Posts tagged: Spokane mayor
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.”
The race for Spokane mayor is getting more interesting.
The Spokane Regional Labor Council has released the list of candidates it supports for the August primary and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner isn't on the list.
That's a bit of a surprise given her recent support for a labor-backed change to contracting rules giving the city wider lattitude to pass over low bidders on contracts when a low bidder has had recent problems following labor, environmental or other laws. (Verner, however, surprised some union leaders when she said she would push to amend the rules.)
The council, which is the regional organization for the AFL-CIO, also declined to back any of Verner's opponents, including her main challenger, David Condon. That's not a surprise, given Condon's promise to be a tougher negotiator with unions and his calls for pay freezes at City Hall.
Verner's relationship with unions at City Hall has been mixed and grew strained as she worked to win contract concessions in the last two budget cycles. Most the city's bargaining groups eventually agreed to contracts or contract changes that allowed them to avoid layoffs.
Unions play a large role in city politics, just as the business and development community do. The decision means the main local labor group won't be working for a Spokane mayoral candidate, at least through the primary, an outcome that likely benefits Condon — especially since he already enjoys a big fund-raising advantage.
Beth Thew, secretary-treasurer of the council, said she wouldn't be surprised if the council reconsiders the race after the primary. Candidates were interviewed on June 28 and a group made up of representatives of local AFL-CIO-affiliated unions voted on the endorsements. To win backing, a candidate needed two-thirds support from the group, Thew said.
“If there are any questions that need clarification or anything like that, we will wait to hold off on our endorsements,” she said. “We want to make sure that when we move forward with our endorsement that everybody is comfortable and can stand behind it.”
To see the list of candidates endorsed by the labor council for the August primary, continue reading this post.
Spokane voters can get an early look at their choices for mayor Tuesday night at a candidate forum focused on environmentally friendly businesses.
Four of the five candidates for mayor will be at the candidate forum sponsored by Sustainable Resources INW, a nonprofit that assists businesses to make changes that save money while helping the environment, said Susanne Croft, executive director of the organization.
Incumbent Mary Verner, David Condon, Mike Noder and Barbara Lampert will attend. Robert Kroboth has said he won’t participate in any candidate debate.
Croft, who worked as Verner’s sustainability coordinator in 2008, will moderate the debate. She said most the questions will be posed by the audience.
“We really don't take a stand on sustainability as a political issue,” Croft said. “It's a topic of community concern just like poverty is.”
The hour-long forum will start at 6 p.m. Tuesady at the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave.
The League of Women Voters will bring Spokane's candidates head to head — or in some cases head to head to head to head — next week as they tape forums to be played through July and into August in advance of the primary.
The league's Spokane chapter has scheduled three hours of forums starting at 5 p.m. on June 30.
First up will be the mayor and council president candidates, followed at 6:30 p.m. by the Council District 1 candidates. (The other two districts only have two candidates each, so they don't have primaries.)
A school board forum will start at 7:30 p.m.
For a complete listing of the broadcast times on City Cable 5, check inside the blog.
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.
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.
David Condon officially became a candidate for Spokane mayor on Wednesday, joining three others, including incumbent Mary Verner.
The bigger news about Condon's campaign is his recent reporting of campaign contributions. Only a month into his campaign, he's already leading Verner in fundraising, having raised $74,630 in May, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Verner only has raised $45,407.
(Photo caption: David Condon addresses the media on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 outside the Spokane County Elections Office shortly before filing to run for Spokane mayor.)
Here are the Spokane candidates so far:
Mary Verner, incumbent
Mike Noder, co-owner of MoMike Inc., a demolition company
Barbara Lampert, former nurse’s assistant, frequent candidate for office
David Condon, former deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
City Council president
Ben Stuckart, executive director of Communities in Schools
Steve Corker, Spokane City councilman
City Council, northeast district
John Waite, owner of Meryln's, a science fiction store in downtown Spokane
Gary Pollard, chairman of Riverside Neighborhood Council
City Council, south district
Mike Allen, former city councilman
Richard Rush, incumbent
City Council, northwest district
Karen Kearney, former regional operations manager at Capital Savings Bank in Seattle
Barbara Lampert wants to balance the city fo Spokane's budget while at the same time hiring an additional 100 police officers.
The perennial candidate, who filed to run for Spokane mayor on Tuesday, said she would do that by cutting city administration, forcing pay cuts and freezing salaries.
“There are way too many layers of supervision,” Lampert said. “Count four steps from the mayor, draw a line left to right, and they're all gone. They can find another job.”
