How #RachelDolezal left Spokane’s reputation a mess

Incredibly, no one in Spokane noticed this? Seriously? Hurricane Rachel blew through and left behind a mess, confused racial issues and embarrassed local institutions and media for playing along for years.

Take a look at this broad overview of her history: The Real Rachel Dolezal | News | The Pacific Northwest Inlander | News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and the Inland Northwest.

#RachelDolezal – on video – protesting police in Baltimore

While simultaneously acting as Chair of the Office of the Police Ombudsman Commission in Spokane, WA, Rachel Dolezal is seen on video organizing protesters in Baltimore, MD. Dolezal was allegedly an impartial member of the OPOC in Spokane, tasked with reviewing police conduct in relation to public interactions.

Dolezal refused to resign and was subsequently fired by the Spokane City Council. Do watch the video.

More art work by #RachelDolezal under question

In addition to the JMW Turner painting, two more paintings have been identified as likely copies of other work – please visit By Hook or by Crook: Rachel Dolezal for details.

Chronicle of Higher Ed. faults EWU, Spokane in #RachelDolezal case

How did she take on that identity so easily at Eastern Washington? Ms. Brooks, the San Antonio scholar, has a theory. According to Eastern Washington’s numbers, 11 of the university’s 459 full-time faculty members are black. Just three are women. (Like many institutions, Eastern Washington does not track part-time faculty members by race.)

Ms. Dolezal “couldn’t have gotten away with this in places like D.C., Atlanta, or New Orleans,” said Ms. Brooks. But in Spokane, where just over 2 percent of the population is black, the calculus is different.

See Rachel Dolezal Case Leaves a Campus Bewildered and Some Scholars Disgusted,  The Chronicle of Higher Education

There is another reason – Spokane is the city of deception and lies, as long documented with data on this blog. As long as the local culture thrives on delusional lying to one another, was this behavior and outcome really a surprise?

#RachelDolezal boosts Spokane’s economy! Just #AskRachel

You had to see this coming!

The City of Spokane also issued a statement Monday as the city streets began to fill with satellite trucks and journalists from news organizations throughout the country.

via Dolezal resigns NAACP post – Coeur d’Alene Press: Local News.

That’s right – finally Growth in aviation in Spokane-the city that runs on lies!

  • Comedians mention “Spokane” and the crowd laughs before they get to the joke. Click on the links to watch the comedic videos. Spokane is the new punchline for jokes.
  • Civil Judgments (from SR archives)
    Mar 2013, Idaho records-Chapman Financial Services Inc. v. Rachel Dolezal, plaintiff awarded $5,674.
    Aug 2012, Chapman Financial Services Inc. v. Rachel Dolezal, plaintiff awarded $1,183.
  • City of Spokane’s Human Rights Commission has asked Dolezal to resign from the Office of the Police Ombudsman Commission Chair position. The OPC was to root out bad policing practices – yet its head is accused of being a con artist and 3 members of the Commission are under investigation for misconduct.
  • Update: National and UK press run circles around Spokane’s media. The UK press did genealogy research on her. No wonder she chose Spokane for her deception. One journalist goes on record about what happened in Spokane – but you will learn more from the comments than from the column, itself. In particular, take note of the links to Dolezal’s travel receipts to Oakland. Oakland is said to be the source for some of the “hate mail” allegedly received by Dolezal – although those receipts are for a trip just before “hate mail”, without a post mark, arrived in the Spokane NAACP postal box.
  • There are more important stories in the world today that deserve non-stop media coverage – but this is a story that fits into the contemporary media focus on racial issues. However, this should be a big story in the inland NW for some time as it cuts to the heart of what ails the region: lies and the people who tell them.

Welcome visitors to Spokane – the well earned laughing stock of the world.

Did Rachel Dolezal copy art work?

From her artpal.com web page offering her works for sale – The Shape of our Kind – Art by Rachel | Paintings & Prints, Landscapes & Nature, Beach & Ocean, Other Beach & Ocean | ArtPal.

Her art work:

Rachel dolezal-Art1a

The above piece also appears on her blogspot page. Text description of the above painting: “This is an acrylic painting on a wooden panel; the original is 36″x36″ and is part of a three-panel triptych representing absence, loss, and closure in relationships. The sharks and doves in this scene symbolize the contrast between cynicism and optimism in the male and female figures and the tumultuous water is offset by the verticality of the sun.”

And this screen shot from this Youtube video featuring this painting from Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1840, titled Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhon Coming On) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A description of this scene and its meaning is available here.

Rachel dolezal-Art1b

The video was posted on Dec 17, 2012. Hopefully there is a valid explanation for this strikingly similar image from two different artists.

The above info came from a tip which likely originated online from others finding it. Yep – here’s a tweet with the same info. Dolezal’s description for “her” artwork is different than that of the original artist – its not a case of a simple copy, attributed to the original artist, this is claimed as a new interpretation with no mention of the original from which it was inspired.

Rachel Dolezal’s chameleon appearance over time, in photos

This blog likes to look at patterns that occur over time, usually in data, not photos.

Today’s post looks at Rachel’s masquerade over the years.

The transition from German-Swedish-Czech heritage to  black woman is remarkable.

Incredibly, no one in Spokane noticed this? Seriously?

Student at Bellhaven University (late 1990s-early 2000s)

Source

635697191085220896-Rachel-Dolezal-Moore

Undated

Source unknown.

Racheldolezal-png

Keep the above photo in mind when you read that

She talked about her ex-husband and her abuse,” Campbell says. “The way she explained it, was that she had to ascribe to Eurocentric beauty standards. She was presenting herself as a white person because of her husband’s expectations.

