Archive for December, 2017

We appreciate the work of the Center for Justice. They have provide us with legal advise a few times. However, I believe that there most important work is advising those with felony convictions about their voting rights.


Dear Justice Family Member,

Thank you for making 2017 possible. We get a bit sentimental around this time each year when we look back on all we have accomplished, and all there is to do. All we’ve done is thanks to your support. You’ve given us cash, and checks, and credit cards, and pledges – oh my! You’ve shown up to council meetings when we asked you to push for housing. You’ve signed petitions to protect your river. You got up really early and showed up to Rise for Justice to celebrate the work of the Center for Justice in the community.  You’ve volunteered your time, your expertise, and your voice, to make sure our mission moves forward: to help those who have suffered the most and are given the least. Thank you!
Will you indulge us as we look back at the year you made possible?

Our Drivers Relicensing Director, Virla, has been busier than ever! As of November 1st she has relicensed 324 people. Your donations make it possible for her to continue this program. Her strong ties to the community led to our continued partnerships with the City of Spokane, as well as a new partnership with the Associated General Contractors. The AGC has a great reentry program dedicated to training formerly incarcerated individuals. We assist those individuals in regaining their licenses – an important step on the road to a successful reentry. We’re hoping you can find it in your heart to keep this program thriving with your kind donations.

Speaking of reentry, this year we welcomed Claire as a staff attorney directing our program helping individuals navigate their way through the legal system as they struggle to address barriers to getting back on their feet. She came on board and jumped right in restarting our walk-in legal clinic – Justice Night – and worked with the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office to quash over 300 warrants issued solely because people could not afford to pay their legal financial obligations. She even found time to coordinate with Gonzaga Law School and Team Child to expand the existing Juvenile Records Sealing Clinic to include adult record vacation. Will you help Claire make this program sustainable?

We welcomed our new housing attorney, Hilary, to address the lack of access to low income housing in Spokane. Working alongside homeless advocates, service providers, and the City of Spokane, she identified a huge problem: when individuals are served an eviction notice they generally don’t have a lawyer. Well, she’s done something about that! In November, we will open a housing clinic for individuals served with eviction notices. We’re so excited for what this clinic will do in the New Year and hope you consider funding it for the foreseeable future.

Your Spokane River is the life and energy of our community. Jerry and Jule continue pouring their hearts and souls into the effort to protect it. We’ve drawn a line in the sand to say that this is the year we stand up for your rights to clean water without compromise. That’s why our meetings with the City have become a little more frequent and our hours at the office reading through briefs and studies have become a little longer. We’re not okay with any organization or agency who would seek to damage your river. We know you’re okay with us getting into hot water from time to time if it means your water is clean and your access to it is protected.  The River is life, and we protect it as such.

We don’t always win every dispute in the struggle for justice, so when we get a “W”, we celebrate it. We were honored and humbled to represent several groups in their effort to keep an unjust initiative, Proposition 1, off this November’s ballot. If allowed on the ballot and passed, it would have allowed any city employee to inquire about the immigration status of any person. We took the architects of this initiative – an anti-immigrant, Westside group – to court and won. The groups we met in this work against Prop 1 are forever in our justice family and we are grateful we were able to help them.

Of course, there have been so many moments in 2017 to look back on with happiness, but 2018 will present some challenges. As many of you know, this is the year where we made the leap from primarily being funded through the support of our founder, Jim Sheehan, to relying on support from the community. You have all stepped up for community lawyering in a big way. Thank you. We still have a ways to go. We are asking once again this year to reach deep into the part of your soul that sees injustice and says, “Stop, this isn’t right.”

Please help us do more than we can imagine in 2018. If you plan on giving $50, can you stretch it to $75? That $25 dollar difference means stability for our clients. If your number is $100, can you pledge to give monthly at a $15 dollar level? Every bit helps!
Once again, our friends at Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County have pledged to match all gifts up to $15,000 received by December 31st!


Family helps family. Community lawyering is about building a family within the community and taking care of each other. Your donation today means a driver’s license in hand tomorrow for someone trying to get back to work. It means an eviction halted for a low income family. It means a victory in court to allow all residents to feel welcome in their community. Let’s keep going. We may never finish, but we relentlessly work for justice because it’s the right thing to do. Thank you for helping us through 2017. We look forward to all the challenges in 2018.Best,

Rick Eichstaedt
Your Justice Family Community Lawyer
The Center’s Executive Director

Please see Spokaneprops for more information about local propositions, measures, and levies.

