The primary election for the Valley city council is quite a race. There are 48 candidates in the running, and during the past week we contacted every one of them, offering them 100 words to talk about what they'd like to do if elected. Only one flat-out said no, and quite a few didn't get back to us, but the statements of those who did can be read in the following paragraphs.
I have been a resident of the valley for 18 years and was one of the 49 percent who voted against incorporation. I am willing to commit a large amount of my personal time to read, analyze and listen to the citizens' input on the many issues facing us.
The new city can use current county services for the near future. This would give the new council time to research the options and then commit to the best and fiscally conservative solution for these services.
We need to set up a Port Authority and/or a Foreign Trade Zone to create good jobs for the residents of the Valley.
I started Central Valley Sheriff Community Oriented Policing along with other dedicated individuals. I know personally the value of working with citizens and the value of the Office of the Sheriff.
As Chairperson of the Roads Transition Committee, I also know the value of the Spokane County Roads Department. Their Performance-Based Budgeting Maintenance program allows them to save money for matching grant dollars to build and upgrade roads.
The Fire Districts have an extensive investment in experienced personnel and state-of-the-art equipment. I am committed to continue protecting this community by working with these professionals. Thank you for your support!
As a city council member, I would like to make sure that we first preserve and protect the quality of life that we enjoy, then look to what changes can be made, within budgetary constraints, to enhance the services provided to the community.
Making sure that our families and homes are safe and we can travel well-maintained roads is the first priority.
Then the council needs to look towards enhancing the business climate to provide jobs for our children, our grandchildren and ourselves. And we must certainly consider the needs for recreation and art, as these things add to the quality of our lives. The council must be creative in its approach in making these changes and think outside the box as to how to efficiently achieve these goals.
I believe we, as a city, have a good, solid base. We need to keep the family quality of life solid and look to develop a strong business environment to attract new business to the Valley.
I believe we should make a strong commitment to the existing Sheriff and Fire Departments and develop a plan that helps ALL the citizens of the Spokane Valley be happy with the direction the Valley takes.
Loyd E. Petersen
I have spent 23 years working as an appraiser for county and state government, and I have worked as an independent fee appraiser in Spokane County. I can bring my knowledge of what creates and maintains value of both business and residential properties to the new city. I was Chief Appraiser for the Washington State Department of Transportation at the time all of the freeways -- including I-90 -- were built and therefore have a vast knowledge of roads.
I believe in open and honest government with no behind-closed-doors meetings. By utilizing competitive biding for services, no new taxes will be needed.
Jim McCallum and Andrew Holguin are also running for Position One; Holguin declined to participate.
If you're like me, you:
* respect the value of present county services and would initially contract for most of them;
* appreciate the better traffic flow of the Valley couplet;
* like having limits on billboards;
* would choose an existing building for city hall and new services rather than the "new building at Mirabeau Point" concept where it is out of the way for everyone;
* want to keep the Valley affordable, safe, open, green and prosperous;
* want a council that is creative yet efficient, knowledgeable, yet able to hear advice.
Choose me to work for you!
I'm a lifelong Valley resident and an active member of the planning committee for the new city. I will fight for no new taxes! I will work to be a fiscal watchdog for the Valley taxpayers. We need to adapt an easier-to-manage comprehensive land use plan than the one the county created. We have the power to do this, and it will help us keep our taxes low.
We also have a golden opportunity to make our zoning rules more business friendly, creating good jobs for our children and maintaining our beautiful environment.
We should try and attract a major research university, which would help us attract clean, high-tech jobs with good salaries.
We in the Spokane Valley have the rare opportunity and responsibility to create a new city. I want to live in a community that is friendly to both citizens and business, that keeps crime and taxes low, that maintains its streets and parks and makes us proud to call it home.
We can achieve this by electing leaders who are responsive to the needs of the people and committed to solving problems by working together.
If you share this clear vision for our new city, I ask you to vote Steve Taylor for Spokane Valley.