She claimed her ex-husband made her have straight blonde hair (which she claims is not her “natural” hair even though its the hair she grew up with).

May 2005

Short blonde hair?

Source

May2005

February 24, 2010 KXLY News video frame grab

KXLYFeb24-2010

Feb 22, 2011 KREM News video frame grab

RachelFeb22-2011

2012

Whole set of photos in the Daily Mail featuring Rachel in a model photo shoot with very pale skin.

FB

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Undated – likely 2012

That blue eyed blonde Eurocentric, pale skin look.

Undated7

November 11, 2013

FB: “Going with the natural look as I start my 36th year“, she wrote.

This is not her real hair and definitely not “natural”.

1456515_10152084290644796_438227146_n

February 2014

Feb25-2014

March 8, 2014

Mar8-2014

March 5, 2015

Mar5-2014

April 2014

Apr10-2014

Undated Photos appearing on FB 2013-2014 time frame

Actual date when the photos were taken is not known. Perhaps before 2013?

Eurocentric, white girl look.

11164816_10153438843224796_6932390589091294825_n

11205997_10153447046154796_5374718202884270450_n

The dress worn in the above photo is also the same dress worn in the April 29, 2015 video posted by the Spokane NAACP on their web site, via Youtube.

10982041_10153440798839796_6011519647925309899_n

1619095_10152290105049796_782179360_n

Undated

Likely to be after the fake “natural” hair look started on her 36th birthday. Without her “black” makeup and spray on tan.

10959805_10153227302374796_1020984514450531255_n

After the “white woman” phase, she began to appear with much darker skin complexion.

Undated “Blackface” Look with heavy Make up

(Her own brother referred to this as “blackface”)

11118499_10153396482764796_6783510609910034018_n

January 18, 2015

Spokane NAACP FB photos

Rachel is in the middle with long blonde corn row braids piled on her head. Click on the photo for a larger image.

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Before January 19, 2015?

Announcing her fake “Dad” is coming on Jan 19, 2015.

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January 28, 2015 City of Spokane video

Jan28-2015

February 3, 2015, with Mayor Condon

Spokane NAACP FB photos. Mayor Condon.

10930913_1567474800166208_412794627382742337_o

Confused the President of Eastern Washington University:

dolezal ewu

Early 2015 – Spokane NAACP “About” page

SpokaneNAACPAboutPage

April 2, 2015

Spokane NAACP FB photos

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April 6, 2015

Spokane NAACP Youtube video and in their photo collection dated April 6th, 2015.

Apr29-2015Youtube2

April 29, 2015 Spokane NAACP Youtube video

April29-2015Youtube

If her skin complexion seems to you to have changed over time, your eyes are deceiving you says Dolezal:

The more white supremacy groups did to me and my family, the darker my complexion became in the public’s eyes, without even seeing me. It’s like, ‘Oh, she got blacker and blacker and blacker…’ Now, the the audience is deciding, reframing my identity.

April 29, 2015

From the Spokane NAACP Facebook photos collection

11209616_1604706606443027_6663387421291284459_n

May 2015 

From Spokane NAACP web site. Back story here.

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May 11, 2015 – Spokane NAACP Youtube video

May11-2015Youtube

June 2, 2015 – City of Spokane Police Ombudsman video

Jun2-2015

About that hair

Her “hair” seems to have stopped growing since the “natural” look began perhaps … take a look – only her hairdresser knows. As well as becoming longer, straighter, going back to corn rows, and then back to short curly hair.

Confirmed: This is not her real hair

This was hiding in plain sight. But no one noticed?

Spokane has so little diversity (click to see!) it has fake black residents.

News story commenters pointed this fakery out – repeatedly – as far back as 2010. But it took until 2015 and KXLY’s Jeff Humphrey asking her if she is, in fact, African-American. She said she did not understand the question and stormed off.

At least we can say, with all the news people flying in – its undoubtedly good for the local economy, at least for a few days.

SpokaneDoesn't Always

Photos collected from various sources, including photos posted as “public” accessible photos online. Sources provided, if possible. Used under claim of fair use for the purpose of critique and commentary regarding a public official.

Note: This blog post might not be kept online as it is not the main focus of this blog. So enjoy while you can!

EXCLUSIVE: “as air traffic continues to grow” at Walla Walla Regional Airport

Sen. Murray, there’s that word again. I do not think it means what you think it means.

We explored this concept of “continued growth in aviation” in Spokane in the past, where a long term drop in aviation activities was termed “continued growth”.

Now, she’s talking about Walla Walla airport:

[Sen. Patty] Murray says the Walla Walla airport experienced a record number of travelers in May and the federal funds are a critical investment as air traffic continues to grow.

via 2 rural Washington airports receive federal grant funds | The Seattle Times.

Update: Rachel Dolezal, the white woman pretending to be a black woman, is just as nonsensical as a long term decline in aviation being called “growth” or a long list of other local myths and outrageous lies.  The root of this has little to do with black versus white – Dolezal is just another con artist creating a world built on lies. For many years, Forbes branded Spokane “The Scam and Fraud Capitol” of America – and Spokane continues to nourish that reputation at every opportunity. Its a community that has a firmly established cultural problem of deceit and fraud – within a community that is a gullible as they come. Rachel fit right in with some of GSI’s past lies about Spokane – but this time, its become an international story!

Update: Embarrassment spreads – NAACP says ideology is more important than integrity and honesty.  So far, Eastern Washington University has said the same thing and students do not seem to think Dolezal’s history as a serial liar is a problem. That is sad. What are they thinking?

