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Spokane Speaks 

& & The KXLY/Inlander Poll & & & &





& & Community interviews conducted by Pia K. Hansen on Thursday, Aug. 10, and Friday, Aug. 11. & &





& & Randy B. lives in Lincoln County, but used to live in Spokane and played football for EWU. Came in to watch the Seahawks practice in Cheney. & &





How does he think the City Council as a group is doing?


"City politics in Spokane is the biggest farce ever. Obviously one family is running the whole show, and some of the council members have figured that out and play into that. Plus, the council is always at each other's throats. I'm glad I don't live in Spokane anymore."





Will a new strong mayor change this?


"It's gonna be a real challenge getting things done around here. I'm not sure it matters who is elected. It depends on all the people involved whether they can get anything done."





Which specific election issue does he care about?


"It's more like a state issue, you know, Washington doesn't have a whole lot to offer people who try to start new businesses. There's no start up compensation at all. Neighboring states such as Idaho has a lot more to offer."








Stephanie and Kevin, brought young daughter Baylie to the Seahawks practice.


How are the County Commissioners as a group?


Stephanie: "I have no idea, I don't pay any attention, and I don't vote. I figure, if I don't vote I can't complain about anything."





Is there a specific election issue she cares about?


Stephanie: "The road conditions in the county are so bad. But I don't think we should pay an extra tax to drive on them and pay for repairs. We already pay to drive our cars, for gas and insurance. The county has money stored away somewhere, because the government always pinches every penny they can. They should use the surplus on the roads."





How is the City Council doing?


Stephanie: "I don't have a favorite in there at all, and I think they are doing a really bad job."


Kevin: "This whole garage thing, I mean, they signed a contract and they should just get on with it and pay the bill. Instead, they argue and fight like a bunch of kids."





Do they have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


Stephanie: "No"


Kevin: "None of them are separated from politics right now, so who ever gets elected will just belong to one camp or the other. No, I don't even think Powers is really independent, he'll do that, too."





Is there a specific issue that matters to him in this election?


Kevin: "No, I don't have a specific issue, really, but Spokane is getting a reputation as a less desirable city to live in, what with the political mess and the bad roads and all. We lived on the north side right next to this road they'd patch every summer and then, come next year, it would be all bad again. I say, hold out and then fix it right, the stuff they are doing right now is just crazy."








& & Shirley Hillhouse, lives in the county, in the Valley, and came out to Cheney to see the Seahawks practice. & &


Does it matter to her, who becomes strong mayor?





"Yes, I think it does. I really dislike Mayor Talbott. I think, if I could vote today, I would vote for Senator West."





How are the county commissioners doing as a group?


"As a group they have done a good job."


How?


"What matters to me is that they spend the money in the right way. There's been all this I-695 confusion about how to spend the money that's left or what it is. They need to get the whole county's input in that, and also on how to spend the surplus."


"They need to have more open meetings, where people are not intimidated to stand up and say something. If only you knew they would listen, but I wouldn't be comfortable standing up at those meetings and saying what I mean."





How does she rate the county commissioners one at a time?


"Roskelley is OK."


"I don't care for Kate McCaslin, that's for sure. Politically we are just at two different ends and I'm not a fan of Phil Harris - let's just go back and talk about Roskelley!"





& & Steve Bertram, former EWU student now a staff member who lives in Cheney. We met him as he was taking a break on EWU's mall, with Melissa Passarello who'd just moved to Cheney from Seattle. & &


Is there a city election issue that's important to him?





"The human rights ordinance. I'd like to have that revised. The ordinance they passed was changed before they voted on it so it doesn't include transgendered people. I'd like to see an addendum to that."


"Housing in Spokane, like some of those awful old apartment buildings need to go. We need to see some newer, nicer, places instead. But affordable, they must be affordable."





Who does he like for strong mayor?


"Not West, definitely not West. He is not very popular out here on campus after his merger proposal between EWU and WSU. And not Talbott either."