Lampert added that her statement about “four steps from the mayor” is only an example and that she would make more concrete decisions about trimming administrators once elected. She admitted, however, that she has not examined a city organizational chart for about 20 years.
“But I can't believe it got better, and, probably, it's gotten worse,” she said in an interview Tuesday.
Mayor of Spokane.
Lampert, a former nurse's assistant, has run for office every year for about the last 15 years. Last year, she placed third in the six-way primary for Congress, even beating the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party.
Today is the second day candidates can file to run in the August primary. Deadline to file for office is on Friday. Lampert, 65, filed her paperwork this morning at the Spokane County Elections Office. She also paid the $1,693.58 fee (1 percent of the mayor's salary) .
In the race for mayor, she joins incumbent Mary Verner and Mike Noder, who co-owns a demolition company.
Mike Noder, who ran for mayor in 2007, has again entered the race to lead Spokane's city government.
Noder, 53, is the co-owner of MoMoke Demolition and Salvage. He filed to enter the mayoral race this afternoon. In 2007, one of his major campaign focuses was his criticism of the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System, which he believes wastes money and charges too much.
He said he's running again to reign in city government.
“The on-going cost of government is too high,” Noder said. “We're going to continue to drive businesses away.”
In 2007, Noder came in fourth out of five candidates in the primary and captured 3.4 percent of the vote.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner filled out the paperwork and paid her $1,693.58 filing fee on Monday morning to officially enter the race to keep her job.
Today is the first day candidates can file to put their name on the ballot.
Handing the check to Voter Services Supervisor Kit Anderson, Verner said: “It's an investment in my grandchildren's future.”
Afterward she spoke to supporters and reporters in the parking lot.
Also filing this morning were Ben Stuckart and Steve Corker for City Council president, Mike Padden for the Spokane Valley state Senate seat representing district 4, Mike Allen for the council seat representing south Spokane, Gary Pollard and John Waite for the seat representing northwest Spokane, and Paul Lecoq, Rod Roduner and Deana Brower for the Spokane Public Schools board.
The Spokane County Elections Office keeps an updated list for all the candidates who have filed for each office here.
(Photo caption: Mayor Mary Verner writes a check for $1,693.58 to pay her filing fee on Monday, June 6, 2011 to run for office.)
If David Condon proved anything at his campaign kickoff breakfast for Spokane mayor it's that he can raise money. Probably, lots of it.
Condon spoke for about 20 minutes praising the city and criticizing the bureaucracy of city government. At the end of his speech, he gave his pitch to donors.
More than 350 people attended the $40-a-plate breakfast at the downtown Doubletree Hotel.
“An individual can give $1,600. A couple $3,200, and companies can also give another $1,600,” Condon said. “But I'll tell you, you know what, if everybody in this room gave $100 or pledged $100 we'd have over $35,000 to start this race. That would put me leaps and bounds above my opponent and make sure that we can continue to grow the vision for Spokane. But of course there are some of you — this recession hasn't hurt you so much. You can give $1,600, your spouse can give $1,600 and, of course, your business can give $1,600. So will you consider that?”
Several in the crowd answered him, “Yes.” After he spoke and people began to leave, some stayed at their table filling out pledge forms and writing checks.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner finally has an obstacle in her bid to reelection.
David Condon, the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said Monday that he will enter the race for Spokane mayor.
Until now, only Christopher W. Fenton, a political unknown and lab analyst at Signature Genomics, had entered the race to challenge Verner.
Condon, 37, really made his announcement yesterday at Bloomsday. Some of his supporters, including his wife, Kristin Condon, wore “Elect David Condon” T-shirts. The shirts stress that the position is nonpartisan — a likely acknowledgment that the city leans Democratic.
He said he took a leave of absence from his job representing the Republican congresswoman as of Friday and will work full time on his campaign.
In a brief interview Monday, he said he has enjoyed positive relations with Verner.
“”I'm not going to run a race against Mary Verner,” he said.
Instead, he said he would focus on job creation.
“You do need to outright partner with the business community,” he said.
He said that he opposes the license tab tax that was endorsed by Verner and approved by the City Council in February.
He said that he hasn't formulated an opinion about the need to raise property taxes to help balance the budget next year. Verner said she plans to present the City Council with two budgets. One would solve the city's estimated $6.6 million gap in 2012 with a levy lid lift (property tax boost). The other would rely mostly on layoffs and cuts in case voters or the City Council reject it.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has her first official opponent in this year’s mayoral race.
