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The Dark Horse 

A couple Republicans rally around a Dem; plus, a new proposal for red-light monies

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CROSSING THE AISLE

The Democratic challenger to Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, has received endorsements from two Republican elected officials.

A mailer distributed by Amy Biviano, an accountant and former chair of the Spokane County Democrats, shows her shaking hands with Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, a Republican, and features a quote from him backing her run.

The mailer also features an endorsement from Liberty Lake councilwoman Cristella Kaminskas, who calls herself a “dyed-in-the-wool Republican.” She says she believes Biviano can work more effectively with both parties to promote business.

In an interview with The Inlander, though, Kaminskas says that Biviano faces an uphill battle as a challenger to a Republican incumbent in District 4, once of the region’s more conservative legislative districts.

“It’s really kind of too bad that Amy isn’t kind of running as an independent,” Kaminskas says.

Knezovich and Shea did not return emails for comment.

— CHRIS STEIN

PAYING FOR COPS

After Karen Kearney saw her neighbors fall victim to break-ins and burglaries last fall, she went looking for money to get a COP shop near her neighborhood. But her latest idea on where to find that money has some of Spokane’s other neighborhoods angry.

Kearney, chair of the Balboa/South Indian Trail neighborhood council, and Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori want to amend city law to allow neighborhoods to tap funds from red-light cameras for COP shops (short for “community oriented policing”), which are neighborhood police stations, often staffed by volunteers. It costs about $6,000 to set up a COP shop, plus rent and upkeep.

As it stands, neighborhoods can only use that money on traffic-calming projects.

When Kearney presented the idea to the Community Assembly — a coalition of the city’s neighborhood councils — most other neighborhood representatives disapproved, saying they worry it could open a Pandora’s box of possibilities for where the money could go.

Salvatori says he sees the change as adding “another menu option” for neighborhoods, which submit applications for how they’ll spend the funds that must ultimately be approved by City Council.

The council will consider the change at their meeting on Monday.

— HEIDI GROOVER

DOWNGRADED

By the time voters in April approved a Spokane Public Facilities District tax extension, the bond rating agency Moody’s Corp. had already downgraded some of the PFD’s existing debt.

Moody’s in December downgraded some existing PFD bonds to “A2” from “A1.”

After voters approved the PFD tax extension, Spokane city officials decided not to provide loan guarantees for the bonds that would finance the project, which would, among other things, expand the Spokane Convention Center and add seats to the Spokane Arena.

Instead, city officials are proposing to raise the motel-hotel tax, which would then provide loan-guarantee funding.

The downgrade — which has nothing to do with the PFD’s proposed expansion — doesn’t concern Council President Ben Stuckart.

“That’s old news, and that’s not affecting [the PFD’s proposed expansions],” Stuckart says. He added that emails circulating about the downgrade were prompted by a PFD critic, whom Stuckart declined to name.

The downgrade was sparked by a series of 2003 bonds and “primarily reflects recent declines in pledged revenues and debt-service coverage,” wrote the ratings agency.

— JOE O’SULLIVAN

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