I would like to serve on the council because I believe it should consist of members who represent all segments of Spokane Valley residents. The perspective I bring is that of a working-class taxpayer/homeowner with school age children.
I want a strong, financially sound infrastructure that provides services at better then current levels with the same or lower taxes. Attracting good-paying jobs, lowering crime rates and generally making it an even nicer place to live and work. I am ready to listen to all ideas concerning the future of the city, and what changes residents want or need.
Edward J. Mertens
I have lived in the Valley most of my life. I am a retired businessman, and have been married 52 years to Vi, and have eight children and 14 grandchildren.
I worked on the incorporation effort, and the reality is we now have a city. We must elect businessmen and women since we have a council-manager form of government.
I visualize a business- and family-friendly city that is drug-free and has more police protection.
We must concentrate on bringing more business with incentives and insist on education to provide jobs that can keep our children here. We will be successful.
Robby Currier is also running for Position Two.
When elected council member of our new city, I intend to work with residents of the city and the other city council members to bring about a more friendly atmosphere, trying to keep our existing businesses and attracting new industry and businesses to the Valley.
Increasing the number of available jobs with livable wages within the community should increase the tax base needed to provide city services without raising the tax rate and keep us from becoming a low-income community.
I'd like to see Sprague be a two-way street again. There are currently 80 businesses closed from Fancher to Greenacres.
Ron Poplawski Jr.
I will fight to ensure your tax dollars are spent in your best interest, and, when feasible, saved for when they are needed more. Taxes do not have to be increased to continue to fund the services you are accustomed to.
Business recruitment and development of existing businesses is a priority to maintain a solid economic base and living wage jobs for our residents.
All decisions that I make will be based upon facts and not opinions or special interests. Governmental accountability and teamwork amongst the City Council is essential.
Ron Poplawski Jr. is building a tradition of cooperation and trust.
I am the only candidate running for office with a background in social service, someone you can be sure will focus on the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
I will address the needs of our youth, elderly and disabled citizens first and foremost.
I will preserve and improve bus service, establish youth development programs and community centers and provide more assistance to the poor.
I will research more ways to proactively address the drug problem in our midst. A city that cares for its citizens produces citizens that care for their city. Please join me in taking the first step.
John G. Kallas
I am running for councilman as a fair and equitable representative of my Valley constituents, both citizens and businesses. Accountability and fiscal responsibility must be addressed from the very start. My vision is to make our city the best that it can possibly be. My goals are to provide citizens with efficient, top-notch law enforcement and fire protection.
Economic development will occur, provided that we maintain and improve our transportation system to meet future needs. The Spokane River, the aquifer and other air and water issues will be vital for this council to address. Our quality of life must prevail.
Jeremy Riley and Mike Devleming are also running for Position Three.
I am a lifetime Spokane Valley resident. I live with my fianc & eacute;e Lois and her three daughters, and I have one son, Ethan. We like the Spokane valley very much and feel it is a great place to raise a family.
I am quite certain there are three ways to serve ALL of your needs and to maintain Spokane Valley as a wonderful place to live:
1. Work hard -- I will do just that.
2. People involvement -- that's your job, so I need to hear from YOU.
3. Planning -- a plan is needed before actions are executed.
Before we undertake any major monetary programs, we have to start with a minimal government base and expand as needed in an appropriate, timely manner. This would likely include contracting of some county and state municipalities.
Sean Patrick Shields
The formation of our new city is both exciting and daunting. A successful transition will take strong leadership. I intend to provide that leadership through integrity and fiscal responsibility while promoting policies to keep our neighborhoods safe and increase the availability of high-wage jobs.
There is a lot at stake in this election. We need to get our basic systems and interlocal agreements in place and ease into this new government, but we need leaders with vision who will hold themselves accountable for their actions. I urge everyone to ask themselves what they want from our City and vote for the candidates who reflect their own hopes and desires.
