& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & E & lt;/span & LECTION 2006 The gang looking to unseat Spokane County Commissioner Phil Harris in District 3 tells you why, in their own words
& r & DEMOCRATS & r &
It is time for positive leadership with integrity in Spokane County.
Closed-doors, special-deals government doesn't advance our community's best interests or serve taxpayers well, nor does it reflect democracy's highest ideals. It's time to restore trust in county government.
The Democratic primary is critical for two reasons:
1) The winner, who will likely face an entrenched incumbent in the general election, must give the voters a positive option.
2) Once elected, this new commissioner will be one of three people directing a $300 million budget and 2,000 employees as we face important decisions including a possible jail expansion, a new wastewater treatment facility, and compliance with water quality standards for the Spokane River.
We deserve someone with experience to do the job; a balanced, positive, progressive approach; and the ability to work constructively with the other commissioners.
That's why I decided to run for Spokane County Commissioner.
I grew up in the Spokane Valley and I've watched our region change. An exciting future lies ahead for Spokane County-- with its strong educational systems, vibrant neighborhoods, growing businesses and beautiful surroundings--but we face challenges. We need a commissioner who will bring cities, the county and others to the table to find shared solutions; to take a countywide look at neighborhood infrastructure, water quality, the justice system, and roads and transportation so our economy can thrive.
I believe in -- and will work for --
4 Family-wage jobs and economic development with quality of life for all;
4 Sensible, sustainable, healthy growth;
4 Real accountability to taxpayers; fiscal responsibility; and open, balanced, efficient government.
Through years of community involvement and work in public policy and management, I know how to manage a public budget, work with public employees, and craft effective, inclusive public policy in arenas ranging from mental health to criminal justice.
As Kootenai County's legislator in the Idaho House and Senate, I represented the Spokane River and our sole-source aquifer and earned recognition for advocacy on behalf of children, domestic violence victims, people with disabilities, and those facing mental health issues. I activated citizen supporters, built bipartisan coalitions and passed legislation.
I chaired the North Idaho College board and led the college in setting up its first-ever reserve fund; co-chaired the successful 2006 levy campaign for Spokane schools; and helped lead a countywide coalition to pass levies for all our school districts.
I've worked on boards and committees for the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Falls, and other organizations that build our communities, while working at WSU Spokane since 1998.
On the University District project, I've helped bring together neighborhood leaders, developers, and businesses to create a shared, positive vision that will revitalize the neighborhood and create good-paying jobs.
I am honored by the support I have from citizens and leaders: environmentalists and business owners, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, education, health care, neighborhood activists, and more.
Please cast your vote to help elect a county commissioner with experience and a positive vision for our future.
& r & Bonnie Mager & r &
Thank you, Inlander, for giving me this opportunity to deliver my campaign message to our community.
I am not a career politician and I have no special interests backing me. I am running a grassroots campaign with the active support of more than 300 volunteers just like you. Last Wednesday, the only day it rained, I had 63 dedicated people put on their rain coats and trudge through the downpour to deliver my campaign message to nearly 3,000 homes. It is people, not special interests, that are the fueling this campaign -- and it is truly amazing!
For the last 19 years, my only special interest has been this community. As the director of Citizens for Clean Air, the Eastern Washington coordinator for the Washington Environmental Council and the co-founder and director of the Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane, I have had the opportunity to work on many of the important quality-of-life issues that county commissioners have so much control over -- air quality, water quality, land use, health, open government and planning.
As a facilitator and community organizer, I have experience bringing diverse groups together to share ideas and solve problems.
As the administrator of several nonprofits, I know how to pinch pennies and stretch a dollar to the limit.
As a member of countless county and city committees and boards, I have the ability to put personalities aside and tackle problems.
We live in a beautiful place; people are finding out about us, and that means we need to carefully plan our future. I see many things in our county government that are broken -- but I also know that together we can fix them.
I am asking for your vote so that I can put my 19 years of experience to work for you. I am asking for your help, so that together we can all roll up our sleeves and plan a bright and prosperous future for our community.
I look forward to your vote in this primary and again in November's general election!