"Powers and Kroboth? I don't know a whole lot about them so I wouldn't really know who to chose."





Bertram says he doesn't have an opinion on the county commissioners at all.





How about Melissa's views?


"I don't have a car so public transportation is real important to me. When I talked to them here at EWU about taking this job, they said 'oh yeah, there are busses every half hour.' But then I-695 came and they cancelled some of the busses so now we are down to one an hour again. I want to know who's going to do something about that - they'd get my vote."








& & Janet Anderson is having coffee outside Cabin Coffee on Cannon Street, while meeting with Browne's Addition's neighborhood council. & &


How's the council doing as a group?


"I think it's embarrassing. It appears that the council is preoccupied with its own internal conflict. How you conduct yourself among yourselves sends a strong message about how you do business."





Who'll be a good strong mayor?


"I do not support West. Jim's and my politics are just vastly different. The other ones I'm not really sure about."





What does she think is an important issue in the local election?


"Neighborhood councils are real important to me. Strong neighborhoods with active citizen participation are important to a city. Getting the neighborhood councils on the city charter is very important, I think. Having us on the books makes us stronger."





What does she think about the different city council members?


"Phyllis Holmes is just wonderful, she listens to what you have to say. But I have real mixed feelings about Eugster. He has this attitude of superiority that's really offensive to me, and a lack of curtsey toward his fellow council members."


"Roberta Greene remembers things, like with this boundary dispute we've had going on, she was the only one that remembered we had already talked about it this spring."


"I really miss Jack Geraghty. He knew how to get some good work done around here."








& & Lonnie Sandros, a mechanic, who has owned Lonnie's Auto on S. Perry for 10 years. The sign in his shop reads: Credit policy -- absolutely none -- no exceptions. & &


Does he have a favorite strong mayor?


"I guess West would be the good one. He's got experience."





How's the city council doing?


"City council is doing bad, it's just bad stuff -- they just don't get it at all. All that fighting and stuff."





Is there a city council member who's doing a good job?


"Suppose that Yager guy, you know? Oh, it's Eugster? He's all right, he goes a little overboard once in awhile, but he's more straight than the other ones."





Are there specific issues he cares about in the upcoming local election?


"They really should enforce the speed limits around here."


"About downtown, you know, Spokane is just like this big hick town. They are trying to turn downtown into some kind of Seattle, make it look like a big city. Well, that's just never gonna happen. And they are tearing down the old buildings."


"They should put some money into the roads, instead of that parking garage. The roads are not this bad in other places where you go."





What's it like running small businesses in Spokane?


"It's real hard running a small business. The taxes are really tough, specially in Washington. Taxes for small businesses are too high." "The Perry business district has really come together over the last couple of years. It's working out real well, we just got that $46,000 grant for the neighborhood improvements we are trying to do."








& & Tony Blake, who works for Wonder Bread, outside of the Altamont Pharmacy on S. Perry. & &


Does he have a favorite strong mayor candidate:


"I don't have that much of an impression of the different candidates. I guess, I'm just not real impressed with either one of them. I'd rather see a more liberal type of person in office -- I think these are all pretty conservative."





How's the city council doing?


"They really need to find some common ground. They are some outstanding individuals, I sure, but they need to get along better."





How does he think the individual council members are doing?


"Roberta Greene should be commended for the job she is doing. She shows real interest in the way the community is and how people can fulfill their dreams. It's hard to fulfill dreams because of the way things are around here."


What does he mean?


"We need to look at the racial harmony in the community. There are problems is with the lack of diversity, especially in the workplace, and there is no diversity training. The diversity training is what's most important and you just can't get that around here."





What does he think about the county commissioners?


"The commissioners are too secluded. No one really knows what they are doing. They need more exposure."








& & Outside The Shop, also on South Perry, we meet graphic designer Steven Parker, who's lived in Seattle for 10 years and then moved back to Spokane. & &


Does he have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


"Steve Eugster has the best name but I know he isn't running. Talbott has the experience, you know, he knows how the building is laid out and he can find his office real easily. Powers, I don't know, he's an attorney that doesn't speak well for him does it?"


