We’re still weeks away from that familiar moment when Spokane’s next one-term mayor will slide behind the desk in that spiffy City Hall office with a view. Although quite frankly, if Mary Verner keeps refusing to concede last Tuesday’s election, David Condon may have to call for an eviction. Read more
Spokane County, Measure 1
About this measure
Spokane County Measure 1 seeks a property tax increase to provide a new regional animal shelter big enough to accommodate the city of Spokane’s request for service.
If approved by voters countywide, a property tax levy up to 5.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a maximum of nine years.
That would raise an estimated $15 million, enough to acquire land and build a brand new Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service shelter. However, officials expect to complete the job for $10 million by renovating an existing building.
If the lower cost can be achieved, the ballot measure will require county commissioners to reduce the levy amount, shorten its term or both.
Commissioner Todd Mielke said, even if full amount is necessary, the cost for the owner of an average-priced single-family residence – around $175,300 – would be an estimated 83 cents a month.
The measure requires a simple majority to pass.
Even without Spokane as a customer, county officials say, a new shelter is needed to meet the growing requirements of existing users: residents of Spokane Valley, Cheney, Millwood, Liberty Lake and unincorporated areas.
SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill said the current shelter, at 2521 N. Flora Road, is poorly located, too small for current needs and impossible to expand because it is between railroad tracks and a gravel pit.
Spokane asked to join the SCRAPS coalition after its provider, SpokAnimal C.A.R.E., said it wanted to get out of the animal-control business. SpokAnimal directors now say they would like to retain the city contract.
Last updated: Nov. 14, 4:59 p.m. Election results
The best thing for political junkies about an off-year election – and arguably the worst thing for everyone else – is there’s another election so close we can feel it in our bones. We’ll barely have time to catch our breath. But before the general population gets overwhelmed with more Republican presidential debates and the minutiae of selecting presidential delegates through the caucus system, Spin Control wants to take just a few minutes to recall the highlights and lowlifes of Campaign Season 2011. Read more
After years of frustration over Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan’s temper, a majority of council members for the first time this week engaged in a minor protest of Shogan’s behavior during a council meeting. When he leaves office at year’s end, he may be ending his tenure on a sour note. Read more
Now comes that post-election moment for rationally minded pundits to scientifically pick apart how David Condon, a political upstart, made up a Goliath-size disadvantage to knock off a sitting Spokane mayor Tuesday night. Remember the August primary? Read more
Sometime after the first of next year, the impact of the successful initiative ending Washington’s 78-year control of liquor sales will become more apparent. That’s when state liquor stores, which are currently increasing inventory for holiday sales, will start to draw down their inventory. It’s also when contract stores, which are operated by individuals under agreements with the state, will look for new suppliers or decide to go out of business. Read more
Commissioners in two counties met in joint session this week to prevent a lengthy Internet service interruption for customers of two Spokane-area companies. Medical Lake-based EcliptixNet Broadband and Spokane-based Pass Word Inc. will be allowed to continue using a Tum Tum-area law enforcement radio tower from which they were to have been evicted today. Read more
Because several people have asked, we went back to look at the vote totals of the August primary for Spokane mayor, to compare with the current count in the general election. It's a bit tricky, because the primary featured five candidates — four challengers and incumbent Mary Verner, who finished first with nearly 60 percent of the vote. … Read more
Mayor Mary Verner's interview last night with Mike Fitzsimmons on KXLY 920 AM has been making the rounds on Twitter today. And it's worth a listen. Here's some of what was said. The entire interview is in the link above. Verner: …I do know that on your radio show you’ve helped perpetuate a lot of misinformation so I’ve been up against a series of unfolding events and a very negative misinformation campaign and I still have a lot of support in this community. … Read more
Here's are Verner's statements to her supporters and repoters last night. The Spokane County Elections Office has reported that it received nearly 23,000 ballots in the mail today. There are 22,200 ballots left to count in the City of Spokane. For Verner to make a comeback, she'll need to win 56.4 percent of those votes. … Read more
Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said she expects only one count of votes tonight. Results should be released about 8:15 p.m. She said including today's mail, the county has received about 100,000 ballots. About 90,000 of those will be counted in the numbers released tonight. Dalton said once all the ballots are returned, the county expects to receive between 130,000 and 140,000 ballots. … Read more
Mayoral candidate David Condon over the weekend got another big lift from the state Republican Party. The GOP contributed $38,000 to Condon’s campaign on Saturday, according to reports filed to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Late last month, the party gave his campaign $25,000. Condon, the former district director of Republican U.S. … Read more
Spokane County Elections Office says it has received slighly more than 89,500 ballots, or 33.66 percent of all the ballots it sent out a couple weeks ago. That's counting nearly 10,000 that came in today's mail or the pickup of weekend deposits in drop boxes. For those who think a hot candidate race will definitely spur turnout, the numbers so far would suggest otherwise. For example, the city of Spokane has a hotly contested mayor's race, a council president race and three contested city council races. … Read more
Spokane City Council hopefuls Mike Fagan and Donna McKereghan explain why they think they would be the best next council member to serve District 1, which covers Northeast Spokane. Read more
When David Condon began to publicly criticize Mary Verner's handling of the Otto Zehm case, Verner said Condon's critique was further victimizing the Zehm family “by attempting to elevate himself.” The Inland Northwest Leadership Political Action Committee, which has spent about $25,000 on the mayoral race in support of Verner, has made similar allegations. “Unfortunately, David Condon is now desperately trying to exploit this tragedy for political gain,” says an article on the group's website. But last week, Breean Beggs, who represents the Zehm family and has contributed money to the Verner campaign, said Zehm family members do not feel exploited or victimized by Condon or other city candidates who have discussed the case. … Read more
Washington voters checking their ballots this weekend for the first time may feel a sense of déjà vu. They voted last year on proposals to get the state out of the liquor business, and in 2008 to require more training for home health care workers. And while it isn’t immediately clear from the ballot language, the initiative on road and bridge tolls resurrects some of last year’s initiative requiring supermajorities in the Legislature. Read more
OLYMPIA – Tuesday is Election Day 2011 – or what passes for one in a state that mailed out its ballots two weeks ago and will spend more than two weeks counting them – but it could be a key day for Election Days 2012-’21. That morning is the next meeting of the state Redistricting Commission, which is weighing two proposals to redraw congressional and legislative lines in Washington. Read more
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. … Read more
It was clear on the evening of Aug. 16 that the race for mayor was Mary Verner's to lose. But a lot has happened since then, including the conviction of Officer Karl Thompson. So will she hold on? As far as we at Spin Control know, there has been no scientific polling of the race, at least not the kind of unbiased polling newspapers like to have for campaign 'horse race' stories. Last month, the Condon campaign wrote to potential donors that polling showed him within 3 points of Verner. … Read more
Spokane Valley interim Deputy City Manager Roger Crum presented the Spokane Valley City Council with a comprehensive look at the possibility of using quiet zones or wayside horns to eliminate train whistles at every railroad crossing in the city. A group of residents signed a petition last year requesting quiet zones where Park Road and Vista Road cross the Union Pacific line north of Trent Avenue. Crum said he visited every crossing in the city and met up with a few trains in his travels. “These whistles are very loud,” he said. “The sound does carry quite a bit.” Read more
Only one of the 10 candidates on the ballot next week for Spokane city office agreed to sign a pledge promising to oppose any Spokane Police Guild contract unless the union agrees to stronger police oversight, the Center for Justice reported this week. A coalition of groups including the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane asked the candidates as well as four City Council members not running in elections this fall if they would sign a pledge promising not to vote for a guild contract unless the union agrees to the provisions of the ombudsman ordinance that recently was repealed. The city's 2010 police ombudsman law was thrown out by the City Council last month after an arbitrator ruled that the rules needed to be agreed to by the guild. Only Donna McKereghan, who is running for the City Council seat in Northeast Spokane signed the pledge. … Read more
Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer DeRuwe declined to comment this week about her “totally sucks” comment becoming a major highlight of the David Condon campaign for mayor. DeRuwe made the comment lastmonth soon after sending a news release announcing that the department eliminated its property crime detective division earlier this year. Mayor Mary Verner has argued that the change was about reallocating existing resources and that property crimes still will be investigated by detectives who now also will investigate other crimes. … Read more
The state Republican Party gave David Condon’s campaign for mayor $25,000 on Oct. 27. It’s easily the largest contribution to a Spokane candidate this year, and has supporters of Mayor Mary Verner calling foul. Verner’s backers accuse the Condon campaign of skirting campaign finance rules barring contributors from giving more than $800 to a candidate for each election. State parties, however, can give a candidate 80 cents per registered voter. In Spokane, that amounts to more than $110,000. Read more
Spokane City Council hopefuls Steve Salvatori and Joy Jones explain why they think they would be the best next council member to serve District 3, which covers Northwest Spokane. Read more
Former Mayor Dennis Hession and Ben Stuckart, director of Communities in Schools of Spokane County, debate the $20 annual vehicle tab tax that was approved earlier this year. Hession and Stuckart are running for Spokane City Council president. Read more
Another allegedly faulty land-use decision by Spokane County officials resulted in a $687,000 settlement this week. The payout is for property near the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Day-Mt. Spokane Road, within a couple of blocks of a site where the county sank $750,000 in December 2008. Read more
Once it was just one of 18 one-room schoolhouses serving the rural population in a small region of northwest Spokane County, but today the Central School District No. 49 schoolhouse is the only one still at its original site, as all the others have either been moved or torn down. This one-room schoolhouse, located just west of the intersection of Ritchey and Four Mound roads, several miles north of Deep Creek, began service in September 1900. Now on both the National (1992) and Spokane (1991) Registers of Historic Places, it stands isolated out in the country but in a remarkably well-preserved condition on its stone foundation. Some improvements – new roof, new front porch – have helped keep it intact. Read more
Former Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession and Ben Stuckart, director of Communities in Schools of Spokane County, explain how they would run meetings differently than Council President Joe Shogan if they are elected council president. Read more
Former Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession and Ben Stuckart, director of Communities in Schools of Spokane County, debate why they feel they are the best candidates to be the next Spokane City Council president. Read more
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. … Read more
For the second time in four years, Washington voters are being asked to set tougher standards for the people who care for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. But unlike 2008, when the state was coming off a string of years in which revenue regularly outpaced planned expenses, voters in 2011 are being asked to make the state take on new programs when it is cutting existing ones. Read more
Following is a summary of The Spokesman-Review’s endorsements for the general election. To read the full endorsements online, go to spokesman.com/tags/ 2011-endorsement. For full election coverage, go to spokesman.com/elections. City of Spokane Read more
County commissioners couldn’t say a word this week when business leaders appealed for help in defending Fairchild Air Force Base. They were gagged by an agreement to remain silent in exchange for payments to offset the effects of a proposed Spokane Tribe casino and hotel development. Read more
Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and David Condon, former district director for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, debate proposal to build a electric bus or trolley system in central Spokane. Condon is challenging Verner’s bid for re-election. Read more
Spokane County is reviewing the Urban Growth Area boundaries and Spokane Valley residents got a chance to take a look at the various proposals under consideration during a sparsely attended open house Monday. The UGA boundaries could remain the same or a steering committee of local elected officials could choose to recommend one of three other proposals that would add and subtract land from the UGA boundaries all over the county. Color-coded maps showing the options being discussed were on display. People clustered around the maps asking questions of Spokane Valley and Spokane County staff, but since so few people showed up they were sometimes outnumbered by staff members. Read more
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. … Read more