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Mayor takes issue with police articles


Electric City Mayor Jerry Sands took issue at the city council meeting last Tuesday night, Aug. 12, with two stories about him that appeared in successive weeks in The Star newspaper.

“It makes me look like a village idiot,” he told the council and some dozen members of the community who had come to the meeting.

The first story had outlined how the mayor went to police headquarters in Grand Coulee and told Chief Mel Hunt to back off enforcing Electric City’s noise ordinance. Police had issued a citation to Electric City Bar and Grill because its outside live music was too loud. He told police to not enforce the 10 p.m. time for loud music, but let it go on to 11 p.m. Sands also instructed police not to go into the establishment if they had complaints, but to call them on the phone instead.

Sands told the council that he had been at the establishment the night that the citation was issued but had to leave because the music was too loud.

Then Sands took issue with a second story that reported the police department was going to enforce the standing noise ordinance until Electric City’s council changed it. Police also said they will go where they need to go to enforce existing laws.

In essence, the report suggested that Sands does not run the Grand Coulee Police Department.

On the council agenda Tuesday night was a discussion on changing the noise ordinance. The council decided it wanted to change the noise ordinance so local firms wishing to have live music could do so without restrictions until midnight. Currently, the noise issue comes into effect at 10 p.m. The council set a special meeting for Thursday night, Aug. 14 to draft a revised noise ordinance, with the intent to change it. That meeting was cancelled because the city wouldn’t have enough council members present to pass the revised ordinance.

Mayor Sands has indicated on a number of occasions that he would like the city to have its own police department. Residents will have an opportunity to vote on a levy issue Nov. 5, to raise money to support policing the city.

It all depends on whether the two city councils -- Electric City’s and Grand Coulee’s -- can come up with a plan to either develop a joint police department or work out a contract for law enforcement that goes beyond 2015. Or whether, alternatively, Electric City could start its own police department.

Sands has stated at council meetings that he wants a police department that will do what he wants it to do.

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