John W. Haley
I have the skills and qualifications to serve as a city council member. My family and I have lived in the valley for 17 years. I have many years of trustworthy leadership experience.
During military service, I was entrusted with managing and distributing classified materials. I have been a top resource in manufacturing for 25 years. My technical and leadership skills are being used in the industrial sector as a safety inspector and advisor for many large companies and government organizations. Counseling our clients, while keeping budgetary concerns in mind, certainly qualifies me to fill a city council position.
I have never held a political office but have always given close attention to local issues. It is now time for me to step up and serve the community I love.
My goals as a city councilman would be to have the police force experienced in dealing with the growing meth problem, as well as an investigation unit for all property crimes.
To select and hire the best City Manager, who must have experience with starting a new city.
To not add any new taxes or increases in current tax structure.
To simplify the building permit process, making it easier to get a permit as well as much faster.
To keep our citizens informed and seek their input on key issues that impact the Valley city.
And as funds and/or grants become available, to expand the number of police personnel and also expand the new Valley park system.
I have a wife, Myrna Schulteis Schimmels, five grown children, six grandchildren and am a lifetime Spokane Valley resident. I'm the owner of Affordable Lock Express in Veradale. I have 30 years of road, utilities construction and asphalt paving experience and have been the director of the consolidated Irrigation District for 24 years. I am also a member of the North West and Columbia Basin Locksmith Associations.
As Valley residents, we want to maintain the good life we enjoy and have more control on issues affecting our lifestyle, neighborhoods and community. We need to be very prudent about providing cost-effective services while establishing a working budget.
We will succeed in establishing the City of Spokane Valley.
I'm a Valley resident for more than 25 years and a member of the Sheriff's Office for more than 32 years.
My primary goals as a city council member are to protect our environment, to support superior public safety and to ensure no increases in taxes while working to provide a business-friendly atmosphere.
I believe that we need to do what is necessary to protect the aquifer and the quality of air in the Spokane Valley.
I am committed to the maintenance of our current level of services, if not their enhancement. I will encourage contracts for those services from the same agencies that have protected us for so many years.
My priority is lower taxes. When government is forced to be more efficient, it immediately becomes cost-effective.
Safety in our neighborhoods and streets is also a very high priority. With the meth problem growing, we have only one choice. We must protect our families with effective policing and severe punishment for criminals. Severe!
We can bring family-wage jobs here if we are aggressive with incentives for business. Most importantly, we must protect our quality of life. The aquifer is a precious asset.
James P. Smith is also running for Position Four.
When I was first learning about incorporation, I realized that if we were a city, the possibilities would be endless.
We could help bring businesses and jobs into our area, ensuring that our youth can find a good job and stay here to raise their families.
We could create a stronger sense of community identity.
And we could provide better regional representation for the Valley. This is why I supported incorporation and why I am here today. I want to help turn these possibilities into realities.
Dennis L. Kuespert Jr.
I believe that public service should be open to all people, not just those with money and influence. In a local race like this one, I believe special interests, big business and negative campaigning should have no part. I challenge ALL candidates to sign the Citizens League of Greater Spokane's Fair Campaign Pledge, as I have.
I also believe a ban on all new billboards should be imposed. I am against all billboards except those along state highways and federal interstates. Eventually, ALL billboards not along those roads should be taken down.
I believe building permits should be easier to receive, but growth should be managed. Our river and aquifer are unique and precious resources and should be protected intelligently.
Richard D. Munson
We have an unprecedented opportunity to establish a city government that will provide the highest levels of public safety, a true partnership between all elements of our city, a government that will live within its means and not raise taxes and elect public servants who believe character counts.
As your City Councilman, I bring a significant history of education, proven leadership skills and a promise to be civil and accountable to all the citizens of our city. I ask you to vote for me so I can serve our community with integrity and honesty.
