Readers respond to Spokane mayoral candidate's qualifications and developer money in campaigns

Sarah Philip photo


As I follow the campaign for Spokane city elected positions, I often wonder if newcomers to the process fully understand the nature of our city government. The narrow passage of the strong mayor initiative sponsored by Steve Eugster in the late '90s redefined the roles of the mayor and council members. It also dramatically increased the cost of city government.

The current strong mayor form anticipates the election of an individual qualified to carry out the duties previously assigned to the city manager and the compensation confirms that expectation. However, it has periodically proven unrealistic to assume that only someone with the requisite skill set would enter the race for mayor. Consequently the mayor hires yet another individual to be the city administrator who, hopefully, does have the skills to justify the additional highly paid position. Our cost just went up.

Unfortunately, a mayor's lack of qualification and experience in municipal government can lead to missteps and judgment errors. These can be expensive as we have seen in the past.

It is imperative that we select leaders who understand the difference between the private and public sector, who understand the expectations of their roles and who have experience or training required for their positions. The Mayor's Office is no place for on-the-job training. Ben has paid his dues and is qualified for the job.

Phyllis Holmes
Former Spokane City Council Member


The dollars being spent on the mayoral and council president candidates chosen by the Wolff family are mind-boggling to working people of Spokane (as reported by the Spokesman-Review). The Wolffs say they are doing this in order to provide a more "business-friendly" atmosphere in Spokane city government. How much better could it get for the Wolff family?

Do they really need the hardworking, blue-collar people of Spokane to cover costs to provide infrastructure outside our city limits in order for them to build more rental housing on which they can continually raise the rental prices?

Their candidates do not like our local elected officials to talk/take action about clean air/clean water nor about building housing for all that can include social services for those who need regular counseling, etc., in order to continue a semblance of order in their far-less-than-Wolff-family lives. Rather their candidates endorse jailing those who refuse treatment, never mind the cost of more prosecutors, defenders, judges, law enforcement or lack of space in the current holding facilities.

This is a frightening precedent being set in this election; realtors/developers providing dollars far beyond what most families make in several years of work in order to buy their selected candidates in order to get the changes they want in our city.

Judith Gilmore
Spokane, Wash.

  • or