Longtime Spokane political figure Joel Crosby won’t seek re-election this fall.
Saying simply, “It’s just time,” the sometimes controversial Crosby announced Tuesday he won’t be on September’s primary ballot.
The two-term city councilman and failed mayoral candidate plans to trade in his council seat for more time with his two teenage daughters.
Crosby said he also wants to put more effort into his budding career in commercial real estate. The small-business owner and former Presbyterian minister began working part-time last year as a broker for Tomlinson, Black and Co.
He described his eight years on the council as a combination of “agony and ecstasy,” saying that he really enjoyed “being able to make things happen.
“That’s the rewarding part of it.”
Spokane businessman and supporter David Hamer said he wasn’t surprised to hear of Crosby’s decision.
“I think it’s a very, very stressful job,” Hamer said. “And Joel’s gone through some really controversial issues.”
He’s been branded a renegade and a maverick. He’s stood alone on issues such as saving the downtown library’s view of the Spokane Falls and opposing a multiyear salary increase for City Hall managers and professionals.
He voted against the bitterly debated - and now dead - new zoning code. He fought cable television rate increases.
Crosby led the charge for the garbage burner. Just last fall, he convinced his colleagues to publish the names of those convicted of drug- and prostitution-related crimes.
He said he’s proud of his eight years in office, especially his successful fight to put 26 more police officers on the street.
Crosby began his venture into politics when he successfully ran for a student office at the University of Washington.
As an assistant pastor at a church in Fresno, Calif., he ran as the anti-corruption candidate and won a seat on the City Council. He lost a re-election bid.
Crosby moved with his wife and three children to Spokane in 1980 to lead Knox Presbyterian Church.
His rise to political prominence here began with a fight over a pornography shop on North Division. He was a leader in Citizens for Decency and sat on a committee calling for new regulations on porn shops.
Crosby resigned his post at the church to run for mayor in 1993, but lost to Jack Geraghty.
Geraghty said he feared Crosby might be bitter about the defeat, but “he put that behind him.
“Actually, I’ve been very impressed with what Joel’s done. Originally, he was the lone ranger on the council, but in the last couple years he’s gotten serious in a number of areas.”
Crosby gave a definite “no” to queries about plans to run for a different office this fall.
And, as for the fall of ‘96, Crosby said, “A year is an eternity in politics.”