Scott M. McClay
I am running for Valley City Council because I am dedicated to delivering the cost-saving efficiencies and better level of services promised to the Valley voters, both those who voted for and especially those who voted against incorporation.
I am a lifelong resident of the Valley, a CVHS graduate, and a current member of the Board of Directors on the Valley Chamber of Commerce. As a successful Valley business owner, I am dedicated to preserving our Valley culture.
My vision for our community is in developing our own reserves and completing sewer projects resulting in better zoning opportunities for development and jobs.
Ryan Turner, Doug Rider, J.F. Goffinet and Joan R. McCurdy are also running for Position Five.
I want to keep our city as neighborly as it always has been, by talking with and listening to my friends and neighbors.
I want to see the Valley become a destination for tourism and activities, with existing attractions to draw people in, like the Dishman-Hills natural area and the Centennial Trail.
I want to see local businesses revitalized and competitive, adding to the quality of our city by creating or maintaining pleasant areas around the existing businesses, like mini-parks, green areas or plazas to entice people to make these areas destinations.
I also want the very best services to protect and serve our city.
My wife Donna and I are 24-year residents of the Spokane Valley. We have six children and five grandchildren. I am a 24-year member and past union officer of the Spokane Valley Fire Fighters.
My goals include increasing public input, requiring accountability for decisions made and maintaining a high degree of integrity with the public.
In the short term, I believe the new city should contract with current services, maybe indefinitely, dependent upon voters' desires and fiscal responsibilities.
As your elected representative, I will always do my best for the community and its residents. I will be accessible, honest and responsive to the citizens.
Our families and our quality of life here in our new city, safe neighborhoods, responsible spending, values and integrity are what I'm passionate about.
Larry Sanderson, Kirk K. Appleby and Mike Flanigan are also running for Position Six.
Louis E. Sims
I will focus first on elimination of government inefficiency, waste and ineffective programs so that tax monies are made available to either 1) give tax relief to taxpayers, or 2) to use for other programs desired by taxpayers, such as the creation of more and higher-paying jobs.
A government's appetite for tax dollars seems to be insatiable. However, at any point in time, there is always a limited amount of money, and this must be prudently spent on the services and programs desired by the taxpayers. I will follow your wishes as it is your money.
John R. Baldwin
It is all about our community. As a councilman, it will be my primary responsibility to keep a pulse on the community and represent our citizens responsibly.
As a Spokane Valley city councilperson, I will ensure the new city council is fiscally responsible and will work to avoid imposing new taxes on the citizens and businesses.
My short-term goal is to ensure the transition is executed with strong accountability to our citizens.
My long-term goal is to create a strong infrastructure for efficient and responsible city growth, to protect our natural resources and create a sound business environment and governmental system.
I support contracting with the established county agencies. Creating new contracts or independent city service agencies will only cause undue burden on our community.
If I'm elected to the Spokane Valley City Council, I want to do many things. First, I want to bring public services under the control of the Valley within five years.
Second, I want to improve the mass transit system in the Valley by bringing in more bus lines and the light-rail train.
Third, I want to make sure that city services are reasonably priced for citizens.
Fourth, I want to help plan a new downtown.
Finally, I want to make sure that the new city council works together as a team and listens to the community for ideas and input.
The decisions ahead of us must be made with careful analysis and balance -- with a genuine desire to create a city where our children and grandchildren can grow and flourish.
My 22 years as an insurance broker and business owner, coupled with a lifetime commitment to civic affairs, has equipped me with the skills necessary to work with diverse groups of people, look at options and analyze data.
Community and business boards have consistently chosen me as a leader to bring together disparate groups for a common purpose.
Working with, for instance, the Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, the N.E. Community Center and others, I have gained the critical thinking skills and the experience to help shape Spokane Valley's future. I bring this strength to the office of city council.
Randy Beck, James Olinger, II, Brian Michael Chavez and Sam A. Conte are also running for Position Seven.
Election Day is Tuesday, September 17.