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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2011 election

State GOP pours cash into Condon campaign

Spokane mayoral candidate David Condon advertises himself as “nonpartisan” on his signs, but that didn't stop the former aide to Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers from getting a $25,000 contribution from the state Republican Party.

The contribution, the largest so far in a Spokane city race this year, was received by Condon's campaign on Thursday, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Condon already had a big lead in fundraising over Mayor Mary Verner. As of Friday, Condon was reporting about $245,000 raised compared to Verner's $121,000.

Verner, who has been endorsed by the Spokane County Democratic Party, got only $800 from the state Democratic Central Committee.

Coalition calls on candidates to take ombudsman pledge

A coalition of organizations including the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane is asking Spokane mayoral and City Council candidates to pledge not to vote for a Spokane Police Guild contract unless it includes stronger oversight.

The guild's contract expires at the end of the year and is under negotiation currently.

Earlier this month, the City Council repealed its 2010 police oversight law at the demand of an arbitrator, who ruled that it violated the guild's contract. The law gave Ombudsman Tim Burns the right to investigate allegations of police misconduct separately from the police department's internal affairs division.

The city is now operating under its 2008 police ombudsman rules.

Those who voted to repeal the law said the best way to obtain the provisions in the 2010 law are win guild approval of them through negotiations. Some council member said they would be unlikely to vote for guild contract unless the extra oversight is included in it.

League Director Liz Moore said pledge supporters will give candidates until the end of the week to decide if they will sign the pledge. Results will be publicized early next week.


Documents:

Verner, Condon debate handling of Zehm case

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Here's the latest of election video.

Condon: “To find out that the city started to know some of the facts in 2009 and here we are nearly two years later not dealing with those facts, that's what was troubling me.”

Verner: “We can not critique every aspect of this matter while the litigation is ongoing. I feel we would interfere with the execution of justice to do so and that is my heartfelt belief.”

Council stance unchanged on Community Bill of Rights

The Spokane City Council took another chance on Monday to critique Proposition 1, the Community Bill of Rights.

Council members voted 6-1 to formally oppose the initiative, which appears on the November ballot.

The rejection is no surprise. All the members of City Council already were on record in opposition to the proposition, which would require developers of some kinds of projects to collect voter signatures, make it easier to pursue lawsuits against governments or businesses that pollute the Spokane River or aquifer, challenge corporate rights and extend constitutional rights into the workplace.

Only Councilman Jon Snyder voted against the recommendation.

Snyder said he personally opposes Proposition 1 but that he didn’t think the council should take a formal position on a local citizen’s initiative. He later, however, sponsored a resolution that took a stance against state Initiative 1125, which focuses on road tolling. Snyder’s resolution recommending opposition to I-1125 was approved on a 5-2 vote. Council members Bob Apple and Nancy McLaughlin dissented.

Democratic chairman says Verner took ‘high road,’ as former Dem chairman takes to airwaves for Condon

 

Not surprisingly, the campaign of David Condon is taking full advantage of the endorsement he got from former Spokane County Democratic Chairman Tom Keefe. Keefe is featured in the Condon TV ad above and is the first endorsement listed on a Condon mailer that arrived at homes this week.

Condon, the former district director for Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, has been working to distance himself from the Republican label, though McMorris Rodgers recently headlined a fundraiser for his campaign.

Meanwhile, Verner's campaign has a released a statement from the current chairman of the Spokane County Democratic Party, David Smith. He addresses the Otto Zehm matter, which is the issue that Keefe said pursuaded him to back Condon.

“Mary Verner was not mayor when Otto Zehm died. She was sworn into office a full eighteen months after his death. She could have chosen to augment her political capital by joining in the public condemnation of Officer Thompson,” Smith said. ” Instead, despite her professed grief for the family of Otto Zehm, she chose to accept the political risk inherent in standing up for Officer Thompson’s right to a fair trial. Doing so took courage.  Standing up for the constitution always does.”

Here is Smith's full statement responding to Keefe's endorsement:

Hession misquotes Lincoln

A new campaign ad that’s been posted on YouTube by the campaign of Dennis Hession starts with him making the following statement:

“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.’ I believe that. My opponent does not.”

Hession apparently has fallen victim to the “Ten Points.” That’s a list that originated in a pamphlet distributed in 1916 by Rev. William John Henry Boetcker, of Pennsylvania, according to Washington Post and Chicago Tribune articles from 1992.

The list has often been mistaken as Lincoln’s own words, and Hession finds himself in good company. The Post and Tribune articles from 1992 were about former President Ronald Reagan incorrectly attributing portions of the “Ten Points” to Lincoln in a speech to the Republican National Convention.

