In 2010, the big decisions about Spokane Valley — about a city center, zoning regulations, the sprawling Sprague-Appleway Revitalization plan — came down to a 5-2 vote. The "Positive Change" bloc (Tom Towey, Brenda Grassel, Rose Dempsey, Dean Grafos and Gary Schimmels) would VOTE to dismantle aspects of the SARP plan, while Rose Dempsey and Bill Gothmann would vote to preserve it (or at least parts of it.)
In January, Rose Dempsey, feeling that her views were unheeded and ignored, resigned from city council. Now the second voice of dissent, Bill Gothmann, says he will not run for re-election.
Earlier this year, Gothmann had filed with the Public Disclosure Commission for a 2011 candidacy. He says that he had not made up his mind at that time — he just wanted to be able to legally pay money to set up a website.
Last week, Gothmann spent eight days in Kaua'i with his wife, discussing whether he should run for office for another term. Ultimately, he decided that, really, he'd rather focus his retirement on spending time with his wife and traveling to places like Kaua'i. He says he welcomes the private life, away from the public "fishbowl."
Gothmann served as a councilman for six years. (Spokane Valley, unlike Spokane, doesn't have term limits.)
"I'm not a believer that city council members should be lifelong politicians," Gothmann says. "I think council should be citizen folks, not professional politicians."
This November, four city council spots will be up for grabs in the election, at least three of which will not feature a full-term incumbent.