"And West, I just don't know West, I don't know about him. Except he seems to not know a whole lot and then he has this ability to get really mad about something. I think he'd just create an adversarial relationship on the council."





How's the city council doing as a group?


"I'm not incredibly happy with the River Park Square and the way the garage has been handled. The council bent over to kiss the Cowles' ass, and that was very ill advised. But the contract they signed is good, and if they go to court then the Cowles will win. I'm sure the council consists of decent people, but they don't have a lot of foresight. They seem a little naive, maybe."





Which issues concern him in the upcoming local election?


"It bothers me that the bond rating has slipped so low. In order to entice new development you need to be able to borrow money. A low rating is usually not associated with a very progressive community."


"Spokane has this little sister attitude. I lived in Seattle but I chose to come back and live here. Spokane has a good infrastructure, and there are pristine natural areas all around here. In Seattle I had to drive for two hours to get out of town -- here I go half-an-hour and I'm in the middle of nowhere."


"As far as downtown goes, I don't feel like it's the most important area. Some businesses, like high tech ones, do great down there, but retail doesn't do as well because of the congestion. I think the retail businesses should get out of downtown. Williams Sonoma is nice, but it won't revitalize downtown just because we get one."


"But you get more for your money here. I was able to buy an old farm house on 10-acres, between Spokane and Cheney -- you try doing the same thing in King County, whoa, that's just way too expensive."








& & 90-year-old Mabel Ohde was sitting in the shade, eating donut- holes, as her daughter was holding a yard sale on S. Perry and Eighth. She says she has 8 years of college (from GU) and taught for 24 years in Spokane. She can't read anymore because her eyes are bad, but she listens to everything -- we believe that! & &





General comment on national politics:


"Clinton has hurt this area a lot. Just look at all the forest fires, the environmentalists have prevented them from going in and cleaning out the forests, and that SOB in the White House let them do it, so now the whole thing is burning."


"In the presidential election, Spokane seniors don't care to think who to vote for, because they have been preached to by the democrats that if they don't vote democrat, they'll lose their social security. Well, excuse me, but it's the republicans who have fought to preserve it!"





Who's her favorite strong mayor candidate?


"I guess it would be West, he has a lot of experience. He's a good man, even though he got divorced from his first wife. He's always been real political, I've known him since he was a teenager."





Is there an issue that concerns her in the local election?


"They should do something about downtown to get the crowd down there. And we need the community colleges, SCC and SFCC, don't do anything to hurt them. I went to GU but we need the colleges for the people who can't pay to go to GU or Whitworth or some expensive place. The community colleges help you get a job and they back their graduates, EWU never did that --I never went to Cheney."


"Well, we used to have two busses going by here, and it was real easy for me to go downtown and do my business. Now it's hard. I don't go anymore. That we don't have the bus is not the downtown's fault, it's the fault of the conditions at city hall."





How's the city council doing as a group?


"It's some real bizarre people. Like Eugster, he works for the city and now he's suing the city. He shouldn't be allowed to stay in office if he's doing that."





Is anybody on the council doing a good job?


"I'm sure their intentions are good, when they get elected, they say all the right things, but then they seem to forget."


"I guess Steve Corker is doing a good job, even though he's a democrat."


"I don't like Nethercutt, he just wants to go back to DC to that big nice home he's bought there. He won't be reelected, he's not hip."








Here are a few comments from Dave, who we met by the carrousel with his small son. He wouldn't let us take his picture or use his last name.





Does he have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


"It doesn't matter a whole lot to me who becomes strong mayor, someone has just gone bought them anyhow."





How's the city council doing as a group?


"I'm sure the city council has good intentions, but there is a lot of things they could do better, like handling the money. Instead of giving themselves raises they should give the money to the schools. The programs there never have enough money."