Air Traffic Operations

Air traffic is definitely not continuing to grow:

image (2)

The Federal grant will be used to build new fencing and repair a taxiway.

But passenger usage is continuing to grow!

image (3)

Walla Walla is served by two daily Horizon (Alaska) air flights on Q400 turbo prop aircraft with about 57 passengers per flight.

Passenger usage continued to grow strongly into June thanks in part to “a two-year $250,000 federal grant to help promote and stabilize air service“: yep, the operations are subsidized by taxpayers, similar to Spokane’s once per day flight to Los Angeles.

Passenger usage is increasing, albeit, partially due to taxpayer subsidies for the operations. Will that growth continue when the subsidies go away?

The data is available on the web site of Walla Walla Regional Airport. The data on aircraft operations was compared with that provided by the FAA; the numbers are nearly the same. Aircraft operations counts are made by the control tower staff; changes in tower operational hours over the years can affect the counts. Logically, tower hours of operation track aircraft operations – more aircraft means a busier airport means more hours when flight ops are underway. Fewer aircraft ops means fewer hours when the tower is operating (aircraft may still use the airport when the tower is closed). Regardless, aircraft flight operations have collapsed at Walla Walla.

Data Tables Follow

Read more of this post

Spokane hotels continue to receive large subsidies

As well documented, the primary purpose of the Spokane PFD and Convention Center facilities is as a taxpayer funded indirect subsidy to the local hotel industry.

As is continued tax payer spending at Spokane airports:

They spent an estimated $246 million during their trips, or an average of $436 per person, according to the study. The money went, in order, to lodging, food and drink, and transportation along with lesser amounts for shopping and recreation.

via Spokane airports have $791 million direct impact yearly, study finds – Spokesman.com – May 25, 2015.

chart_1 (1)

chart_2 (2)

Who benefits financially from the Spokane Convention Center? (from the PFD’s own documents):

WhoBenefits

Spokane’s non-existent economic development agencies

Wonderful essay from the SpokanePlanner about Spokane’s delegation of “public economic development activities to private, non-profit organizations is dysfunctional (at best)” and laced with secrecy and good ol’boy backscratching:

For Spokane’s Holy Trinity to succeed, success is defined as how much they panhandle from Spokane’s business and governmental community, and not necessarily defined by truly cause and effect economic development.

Fundraising, grant writing, and generally asking other people for money is not an economic development strategy; to the contrary, it’s what you do when you don’t have an economic development strategy.

SpokanePlanner believes the PFD is one of the most effective economic development agencies in Spokane. However, as shown on this blog, the PFD’s track record based on the objective metric of attendance and usage, is awful:

chart_1

chart_2

chart_3

chart_4

If that sort of poor performance gets ranked as a top economic development agency, then Spokane is doomed to a dim future.

Incredibly, the State Auditor found the PFD, in a fit of little league corruption, handed out big bonuses to staff in 2004 based on creative accounting. Look at the attendance charts, above, for 2004 – that deserved bonus payments to staff?

 

Spokane County Employment and Unemployment, in charts

From the Washington State Employment Security Department

TotalNonFarm

The ESD chart suggests employment has almost recovered to pre-Depression 2.0 levels (but see chart from U.S. BLS, below, with a strangely different presentation).

UnEmp

From the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics – this chart (only through March of 2015) indicates a weak jobs recovery versus the one provided by ESD, above:

LAUMT534406000000003,LAUMT534406000000004,LAUMT534406000000005,LAUMT534406000000006_1057219_1432775428869

We have no information on why these charts differ. The chart below shows the “labor force”, which includes those who are working and those who are unemployed and also looking for work:

LAUMT534406000000003,LAUMT534406000000004,LAUMT534406000000005,LAUMT534406000000006_1057219_1432775428819

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Real Estate Market in graphic format

 

All images are from Zillow.com. Red=for sale, Blue=foreclosure

North Spokane

NSpokane

 

South Hill

 

SHillSpokane

 

 

Spokane Valley section

SpoValley

 

Zooming in shows a few more homes for sale than the “big pictures” above. On average, there is about one home for sale on every block in this segment from South Hill:

 

HousePerBlock

 

And a zoom in to North Spokane – seems more like an average of 2 homes every block. Those blue dots represent foreclosures:

NSpokaneZoom

Spokane Bloomsday Run 2015 – Historical trend through 2015

Data comes from the Bloomsday run sponsor web site and news reports.  There were 42,214 finishers in 2015; the # of registered runners is estimated from the Bloomsday organizer’s Friday statement that there 44,800 registered and an expectation of an additional 1,500 registrants before race start. This estimate is inline with recent years where 91% of those registered, finished.

image

 

KHQ TV has a history of vastly over stating the number of participants. Once again, KHQ claims that there were 60,000+ participants:

khq

Past charts on Bloomsday – with more links are here.

SpokanePlanner.com

A formerly anonymous urban planner writes about Spokane at SpokanePlanner.com.

The web site’s Facebook page has more.

The site explains why the local economy remains a bit mired in a rut (the good-old-boy culture) and why there may be hope for the future. Check it out.

And this from the Inlander: A former DSP president’s assessment of Spokane’s economy, “good-old-boy culture” | Bloglander | The Pacific Northwest Inlander | News, Politics, Music, Calendar, Events in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and the Inland Northwest.

STA Proposition 1 promoters say tax will benefit Puget Sound transit!

We cannot make this stuff up – right there on their web site yesforbuses.org it says:

  • A “Yes” vote on Proposition 1 will reduce “the operating costs of Sound Transit Authority“.
  • “A “Yes” vote for increased funding for Sound Transit Authority means more than 1,000 new jobs for Spokane County.”

