the faster I want to dance, the better! You can imagine my excitement when I saw that local heavy hitter Daethstar was on the lineup, let’s just say I’m having a hard sitting still at this point!

For fans of: Living, Breathing, Dancing, Eating and Sleeping

Why the hell isn’t it the 17th yet?! I want to dance, man!

I never thought I would say what I’m about to say, in my entire life, up until now. Take heed, Northwesterners! Work out. I mean, really workout and practice your dance moves. This year’s lineup is legendary, and is sure to get your ass shaking, and keep it moving until the wee hou-(whoops! 10pm. Stupid noise ordinance) I’m fairly positive their won’t be an EMT on site to assist you with your dance related injuries, so do yourself a favor don’t be foolish, wear appropriate party loafers, strap on your party hats and get to the

Garland Theatre Aug 17th 3-10pm! It’s free! AND ALL AGES!

 

Posterizing for SPIFF

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Once again, it’s almost time for the Spokane International Film Festival. No Matthew Modine this year, but plenty of global films and a new feature: Posterize. With 21 designers commissioned to make posters for 25 films, it’s an art display showcasing independent film by some of the greatest graphic design talent in our city. And it’s free.

You can preview many of the posters here, as well as a listing of this year’s films for the festival here.

I think this is a particularly good idea because it allows festival patrons to glimpse the potential of movies they may want to see through the eyes of innovative designers. This should, theoretically, encourage a sense of community, pride, and interest in the arts from multiple angles. The show includes local favorites Karli Ingersoll and Chris Dreyer, as well as a host of emerging talent. It’s a combination of two way cool ideas that looks, well, way cool. Way to go, SpIFF.

The show will be one night only, at the Bing this Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

A Political Departure: Comment on the Sustainability Action Plan

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While the Spovangelist is weary of polarized two-party politics, we are not apolitical and we certainly aren’t afraid to jump in on important civic dialogue when something groundbreaking is at stake.

The Spokane Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) is just such an effort. It is the first attempt by a U.S. City to undergo a comprehensive public planning process that addresses the challenges of peak oil and climate change simultaneously. That’s right folks, we are a trend-setting city in something other than hosting history’s smallest World’s Fair!

What follows is my appeal to the Spokane City Council to approve the recommendations of the Mayor’s Taskforce.

This letter is written in direct response to a ten point criticism circulated in a Spokane GOP party memo. Local Republican talking points are included verbatim in bold below.

Locking our city into a huge process of “sustainability mandates” from the State Dept. of Ecology is a mistake. See Cap and Trade legislation pending and the awful Senate Bill 5735, the Cap and Tax bill which passed Wednesday. We want to keep our local government flexible and local!

1.) In no way do the sustainability recommendations “lock in” local government. Strategies and guiding principles are by definition flexible (this is pointed out in the plan) and open to interpretation and change based on new information as it becomes available. The members of the Taskforce anticipated this criticism when they explained: “This Action Plan … is not a bundle of regulations and mandates. The Plan is a portfolio of principles, strategies, and recommendations.” Furthermore, guiding principle #3 says to “Lead with incentives and education before mandates.” Because of this it is *inappropriate* for the GOP to sing the ‘big bad government’ song in opposition to this plan.

It will cost taxpayers BIG TAX DOLLARS to retrofit governments office buildings to make them more energy efficient when the return on investment will be dubious. Corruption and cost over runs will, as usual, be rampant. Our region has the cheapest, most plentiful and least polluting energy in the world…hydropower! We sell to the entire western U.S. and east to Chicago, then up into Canada and down in to Mexico. BEST PLAN?? Expanding the dam system electrical output which would be easier and very beneficial to our region.

2.) The Sustainability Action Plan specifically includes guidance to adopt only those energy efficiency measures that have desirable and demonstrable cost-benefit outcomes. Asserting that “big tax dollars” will be marshaled to some inefficient end is *simple paranoia*. Plans to improve the economic vitality of our City now and into the future should NOT be abandoned due to wrongs in the past that make certain Republicans feel that all local government is “rampantly corrupt.”

