Posted by Charles Rehberg on Oct 23, 2017
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
October 23, 2017
          Will she fly?: Club President-elect Lenore Romney issued a $100 Polio Plus matching challenge toward a $1,000 goal to dare club Secretary Melinda Keberle to wear a Super Hero costume to the Oct. 30 club meeting.
          Faster than a speeding bullet, sign-ups -- via e-mail and the club’s front counter -- zoomed quickly to $150 of the $1,000 challenge as of Oct. 23.  World Polio (eradication) Day is honored every Oct. 24 and Rotary International has carried a long campaign to fight the crippling disease.  Following millions of inoculations, especially in “Third World” countries, much of polio has been eliminated, including just a few places in Pakistan and some African nations.
          Club Director John Maillard said the Polio Plus credits also will help amass Paul Harris Fellow award points, adding that members who already have one-plus or more Harris Fellowships may assign credits to spouses or other new members.
          With our own Super Hero and other incentives, Polio Plus may help knock out the dread disease.
Speed date 3: Judges and Spokane’s Prop 2
            The club’s third and last “speed date” ballot discussions featured Superior Court candidates and speakers for the city’s proposal to tax oil and coal trains.
            The judicial candidates are Judge Tony Hazel and County Defender Jocelyn Cook.
            Hazel, 41, was appointed to the 12-member bench by Gov. Jay Inslee on April 11 following the death in January of Salvatore F. “Sam” Cozza.  Previously, Hazel was a deputy prosecuting attorney for 13 years in Yakima and Spokane.  In 2011 he led Mayor Condon’s public safety transition team.
            Cook, 38, has been in Spokane 10 years, including two years of drafting appellate briefs before working in the Spokane County Defender’s Office.
            In the primary election, Hazel won 52 percent of the votes and Cook won 25 percent, narrowly edging longtime attorney Scott Miller.
            In introductory remarks, Hazel noted endorsements from several judges and the Bar Association.  He is a proponent of criminal justice reform, saying “the system has been ‘silo-ed’ and needs to improve the process,” especially dealing with the mentally ill and those addicted to drugs.  As a prosecutor, Hazel said, he has dealt with major crimes, including homicides, and civil commitments.  He suggests “looking for the best processes all over the country to reduce recidivism.”
            Cook said “we need to have a ‘neutral bench,’ and consistency from the bench on how the public should application of the law.”  As a public defender, she said, she sees “their tears tangled in the help, one job at a time.”
            Cook said much improvement is needed to help the mentally ill and addiction cases.
            The daughter of a retired FBI agent, she said “it’s odd to have a police officer in a defendant’s role.  I bring a unique perspective and, despite his opponent’s many endorsements, I have no one beholding to.”  She did not participate in the Bar Association survey.
            At one speed-date stop, Cook noted about needed improvements by talking about one person who had amassed eight felony charges before the person finally was analyzed as bipolar before treatment.
            At his table, Hazel talked about his working with hospitals in the civil commitment process, adding “we don’t have the infrastructure to meet the demand.”  He noted that the 16-bed facilities were good, but need more, and added that the Providence 1---bed facility for the mentally ill “will help.”
            The second issue Oct. 23 was the Proposition 2 measure which would levy fines for oil and coal train cars traveling in the city.  Only Burlington-Sante Fe trains operate the fuel cars in Spokane.
            Jim Lee, an organizer for Safer Spokane, said “seeking truth is my guiding light” about Prop. 2.  Lee, a former Spokane Valley Rotarian, said the safety issues of the oil and coal cars has not been regulated by federal agencies.
            Lee said “explosive nature of flash points of the oil” is at issue, as is the coal dust which weakens as it destabilizes train road beds.  Lee said the oil the North Dakotan Bakken crude oil travels up to 17 trains through Spokane weekly.  Supporting materials claim that the Bakken oil is more combustible than gasoline and cannot be extinguished if it explodes.”  An oil stabilization, costing “a few cents per gallon, could reduce the combustibility by nearly 75 percent, making it similar to traditional crude,” the materials say.  The trains typically carry 2.7 million gallons of Bakken crude each week, they say.
            Lee said similar Bakken crude oil in Texas is stabilized before shipping.
            Opposing Prop. 2 was Michael Cathcart, of Protect Spokane’s Economy.  Cathcart  is executive director of Better Spokane, a non-profit organization.  He previously worked with the Spokane Home Building Association.
            Cathcart said “the legality of Prop. 2 is a very big issue – is it legal and is it constitutional?”  He adds: “There is a very small of this withstanding a legal challenge, so is thisthe best way to go to the federal level?”
            He questioned the proponents’ “flash-point volatility,” adding that the “Bakken standards are not outside parameters elsewhere.”
            “The bottom line is that if coal and oil are not on the trains they will be on trucks,” Cathcart said.  “That alternative would raise greenhouse effects, have its own safety issues and will add wear and tear on the roads,” he said.
            At his speed-shot, Cathcart said the oil and coal levies were the idea of City Councilman Breean Beggs when he was in Bellingham when fuel-loading facilities were installed at port
terminals there.  The measure there was removed from the ballot before an election was run.
            Lee said the issues were raised at Anacortes and Ferndale, Wash., terminals and the only rail alternative there would be on Union Pacific lines through Salt Lake, then routing along the Columbia River line – on the Washington side.
            “Spokane is the choke point (on the BNSF line),” Lee said.
            He said the coal cars could be wrapped to minimize the dust issue.
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Brad Stark