Here is a screen capture of their web page – click for full size view.

YesForBuses

Guess they copied old campaign literature from Sound Transit, an organization that was officially known as Regional Transit Authority but began using the name “Sound Transit” in 1997 (not Sound Transit Authority).

STA plans to purchase the Tesla of buses: Have we forgotten the STA’s hybrid bus boondoggle (or this)? Apparently.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking expansions and improvements in public transit. But with this history of goof ups and waste, should STA be trusted?

 

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Airports Usage Trends thru 2014

Update: Data tables have been added to the “read more” section. Additional charts from other sources have been added to confirm the trend shown in these charts.

Frontier Airlines is leaving the Spokane market, leaving 5 airlines (Southwest, Delta, United, American/USA, Alaska). There were nine airlines serving Spokane in 2010. The decline is due to airline mergers (Delta/Northwest, American/US Airways, and Alaska now buys all the capacity of Horizon) and airlines leaving the Spokane market.

Fewer airlines means less competition and likely higher prices for Inland Northwest travelers (especially when only 1 airline serves a destination city). Update Jan 2 2015: Confirmed. Spokane has the highest airline charges in the PNW.

Spokane Airport Passenger Usage Trend

chart_1 (1)

Total Aircraft Operations at Felts Field Airport

chart_2 (2)

Non-Stop Destinations from Spokane and Number of Daily Flights

The orange column represents flight options for January 12, 2015. A different day might yield different results.

chart_1 (2)

Notable Changes in Service

  • Update March 2015: Alaska is introducing a twice per day turbo prop Q400 flight to Boise, starting in August 2015. This restores the Spokane-Boise route to 4 flights per day.
  • 4 fewer flights to Portland than 2011.
  • 6 fewer flights to Denver than 2011.
  • 1 more flight to Salt Lake City than 2011; one less than 2012.
  • Las Vegas is up by 1 and Boise is down by 1.
  • Los Angeles now has 1 daily, taxpayer subsidized flight
  • Chicago is served only in the summer.
  • Service to Sacramento and San Jose discontinued.
  • In 2014, Delta announced a summer time only, once per week on Saturday flight from Spokane to Atlanta. That flight does not currently appear on Delta’s summer 2015 schedule.

2/3ds of all Flights are to Two Airports: Seattle and Portland

chart_2 (1)

 

All of the flights to Portland and about half of those to Seattle are on board turbo prop (propeller) planes (this ratio of turbo props to jets changes over time as airlines change their fleet usage).

Data Sources

Passenger data is from the FAA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 2014 value is estimated from usage through October 2014. Some historical data is from the Spokane Airports web site, but Spokane Airports no longer appears to publish usage data. The passenger usage data starts in 1990 as that is the oldest data provided in the FAA and BTS online data sets.

Non-Stop destinations and flight counts are from looking at available flights departing Spokane for January 12th, 2015 using Expedia.com and Southwest.com (Southwest flights are not shown on Expedia).

This blog is an EXCLUSIVE report as local media have never publicized airport usage or non-stop destination trends. In fact, local media have previously reported on the “continued GROWTH” in aviation in Spokane even though aviation has been in a long term decline.

In 2001, 2005 and 2006, growth in passenger usage was a sign of economic success.

The terminal map lists “Delta, United, American” at Concourse B, but the Terminal B map shows “Delta, United, US Airways”.  However, American and US Airways merged … and operate a US Airways flight from Spokane to Phoenix under the US Airways name.

Extra credit assignments

  • Spot the bump in airport usage created by the expansions of the local Convention Center.
  • Do you know what “code sharing” is? Some people don’t. Korean Airlines and Aeromexico DO NOT FLY TO SPOKANE.
  • Anthony Gill writes “I wish the data weren’t recompiled. It’s hardly trustworthy as-is“. All of the above data is from SpokaneAirports.net, operated by Spokane Airports, the Federal Aviation Administration or the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The Convention Center data is from the Community Indicators of Spokane web site, operated by the City of Spokane and Eastern Washington University, and from the Spokane Public Facilities District. For extra credit, please identify how these sources are untrustworthy.
  • Is accurate data important for setting public policies or is it better to base policy on wishful thinking, exaggerations or lies? Do you think this data should be hidden from the public?
  • Explain why the airport is named “Spokane International Airport” (click link for hints!) since there have not been international flights in decades.

Data Confirmation

Here is an official chart from Spokane Airports Master Plan showing historical traffic – for those that doubt the accuracy of the charts:

SIA1

Chart from EWU Community Indicators of Spokane web site (red line at top added to show the curve) through 2013:

EWIAirports2

Charts from Eastern Washington University study 1992 to 2004:

 

SIA1992-2004

The following chart came from SpokaneAirports.net, the official web site of the Spokane Airports operation. Spokane Airports no longer appears to publish this information.  As you can see, the airport’s own chart shows a decline over the past five years. For those on drugs, this chart shows monthly (not annual totals) and compares month versus month for each of the five years.

5yrComparison

 

Still think the data is untrustworthy Anthony Gill? 

Additional Reference

Still think the data is “hardly trustworthy as-is“? If you still think the data is “hardly trustworthy”, you might look into “cognitive dissonance” and the belief disconfirmation paradigm and how to deal with that.

Data Tables

All the data used in the charts follows.

Read more of this post

EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Attendance Trend through 2013

The Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) operates the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the Spokane Convention Center and the Spokane INB Performing Arts Center.