McMorris Rodgers isn’t naming GOP favorite — yet

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers smiled, hesitated and then dodged a question that could have earned her plenty of press – and grief: She declined an invitation to endorse a Republican presidential candidate today.


Eastern Washington’s representative and member of the U.S. House’s Republican leadership team was wrapping up her appearance at the Spokane City Forum when an anonymous questioner quizzed McMorris-Rodgers’ preferences.


She didn’t take the bait.

We’ll have to wait, perhaps after a clear front-runner emerges next year. No surprises there.


McMorris Rodgers revisited her standard talking points, including cutting federal regulations, slashing federal spending, repealing federal health care reform, and passing a balanced-budget amendment.


These City Forums are a worthwhile $10 affair. The speakers are important, local and relevant. Check it out at www.spokanecityforum.org
  

Allen, Rush support more street funding, but differ on specifics

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Here is what likely will be the last of the videos featuring the City Council race between Richard Rush and Mike Allen. They debate if the city should go for a new 10-year street bond and if the city should consider creating fees for streets on utility bills.

The other five Allen-Rush videos include an intro and their thoughts about:

Water rates.

Red light cameras.

Budget cuts.

Moving Jefferson Elementary School.

During KSPS debate, Rush questions Allen’s work ethic

NOTE: This post has been corrected from an earlier version to accurately reflect the number of times Allen was recorded absent during Spokane Employees' Retirement System board meeting. An earlier version was incorrect because of a reporter error.

Before tonight's KSPS candidates debate was filmed last week, Councilman Richard Rush handed out the minutes for each meeting in 2009 of the Spokane Employees' Retirement System board to each debate panelist.

The records didn't come up in the debate. When asked about the minutes afterward, Rush pointed to the attendence listings that show Allen was absent for seven of the 10 meetings when Allen served as the City Council representative on the board. Rush said if Allen is so concerned about financial accountability, Allen should have been present.

Allen, who served two years on the City Council, is challenging Rush's bid for re-election.

Allen said this week that the pension meetings conflicted with his job at the time as an administrator at Eastern Washington University. He said he did attend, though often late, at least half of the meetings and is unsure why he was listed as absent, he said. Allen said missing meetings won’t be a problem now that he owns his own business.

“I control my own schedule now,” he said.

Verner’s message on water rates sounding more like Condon’s

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The second video on the mayoral race features one of the hottest topics: water rates.

Since this was filmed, Verner announced that she would float a new water rate proposal to City Council before the end of the year.

City Council President Joe Shogan already has started debate by introducing legislation to go back to rates based on the old water rate structure that was in place until last year. The result would be that rates would increase on those who use less and fall for those who use more.

Shogan said at a meeting Monday that he expects to hold a hearing on the topic sometime next month. Shogan, like Verner, supported the structure change last year, but now believes it should be changed.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist said Verner will introduce her water rate proposal in time to be considered by the council during debate on Shogan's plan. It will be developed in consultation with HDR Engineering, which advised her and the council when setting rates last year.

Shogan said he introduced his rate proposal to spark debate and is open to Verner's idea or others that may emerge.

Rush and Allen differ on decision to move Jefferson

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The Spokane City Council didn't make the decision to move Jefferson Elementary School, but it's one of the more divisive issues specific to the south district. Here's what the two candidates for the south district, Richard Rush and Mike Allen say about the School Board's vote.

Rush, Allen debate eliminating city departments

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Here's part three of our election video series.

Rush, Allen debate water rates

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Here's part two of our video series on race between Richard Rush and Mike Allen.

Condon questions decision to send city utility drivers to ‘green driver’ training

David Condon, who is challenging Spokane Mayor Mary Verner in her bid for reelection, criticized Verner's speech to City Council on Monday for not mentioning new water rates or the “tragic loss of confidence in our police and legal authorities.”

“Overall, the Mayor told a nice bedtime fairy tale, with green elves and happy worker,” Condon said in a news release. “But it's time to wake up and see the real challenges facing our city government.”

Condon's response criticized the decision to send city utility drivers to “green driver” training.

A part of Verner's speech mentioned steps the city has taken to reduce energy consumption. She noted that the city spend about $8 million a year on its power bill.

“Taking these steps to reduce energy expenses are a sustainable and responsible approach to cost management,” Verner said in her speech, according to prepared remarks.

Asked about his criticism of “green driver” training, Condon said such training might reduce expenses a bit, but it's a sign that the mayor is focusing on small programs that won't solve the on-going, annual multi-million dollar deficits.

“We need to make some long-term policy changes,'” he said.

