Election Results Updated Nov. 15, 2011
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In perhaps the worst four economic years of any modern Spokane mayor, Mary Verner has managed to build a bulkhead against cuts to progressive public services. Spokane is struggling, like most cities; holding it together has been impressive.
As we reject instead of re-elect, we haven't always looked carefully at who we"d promote. This time it"s David Condon. His stated focus on economic development is smart — it's the exact place where a mayor can leave his mark. And the Condon family is known for its boundless entrepreneurial spirit — a good block to be chipped from.
His big problem is the dark shadow cast by his former boss, Cathy McMorris Rodgers. As members of Congress like Rodgers continue to do nothing to solve the nation's problems in its greatest time of need, voters here are left to wonder whether Condon shares those views and would bring such dead-end politics to Spokane. That would be a disaster. Read more
Either Dennis Hession or Ben Stuckart will be an improvement in this post, so Spokane is due for an upgrade here. But Stuckart gets the nod here for the chance to bring a fresh perspective and a catchy enthusiasm to the Council. He will build coalitions among his existing connections on the Council, but he's also shown he's not bound by convention and will break through the political logjams. Stuckart will be a dedicated fighter for a better Spokane.
Despite his hefty edge in experience, Hession is too identified with the past. He was right about a lot of things as mayor — and we endorsed him four years ago — but time has shown that Hession also had some big blind spots. The fact is, as mayor he never quite connected with the citizens. And after sitting at the mayor's desk, going back to council president may not be a good fit. Read more
District One is a puzzle, as apathy and economics add up to the consistently lowest election turnouts among the city's three districts. The impact of this situation in this election is that the two best candidates for this job — John Waite and Luke Tolley — lost in the primary.
Still, Donna McKereghan is the obvious choice, as she is poised to join the Council to help find solutions for the citizens.
Based on his work as an anti-government activist — pushing statewide initiatives that curtail public services, decrying anything progressive as a one-world-government plot — Mike Fagan would either add nothing to the process or be a disruptive force on the Council. Read more
He's consistently the most thoughtful, outside-the-box member of the Council, but Richard Rush and all his potential can also be the most frustrating. He's right about New Urbanism and the city's future, but turning it into policy has been a challenge. The cerebral stuff is great, but action is what Spokane needs. Clarity and simplicity on issues could make his second term even better.
Mike Allen has some great ideas, like means-testing proposed city policy, but in the end the kind of wisdom and ideas that Rush brings to the job are too valuable to pass up. Read more
When Steve Salvatori moved here, he got involved in volunteering and helping small businesses succeed at his business incubator. If only every recent transplant had that passion. Salvatori strikes us as a flexible, open-minded conservative. His business acumen will be an asset on the Council, especially in helping make Spokane as business friendly as possible, without sacrificing important standards.
Joy Jones has shown a lot of promise in her first campaign, and in time she could continue to develop as a leader on the local scene. Read more
There are some great things in Prop. 1. We agree that corporations should not be given the same rights as people. But will that debate really be settled here in Spokane? We agree that, for too long, our neighborhoods have been steamrolled by developers. But can't we solve those problems collaboratively and by enforcing the Comprehensive Plan, and not in the courts? We agree that the Spokane River is an irreplaceable asset. But haven't we seen a lot of progress on the river, from industrial changes, to new regulations and even the addition of a Riverkeeper?
As we wrote in 2009, as admirable an impulse as this is, it's "too much Utopia and not enough reality." Implementing a host of new rights will wind up in the courts, to the point where it likely would prevent the kind of progress Envision Spokane wants. Read more
Measure 1 is good for Spokane County, but it may be sunk for simply asking for any funding in a down economy. That would be too bad, as it solves a nagging problem with relatively few dollars. The plan to combine a variety of animal control services under one roof, and save all jurisdictions real money, is a glimpse at what combined government can do. As we adjust to doing more with less, regional government is fast becoming a necessity; our leaders deserve credit for acting on this chance at eliminating duplicated services. (Some communities have combined their police departments to save money that can be spent putting more cops on the streets.) Read more
Tim Eyman's latest initiative aims to micromanage how the state can fund transportation projects via tolls. He says he's not against them; he just wants the Legislature to be in charge of setting those tolls, not the state's governor-appointed Transportation Commission. (The Legislature already is called upon to determine whether a project can or can't use tolls to pay its way.) This is really a Western Washington fight, as the Puget Sound region struggles to keep up with growth relying on a gas tax revenue stream that's mostly tapped out. Now they want to do some road projects paid by tolls. In other words, local Seattle drivers would pay for those local projects. For Eastern Washington, this is much preferred to an expansion of the statewide gas tax that would pay for roads we rarely drive on. Keeping the option of toll roads available to Western Washington transportation planners is in our best interest. Read more
We supported this initiative when it was I-1029 and it passed in 2008. Now I-1163 is here to reiterate the need for better training and more rigorous background checks for long-term health care workers. The state has so far declined to fully enact I-1029, citing the state's budget problems — if there's no money, there's no money. Still, reaffirming as the will of the people these changes to protect our most vulnerable citizens is important. When the state's financial outlook improves, the Legislature can enforce I-1163. Read more
If I-1183 is passed, big-box retailers would be given a big edge over small businesses. In fact, only retailers with 10,000 square feet and above would be allowed to sell hard alcohol. That's the problem with having interested parties write public policy — they inevitably pick winners and losers. And we have too much to lose on this one. Read more