Attendance (usage) trend through end of 2013 for all PFD facilities, combined:

chart_4

Based on the following trend line,  the INB will close in 2025 when it is no longer in use:

chart_3

Convention Center attendance less than 2001

The third expansion project is nearly done – considering attendance is less than 2001, a year-over-year increase should not be difficult to achieve in 2014 or 2015.

chart_1

Spokane Arena Saw a 10% increase Y-o-Y

Without the Arena, the PFD’s total attendance would have sunk further in 2013. The two spikes are the years that the U.S. Figure Skating Championships were held in Spokane. The PFD produced and released economic studies based on exactly those two years and forecast future economic benefits to Spokane would be identical to those atypical years.

Even with gains in 2013, attendance in 2013 remains less than in 1999.

chart_2

The Spokane Chiefs and the Spokane Shock accounted for more than half of total Arena attendance in 2012. The new 2014 WSU-GU basketball game may help the Arena see better usage.

The above attendance trend charts have never appeared in Spokane media. The attendance charts do not appear on the PFD’s web sites. (Similarly, Spokane Airports has a nice redesign of their web site – but it appears they have removed their passenger usage information. The data is available, with a bit of work, from the FAA and BTS.)

The long term trends illustrate a root cause problem for all of Spokane – the lack of accountability and the failure to hold management (not just a problem at the PFD but at other organizations’ too) accountable for obvious measures of project success or failure.

With the abysmal performance and track record shown in the charts, why do we still have a CEO for life of the PFD? Or CEOs for life at other local organizations that fail to meet milestones and objectives?

Update: That question can now be answered: Because the Spokesman-Review’s owners own a big section of downtown Spokane and the newspaper has launched an all out propaganda war, running repeated stories about how wonderful the Convention Center expansion is for Spokane. The paper has made a mockery of itself with over the top propaganda to benefit the PFD and the downtown business cartel.

References

All data came from EWU Community Indicators of Spokane and Spokane PFD web site documents. 

Data sources and Alternate Data Confirmation follows.

Read more of this post

“The X Report”

A review of some “big picture” economic indicators for the Spokane area.

Spokane Airport passenger usage remains weak – now less than in 1995.

chart_1 (1)

We call this “growth”, of course. (See the Comments to this post to see how a rise in passenger use was called a positive economic indicator by local promoters in 2001, 2005 and 2006 but when passenger levels declined they now pretend passenger usage no longer matters. Right.)

Felts Field air operations fell off a cliff:

chart_2 (2)

Total air operations in the area have collapsed (but local political leaders refer to this as “continued growth of aviation!” – may be if we turn the chart upside down!)

CombinedSIAFeltsAllOps-3Non-stop year-round destination cities have declined from 18 to 11 (including the subsidized daily flight to Los Angeles).

The rate of growth in jobs (for the entire County) has slowed. The area is no longer producing jobs at the same rate as natural population growth (from births and inbound migration, over time). That means the population is getting larger but the number of jobs is not keeping up. Here’s a chart highlighting the slow down in job growth:

SpokaneCountyJobGrowthRateSlowing

Spokane County non-farm jobs trend – mostly flat since 1998.

2013JanBLSTotalEmployed

City of Spokane jobs have been going down for about two decades – there is no increase in net jobs since the mid 1990s.

Can you spot the increase in jobs created by the Convention Center expansions? The total number of jobs in the City of Spokane has continued to fall, even after passing their expansion initiatives. (Chart from US BLS, updated to early 2014.) The City of Spokane has flat lined. 

LAUCT536700000000005_742370_1398301192417

Unfortunately, Spokane was ranked as the worst metro area out of 100 for job growth in a 2012 poll.

While the United States has recovered nearly all jobs lost since the 2008 downturn, and Washington State has recovered more than all the jobs lost since the downturn, Spokane County has recovered about half the jobs lost. Here are the charts for the U.S. as a whole, the State of Washington, and then Spokane County.

(At the end of 2014, there are some indications that the US economy may be headed into a slowdown. If this happens, the effects on Spokane would be bad, very bad, as Spokane has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 downturn.) (deleted as the economic situation seems to have stabilized since that was written)

Specifically:

  • US jobs regained – about 100%
  • WA jobs regained – more than 100%
  • Spokane County jobs regained: 52% using seasonally adjusted totals, or 44% using non seasonally adjusted data

United States

(From US BLS)

CES0000000001_729328_1398279732234

Washington State

SMS53000000000000001_729393_1398279809663

Spokane County

SMS53440600000000001_729435_1398279884691

Median Family Income Compared to Other Washington Cities

Spokane’s economic situation is not good: Spokane ranks 53d out of 59 Washington cities for median family income

Spokane’s Housing Stock is Old – Highlighting the Limited Economic Growth in the Area

Growing cities, with growing economies, show newer housing – Spokane has a stock of old housing, indicating low growth. The boom years are obvious in this chart – 20% of homes here were built in 1900-1919 (mining boom), and 31% in 1940-1959  (aluminum processing boom, post World War II growth of families):

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Here is a typical growing city housing age pattern (in this example, Olympia, WA) – in a modern, growing city, you can see that more homes are built to meet the demand of contemporary growth.

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Spokane has essentially no growth and hence, very little new home construction compared to thriving cities. More example cities are here.

Home Sales

Chart of the number of home sales from 2000 to 2014 (only through spring as this chart is slightly out of date):

image The original chart for the above (from Trulia.com) used a logarithmic scale for the Y-Axis which makes the peaks and valleys nearly flat.  A software tool was used to convert the log scale chart into a linearly scaled Y-Axis to show the trend in a format that most readers understand.

The next chart shows that median sales prices are basically flat since 2006.