The suggestion that hydropower be pursued as an alternative to the Sustainability Action Plan does not make sense and does not hold up. The plan puts in place a strategy to determine the best approach to advancing local clean energy alternatives. Clearly this will involve more than just hydropower. Furthermore, Strategy #5 to “Conserve water everywhere” was included in part to protect our capacity to tap into hydropower sustainably. Hydropower is no silver bullet, what is needed is the comprehensive framework provided by the plan.

It will cost us businesses in our region when they are forced to “retrofit” their own buildings to make them more energy efficient. (Savings will be small compared to costs of renovations.) Is bankrupting one half of all local businesses and the resultant job losses really worth it?

3.) I have scoured the Sustainability Action Plan looking for any hint calling to “force businesses to retrofit their buildings.” The fact of the matter is that NO SUCH SUGGESTION EXISTS. The opposite is portrayed in explaining how the City will be a model for the surrounding community, and how green collar jobs could be created through strategic partnerships. Private sector businesses can choose to adopt or reject green practices as they see fit. Claiming that half of all Spokane business will automatically go “bankrupt” is nothing less than *counterproductive misinformation*. Please keep in mind that much of the opposition you may have encountered is based on an incorrect understanding of what the plan actually entails.

Changing over to electric cars and buses could be very expensive. Is it worth it? Is it needed? Will this really make the environment in Spokane cleaner? Our city is already purchasing ten new electric buses to do a “trial run”. Do our city officials really need the State Dept. of Ecology to tell us when to do this and how to do it?

4.) Valid questions about the best approach for achieving a leaner City fleet will be answered by “Developing and implementing a plan to increase the City’s use of electric vehicles.” Given the detailed strategies for efficient and effective planing set forth by the SAP, as well as innovations in measuring financial performance and total cost-savings, you can be confident that changing over to electric cars and buses will be well justified before it actually occurs.

Do citizens really want all government to function primarily around environmental concerns? Do we want BIG GOVERNMENT watching us to make sure we comply?

5.) Again, playing the “big bad government” card is silly in regards to the Action Plan as already explained. Questions about citizen desire have clearly been answered:

“The Task Force received more than 800 unique contributions to its base of information in the form of Work Group recommendations, citizen comments, citizen and staff complaints about current City practices and policies, and general suggestions.”

“Each contribution was inventoried, addressed and prioritized during the nearly year-long planning process.”

“A well-communicated public outreach plan produced significant citizen input that guided the overall direction of the final recommendations. The process yielded one simple message, accepted by members of every constituency the Task Force encountered during its work: Strive for good stewardship and efficiency in all things.”

FOX Business news announced on Tuesday…..Spain, one of the :”green showcase” countries, has now put out a study of some of their innovations. Among other surprises, for every green job produced, the cost was 2 traditional, “fossil fuel” based jobs.

6.) Drawing a 1:2 trade-off between “green” jobs and “fossil fuel” jobs is *over-simplified* at best. Sometimes emerging green industries do not directly impact traditional markets, and many studies demonstrate that “Green Collar” jobs are of a higher quality and greater growth potential than so-called “non-green” jobs. The many research sources drawn upon by the Sustainability Taskforce are clearly more credible than an off-handed broadcast by FOX Business News.

The Mayor’s sustainability study was based on UN and their surrogate ICLEI studies that based their science on “global warming” scientific models that are now showing signs of being faulty. The earth may be cooling, not warming. The science is still in flux. We need to wait and not make dire changes to our government structures based on fads or junk science.

7.) As a trained scientist I find the unsupported claim that global warming is a “fad” or “junk” science *downright embarrassing*. The people and the City of Spokane simply can not afford to be on the wrong side of science and the wrong side of history with regards to this important issue. According to Princeton researchers, by the time I am 73 the global average temperature will have climbed by 9 degrees Fahrenheit – and that is assuming that the the current rate of carbon emissions stays constant (this conservative estimate does not include projections for the growing demands of the developing world). Even if you consider yourself a “hardened skeptic” when it comes to global warming, please watch this video that logically argues the only responsible decision is for a proactive response.