"Instead of that north-south freeway they have talked so much about, they should built a park."


"They could also keep school or some programs open over summer to keep the kids out of trouble, you know, keep them busy."





Is there a specific issues that concerns him in this upcoming election?


"Downtown, some people are so concerned about the street kids and the panhandling. It's only a handful of kids, I mean, just ignore them if you don't want to give any money. It's not a big deal. Besides where are they gonna go if they get turned off the streets down here?"








& & Outside of Boo Radley's, we ran into banker Randy Hurlbert (who'd just bought a new Pez dispenser). & &


Does he have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


"For strong mayor, I have no favorite yet. It's just too early."





How is the city council doing as a group?


"I wish there would be less posturing and more getting stuff done. It seems like they table three times as many items as they make decisions on."





How are the council members doing individually?


"I like Roberta Greene, she seems well prepared at the meetings."





Are there any specific issues that concern him in this upcoming election?


"In general we need more economic development, for instance that new convention center, they should really get moving on that."


"As for the garage, we need to solve that issue now, and move on. People are tired of that mess."


"A good thing about downtown is we've always had more of a downtown culture than many cities. We should expand on that."


"It would be great if the symphony could buy the Fox Theater, and I think the city should come right out and say it's OK to put in some parking over there, too. I like what's happening around the Davenport and on West First."








& & Outside of Benjamin's Cafe, Cassie Devaney and her friend Christa DiStefano were having a pop in the shade. This is what Cassie said: & &


Does she have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


"For strong mayor, all I now is that I don't want Talbott and I don't want Eugster. If we get either it's going to be dangerous for the city, because they'll just create more of power struggle than we already have, and that wouldn't be in the best interest of the city."





How's the city council performing as a whole?


"I don't think they can do a good job, as long as we have that majority/minority thing going on. That ruins the whole thing."


"I like Roberta Greene, She's intelligent and she's got insight and she does her homework. She's not just acting on emotion."


"Eugster just does a really bad job, but I think Higgins has come out more and is confronting Eugster more, that's positive. I have a positive opinion of Higgins, too."





Are there any local issues that concern her in the election?


"The rehabilitation of downtown. And improvement of the streets, we really need that. And we don't need another tax to pay for street repairs, that would just be punishing the population because the government can't figure out how to manage its money."





Here's what Christa said:


Does she have a favorite strong mayor candidate?


"I like John Powers. I've seen all four of the candidates together and Powers seem to be talking logically, you know, step by step, like he has a plan."





How's the city council doing?


"They have lost my confidence completely, in that they'll ever do the right thing."


"I mean, look at the River Park Square parking garage. The other council made a deal, now go with it. You shouldn't make deals without doing your homework, but once you have, regardless, you should stick with them."





Will a new strong mayor help the council situation?


"I'm a proponent of strong mayor, but I'm not sure how it's going to work out here."





How are the individual council members doing?


"I like Phyllis Holmes, she's thinking through things and she makes good decisions. She listens."


"I don't understand Eugster. I'm not saying that he doesn't have good ideas, it's just the way he says it. He needs to learn how to compromise."





What are the most important issues in the upcoming election?


"Revitalization of downtown is important, just as it was 10 years ago. I think back then we had a softer group of people on the council, today it's like everyone there has such a hard edge, it's almost like the council has a reverse effect on downtown development -- even if we still have the same goals."


"They should put monthly parking in the new garage. I don't see why they wont. I mean, if I'd be walking past Nordstrom every day I would be in there spending money, too."


"We need more parking for Riverfront Park. It's too hard for people to go there, you know, if you don't get a spot right at the end of Howard, you have to go park way up north, and with the strollers and the diaper bags and the kids and all, it's just too hard for people to get in here. Maybe we need a rail system? I don't know, but downtown has to make it easier for people to get in here, it's got to get more accessible."





For more in-depth coverage return to our & lt;a href="http://www.theinlander.com/general.shtml" & local news page & lt;/a & .

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