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Feb 19, 2023 5 min read

Liberty Lake council mulls book banning authority

Liberty Lake council mulls book banning authority
(Photo illustration by Valerie Osier)
Table of Contents

CIVICS | Plus, Antifa is coming to the Spokane Library

The Spokane City Council is off for the President’s Day holiday, but Liberty Lake’s City Council would have probably been the most contentious local public meeting this week regardless. That’s because they are considering changing the law in Liberty Lake to take ultimate book-stocking power away from the local library board and give themselves the final say on library policies — like which books belong in the locally-funded library. Bookending a mostly quiet week of public meetings is an anti-fascist author panel at Spokane’s downtown library. This county contains multitudes.

Liberty Lake City Council

Book banning authority: On Tuesday, the Liberty Lake City Council is set for a first reading of an ordinance that would give the city council authority over library policy-making decisions like banning books. As it stands, library policies are set by a five-person volunteer board. The new law would ensure that decisions made by the board are “subject to City Council approval.”

The new law could give the council authority to ban books and appears to have the backing of a majority of council members, according to reporting by Colin Tiernan in the Spokesman-Review. Tiernan writes that the new policy “follows an unsuccessful citizen-led effort last spring to ban “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel that explores gender identity.”

Jandy Humble, the Liberty Lake library director, said that the ordinance wouldn’t cause significant changes to the day-to-day operations of the library. But, she said, council having the final say on board decisions could make the work of the volunteer library board feel somewhat pointless.

There will be a workshop on the new ordinance ahead of the city council meeting. “It’s important for the community to be involved in local government to have their voice heard,” Humble said, encouraging people to attend the council meeting or submit written comments.

A drone and pursuits: Liberty Lake is also considering purchasing a drone for the police department and a resolution supporting changes to  vehicular pursuit laws at the state legislature that would give police more discretion in pursuing suspects who flee. It’s unlikely the resolution will have much impact on the legislature this session. Nearly two weeks ago KUOW reported that the bill, HB 1363, was unlikely to make it out of committee, much less come up for a vote. And indeed, with the deadline for bills to make it to the full house coming up on Friday, that’s exactly where HB 1363 finds itself: still in committee.

Agenda here
Tuesday, Feb. 21 workshop at 6 p.m, regular council meeting at 7 p.m.
In person at Liberty Lake City Hall or Zoom link here.
22710 E Country Vista Dr, Liberty Lake
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Antifa at the library

Antifascist panel discussion: Okay, so maybe it’s not bus loads of black bloc anarchists from Portland, but we do know that Antifacists will be at the Spokane Library next Sunday. They’re going to be talking about how facism is actually a bad thing — yes, really — and about the history and modern relevance of anti fascist movements.

This event in the nxʷyxʷyetkʷ Hall features three contributors to the anthology No Pasaran: Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis: Seattle-based organizer and writer Shon Meckfessel, Portland author and filmmaker Shane Burley and local researcher and educator Joan Braune.

Event details here
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 to 4 p.m.
Central Library- 906 West Main Ave., Spokane
nxʷyxʷyetkʷ Hall, Third Floor

Board of County Commissioners

Moneyball: The county is considering $8 million in matching funds to pay for upgrades at Avista Stadium, the home of the Spokane Indians Minor League Baseball team. Major League Baseball is requiring approximately $22 million in upgrades in order to keep the franchise at the stadium. For more background on the improvements and ongoing lease negotiations, checkout this KREM 2 news report.

Police overtime: The county is set to pass a resolution to fund $100,000 in overtime patrols in Spokane Valley, which contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement in the city. This American Rescue Plan funding will go towards overtime costs “to respond to violent crime and conduct related investigations in an effort to reduce gun violence in the City of Spokane Valley” and is part of the Regional Safe Streets Task Force, a federal, state and local law enforcement collaboration.

New VA data-sharing contract: The county commission is set to renew an existing contract with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs that allows the county’s Veteran Services Department to access VA data and utilize case management tools. This is a contract that has been in place for the last five years before this renewal. Contract documents show that staff must sign a confidentiality agreement in order to access this data.

Lie detector services: Commissioners are voting to continue contracting with Northwest Polygraph Services of Hayden, Idaho for when the Sheriff’s Department needs polygraph tests. And, we have to confess, we went down a rabbit hole and read a couple scientific articles on the validity of lie detector tests and saw some compelling evidence that they work — but it was undermined a bit by the fact that two of the study authors are polygraph examiners.

Agenda here
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.
Public Works Building
1026 W Broadway, Spokane
Commissioner’s Hearing Room, Lower Level

Bicycle Advisory Board

May is bike month: And this agenda is missing a few spokes. A general lack of detail on what the meeting will be means there’s only a couple things we can highlight. One is that at the last BAB meeting, council member Zappone discussed reopening plans for the Post Street bridge, which has been under construction for … awhile. The bridge used to be open to vehicle traffic, but Zappone has expressed interest in the bridge serving as a pedestrian and non-motorized route when it reopens.

In meeting business we get a reminder of the upcoming bike swap in April, bike to work week in May and the possibility of a wheeled meeting of the BAB.

Agenda here
Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.
Council Briefing Center, City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane
To join virtually click here.

Spokane Regional Health District's Board of Health

Thin agenda: The only items provided in any detail are a plan to schedule future meetings and a document laying out the make-up of three board sub-committees. The document doesn’t show who will be serving in each role, it simply shows what the committees are meant to do and what positions need to be filled on the committees. SRHD only accepts written public comment and that comment must be received by noon on Feb. 22, the day before the meeting.

Agenda here
Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1:30 p.m.
Spokane Regional Health District Building
1101 W. College Avenue, Spokane
First Floor Auditorium or watch online here

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