Spokane-Median

Income and spending lag:

This chart shows how taxable spending per household has trended downwards in the past decade. The data for this chart is based on retail sales taxes collected through 2011. Since then (not shown in chart), retails sales have begun to grow again.

The blue line shows real median household income while the red line is an indicator of spending per household.

SpokaneMedianHouseholdIncome

Per Capita Income Trend Is Downwards

This chart has not been updated since 2008 but per WSU’s CORE research report, current per capita income is at 2007 levels. Per capita income is continuing to sink over the long term, relative to elsewhere. The lines in this chart indicate Spokane per capita income as a percent of the average per capita income in the state of Washington (red) and the U.S. as a whole (blue). Over time, the per capita income in Spokane, relative to everywhere else, goes down. Note that GSI will be happy to show you a chart of rising per capita income in the area – their chart is true too. But the problem is that Spokane incomes rise much slower than elsewhere such that over time, Spokane residents fall further and further behind the rest of the state and the country.

The Spokane County GDP per capita is unchanged from 2001 through 2011 (see bottom line in chart) – in other worlds, flat lined, like Convention Center attendance (well, not quite the same – the PFD’s facility usage actually went down over this period):

GDPPerCapita

A chart of pay in Spokane County versus King County

Attracting high skilled talent for high paying job categories is tough due to the large difference in pay between Spokane and the other big city in Washington:

SpokaneVsKing

The next chart has not been updated but the trend remains the same today. Incomes in the rest of the state climb twice as fast as those in Spokane.  The blue line represents the rate of increase in Washington State; the red line is the rate of increase in Spokane County. Over 30 years, Spokane pay is falling further and further behind the rest of the state.

SpokaneBirthsByMedicaid

Transfer payments are now about 23% of area personal income.

Transfer payments are primarily Federal payments made without a contemporary service or product delivered in return. Examples include disability payments, unemployment compensation, Medicare/Medicaid payments, government pensions and other government benefit programs. In other words, almost $1 out of every $4 here is government payouts, not earnings from contemporary work. The problem is not that there are transfer payments – the problem is that the steady growth in transfer payments is not sustainable.

Spokane’s Heavily Subsidized Economy

The primary purpose of the Spokane Public Facilities District, like nearly all municipal convention centers, is to provide a tax subsidy to the local hotel and restaurant industry. This use of publicly funded convention centers as a hidden subsidy of local hotels is widely documented in the convention center industry literature. In Spokane, it is codified – one member of the five member Board of the Spokane PFD is required to be someone working in the hotel industry. There is no requirement that, say, the PFD Board include a member of the general public to represent the interests of Spokane residents and taxpayers (the peons do not rank in this community).

The long vacant Ridpath Hotel may get re-opened and turned into downtown condos some day. But only with substantial tax subsides. About 1/4th of the cost is proposed to be funded by tax credits issued after declaring the not very old hotel as a historic building.  The city is also proposing to give Federal Housing and Urban Development grants to the developer. More taxpayer subsidies for downtown.

The proposed Spokane Field House in downtown is an extension of the PFD’s subsidy program to local hotels. Taxpayers will fund a downtown sports complex with the goal of bringing in some outside visitors to fill downtown hotels and restaurants. This is an indirect subsidy to Walt Worthy’s “convention center” hotel across the street.

Indeed, the PFD’s own economic study shows who actually benefits – and its hotels and restaurants:

WhoBenefits

The sad thing about all these subsidies to the hotel industry is that they do not actually work.

Here is a chart of hospitality industry jobs in Spokane County.  After THREE expansions of the Convention Center, we have fewer jobs in the hotel industry than we did in 1999 when we first began expanding the Convention Center!

Hospitality industry employment chart from the US BLS from 1993 to 2014:

SMU53440607000000001_730618_1398282555622

The downtown meme of ever expanding public facilities and more subsidies turns out not to have met the original claims for increasing jobs. Today we have fewer hotel jobs and fewer overall jobs in the City of Spokane than before the expansion. Expanding the Convention Center has resulted in FEWER JOBS.

Nothing happens in Spokane unless the local oligarchs are subsidized by the taxpayers. This is a form of transfer payments from poor people to developers.

Now we hang our hat on future medical school with an exaggerated economic benefit calculation  (local promoters nationwide engage in absurd and inflated exaggerations of all economic studies – most of these studies are not worth the digital ink they’ve spilled – same for Spokane). And of course, salvation will come with a heated pedestrian bike bridge!

Spokane needs real industry, designing and building products. From insect traps to pharmaceutical manufacturing to perhaps restoration of the lost high tech manufacturing sector, these are the sectors that generate real growth and jobs. But we just keep subsidizing downtown businesses that fail to deliver on their promises. Always have, and always will. Consequently, Spokane is going no where – the trends all remain negative (see charts above).

The Primary Economic Cluster in Spokane is Land Development

The primary economic cluster of Spokane is manipulating government so land speculators can profit. Here is a quote from Bob Herold of the Inlander:

“Well, I’ve learned that in Spokane, economic development most often begins and ends with making a profit off land speculation. It’s a cultural thing, and government’s job here is to help make the speculation pay off.”

And this business model works well for those who have influence. The largest media operator is one of the largest landowners in the region and has a long history of using their media influence to push government programs that benefit the owners (see The Fancher Report, the non-fiction novel Breaking Blue, or this blog for examples).

Contemporary examples include:  repeated Convention Center expansions (and their inability to meet any objectives) the “grand iconic unique in the world (except its notheated pedestrian/bike bridge, a proposed downtown “trolley” to benefit downtown, the “growing University District” (whose numbers show no growth) and the past and future for a light rail line that passes by the oligarchs’ properties runs from the underused airport to downtown and then to Liberty Lake (remember the two votes on that last decade?)