Allen and Rush critique Rush and Allen

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Today, we release the first of several election videos. We'll start with one of the races that didn't have a primary, the Spokane City Council seat representing the South Hill.

Condon revises water rate ad

Mayoral candidate David Condon has released a new version of a campaign ad attacking Mayor Mary Verner for water rates.

Condon said in an email that changes were made based on a truth-test article about the ad that ran in Saturday's Spokesman-Review.

A quick review indicates that his changes are probably enough to remove “false” labels that the article placed on some portions on the ad, though some would still would be in the “kinda true” range.

For instance, in attempt to better explain that “Water Departments workers are getting 10 percent pay hikes,” text goes on the screen to explain that “city worker salaries” will increase by 5 percent this year and an additional 5 percent next year. That's a good clarification from the first version, though it could create the impression that all city workers are getting that raise, when really that raise affects members of Local 270 who have at least four years of experience. That's a good portion of the city work force (largely in the street, sewer, water and trash departments), but doesn't affect, firefighters, police officers, administrators, library workers and others.

Verner, Condon clash in Rotary debate over style

One of the first mayoral debates between Mayor Mary Verner and her November election opponent David Condon was at its core a focus on style.

Condon promised to take charge of the bureaucracy.

“It’s a question of leadership,” he said. “The mayor has to be in charge and not let the departments have their own way and set their own agenda.”

Verner argued that her inclusive decision-making process has led to better outcomes.

“City government under my leadership is a much more efficient and responsive public service organization, and I want to complete the reforms that I have started,” she said. “I begin by listening – listening to our businesses, listening to our citizens, and then I determine exactly what the problem is. And then I go about fixing it for lasting reforms within the city.” 

Spokane debate season in bloom; Verner, Condon will debate twice on Thursday

Spokane candidates will give their pitch for city office at two debates on Thursday.

The League of Women Voters will hold candidate debates for mayor, City Council president and for each of the three City Council seats on the November ballot. The group also will have a debate for the open Spokane School Board seat and forums focused on the Spokane County animal control proposal, the Community Bill of Rights initiative as well as three state initiatives.

The event starts at 5 p.m. at Spokane City Hall and is open to the public. It will be taped and will air eight times on CityCable 5, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday, according to a city news release.

Mayor candidate Mayor Verner and David Condon also will debate at noon at the weekly downtown Rotary Club meeting at the Spokane Athletic Club.

Read on to find out about two other debates next month that were recently announced.

Mayor responds to Condon’s criticism of Verner’s handling of Zehm case

 

Below is Mayor Mary Verner's full response to the statement released earlier in the day by her opponent in the November election, David Condon, followed by Condon's statement. Condon offered harsh criticism of Verner's handling of the Otto Zehm matter. Verner's response was delivered by her campaign, not by the city.

MARY VERNER'S FULL NEWS RELEASE: 

Mayor Mary Verner says she is deeply disappointed in former Congressional aide Dave Condon’s reckless attempt to use the tragedy of the Otto Zehm death for his personal political ambition.

Condon wrote a campaign news release today, criticizing the mayor, city police, city attorneys, and city staffers.

David Condon is no Jim West

David Condon opened his campaign declaring that Mary Verner was no David Rodgers (the last mayor to win a second term).

On Tuesday night, Condon offered some reasons for hope for his campaign, comparing his run to Jim West's 2003 bid for mayor.

Condon said the gap between him and Verner likely was attributable to voter turnout in primaries that often favors incumbents.

“Just a few years ago, when Jim West ran against the incumbent, he got 31 percent (of the vote) and went on to win,” he said.

It's hard to fault Condon for offering conflicting analyses when just confronted with the gulf he has less than three months to close.

But there are flaws in Condon's comparison.

Spokane primary voters have not been favorable to incumbent mayors, at least in the last two mayoral primaries. In fact, Verner last night became the first incumbent Spokane mayor in the strong-mayor era to a majority of the primary vote. John Powers came in third, thus losing his reelection bid in the primary in 2003. Dennis Hession had enough support to advance to the general election in the 2007 primary, but he barely came in first place, with 34 percent of the vote.

Condon is correct that Jim West took 31 percent of the primary vote in 2003. The big difference was that in that crowded field, 31 percent was enough for first place. Condon won 32 percent of last night's vote, but Verner won 61 percent.

To reach the 50 percent mark in November, Condon not only needs the votes cast for the three candidates who lost, Mike Noder, Barbara Lampert and Robert Kroboth. He needs to change the minds of many who supported Verner. That is a task that's much more difficult than what West faced in 2003.

So as far as his run for mayor is concerned, David Condon is no Jim West.

Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Hession's 2007 primary finish.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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