Christopher W. Fenton, 32, filed paperwork last month announcing his intention to run for the city’s highest office.
Fenton, who works as a lab analyst at Signature Genomics in Spokane, said he began to think about running for mayor after the Spokane Police Department did not respond to three calls in 2009 reporting vandalism happening in the Logan Neighborhood, where he lives.
He said the lack of response is a sign that the city is not adequately serving its citizens and that more police officers need to be hired. He also said he is concerned about the city’s bond debt – including debt approved by voters that was accompanied by property tax increases to pay it off.
Federal records indicate that Fenton has personal experience with debt. He and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2003 owing creditors $58,000.
Fenton said if elected he would work to speed up paying off the city’s bond debt by selling city property. He said he hasn’t identified any specific city-owned parcels that should be sold.
The deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMoris Rodgers confirmed Tuesday that he is “seriously considering” entering the race for Spokane mayor.
David Condon, 37, said he is “trying to assess” if the city needs new leadership.
“It's something that I've always wanted to do, and I'm just trying to figure out if now is the time to do it,” Condon said.
Candidates have been slow to announce challenges to Verner and most of the people rumored to be considering bids last fall have said they won't run for mayor.
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.
UPDATE: City Spokeswoman Marlene Feist said this afternoon that Verner will sign the ordinance.
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said Tuesday that she supports the “overall intent” of the police oversight ordinance approved by City Council and “likely” will sign it.
She added, however, that she still has to read the final version before making a final decision.
Verner made the comments at the end of Monday’s council meeting, which ended Tuesday morning.
The Spokane City Council just after midnight adopted a plan aimed at cutting carbon emissions and reducing the city’s dependence on oil.
The 5-2 decision was the second time the council voted on a report finished last year by Mayor Mary Verner’s 13-member Sustainability Task Force. Council members Nancy McLaughlin and Bob Apple voted against the plan.
When the council took its first action on the plan, in May 2009, there were only enough votes on the council to “accept” the report. Since then, two City Council members have been replaced.
“I’m honored to have another opportunity to adopt” the report,” City Councilman Steve Corker late Monday night.
City officials say that new state rules require that the city have an “adopted” plan to reduce emissions to qualify for some state grants.
The report recommends several steps the city should take to cut its dependence on oil and reduce the city’s negative effect on climate change. Ideas include promoting energy-efficient construction and transportation. It also sets a goal for the city to acquire 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
An advocate for improving the city’s urban forest has been nominated by Mayor Mary Verner to serve on the Spokane Park Board.
Susan M. Ross Traver, a board member of Spokane Preservation Advocates, was selected from a dozen people considered for the job, said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman.
The Park Board interviewed four of the applicants and selected two finalists, including Ross Traver, for Verner to consider, Park Board President Ross Kelley said.
Ross Traver is the secretary for a citizens advisory group that advises the Urban Forestry Committee, which is made up of Park Board members.
The Spokane Park Board has the final say on park spending and policy. The City Charter also gives the board authority over trees along roads and on other public property, but some park officials have complained that they don’t have the money to do an adequate job maintaining street trees.
“I can bring a different voice concerning that issue,” Ross Traver said in a phone interview. She added: “It’s not the only thing I’m interested in.”
It’s past midnight here at the Spokane City Council. City Council President Joe Shogan recently announced that there will not be a vote tonight (or more accurately, this morning) about providing ombudsman the power to conduct independent investigation. But testimony is continuing. So far, a couple dozen people have talked, all in support of independent oversight.
The city hired its first ombudsman last summer, but rules haven’t allowed him to investigate allegations into police misconduct. Instead, he shadows police internal investigations and decides if the police have been thorough and fair.
In an interview last week, Ombudsman Tim Burns said he believes his office should have investigative authority. In a brief interview before the meeting, Mayor Mary Verner said she would wait to see the final version approved by the council before deciding if she would support giving the ombudsman investigative power. Verner said she hasn’t talked to Burns about his current opinion on the topic.
“I don’t know how much that (Burns’ opinion about the need for independent investigatory authority) reflects a need for a change in the ordinance,” Verner said.
The Spokane Police Guild, in an interview with Spokane Public Radio, has threatened to challenge any ordinance that expands the ombudsman’s authority. The most recent proposal under consideration would give Burns the power to begin interviewing witnesses as soon as a complaint is received. Burns would not have the power to interview guild members. (Related: Previous proposal, held over from the May 24 City Council meeting.)