Now Republicans want to shut down Congress and head home?

I just received an email from Bernie.

The wealthy and powerful in this country have never had it so good.

While the very rich get richer and the middle class shrinks, the Republican majority has passed a deeply unpopular tax bill that would make income and wealth inequality much worse. This legislation, at the end of ten years, would provide 83 percent of the tax benefits to the top 1 percent and the largest corporations. Incredibly, 60 percent of the benefits would go to the top 1/10th of one percent. Meanwhile, by 2027, taxes on 92 million middle class households would increase. Further, 13 million people will lose their health insurance and premiums on the individual market will increase by 10 percent.

Having passed this horrific legislation, the Republican leadership now wants to shut down Congress and head home for the Christmas break.

Well, I respectfully disagree.

Maybe, just maybe, before Congress adjourns for the holidays they should pay attention to the needs of the working families of our country and not just the billionaire class.

Maybe, just maybe, before Congress goes home they might want to address the incredible anxiety that some 800,000 Dreamers are facing who are on the verge of losing their legal status, and face the possibility of deportation. Can you imagine being 20 years old, having spent virtually your entire life in the United States, and now worrying about being forced out of the only country you have ever known because of Trump’s incredibly ugly decision to repeal DACA? Despicable.

Congress must act NOW to protect the Dreamers.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers, whose funding expired on September 30, must be reauthorized and fully funded. Before Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan shut down Congress for the holiday season tens of millions of Americans and their kids must be guaranteed that they will not be thrown off of the health insurance they currently have.

Congress must act NOW to protect health care for children and working families.

If Congress does not act now, 1.5 million workers and retirees in multi-employer pension plans could lose the pensions they were promised by up to 60 percent. People who have worked their entire lives for guaranteed pensions should not be forced to live in poverty because Congress broke the promise it made to them.

Congress must act NOW to protect the earned pensions of 1.5 million American workers.

While members of Congress return home for holiday celebrations, many people in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will not be able to turn on their Christmas lights because they continue to have no electricity as a result of the devastation caused by the recent hurricanes. Congress must pass significant disaster relief to help the people of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida.

Congress must act NOW to provide financial disaster assistance to those communities hit hard by recent natural disasters.

Sisters and brothers: Our message is simple. Congress cannot simply close shop, go home and leave millions of working people in desperate anxiety.

Please send a message to Speaker Ryan and Senate Leader McConnell. Sign my petition telling them don’t shut down Congress for the holidays until you address the pressing needs of the American people. Don’t give tax breaks to billionaires while ignoring the suffering of working families.

Thank you for making your voice heard. The struggle continues.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Double Standards in D.C.

mcmorris and trump(Letter to the Editor) I don’t want to insult anybody’s intelligence, but still feel compelled to state the obvious: If U.S Congressional members are forced to resign by sexual harassment charges, what about our president?

Congressional Democrats have generally been willing to force resignations, including those of their own offending party members.  But considerably more pressure is required by congressional Republicans like our Rep. McMorris Rodgers to effect the president’s resignation.  Unfortunately, as pointed out in a prominent eastern Washington newspaper’s 12/7/17 editorial, there is a double standard among most congressional Republicans: offending Democrats should resign but not Republicans. Once again congressional Republicans choose political gain over ethics and morality.

McMorris Rodgers

As usual, our own US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers marches lockstep with the Republican leadership’s double standard, showing her continual reluctance to criticize the president and with no effort in learning her constituents’ views on the subject.

The good news is that we can change all this, at least locally, by electing Lisa Brown to replace McMorris Rodgers in 2018.

Norm Luther
Spokane, WA

Sutherland Now Aims for the 9th Legislative District

Matthew SutherlandI am please to see that Democrat Matthew Sutherland has decided to run for the 9th Legislative District of Eastern Washington instead of the race against Cathy McMorris Rogers for her 5th Congressional seat. The rumor is that he has decided to run against Republican Joe Schmick for the 9th LD, and I believe this is a winnable race for Matthew. The 9th LD includes the Cities of Pullman, Clarkston and Colfax, WA, an all of Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, and Whitman Counties as well as parts of Spokane County.

Matthew Sutherland, a Washington State University alumnus who announced his candidacy early this year, told a gathering of Democratic donors Sunday night he was stepping aside to support former state Sen. Lisa Brown. Sutherland will run for one of two positions in the state House of Representatives in the 9th Legislative District.

“I’m committed to making decisions that are best for the team,” Sutherland said in an interview Monday. “I think this is the best decision for Eastern Washington.”