by THE INLANDER & r & & r & Spokane County Prop. One (Conservation Futures) & r & YES & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & ince 1994 -- when Spokane County joined the state's Conservation Futures program -- it has been socking away little bits of cash, and over time that nest egg has added up to big purchases. Some 4,300 acres have been set aside for permanent public enjoyment. As the region grows, open space is at a premium, so we have to save those key parcels that either connect wildlife corridors or preserve spectacular views. This is the third advisory vote, with the first two (in 1997 and 2002) passing easily. Backers of continuing the program (which, on average, costs homeowners 50 & cent; a month) hope the third passage will prompt county commissioners to make the program permanent. After all, open space is only getting harder to save.
Spokane County Prop. Two (Communications/Crime Check)
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hile upgrading our local law enforcement communications system and restoring Crime Check are both undeniably important, there are too many questions surrounding this proposal to support it now. Is a sales tax increase the best way to pay for this $40 million project (of which only a small fraction will go to Crime Check)? Is there no other recourse for what is yet another unfunded mandate (the FCC ruled that all communications must switch to digital by 2012)? And as for Crime Check, is it simply a system to allow police to keep track of how many crimes are being committed, or are they responding to the calls? What percentage of calls are not being responded to? Why? People are frustrated when their car gets broken into and police don't have the manpower to respond. Victims don't want a live person on the other end of the phone to talk to; they want justice. This proposal needs to come after a communitywide discussion over priorities and options in law enforcement.
City Council, Northeast
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & U & lt;/span & nder the district-based representative system, northeast Spokane has stuck out as a place with its own set of issues. Not only do its residents vote less, but poverty is a bigger problem there than in other parts of the city. Ironically, District 1 may have the most representative council members in Bob Apple and Al French. Both stay focused on issues their district faces, and Apple, in particular, has provided a much-needed voice for the disenfranchised. Despite his occasional missteps, he has found a few issues to champion -- like a new "meth jail" that would focus on treatment for addiction -- that could make a big difference.
City Council, Northwest
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & here's no chance for new blood in this race, as both candidates are political veterans. Steve Corker, however, has the name recognition as part of the City Council that took on the River Park Square controversy. Griffin, on the other hand, has worked the other side of government, as a staffer in Colfax, Liberty Lake, Newport and Airway Heights; he has a master's degree in public administration. So either way, the council will get an infusion of experience, but Griffin brings a fresh, forward-looking perspective, along with a pragmatic approach to solving Spokane's problems.
City Council, South 4 Richard Rush
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's true that Richard Rush is a one-issue candidate -- but it's a pretty big issue. It's become clear that the city's Comprehensive Plan -- our blueprint for livability -- needs a champion. City government will follow the document, but at times it needs to be forced. Rush will also further the transformation of the City Council into a power center that acts upon the needs of the neighborhoods. Brad Stark has been generally effective during his four years, and he has brought a much-needed youthful perspective to the council, but he is less interested in the minutiae of neighborhood politics than Rush.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Ballots must be postmarked by then, or they can be dropped off by 8 pm on Election Night at one of Spokane County's 18 drop-off locations. Go to wei.secstate.wa.gov/wei/spokane for a list of locations. Polls are open in Kootenai County from 8 am-8 pm.