I have lived most of my life in Spokane, most of that time on
the South Hill. I went to Ferris High School, and attended university locally. I am now in my second year as Treasurer of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council. I am running for City Council because I love Spokane, but I am concerned about its leadership and its future.
In recent years, some of our chosen leaders have made deals in secret. Even now, those involved refuse to tell us all that happened. Whatever their reasons, that is not how government should work. I believe in open, honest, representative government, and the right of the people to know what their representatives do with their money.
We can have effective government while reducing taxes. Eliminating waste, encouraging and attracting businesses that offer higher-paying jobs, and reducing unnecessary regulation are a few ways to start.
The newly available tax-increment financing can be used to attract businesses to the area. It is a great example of how to lower taxes while actually increasing our tax base. But the foundation of our local economy is in Spokane-based businesses. We must encourage rather than discourage them. We know it is possible to attract new business and build up local business because nearby communities have done just that. We have other new tools, like Community Empowerment Zones, and now maybe a Port District. We just need to make the effort. If we do, we can lower non-commercial property taxes, too.
Resources, such as our air, river and aquifer must be preserved, not only for our own use but for future generations. Development can prosper while preserving our environment, if we do it intelligently. I am familiar with the environmental issues facing Spokane today. For a number of years I worked with an engineering company that specialized in environmental projects, such as landfill design and testing of liners like those at the BNSF fueling depot, as well as cleanup of hazardous waste spills. I testified about aquifer contamination at the hearings on the BNSF depot. I used as an example an actual Superfund cleanup project I had worked on, involving a chemical spill in an aquifer. I have spoken before the City Council in favor of preserving our river and its banks.
Just now, as I was writing this, I received news of the terrorist attack on our country. Rather than continuing to discuss my platform, I will instead just wish luck to all in the troubles that are certain to follow. I will close simply by saying that if you want open, honest, representative government, vote for Lonny Eachus in the primary on September 18, then again in November.
To The Citizens of Spokane: I have been very blessed in my
life: my 29-year marriage to Jane, four special and talented children, loving parents, a rewarding law practice, and close, supportive friends. Although it would be easy to sit back and enjoy the benefits of these many blessings and others, it is time to leave the safety and comfort of a more private life and take up the larger burdens of active citizenship.
For more than 20 years, I have had the pleasure and good fortune to devote myself to this community. My volunteer efforts include membership on the Board of Directors of Excelsior Youth Center for 19 years, the Spokane Park and Recreation Foundation for 12 years, the Spokane Park Board for 11 years, and the March of Dimes for many years. I have served as president of each of these organizations. I have also been active in the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Hoopfest, Leadership Spokane, and the Housing Justice Project.
During my tenure, the Spokane Park Board passed a $15 Million Park Bond Issue, acquired acreage for park development on the north riverbank, adopted and implemented the Manito Master Plan, and acquired numerous parcels of property which may one day be part of the 'Great Gorge Park.' In these roles and others, I have demonstrated my leadership and my ability to analyze problems, speak with conviction, and act decisively.
Our city council is operating in an environment of apparent mistrust and strained relationships. The members often seem unable to set aside their personal differences and agendas to promote the common good of the city and its citizens. The city council is in need of civil discourse, respectful interaction, and healthy debate. We need to embrace a process where impertinence and obstructionism are not tolerated or reinforced, and where good, collaborative decision making is celebrated.
I believe that governments need their citizens to step forward during difficult times to provide the leadership to work through and resolve problems and to provide the vision, along with its citizens, to chart a course for the future. I have the skills and experience to provide that leadership and shared vision, and enthusiastically offer them to the citizens of Spokane.
I'm running for city council for the following reasons: First, to
represent you, my constituents, at city hall. I am not here to legislate my own views; you elect me to represent you and that is what I intend to do throughout my whole term. I will do this by continuing to remain as active and visible in the community as I have been thus far in the campaign. I am the only candidate with the time, energy and passion to do this for you. I have been doorbelling and putting in signs all over the South Hill. A single mother named Shawna asked me, while putting a sign in her yard, "How many hours a day do you do this?"
I said: "Too many and not enough." This is what excites me about being an elected official, the opportunity to work with my fellow citizens.
Second, electing someone of my age is a huge leap in diversifying the representation on the council. I have received a lot of praise from the seniors in the community for being a leader in my generation. At 24 years old I am roughly half the age of most members of the existing city council. I am a single student with no children. I go to school on the G.I. Bill at Eastern Washington University while working for the Veterans Administration. With this background I have a vastly different view of the community than any of my opponents and the rest of the city council.