Update: Another economic cluster is government funded torture research hidden away in our small town. It’s a big industry in Spokane. Really big.

Crime

We cannot draw an accurate long term crime trend chart because of changes made in the reporting system last decade that resulted in a drop in crime reports. We’ll leave this topic with this chart – in 2011 and 2010, the auto theft rate in Spokane was the 4th highest in the nation but dropped in 2012 to 9th place:

image004

Accountability

A related crime problem is the culture and general corruption of the police in Spokane.  A week hardly goes by without yet another police scandal – from having sex on duty to running steroids and drugs to shooting people in the back of the head to killing Otto Zehm. This is likely a symptom of the difficulty in attracting high quality, high performing individuals to Spokane. And that is not just a police problem but one that impacts a wide swath of organizations both public and private.

We end up with local organizations having the same leadership for a quarter century, a sure sign of stagnation. From head dog catcher to GSI to the PFD to the STA -while some organizations are effective, some are not – yet their leadership is held on forever. There is no accountability for the PFD’s failure (by the core metrics of attendees and local jobs) or GSI’s long term ineffectiveness (as seen in the overall local economy numbers).

Bad leaders come to Spokane to retire on the job. And no one cares. In fact, one Washington State labor economist concluded that Spokane attracts unemployed people 🙂

Mental Health

Youth suicide rate is 4 to 6 times greater than the State of Washington and Washington’s suicide rate is higher than the national rate.

SpoSuicides2005-2009Youth

How Bad is the Suicide Rate?

(There are counties, especially with high populations of native American populations living in poverty, such as in Alaska, where the suicide rates are much higher.)

Update July 5, 2018

Spokane depression rate higher than state, national averages according to a study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

For each successful suicide, there are 7 hospitalizations for attempted suicides, and 15 ER visits for suicide. There are even more cases of depression that result in 9-1-1 calls to the police (but which do not end up in an ER), and even more cases than that of people who never seek help. (Also see these youth suicide statistics). Multiplying that times the rates in the chart above yields a staggering number of severely depressed people in the area. Throw in the reports of bodies turning up in parks and rivers and you get the picture.

Nearby Kootenai County, Idaho has the 2nd highest rate of suicide in Idaho.

The Spokane Regional Health District says health is an indicator of the economy. This is an indicator of despair and hopelessness. And its off the radar as recommendations for reporters discourage reporting of suicides.

Related to the above, the annual days of sunshine in Spokane is on par with Seattle. But don’t tell that to the Spokane Visitors Bureau which believes Spokane has 260 days of clear skies per year!

Telling Outright Lies is the Local Pastime

A selection of prominent lies and the liars who tell them is listed here.

The basic culture of Spokane seems to be based on lies and deceit, causing the area to repeatedly earn a designation as the Scam and Fraud Capitol of America.

The Problem is Ignorance 

The long term trend in the Spokane area economy has been poor – its been treading water for 15 years.

In spite of much media PR puffery, people have a sense that things are bad. And the data confirm it is a bad situation.

Much of the local media act as cheerleaders, engage in “errors of omission” (a method of telling a lie which fits right into the local culture), and hide poor performance of elected and non-elected leaders. Failed leaders are not held accountable – instead, long term declining attendance at Spokane Public Facilities District is defended and actively covered up by the local newspaper. A decline in airport usage is called “continued growth” – and not one person in Spokane’s media even bats an eye at the egregious lie.  Visit Spokane claims it is nearly always clear and sunny in Spokane. A local promoter misquotes a tech industry publication to falsely claim Spokane is a high tech hot spot (when the publication actually said Spokane is NOT a high tech hot spot).

To this day, the Spokesman-Review is pained to present data in easy to understand charts, even when the State provides the charts for free. For example, here is the September 2014 employment chart and here is how they babbled on about this in words:

employment

The chart cannot be spun – Spokane has recovered about half of the jobs lost in the economic downturn while the State and the nation have recovered more than 100%. By hiding this from readers and viewers, Spokane’s local media censors the news through “lying by omission”.  Except for The Inlander, perhaps. (Note – former SR staffer Ryan Pitts left the SR to work on CensusReporter, a tool to make it easy for reporters to obtain Census data in easy to read charts. Tools exist. It’s not hard to illustrate stores with charts. But its hard to spin actual data.)

The outright lies and exaggerations are non-stop – hence, Spokane remains the scam and fraud capitol of America – but the zero credibility local media itself is complicit in re-telling and defending the lies (follow the links on this blog to see specific examples of the local media’s participation).

When land speculation is one of the top 3 industry clusters and the media is conflicted with land ownership and development,  reporting is warped.

The public has been intentionally kept in the dark as to the true state of Spokane – but many have seen these issues for a long time. Out of town visitors arrive and often the first thing they say is “Spokane looks like a run down dump” (check out the weeds growing out of the streets and sidewalks in August and you can see why).

This blog shed a light on the truth that has been hidden from the public – by showing the actual data, in simple to read charts, that directly contradict the local memes. Data is the enemy of propagandists in the local media.

The X Report

This site will remain on line as “The X Report“, just as “The Fancher Report” (summary here) lives on today, or how local corruption is documented in “Breaking Blue” or at Camus Magazine and other web sites.  It is no longer safe to publish skeptical inquiry on the Internet.

Before I moved to Spokane, an old friend who grew up here said, “X, Spokane is just a small town. Only bigger.”

Was not sure what he meant back then – but now I know: And he was right!

