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Posts tagged: Spokane City Council president

County GOP endorses - scratch that - recommends Condon, Hession, Allen, Fagan and Salvatori

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The Spokane County Republican Party, which has previously declined to endorse candidates running as Republicans against Democrats when they declined to sign the county party's platform, has sent out recommendations for how to vote in Tuesday's nonparitsan city elections.

The picks include: David Condon for mayor, Mike Fagan, Steve Salvatori and Mike Allen for City Council and Dennis Hession for City Council president. The candidates apparently didn't have to sign any pledges to win the recommendations.

Condon, Fagan, Salvatori and Allen have clear ties to the party, though the party declined to back Allen in his 2009 bid for council. And while Hession has enjoyed some Republican support in past races, he also has been more aligned with the Democratic Party, at least on some environmental and social issues.

The party posted the following statement with its recommendations: “The Spokane County Republican Party acknowledges the non-partisan nature of local elections and makes no claim that recommended candidates are in any way affiliated with the Republican Party.  The following recommendations are not intended to serve as an endorsement of any issue or candidate.”

We're not sure what the difference is between recommending a candidate and endorsing one.

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.

Council president candidates have nearly exhausted campaign funds

No matter which two candidates emerge from Tuesday's primary for City Council president, it looks like they'll have a lot of fund-raising work left to do, according to the latest filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Ben Stuckart and Steve Corker have nearly tapped their campaign chests, and while Dennis Hession had about $6,000 left (at least according to information available this morning), that's not much for a city-wide general election.

The politics of water rates

What might be the most curious thing about the current City Council debate on water rates is the timing.

Here the council is debating what may be the biggest political hot potato of the year even though ballots are sitting on kitchen tables ready to be marked in time for Tuesday's primary election.

If anyone questions the political ramifications of the rate boost proposals, consider this: Two mayoral candidates were in the audience Monday night: Mike Noder and David Condon. (Condon, by the way, said he has concerns about the proposed increase and would have voted against it.)

Council observers are used to politicians proposing a rate freeze in election years and more quietly asking for increases out of the election cycle. The chart showing percentage increases over the last decade clearly points to election-year hesitation on rates among mayors and councils.

But Mayor Mary Verner has gone ahead with steep proposed increases in water and sewer this year despite this being an election year. Not only that, the debates on the water and sewer rates were scheduled for this summer — in time to be considered by voters. Until last year, the council voted on utility rates along with the city budget in December.

So why the change?

Verner was angered by the council's decision last year to increase sewer rates by more than she had proposed to balance its decision to reject her administration's proposed water rate increase. She accused the council of playing with the rates out of concern for the utility taxes they generate for services like parks, police, fire and libraries. As a result, she and some council members opted to set utility rates for 2012 well before the council approves the budget to avoid setting utility rates to generate utility taxes.

And don't forget that as a candidate for mayor in 2007, Verner accused Mayor Dennis Hession of playing politics when he proposed rate freezes for 2008. Verner has said if former leaders hadn't balked at increases, she wouldn't be in the predicament of asking for boosts like the proposed 8 percent request for water.

Democratic Party backs Verner, Stuckart, Rush and Jones

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has won the seal of approval from the Spokane County Democratic Party for a new term.

The party's endorsement committee voted Monday to endorse Verner for mayor, Ben Stuckart for City Council president, Joy Jones for the City Council seat representing Northwest Spokane and incumbent Richard Rush for the seat representing South Spokane, said David Smith, chairman of the party.

Smith said Verner and Rush also won the party's support in 2007.

“She's even more popular among Democrats than she was four years ago,” Smith said.

None of the picks are that surprising, though the decision to endorse Stuckart is somewhat of a snub to City Councilman Steve Corker, a former chairman of the party who is vying for council president.

Smith said Stuckart was the only council president candidate who requested an endorsement. That opened the door for the party to pick Stuckart because the party only backs candidates who request party support, he said. If multiple Democrats had requested an endorsement in the same race, the party would have waited to make a choice.

Spokane County Republican Party Chairman Matthew Pederson said last week that the Republican Party won't make any endorsements, at least prior to the August primary. He added that no city candidates have officially requested GOP backing.

Verner's main challenger, David Condon, has sought to distance himself from the party with large “nonpartisan” labels on his campaign signs. Condon is the former district director for Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“It is a nonpartisan office,” Condon said this week. “The platform they have wouldn't be a platform I would further at the city level.”

Stuckart missed deadline; former treasurer says PDC lost form

Spokane City Council president candidate Ben Stuckart missed a state deadline for filing a campaign finance report by more than two months.

The mistake was quickly fixed once the Public Disclosure Commission informed Stuckart that he was late, and a penalty is unlikely, said Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman.