Third, too often the city council has become involved in social issues ranging from human services funding to engaging in personal lawsuits against one another. I do not intend to do things like these, which a job as a city council member does not require. Council members are elected to raise and spend taxes as you the citizens see fit, not to engage in their own sense of morality and impose it upon the rest of the city. If the mayor chooses to propose a sweeping reform to help the poor in our community, then I will support him if that is what I believe those who elected me would like.
I'm certain I'll make mistakes, including wrong decisions. For this I will take my political lumps. However, what I will not do is take my frustrations out on my fellow council members or the citizens who speak at the council meetings. The endless bickering has tarnished our council's reputation to the point of stifling economic development.
I want to make the city of Spokane one that we can be proud of. I want people to grow up in Spokane and proud to stay in Spokane. Before we can attract business, we need to fix our crumbling infrastructure, beginning with the streets. I want to commit to spending an additional $2 million a year on our streets. And I would rather tighten our belts than borrow the money. Along with street repair comes construction and growth for new traffic patterns in the region. The office of a council member carries with it responsibilities that do not necessarily end at the city limits. I look forward to working with county and state officials in a smooth transition to new ways to get around in our community. Four years ago, when I proposed a light rail line, I was laughed at. Today there is a commission solely for the purpose of promoting that idea.
I'm also in favor of and will propose local campaign spending limits. I would like to see a limit of $750 for one person, $1500 for a couple and $2000 for a political action committee.
I am willing to be specific on issues so you the voter have something to base your decision on. Four years from now, when my time is up, I will say we accomplished our goals for the city together. It wasn't always easy, but we got the job done.
Spokane is a wonderful city that I am proud
to call home. It is a city with great potential and peculiar problems. I was honored to have been selected on March 5th as the person most qualified to fill the vacancy on the city council. The day I took the oath of office, I made a commitment to the people of Spokane to work diligently in representing the interests of all citizens in a fair, independent, and reasonable manner. I have kept that commitment.
But hard work and civility is not enough. To help Spokane move forward will require a leader with vision, integrity and compassion. Twenty-five years of social service involvement with children, youth and families and even more years of civic and neighborhood involvement have prepared me for this role.
The biggest issue facing our city is economic viability. We must create more livable wage jobs with benefits! We must foster a climate for new and existing businesses to succeed. During the past six months I have helped obtain tax increment financing, a community empowerment zone designation and the passage of the Comprehensive Design Plan. These are great tools that now must be utilized by private industry, government and organizations to improve employment opportunities. I will continue working with the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council and others to ensure that our community utilizes these tools. I will continue pushing for timely development and then passage of the development regulations required to implement the Comprehensive Design Plan. But job creation alone is inadequate. We must continue to encourage our local colleges, universities, INTEC and others to provide the education and training opportunities needed for the newly created positions.
We must balance our pursuit of economic viability with preservation of our quality of life. Spokane is a great place to raise a family. We have exceptional parks, schools, natural resources and numerous cultural opportunities and venues. Spokane has an exceptional stock of historic buildings and many fine neighborhoods. My neighborhood is Browne's Addition where I served as chairperson during the development of our design plans and then construction of many neighborhood improvements to Coeur d'Alene Park and the Cannon and Pacific intersection, the first traffic circle in Spokane! The Centers and Corridors concept in the Comprehensive Design Plan will help to further strengthen neighborhoods.
There are places along our beautiful river with heavy metal contamination. That is why I sponsored a resolution which passed 7-0 requesting the State of Washington, Spokane Tribe of Indians and others have a place at the table in developing and implementing plans to clean up the Spokane River/Coeur d'Alene Basin. This effort and my lifelong support of environmental protection have been acknowledged by the endorsement of the Washington Conservation Voters.
Finally, as your city councilman, I will continue to represent you and your neighbors through independence, civility and reason. I ask for your vote on September 18th and again November 6th so that together we can continue this work.
Community service as an elected official is a
privilege that I was fortunate enough to enjoy from 1996-2000. I have not lost the drive and spirit that is so necessary to bring about positive change for our great city. We should all take some time and reflect on what we have here. Our quality of life in the way of recreational facilities that are available; our city services such as garbage, water and sewer; our fire and police protection which is far superior to other cities our size; and our history of succeeding regardless of the obstacles that have faced our decision makers. As part of that reflection, we must all understand that we recently voted in a new form of government. This is a form of government that elects city council members by district and elects a mayor who no longer answers to the council. It is a form of government that basically consists of an administrative branch and a legislative branch. I am campaigning to be part of the legislative branch as the first elected official representing District 3. This is a district that covers most of the northwest area of our city. It is representative of the entire economic spectrum, from community development neighborhoods on the south to wealth on the north. Hundreds of small businesses are scattered along the major arterials and throughout the neighborhoods. These small businesses provide jobs and we need to retain these while doing everything we can to encourage company and business relocation to the district.