Nothing has changed in decades. Three decades of economic studies reached identical conclusions and were filed on dusty shelves never to be looked at again. Spokane remains behind the times, never reaching up to its potential as the 2nd largest city in Washington – but always hoping for an external savior (the current meme is the medical school brouhaha) to drop in and save the day. Before that it was regional health care. Before that Spokane was going to be an information technology center on par with Austin, Texas or may be even Silicon Valley. Before that it was going to be a manufacturing mecca. So we come up with an incoherent cluster strategy for economic growth.

But nothing has fundamentally changed. At this point, its down to more land speculation and more transfers to the oligarchs who will bleed the cash cow dry as long as they can keep it bleeding. And not one god damned local politician gives a hoot at the obvious decay and decline – they just continue to play along to earn bennies for themselves.

And because of that, this might be the very last post on this blog. The web site will stay online and be known as “The X Report”.

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This blog is taking a break. No idea if it will return. Hard to imagine but 1/4th of all the posts made on this web site were never published! There are nearly 200 posts sitting in draft form 🙂 They were not published for many reasons including timeliness (the information was useful for a limited time), insufficient time to complete the post, insufficient data, or for a few I feared I would be run out of town if I let them fly. Ouch!

Spokane Employment and Unemployment data

(This was first published on Dec 15, 2014, but later moved out of sequence, to this location on the blog.)

Spokane County total non-farm employment, as reported by the Washington ESD:

WAEmp

 

Chart 1

Total non-farm employment, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

latest_numbers_SMU53440600000000001_2004_2014_all_period_M10_data-1

 Chart 2

The Washington ESD data is said to come from the BLS. However, a close inspection reveals a difference in the most recent data. By taking the WA ESD data and then subtracting the BLS data, we create a new table showing the difference in the values:

DeltaWAvsBLS

Table 1

As shown in the table, starting in late 2013, Washington ESD adjusts the BLS data upwards. In 2014, the total non-farm employment count has been adjusted upwards. There may be valid reasons for these adjustments but no explanation is provided.

We next compare the counts released of past years, as reported in 2013, to the count of past  years, as reported this month in 2014. Here is June 2013 report:

2011juneemp

Chart 3

Look at the January row in Chart 1, above, and compare the values to the January row in Chart 3.  Specifically, look at January 2009:

  • In 2013, ESD reported January 2009 employment of 210,800.
  • In 2014, ESD reported January 2009 employment of 213,900.

The employment numbers are estimates – not an actual count and there is an associated error range or confidence interval about the estimate. Based on the later revisions, it seems this estimate is about + / – 1.5 percentile points from later revisions. That is wide confidence interval.

This blog presents the WA ESD charts and data but has previously seen unexplained revisions in even the current monthly report. For that reason, the BLS data series is preferred.

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Moody’s ranks Spokane #289 (4th quintile) for employment growth and identifies these Strengths and Weaknesses:

Strengths

  • Low cost of doing business, especially office rents and energy.
  • Large healthcare industry provides stability.

Weaknesses

  • Dearth of high-wage, export-oriented industries.
  • Incomes are further below the national average than living costs.
  • Little exposure to aerospace manufacturing and few avenues to capitalize on growth elsewhere in Washington.

Hmmm … that must be in error because Greater Spokane says:

Our region’s Aerospace industry is soaring to new heights with area businesses taking full advantage of the need for new and efficient aircraft. Worldwide, the Aerospace industry is booming with innovation, new products and increased competition.

Spokane and the Inland Northwest are home to more than 120 manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and organizations related to the worldwide aerospace industry. With a diversified product and service base, Spokane businesses are landing dozens of contracts each year.

Actually, this is probably an indicator that Spokane’s leading export commodity is, unfortunately, bull shit. By the ship load.

Meanwhile, Spokane Rock Products laid off a big chunk of their asphalt paving division – read the comments to the news report (in Spokane, the comments frequently explain the real story). Far less housing construction means less road paving and fewer workers needed.

Visit Spokane and KXLY get punked

(Update: this post was originally posted on Dec 12 but the date was later set to Oct 1 to move it “out of order” in the list of posts to appear below “The X Report” post.)

TheChive list identifies Spokane as one of U.S. most underrated cities | Spokane/E. WA – KXLY.com.  (screen snap shot)

Visit Spokane President says:

“What’s nice is underrated for us in our vernacular for us is undiscovered, so to have someone say, ‘You need to give them a look. They’re worth it’ Awesome! We love it,” Visit Spokane President Cheryl Kilday said.

Visit Spokane just got punked.

TheChive spreads viral photos, videos, and Internet memes, including hoaxes, with an emphasis on young female bodies. Here is a snapshot of their main page:

TheChive

TheChive’s sidebar (oh, it gets better further down their page):

TheChive2

Why not check out the full list of hot girls?  More cleavage should push KXLY’s ratings up a bit!

Or may be this entire section of TheChive – devoted to “GIRLS CATEGORIES“:

TheChive4

Among the skimpy non-objective criteria are that Spokane has lots of beer and “alcoholic beverages”.

KXLY thinks the above is news you-need-to-know while they black out real news about local boobs.

Tag this #SPOKANESWARONWOMEN #KXLYWARONWOMEN

Visit Spokane is proud of this endorsement from TheChive!

Visit Spokane, is the Convention Center sales department, and lies about Spokane weather too. There is more nonsense on their web site – like claiming 8 airlines serve Spokane while the airport itself counts 6. Granted, they are sales idiots but the on going lies are a little thick.

The above screen captures from TheChive are reproduced here under a Fair Use claim for the purpose of critique and commentary. This post will be moved out of the #1 post spot later.