One big premise upon which this report was based is that we are running out of oil….and that our dependence on foreign oil is a huge problem. Is it? How much oil is possible to drill in the U.S. and offshore? In the next ten years, will technologies improve to make safe nuclear power more attractive and plentiful? Are wind and solar panel energy dependable and constant? Are they sufficient to give our people and industries in the U.S. enough energy to still be a super power, or will we become a broken, corrupt, poverty-stricken socialist country like Brazil and Indonesia, where these plan models were created by the UN agencies? (Our Mayor signed an international agreement to implement international standards in Spokane.)

8.) The impacts of peak oil are not a matter of “if” they are only a matter of “when”. Many experts concur that we will never produce as much oil in a month as we did in July of last year. Even in the most optimistic nuclear power scenarios (nevermind toxic outputs and security concerns), the pervasive use of fossil fuels in all aspects of material production and transportation can not be ignored. Legitimate questions about wind and solar energy will be given a framework for consideration under the Sustainability Action Plan.

Suggestions that going green somehow risks “a broken, corrupt, poverty-stricken socialist country like Brazil and Indonesia, where these plan models were created by UN agencies” not only sounds *alarmist*, it smacks of *xenophobia*and a dogged unwillingness to even consider global best practices.

Avista has been an enthusiastic participant in the Mayor’s Sustainabililty Task Force process….why?

9.) Avista has been actively involved in developing the SAP because:

“Our history of responsible stewardship reflects the spirit of the region. You and others like you — who care about things like conservation, recycling and the natural beauty around us — embody that very spirit. We do it because it is the right thing to do, because it’s what you expect of us, and because, honestly, the next century depends on it.”

If you look at the “fiscal note” attached to the state cap and trade bill, you will see that expenditures will involve hiring new government officials who will build a whole new series of government agencies to monitor “sustainability.” Thus, government at the state as well as our local level will expand, and expand, and EXPAND! This will cost taxpayers more money. Do citizens really want more government that will be more intrusive?

10.) The proposed Washington State Climate Action Plan is in no way linked to the Spokane Sustainability Action Plan. The local plan does not call for a carbon exchange market. Opposition to one plan should not be confused with or transferred to the other.

________________________________________________________

In closing I would like to make one last plea for the adoption of this plan that has nothing to do with environmental concerns. It has everything to do with the impact on COMMUNITY TRUST AND FAITH IN PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT that will be had by your decision.

 

The introduction to the Sustainability Action Plan states:

“This initiative included dozens of meetings and many individual hours invested by the Task Force, meeting four hours every three weeks since April 2008. Such community participation shows that Spokane is a valued home, well worth the time and energy invested to ensure its future as a livable city.”

If in the face of public testimony you refuse to adopt this plan,you will effectively be issuing a vote of “no confidence” in the value of public participation in local government. As a local community activist and former City volunteer, I can’t caution you enough against sending such a devastating message to the broader Spokane community.

As you probably would agree, an effective City depends on the active involvement of all its citizens. This ensures accountability, innovation, responsiveness and collective capacity. While I myself am an avid sustainability advocate, I choose not to participate in the Mayor’s Taskforce precisely because I feared that the resulting plan would not be incorporated into City operations. Instead I chose to invest my limited time and energy doing independent organizing work that focused on relationship building among my immediate neighbors and peers. I was concerned that the Taskforce would consume an enormous amount of time attention and energy, only to ultimately burn out and embitter local sustainability proponents.

 

I want to believe in our ability to work together to achieve regional resiliency and well-being. In order to bring my disenfranchised young friends into this process with integrity, I need to believe that our vision will be taken seriously, and that our efforts will not be tabled or ignored. Please help me rekindle my confidence in local government as a viable means by which to achieve positive change. Please approve the Sustainability Action Plan.

Sincerely,

The Spovangelist

City of Sarah Palin Valley

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I thought this photo snapped with a friend’s iPhone was worth sharing.

Make of it what you will.

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Comparing Calories

Chicken Suit For The Soul

For Som: Grief.

My Favorites

City of Sarah Palin Valley

I thought this photo snapped with a friend’s iPhone was worth sharing. Make of it what you will.

Learning to Love Spokane Again