Spokane electric bus trolley approved by City Council

According to an email I received, the Spokane City Council approved the STA’s renamed “Central City” electric bus line, running 3 miles from Browne’s Addition to Gonzaga and Avista. I have not independently verified that this is true but the email was sent by an attendee.

Last week’s July 20th STA meeting to publicly discuss the electric bus was abruptly cancelled. The STA then, apparently, held another meeting at the end of the week to approve the electric bus line. KXLY reported this at 5:15 pm on Friday.

The Spokesman-Review hid this development from their readers.  Why? As of Monday, the SR had not reported on the STA approval last Friday and never reported that this would be fast tracked to their City Council for a vote on Monday night. It gives the appearance that the Spokesman-Review withheld important news from their readers in order to keep opponents away from the Council meeting.  The Spokesman-Review is owned by the Cowles dynasty who is said to be the single largest downtown property owner and will be a large beneficiaries of the taxpayer’s money.

The vote on this resolution appears to have been rammed through as quickly and in as much secrecy as they could muster -even spanning the first nice weather weekend of the summer, when people are vacationing.  For a newspaper that wants to be fair and balanced, one might think they would have gone out of their way to avoid an appearance of censoring the news.  Someone there made a decision to make an error of omission and censor important news for Spokane residents.

Update: The Spokesman-Review had no trouble publishing the Council’s vote within hours of the vote.  Opinion: It is apparent that the Spokesman-Review is a propaganda arm in the Last Company Town in America. I previously dismissed such conspiracy talk – but we just watched this with our own eyes. My views on the SR and Spokane have changed as result of this.

For those new to this story, the Spokane Transit Authority is in the midst of cutting back about 20% of its buses for everyone else. Much of Spokane lies in urban decay. The primary purpose of the downtown choo choo bus is to loot taxpayers to enrich the downtown overlords.

As noted in a post below, Spokane is an economic wreck. The reason is because of continuing and longstanding mal-investment in activities that do not provide a useful return on investment for the many. Spokane’s power elite are ensuring that they will do well while most of the city continues to suffer and decay into the Northwest’s Detroit.

Here’s a snapshot of the July 20th meeting cancellation that appeared on the STA web site – this was probably part of the orchestration to fast track the STA electric bus and ram it through before the public would realize what just took place.

Update:  Was this actually two meetings scheduled both at 5:30 pm, in the same room, but only the second half was canceled? Talk about confusing! Could you tell from the following that the first topic was not canceled?

After watching this subversion of democracy first hand, I now understand why Spokane’s economy is a wreck. Welcome to Spokane!


4 Responses to Spokane electric bus trolley approved by City Council

  1. Ron the Cop says:

    I was at the Council Meeting and gave testimony. I just posted this update to my blog piece:

    <a href="http://friendsofmarkfuhrman.org/blog/?p=347&quot;?Spokane Trolley System is akin to Nero’s playing the violin while Rome was burning!

    I appeared and gave testimony at tonight’s Council Meeting. As Mr. X predicted this was a well orchestrated preordained event. Several citizens did appear and did question the advisability of this project. No one was objecting to the concept of a Downtown Circulator that would move people to and from the University District and Browne’s Addition to the Downtown Core.

    The objections largely were the decision to lock into the electric trolley system as the designated transportation mode at a projected cost of $36M instead of a more economical mode of using a conventional bus system with special enhancements. These upgrades/enhancements were not defined but I’m assuming smaller buses that could maneuver in Browne’s Addition with hybrid power systems e.g., LPG and or hybrid fuel electric vehicles et al and whose routes could be easily changed based upon ridership. Some pointed out previous electric trolleys were removed from cities in the past because of issues of maintenance and esthetics , “Back to the future.” Council member Apple pointed out there was no US manufacturer currently making these electric trolleys.

    Much was extolled on the economic benefit it would bring to the Downtown Core. My testimony was essentially an excerpt of my above email. Council President Shogan warned me when I brought up the issue of the disbanding of the SPD Crimes Against Property Unit as being not relevant. I disagreed. I said this was all about making public policy choices. The fact that SPD could no longer provide an essential public service was quite relevant to the citizens when deciding future funding priorities. I was ruled out of order when I brought up the conflicting message regarding the Creach case. The point I was not allowed to make, is that we are telling to public to call 911 not to handle these situations by themselves. If we defund crimes against property investigations this will only facilitate independent or in some cases vigilante actions by citizens.

    The Council with the exception of Bob Apple voted in favor of the resolution.

  2. Ron the Cop says:

    Sorry the HTML link above didn’t come out right but it does work to my blog post.

  3. zelda says:

    Interesting, esp. since the S-R/Spokane Daily Chronicle historically considered themselves on the vanguard with Washington’s Open Meeting Act. Did STA conduct public business during an executive session? Is that legal?

  4. Ron the Cop says:

    I would encourage all who have made it here to read the other other posts here on this blog. I would also suggest reading the discussion thread of Brunt’s S-R article reporting on the Council’s action the following day. Mind you there was not a peep out of the S-R prior to the STA Board Meeting and the Spokane City Council’s Meeting. Why?

    Here’s a link to my last comment in this thread in response to a challenge by another commenter. Slight editing for typos:


    Ron_the_Cop on July 27 at 5:47 p.m.


    I have no issue with the Downtown Circulator and the potential route selected. What I have a major issue with is the preferred mode selected and its expense. Yes I understand those in this area are in favor of this mode but they will not be paying the cost. It will be the region’s taxpayers. Much of the money spent in Downtown over the last decades has down [sic done] little to bring meaningful employment to our community. The ROI on the public’s money has been very low.

    Yes I understand there was a considerable process undertaken to review this project but I think zeroing on this mode to the exclusion of others is being short sighted. I also understand the way this mode was presented somewhat stacked the deck as to the viable alternatives. The reason this was done is what little federal mass transit funds that are available are no longer available for conventional buses.

    I would support an enhanced bus system to run this route selected. These could be hybrids, flex-fuel, designed to negotiate Browne’s Addition much like the special trash trucks [purchased] . . . to service the alleyways in some neighborhoods. The routes could be changed as needed depending on demand and ridership. Overhead wires are so “back to the future” as George McGrath said at the Council Meeting. They may be quaint and attractive to tourist[s] in the Downtown core but they aren’t economically sustainable without huge public subsidies. Mind you the cute green gas trolleys that were running in Downtown were taken out of service because of issues not anticipated albeit replaced with more efficient buses.

    Please read Spokane Economic and Demographics Blog for projects funded by the public that would bring real economic growth and real growth in our median wages. These intensive public infrastructure projects will only bring low wage service sector jobs if at all.

    As for notification I’m not so much down on the STA however their public notice was ambiguous and subject to misinterpretation. I’m really down on the S-R for its failure to adequately inform it’s readers on this significant project and attendant issues. As the Spokane Economic Blog concluded in my quote above (July 26 at 1:45 p.m.) I too believe the S-R has continued with its practice of under reporting those business projects where its owners have a very real vested interest.

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