& r & George Orr & r &
BUDGET: Our cost of living is rising and our personal incomes are stagnant. We cannot afford for our government to add to our financial woes. In 2000, we had an impressive $15 million reserve. Since then, we've had Liberty Lake and the Spokane Valley incorporate. We should be shrinking in size. We haven't, and the reserve is dwindling. I have serious questions with this. Where is Phil? We need leadership over the budget. We need to ask citizens to help set priorities. I am talking about direct input and involvement, asking questions like, "What are our main services and what is the amount we are willing to pay?" I would check with similar-sized counties and demographics and share this information with our citizens to help establish our priorities.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT: We have an extensive blueprint in place to protect our quality of life and manage growth. It is the Growth Management Act. This Act provides an excellent opportunity for open communication between citizens, neighborhoods and developers. The role of government should be unbiased interpretation of the Act and enforcement. If we are fair, everyone wins.
HEALTH: How a community takes care of people in need says a lot about that community. It's time to take an in-depth look at how we care for our most vulnerable citizens so that they may succeed in life. For example, it is reported that more than half of inmates in the United States have a mental health problem. Focusing on this problem locally by supporting more mental health intervention could be cost-effective. Once again, we need citizen involvement and we need to look at similar demographics to deal with the issue.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: The County's obligation is to have a safe community. Just putting more police officers on the street doesn't necessarily accomplish that. It puts an added burden on our courts, prosecutors and jails. The idea of a court/jail in Airway Heights is premature. Once again, we need open discussions with all the stakeholders to determine our criminal justice needs.
PARKS AND RECREATION: We have wonderful parks and recreational areas, but we have a lot of overlapping. I believe we must ask our citizens if regional management would be cost-effective. It is important to have open-evening meetings so that other elected officials, school boards and cities could communicate their needs with the commission. This is not currently happening. We need to make sure that our citizens, the people who use these facilities, have their say.
I ask you what Phil Harris, our current commissioner, has done to address these issues over the last 12 years. We have paid nearly $1,000,000 in salaries and benefits to Mr. Harris. I don't think we've gotten our money's worth. That is why I am asking for your vote. I believe we deserve better.
Vote for me, George Orr, and I'll put words into action. I promise that you will be proud of the results.
& r & Phil Harris & r &
Commissioner Harris was offered the same space as the others, but told The Inlander he looks forward "to sharing my comments with the voters during the general election season."
& r & Larry R. Vandervert & r &
My "Blueprint for Leadership" proposes basic overhauls of the commissioner job. If elected, I will make annual gifts of $20,000 from my commissioner salary to the Gonzaga Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies. What will these gifts do? Presently, the board of commissioners is a spinning top, going nowhere. Spokane County needs a vision. The goal of the gifts is vision for the future of every citizen (security, health, taxes, development). My "Blueprint" gives commissioners a bureaucracy-busting set of policies. Can this be accomplished? Yes, it can. See Revised Code of Washington 36.32. My guarantee: Absolutely no "theft" through eminent domain. (From: Spokane County voters guide at www.votespokane.com)
I propose that the day-to-day job of the Board of County Commissioners be reshaped toward greater vision for the future and less involvement in bureaucratic minutiae.
How will the $20,000 gifts to the Gonzaga Leadership Program be used?
Since the planned reshaping of the commissioner job is toward a more policy-oriented and servant-leader approach in government (as is the Gonzaga leadership program), Gonzaga doctoral students will receive small grants while obtaining firsthand and hands-on experience in actual applications of their studies and development as servant leaders. These plans have the approval of Professor Shann Ferch, Gonzaga Doctoral Leadership Program.
One example of a needed long-range policy: One of several categories of long-range policies I propose is that "over the next 10 years Spokane County develops a world-class health center." This world-class health center would provide unexcelled service to the county but would also be fully ready for any catastrophe. This particular long-range policy puts in a new light visionary developer Marshall Chesrown's desire to negotiate the acquisition of the current health center property for his Kendall Yards development. This acquisition is the opportunity for a giant step forward toward the world-class health center. With truly forward-looking policies, Marshall Chesrown's Kendall Yards vision and its economic power could be harnessed to enhance health services in every nook and cranny of Spokane County. Kendall Yards should be a windfall for health services in Spokane County. All of the people of the county should profit handsomely from all major developments.
Are any of my changes in the board of commissioner job prohibited under the Revised Code of Washington?
No. The main RCWs pertinent to counties are found under RCW Title 36. Nothing in Title 36 would prohibit the proposed changes to a future-oriented, visionary, board of commissioners. In fact, the Snohomish County Public Utilities District in the State of Washington (established by a vote of the people and administered by three elected commissioners) is operated in precisely the way I propose. County commissioners are free to do the same. n
Primary ballots must be postmarked by
Tuesday, Sept. 19 to be counted.