Nation/World

George Marlton Picked To Replace Chilberg Lawyer, Twice-Failed Commissioner Candidate Wins Appointment

A attorney who lost two elections for county commissioner and recently moved to qualify for the appointment was chosen Friday to replace Commissioner Skip Chilberg.

George Marlton, a former county public defender and a longtime Democratic Party activist, was appointed by commissioners Steve Hasson and Phil Harris to fill the vacancy.

Marlton, 50, was one of three men nominated by the Democratic Party and the top vote-getter at a party caucus Tuesday night.

John Roskelley, 46, and Frank Yuse, 67, were also named by party leaders and interviewed Friday.

Marlton came to the interview with Kay McGlocklin, a party worker who was active in the drive to incorporate the Spokane Valley.

Bespectacled and lawyerly, he referred to documents to answer questions and credited Hasson and Harris with bringing congeniality back to the courthouse.

Marlton said it was “highly probable” he would run for the position and said his experience as a county public defender for 19 years would be an asset in analyzing county criminal justice spending.

Roskelley, a world-class mountaineer and author who serves on several citizen committees, spoke off-the-cuff, reciting verbatim sections of the state Growth Management Act. He wants to reign in urban sprawl and protect farmland.

When asked the boundaries of Commission District 1, he outlined them in detail, almost block-by-block.

“It certainly shows how you’ve never gotten lost on a mountain,” said Hasson.

Yuse spoke in grander terms about growth management, the role of government and Spokane’s future. He said he feels strongly about certain issues, is a strong Democrat but would work with Hasson and Harris, both Republicans. He even quoted William Butler Yeats.

But Yuse said he wouldn’t run for the seat and “never intended” to seek it except that he attended all the meetings and “looked over the field and decided I was the best qualified.”

Both commissioners said that gave the advantage to Marlton, who’s been seeking the job for more than a decade.

“Anybody who’s willing to run a third time for county commissioner must have a burning desire to serve the county,” said Harris, who was in the same race with Marlton when both lost to Pat Mummey in 1990.

Marlton will have to run for the job this fall in order to fill out Chilberg’s term. If he wants a fouryear term of his own, he’ll have to run again in November 1996.

Marlton also sought the seat in 1982 when he lost to Grant Peterson. In both those cases, Marlton ran for the District 3 seat, which extends to Medical Lake, where he lived until recently. That district is now represented by Harris.

In order to gain Chilberg’s seat, Marlton rented a north Spokane apartment.

Roskelley impressed both commissioners, but they said he is still a newcomer to politics.

“He’s so new,” said Hasson. “and the comments I’m getting from the public is they aren’t aware of John.

“I have to tell you, known quantities usually fare better than unknown quantities.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: These sidebars appeared with the story: Picking a commish: An inside look Here is the discussion between commissioners Steve Hasson and Phil Harris on the appointment of a new county commissioner. Hasson: “My druthers are with George (Marlton), but I can go with Frank (Yuse).” Harris: “When you talk about the whole spectrum and the overall needs and challenges of people in the county, Frank has that. “George is educated and so is (John) Roskelley, and not more than Frank. Frank’s taught school all those years. When you look at elections Frank probably knows more people than the other two combined because of all the years and years and years he’s put into the school district.” Hasson: “I heard Frank say if he wasn’t offered the job he wasn’t going to run and I also heard him say he isn’t sure why he did this in the first place.” Harris: “Yeah, that bothered me a little bit. Now did George say he was going to run if he wasn’t appointed? Yeah, there it is (checking notes) he did. So you’re feeling comfortable with George Marlton?” Hasson: “Yeah, I am. I have some reservation. I don’t know how hard he’s going to work for the job.” Harris: “Okay let’s go with it, let’s get a press release out.”

A brief biography Education: Bachelor of arts in business at Eastern Washington State College; law degree from Gonzaga. Employment: Assistant public defender in Spokane County for 19 years and judge pro tem and lawyer since 1992. Personal: Born in Spokane, married Tanya Marlton, four children. Political: Served as Democratic precinct officer for six years and as committeeman for 12 years. Ran for state Legislature in 1978, county commissioner in 1982 and 1990; District Court in 1985 and freeholder in 1992.

These sidebars appeared with the story: Picking a commish: An inside look Here is the discussion between commissioners Steve Hasson and Phil Harris on the appointment of a new county commissioner. Hasson: “My druthers are with George (Marlton), but I can go with Frank (Yuse).” Harris: “When you talk about the whole spectrum and the overall needs and challenges of people in the county, Frank has that. “George is educated and so is (John) Roskelley, and not more than Frank. Frank’s taught school all those years. When you look at elections Frank probably knows more people than the other two combined because of all the years and years and years he’s put into the school district.” Hasson: “I heard Frank say if he wasn’t offered the job he wasn’t going to run and I also heard him say he isn’t sure why he did this in the first place.” Harris: “Yeah, that bothered me a little bit. Now did George say he was going to run if he wasn’t appointed? Yeah, there it is (checking notes) he did. So you’re feeling comfortable with George Marlton?” Hasson: “Yeah, I am. I have some reservation. I don’t know how hard he’s going to work for the job.” Harris: “Okay let’s go with it, let’s get a press release out.”

A brief biography Education: Bachelor of arts in business at Eastern Washington State College; law degree from Gonzaga. Employment: Assistant public defender in Spokane County for 19 years and judge pro tem and lawyer since 1992. Personal: Born in Spokane, married Tanya Marlton, four children. Political: Served as Democratic precinct officer for six years and as committeeman for 12 years. Ran for state Legislature in 1978, county commissioner in 1982 and 1990; District Court in 1985 and freeholder in 1992.



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