Discussions with neighborhood leaders indicate that traffic, better-paying jobs and eliminating "meth houses" top the list of issues within the district. I think that improving the status of all utilities, water, sewer, garbage and streets, can be added as an issue. I also don't believe that these issues are unique to the district, but rather that they are citywide. The feelings of the 65,000 residents of District 3 probably reflect the feelings of the residents in the other two districts.
Although we will eventually have a city council consisting of two members from each district, citywide issues should also be considered. Keeping a vibrant and beautiful downtown only increases the economic condition of each district. The burden of paying for utility services can be shared by businesses and residents through the sales tax revenue that goes into the general fund. The beauty of the city can be shown to the thousands tourists and convention delegates who visit, spend disposable dollars and leave, helping increase our general fund. If we keep our positive attitude, corporations looking to relocate or expand will view Spokane as the community worthy of investing new jobs in.
Most of us chose Spokane as our home. We should hold our heads high when we speak of our community. I love it here and I want my children and grandchildren to love it here also. If we all share a positive, can-do attitude and vision toward improvement and change, we will succeed.
Please vote for me, Jeff Colliton, as your council representative from District 3.
My name is Tom Griffey and I am running for
city council in District 3. I'm happily married, with seven children and own a home on the northwest side of town. I'm a school bus driver, as well as trainer, for District 81 and have been involved with the transportation of children for seven years.
Although I am a newcomer to city politics, as a lifetime resident of Spokane I believe I have innovative ideas for the city. I feel the parking garage issue needs a solution, not lawsuits. The council must move ahead to a more productive future.
Job training and activities for teens in our community is one of my pet projects. To get our kids involved in something keeps them occupied and out of mischief. Bringing affordable housing and more job opportunities to the people of the Third District is also one of my goals. Helping elderly with safe and readily accessible transportation around town is another top priority.
I trust that I am not alone when addressing the concern for a resolution to crime in the city of Spokane. This too is a serious issue. As always, and finally, the roads are a mess. Maybe, working with the council as a member of a team, we can make big strides to improve and grow.
All of the above mentioned problems are specifically near and dear to me, however, if any one person or group of people shares a concern of their own with me, I will take that to the council meetings. If the council can help in any way to solve the people's issues then we have made progress.
I appreciate the opportunity to be heard and hope that come election day you will vote for the best candidate for the people. Thank you very much for your time.
If you live within the Third District here is what
I stand for:
Citizenship benefits: reduce the scavenger population of our city. Make garbage collection a free service in Spokane.
Conservation: Mass transit is more friendly than one person in each car. Comprehensive mass transit for Spokane county will improve our environment.
Equality: Increase inclusiveness by adding transgendered individuals and source of income to our Human Rights Ordinance.
Live entertainment: Joe Albi Stadium hosts international sports contests. Improve the streets around it and provide traffic control at major events.
Quality of life: Add 100 uniformed officers to our Spokane City Police Department. A good job will improve their lives, better protection will improve our lives.
If you live within District 3, please vote for me on Sept. 18.
People ask "why do you want to run for Spo
kane city council?" It's because we can make Spokane a better place to live for all of us now and for those who choose to live here in the future.
Citizens have told me that they want open government, accountability and they want to be able to trust that elected officials are spending their tax money wisely.
People also have a right to feel safe living in Spokane. We need to adequately staff and fund our police and fire departments. We need to come up with a longterm plan to fix the streets and maintain them.
We are fortunate to receive our drinking water from a federally protected sole-source aquifer. Our aquifer is one of our most valuable resources and we need to protect it. We have been planning ahead and saving money for future upgrades to our water and sewer systems.
We have high rates of poverty in Spokane. Partnerships have been formed with the private sector to help share our limited resources.
Small businesses are the backbone of Spokane. We should encourage them to thrive and expand and make sure existing businesses have a level playing field with new business recruits from other cities. Community and business leaders have worked very hard to obtain tax-increment financing and empowerment zone designations.
The city of Spokane, especially our Parks Department and Youth Services Department, is working hard to create more activities for our young people. Business people have formed partnerships with our local schools to mentor students and provide them on-the-job training.
But we also face many challenges in Spokane. Right now our sales tax revenue is down from what was projected. The city projected a 4 percent increase in sales taxes over last year, but the reality is we are currently receiving about 1.8 percent.
There is an end to the River Park Square dispute. It will require full disclosure of all the facts and accountability of all the parties involved. The Internal Revenue Service is conducting a thorough investigation. Please, people of Spokane, elect people to public office who will do their homework and not be afraid to stand up for what is in the best interest of all the people in our community. I would sincerely appreciate your vote and your support on Sept. 18.
Al French is running unopposed in District 1.