The state requires candidates to file a “personal financial affairs statement” (calld the F-1 form) within two weeks of raising or spending money on a campaign or declaring a candidacy. Stuckart entered the race March 1. The PDC didn't receive his personal financial disclosure form until June 1, though other required forms were received on time.

Stuckart's campaign manger Jessica Anundson said last week that Stuckart filled out the form in a timely manner and gave it to his first campaign treasurer, Amy Biviano, with other forms. But Biviano didn't “submit it with everything else,” Anundson said.

“We thought it was filed until the PDC called us,” she said.

But Biviano, who said she left the Stuckart campaign to work on Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's reelection bid, said this week that she sent the form on time and that if there was a problem, it occurred after she sent the forms.

“The campaign did follow the rules,” said Biviano, former chairwoman of the Spokane County Democratic Party. “It sounds like it was lost.”

Anderson, of the PDC, said she couldn't completely rule out the possibility of the PDC making a mistake with the form, but said it is unlikely. Paperwork is scanned into the system as soon as it arrives. The only possibility is that it was mislabeled when it was scanned. But each document and label is doublechecked by a second employee, she said.

Filing week shocker: Hession enters race for Spokane City Council president

Former Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession on Thursday filed to run for Spokane City Council president.

His decision is the big surprise so far this week among candidates entering Spokane races.

Hession was City Council president in 2005 when Mayor Jim West was recalled from office. Hession was elevated to mayor and served in that spot until defeated by Mary Verner in 2007.

Hession has endorsed David Condon in this year's race for mayor.

Ben Stuckart enters race for Spokane City Council president

City Councilman Steve Corker has a challenger to his bid to become Spokane City Council president.

Ben Stuckart, executive director for Communities in Schools of Spokane County, said this week that he will run for the office.

Stuckart's announcement isn't much of surprise. He confirmed last month that he was strongly considering a run.

Former City Councilman Steve Eugster filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission in 2009 indicating he would run for council president this year, but Eugster said late last year that he had changed his mind about running.

So here's a review so far of the 2011 Spokane races:

Mayor:

Mary Verner: Running

Christopher W. Fenton: Running

David Condon: Seriously considering a run

Nadine Woodward: Not ruling out a run, though not seriously considering it

City Council president:

Steve Corker: Running

Ben Stuckart: Running

Steve Eugster: Not running

City Council seat representing northwest Spokane:

Steve Salvatori: Running

City Council seat representing northeast Spokane:

Donna McKereghan: Running

John Waite: Running

City Council seat representing south Spokane:

Richard Rush: Running

Mike Allen: Running

McLaughlin won’t run for mayor or council president

Spokane Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin's landslide reelection victory in 2009 has made her name pop up as a possible candidate for just about any local office.

Last year, she was courted by Republicans to run for state Legislature. She declined.

She had left open the possibility of running for mayor against Mayor Verner. But McLaughlin said this week that she has decided not to run for mayor or city council president.

Republicans see her as a candidate who appeals to the conservative and moderate wings of the party. Not only that, she's easily carried a Democratic-leaning council district that voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

“I believe I would make a very good mayor or council president but my passion is for Spokane and other cities to be financially sustainable,” McLaughlin wrote in an e-mail. “For this to happen there needs to be strong advocacy at the state level to help slow down/eliminate unfunded mandates and to continue work on cost containment strategies for our general fund.”

Translation: The city needs help from state government to keep its expenses down.

McLaughlin is active in the leadership of the Association of Washington Cities and is in line to become the group's next president. This year, helped lobby the legislature on behalf of the association and Spokane.

Eugster says he won’t run for council president

Former City Councilman Steve Eugster said Wednesday that he no longer plans to run next year for Spokane City Council president.

Earlier this week City Councilman Steve Corker announced that he will run for the seat.

Eugster filed to run for council president last year after he lost a bid for city council.

“I want to spend the last years of my life engaged in intellectual legal efforts, as opposed to political legal efforts,” Eugster said in an interview.

In a case that ended in the state Supreme Court, Eugster was suspended from practicing law for 18 months. That suspension ends on Dec. 13.

Eugster could be back at the state's top court next year, arguing a case challenging how state appeals court judges are elected.

Corker announces bid for council president

Spokane City Councilman Steve Corker announced Monday that he will run for Spokane City Council president next year.

Corker, 69, is a former advertising and marketing executive who was first elected to the council in 1999. Rather than run for re-election, Corker ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2003. He also lost a City Council election in 2005. He returned to the council after winning a seat in 2007.

The only other candidate so far in the race is City Councilman Steve Eugster, who announced his intention to run for the position last year. City Council President Joe Shogan is term limited from running again.

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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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