Spokane Airport Passenger trend update

There has been a nice increase in passengers year-over-year during the first part of 2014.  Alaska and Delta have announced additional flights starting next year.

2014 is currently running +1.55% over 2013. This change is too small to see in the chart, however but it is a real change. It is good to see these positive developments.

June2014AirportHere is the trend in month over month changes. As you can see, the year started out with strong year over year growth, but the month-over-month increases declined as the year went on. June is up by +1.55% but not shown in the table below.

Current passenger usage is about -9% below 1996 and -14% below 2007 – it will take many years of continuous passenger growth to return to those levels.

Alaska and Delta have announced more flights starting in 2015 which means they expect to see growth in passengers through SIA. If that new growth continues, this could eventually reverse the long term slightly downward trend in place since 1996.

Spokane County Employment and Unemployment for June


The Washington Employment Security Department has released their employment and unemployment estimates for June 2014. The estimate of non-farm employed has risen to 217,900. This is generally in line with the expected progression for Spokane County.

Oddly, the chart curve at left is different than what is shown in the data table. In June of 2013 there were 216,200 people, and this rose to 217,900 on June 2014.  Look at the horizontal red line added to the chart at left – the 2014 peak is shown as less than a year ago. The chart does not agree with the data table. Something is wrong here and the State needs to fix it or explain what is happening.




The unemployment rate is the percent of those “in the labor force” age 16-64, that are looking for work but are not yet employed.



The unemployment rate has gone down for two reasons: (1) more people are estimated to be employed, and (2) the size of the labor force is smaller.

Each of those values is an estimate and the short term (monthly) estimates can vary due to the confidence of the estimate.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says the 90% confidence interval for the national employment estimates is + or – 0.2%. That means there is a 9 in 10 chance the actual employment number lies within + or – 0.2% of what they publish as the official estimate. The estimate is not exact because they survey only a sample of the population – consequently, the estimate will be off by a bit from the actual number (which we would only know if we could survey every single person in the country).

The State of Washington uses a subset of their national survey but does not appear to provide a confidence interval (they might but it was not immediately located).

Washington’s web site for the American Community Survey (derived from US Census, not BLS), for Spokane County in 2012, has an estimate of about 210,130 employed with a confidence interval of + or – 1.1%. That is a different survey and cannot be directly compared with the ESD numbers from the US BLS. But … it helps us understand that the unemployment estimate is just an estimate with an associated but not disclosed confidence interval.

We would be better served with numbers such as May 2014: 6.6% + or – 0.2% (we don’t know that 0.2% if the right value – this is for an example only) and June is 5.6% + or – 0.2%. That means for May, hypothetically, the actual unemployment percentile could be anywhere in the range 6.4 to 6.8% and for June 5.4 to 5.8%. If the confidence interval is larger, then the range is going to be larger too.

Spokane and CDA area dogs seek “Suicide by cop”

After the recent police shooting of an innocent dog in Couer d’Alene, the script started out according to plan.

First, they impugned the reputation of the deceased. They labeled him a “vicious pit bull” that was  armed with paws and teeth and was apparently seeking to commit “suicide by cop”. The word “vicious” is an obvious code word for “mentally ill” and “excited delirium”, a  medical condition that exists solely when dogs or people interact with the police.

Of course, the victim was actually a 2 year old black lab. Oops. And the bullet hole went through the glass of the window pane (read the comments there, including from a witness, and see the window pane photo here), meaning the “vicious pit bull” black lab was on the other side of the window.

After killing the dog, they broke into the vehicle, stole the dog’s body and left this business card on the blood spattered vehicle: “Please contact city police watch commander regarding your dog”. Soon more contradictions in the official statements were noted. And there’s more – why abandon a vehicle without finding the owner, when moments earlier, the van was falsely alleged to be involved with looking at children – so the PD then abandons the van?

The PD had to cancel the press release naming the officer and telling us about his experience, awards, training, and the sainthood elevating gold stars.

It is obvious: dogs nationwide are seeking “Suicide by cop” amid mounting incidents of police killing innocent dogs.

You likely heard about a police officer entering a secured Salt Lake city backyard recently, searching for a child that had been found 30 minutes before, and then shot and killed the dog that lived in the yard. This is happening all over the United States.

Yep, another dog obviously seeking suicide by cop.

Seriously. (And if you cannot figure it out, much of the above is satire. Biting satire in this case, of course.)

Back in the real world, a lot of us have encounters with dogs, but for some reason, us regular folk don’t need to shoot every dog that barks, raises hackles, bares teeth or just looks damn scary.

  • I have lost count of the number of times I was chased by dogs while riding a bike. If it gets rough, a quick shot of water from my water bottle into the dogs face stops the dog in its tracks. Works every time.
  • I’ve had a dog leap out the back end of a station wagon and charge me  – I did not shoot the dog.
  • I had a dog come up along side me, while on my bike, and rip my pants. I did not shoot the dog.
  • On many occasions, I have had dogs try to attack my dog or dogs, while walking my leashed dogs. I did not shoot any of the dogs.
  • I have had dogs chase me while jogging. I did not shoot the dogs.
  • Postal workers, utility workers, delivery truck drivers – lots of people interact with dogs every single day. And none of them shoot the dogs.

