FAQs: Curing Spokane Video

What is Curing Spokane?

Curing Spokane is a video created to draw attention to Spokane’s growing crime problem. It is a call to action for Spokane’s leadership to take action to keep our City safe and beautiful.

Who paid for the video to be made?

Lifelong Spokane resident Larry Stone funded the video. Larry says, “I love Spokane and over the past three years I have seen the increase in criminal activity both downtown and in other neighborhoods, so I decided to fund a video which, hopefully, will start real conversations about fixing Spokane’s issues before they get even worse.”

Is this a political video for a particular mayoral candidate?

No. Larry Stone is neutral in the mayoral race in Spokane. But the video is intended to draw attention to the crime issues our City faces and inspire our local candidates and leaders to solve these issues.

Is the video trying to criminalize homeless people?

No. This video is not about a homeless problem, it is about a crime problem. The intent of the video is to focus on criminal behavior. Sadly, it is the homeless who are most vulnerable and very often the victims of crimes.

Aren’t you worried about making Spokane look bad?

Spokane is a wonderful city, but it has a growing crime problem and there must be steps taken to stop it. We can no longer ignore what is happening. Broken windows, graffiti, aggressive panhandling, and open drug use are visible to all that visit downtown, and many Spokane neighborhoods are experiencing property crimes. All cities face crime problems from time to time, but great cities do something about it. If we don’t fix our crime problem now, Spokane’s reputation will suffer for years to come. By fixing the issues, we can keep Spokane safe and beautiful.

If drugs and alcohol are to blame for most of the crime problems, shouldn’t the focus be on helping addicts?

Spokane is a very compassionate city equipped with many resources to help those in need who seek such help. We must remain compassionate. But we must also address our problems. The activity discussed in the video is illegal. We can be a city where residents feel safe and those who want treatment can get it. Addiction is not an excuse to commit crimes, and open, illegal drug use should not be tolerated.

FAQs: The STA Plaza

Why sell the STA Plaza when we have spent so much money on it?

It’s unfortunate that we have spent so much money on the STA Plaza, but throwing good money after bad is not the solution. It is widely agreed that the STA Plaza has been a failure ever since it was built nearly 25 years ago. From the beginning, STA mismanagement of the project caused the cost of the project to balloon from the original estimate of $12 million to more than $22.6 million. The STA also spent an additional $5M on a recent remodel to the Plaza.

Another problem is that it is a Plaza and not a transit center. Here is how the Plaza was described in the Spokesman Review when it opened in 1995:

“Supporters predict the airy center will make riding the bus more popular and will become a gathering place, even for those who don’t have bus passes. “It’s really a space for people. … A living room for Spokane,” said head architect Ron Tan. “It’s a place where you can say, ‘Why don’t we meet at the STA center and talk it over.’ A place to meet your date.”

Spokesman Review

Nobody would describe the STA Plaza like that today.

Bus riders deserve a transit center that is safe and quickly helps them travel to their destination. Bus riders don’t want to hang out at the Plaza.

How much does the Plaza cost STA?

Since 2008 the STA has adopted budgets for the Plaza totaling $22,352,983, including a recent remodel project of $4,950,000.

Doesn’t the Plaza make transit times faster and more efficient?

No. The Plaza was built for only ten busses to load at the same time. This is far fewer than the number of busses that were able to load on the streets before the Plaza was built. Commute times also increased for many riders. When finished, many complained that their average 35-minute commute had increased to more than one hour.

Doesn’t the Plaza help protect riders from inclement weather?

Just like before it was built, Plaza riders still have to load and unload in uncovered areas not protected from rain and snow.

Wasn’t the Plaza supposed to make taking the bus a safer experience for riders?

Yes, but it didn’t work. The police get more calls to the STA Plaza than any other location in Spokane. This has caused both bus riders and the rest of the public to feel unsafe.

Where does the STA get its money?

From Spokane County citizens. Sales tax makes up the majority of the revenue accounting for $77.3 million of the $99.9 million-dollar budget. Fare revenue is only $11.8 million. 

Where will money come from to build a new transit center?

STA has plenty of money. It has a $20 million surplus that they plan to spend on the new electric busses between Brown’s Addition and Spokane Community College. A project that now is expected to cost $90 million. Revenue from the sale of the existing building could also be used to fund the project.

Isn’t STA doing a good job getting more people to ride the bus?

No. Ridership has declined the last several years despite expanding service to new areas. STA is spending more money every year, but the number of passengers is declining.

FAQs: Crime, a New Jail and the Police

So you just want more jails to lock everybody up?

It’s unfortunate, but Spokane does not have sufficient jail capacity for our population. Our police frequently find that suspects are released even before the officer has finished filling out the paperwork. As a result, individuals arrested for many misdemeanor crimes including graffiti, petty theft, trespassing, open drug use, and many other crimes are released with no consequences. Many of those do not show up for their hearing at a later date.

What can I do to help?

Insist that county commissioners and city leaders allow citizens to vote on a new county jail that has been needed for 15 years.

When did Spokane police stop investigating property crimes?

In 2011, Spokane Police Department eliminated the property crime unit and told citizens they should only expect 5% of property crimes to be investigated.

If crimes don’t get investigated then why should I report a crime?

Sadly, many citizens no longer report crimes because of this, but it is important to get accurate statistics on crime and where it is happening because we must reverse this problem and address the crime that is happening.

Isn’t there a housing crisis in Spokane and therefore people can’t afford to buy or rent a home?

It is true that housing prices in Spokane have risen. The median home value in Spokane is $217,500 and median monthly rent is $1,350. But our housing is less expensive than other northwest cities. In Boise, the median home value is $301,500 with median rent prices at $1,475. In Seattle, the median home value is $714,100 and median rents are $2,750. Portland is also higher.

Won’t more low-income housing solve the problem?

Spokane has added a lot of low-income housing downtown and more is being built. Unfortunately, this has not reduced the crime problem as areas around these developments receive some of the City’s highest volume of police calls.

Is it true that there are no good paying jobs for people in Spokane?

No. The median household income in Boise is $55,324. In Spokane the median household income is $53,320. Unemployment in both cities is low.

FAQ: Downtown Parking

How will more parking help downtown Spokane?

People in the Spokane region love to drive private passenger vehicles. Only 1.9% of people commute by a STA bus. A common complaint is that parking downtown is difficult. Others complain that parking is not free. Adding additional parking will make it easier for residents and visitors to come downtown. An increase in visitors, shoppers and workers downtown will help low income, middle income and other downtown residents by diluting the vagrant element, and increase the sales tax base for the City with additional retail business.

Do you agree there is a criminal vagrancy problem in Spokane?

Curing Spokane

Curing Spokane, LLC