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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Spokane Valley

Sunday Spin: Centrist Spokane Valley?

CBS's Sunday Morning show repeated the rather questionable claim that the city of Spokane Valley is the most centrist city in the country, a ranking Spin Control first questioned last week and revisited in this morning's paper.

For our look at this spurious ranking, click here. 


Spokane Valley No. 1 “centrist” city? USA Today says so

Local readers of USA Today might have been pleased recently when the city of Spokane Valley was mentioned in one of those trendy “list” stories as No. 1. But they may have been incredulous that it topped the list it was on.

Spokane Valley was listed as the nation's best city for political “centrists”.

That's right, the Spokane Valley, which currently has no Democrats running in its legislative races, where candidates for nonpartisan municipal offices proudly mention their Republican affiliation — and sometimes vie for being a better Republican than the opponent — and have so few Democrats that some D precinct caucuses could be held in a phone booth, if one could find a phone booth. Yes, that Spokane Valley.

USA Today got the Centrist List, as well as the most conservative and the most liberal list, from the Livability Website, which seems to have compiled its rankings with some bad information. . .

Name from the past: Roger Crum

Spokane Valley hired an interim deputy city manager this week who may sound a little familiar to the folks in the city just to the west.

Roger Crum.

Crum worked for the City of Spokane for 22 years, was deputy city manager for 11 and city manager for five, ending in mid 1996 when he took the city manager's job in Evanston, Ill.

He was part of a management team — Terry Novak, then Crum, then Bill Pupo — that ran City Hall from the late 1970s to the late 1990s when the city switched from the council-manager form of government to the strong-mayor system.

Apparently his connection to the city of Spokane was not a disqualifier for the Valley job.

In passing: Ron Jackson

Ron Jackson, long-time Valley sports coach and sometime Valley political activist, passed away last week at age 83. With wife Sally, Ron was a mainstay of Democratic politics in the Spokane Valley, something that wasn’t rare when they got started many  decades ago but required a certain amount of fortitude or stubbornness lately.
As colleague Mike Vlahovich reported in Saturday’s paper, Ron was a standout baseball player and coach. After retiring, he and Sally taught generations of kids to swim and to hit a curve ball. They taught generations of young politicians to work hard and shoot straight. They owned the Jackson Hole Tavern for more than a dozen years, the kind of neighborhood establishment which sponsored sports teams and carried more than a few patrons on a tab when times were tough.
Slowed by Parkinson’s Disease over the last decade, Ron still made it to many political gatherings and always had a smile or a wink for old friends. The fabric of the Valley community lost a colorful thread, and Ron will be sorely missed.

Early sales tax numbers show continued rough times for local governments

 Early numbers aren’t looking good for Spokane and other local governments hoping to avoid more budget gloom.

Sales tax distributions for the first two months of 2010 were the lowest since 2005 for Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Valley and the Spokane Transit Authority.

Because of the increased cost of doing business, largely from of salary increases and the spiking costs of health insurance, local governments usually need rising tax revenue to maintain services with the same number of employees.

Sales taxes are only one source of revenue, but they are a signficant one, especially for STA, which doesn’t have property or utility taxes.

Disincorporation groups give up signature drive

Groups seeking to have Spokane Valley voters decide whether to get rid of the city they created earlier this decade are giving up their drive to put disincorporation on the ballot.

Susan Scott of Friends of Spokane Valley said this morning that her organization and Citizens for Disincorporation are not giving up entirely, but shifting their focus to back challengers to incumbent City Council members on the November ballot. But she acknowledged that the petition drive is over.

“We ran out of time,” Scott said. “We’re backing the candidates in favor of a change in the government we have.”

That will include Brenda Grassel, who is running against Councilwoman and former Mayor Diana Wilhite and state Sen. Bob McCaslin, who is running against Mayor Rich Munson, she said.

Dick Behm of the Spokane Valley Business Association, which was fighting the disincorporation, announced the drive was over in a press release that called for both sides to join in a campaign to create a positive image for the city. The group will continue to distribute its “We (heart) Spokane Valley” signs, designed to thwart disincorporation, as long as they last, Behm said.

No business like snow business

Most of Spokane County may be thinking about such warm weather concerns as whether we fit into a bathing suit, whether the legs are so white they’ll blind bystanders or how to get  a decent campground site. But not the elected officials of Spokane Valley and Spokane County.

They are still engaged in a war of words over snow. Specifically, how will it be pushed off the streets of the City of Spokane Valley once it starts falling this winter. The answer:

No one is sure.

In January, the Spokane County commissioners notified the City of the Valley the county would not be plowing under its existing contract in the winter of ‘09-‘10. Valley officials’ reaction ranged from surprise to outrage to unprintable streams of invective which, if uttered outside, probably would have melted the snow and contributed to global warming.

County said the current contract allowed for cancellation with 180 days notice, and they were giving much more than that…

So now it’s almost June, and feelings apparently haven’t healed much….

Campaign rules to live by

For some, spring means it’s time to train for Bloomsday or get the Hoopfest team together. For others it’s time to lose a few pounds, tone up the abs or biceps and get ready for the lake.

But for anyone planning to run for office this year, spring is the time to get moving. The state moved the primary up to August a couple years back, and all the other deadlines moved up too. To have a campaign in full swing by June, you need to make up your mind pretty quickly.

Thus far, the campaigning has been light.. The City of Spokane has three council seats on the November ballot, and so far has three announced candidates. The City of Spokane Valley has four seats up, and three candidates.

Other surrounding towns and cities also have seats on the ballot, and city and county officials have various tax proposals they want to put on the ballot.

But before campaign season begins in earnest, Spin Control wants to offer its eight suggestions for candidates and campaigners:

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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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