It’s only when a police officer is involved that we see this “suicide by cop” phenomena among dogs. Some how the rest of us routinely deal with upset dogs without killing them.

If any of us were spooked by a dog in a van, pulled out a gun and shot through a window pane to kill the dog, we would be arrested and in jail.

But not the police. That’s because all these dead dogs were seeking “suicide by cop”. This is obvious. I am surprised the CDA police have not explained this – its standard procedure after most officer-involved-shootings now – impugn the reputation of the victim and claim the victim was seeking “suicide by cop” or suffered from “excited delirium”. The latter pretty much explains every dog I have met – most are in a state of excited delirium, especially the young ones.

The CDA police officer will suffer zero repercussions.  The police department will investigate itself and conclude the officer’s actions were fully justified. They know they are immune from the rules that apply to everyone else and they will continue to shoot dogs because they can and there is nothing any of us can do about it. Throughout the country.

If the officer says they felt threatened then it is a justified killing and that is that.

From the comments here, the  CDA police have a record of shooting innocent dogs.  Their unprofessional handling of this situation puts them somewhere between the Keystone Cops and Idaho’s reputation for red neck behavior and pulling over cars with Colorado license plates because weed is legal in Colorado. (Am pretty sure they also need to abide by the 4th amendment and get a warrant to remove a body from within private property, once the “emergency” is over.)

Welcome to the militarized police state where all of us and our pets are “the enemy” of the state.

Spokesman-Review average daily circulation

Circulation data is surprisingly hard to find. The chart below should be considered approximate.

The numbers may come from different months of each year. Various source report different numbers – average daily subscribers, total Sunday edition subscribers  (about 20% more than the average daily subscribers), total estimated number of readers per print copy, total subscribers including print and digital – and so on – making it hard to find definitive numbers when we do not have access to the Audit Bureau of Circulations database.

Consequently, treat this chart as an approximate trend.

SRCirculationMultiple sources were used for this – too many to list. The 2006 data point is estimated as the average of 2005 and 2007.

The newspaper industry was hit by economic, technology and competitive threats.  The old model was to sell eyeballs to advertisers (paying for production of the day’s print edition) and sell subscriptions to readers (paying for delivery of the paper).

Craigslist, and later EBay and Amazon, obliterated the classified ad revenue, which was once said to account for 40% of a typical paper’s revenue, 20 years ago.

Internet distribution meant that a print edition was no longer needed and the cost of physical delivery fell close to zero (compared to the old “paper boy” delivery of a printed paper).

The Internet also created new kinds of competitors. TV stations began to deliver “print” news stories. Access to “news” became free.  In the recent bad economy, subscribers became former subscribers to save money.

New kinds of competitive “news” emerged, usually online. Many news consumers stopped reading traditional news and now read mostly what they see shared on social media, or watch from the nation’s non-news reporters like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.

Together this has created a terrifically tough market for the original printed newspaper business.

Spokane Real Estate Home Foreclosures

The following charts are from Zillow.com.



Spokane Convention Center charges a fee to watch the 4th of July Fireworks

Riverfront Park fireworks display organizers charge to watch from PFD steps.

This is new

Organizers charged people who wanted to sit on the stairs behind the convention center.   It cost $5 to $10 for a seat on the stairs. It cost $20 for seats on the dock.


All of the money from the tickets goes to the convention center.

The most likely reason for the new fee is to inflate the attendance count at the underused Convention Center. You can be sure that those who paid the new fee will be counted as Convention Center attendees. In spite of 3 expansions, the facilities continue to have fewer attendees than they did 15 years ago.

WSU-Spokane’s Diversity Problem

In light of yesterday’s comments that the Spokane WWAMI program is losing students, it seemed appropriate to re-look at WSU Spokane enrollment.  Enrollment spiked in 2004-2005, but is now less than it was ten years ago in spite of massive expenditures on improvements and the introduction of new programs. It is unclear how this trend leads to a $1.6 gazillion $ economic impact on Eastern Washington.

chart_1(1)WSU Spokane enrolls women almost exclusively


Data is from the WSU Office of Institutional Research for Fall of 2013.

Undergraduate students account for 46% of the total 1,376 students enrolled (includes both full time and part time students). In other words, roughly half the students are undergraduates and among this group 87% are female and 13% are male.


When including the graduate students at WSU-Spokane, the diversity of the student population expands slightly to include more male students.chart_3If the percentages were reversed – 13% female and 87% male, local politicians, activists and the media would accuse WSU of discrimination. Instead, we have silence.

Bottom line: WSU-Spokane is failing to meet the educational needs of male students in Spokane.

This is a ticking time bomb – someone will eventually file a complaint or lawsuit against the publicly funded WSU for discriminating against male students in the Spokane region.


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