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Greene, Numbers, Barnes Best Bets

What makes a city official into a community leader? It’s a tough question - one that comes to mind in the very tough choice between Jim Kolva and Roberta Greene for the Spokane City Council.

Each offers a thoughtful agenda for reform, good listening skills, strong records of civic involvement, relevant academic backgrounds.

As voters look for distinctions between these fine candidates, they can note that Kolva’s expertise in land-use planning covers just one part of the spectrum of city issues.

Greene, meanwhile, offers the extra spark of personal dynamism which marks one difference between a leader and an officeholder. Plus, she has risen to leadership in a significantly diverse array of activities: past chairwoman of the Chase Youth Commission, past chairwoman of the board of the Community Colleges of Spokane, a steward at Bethel AME church, president of the Lilac Festival, board member of Momentum and Empire Health Services …

As co-owner of a major business (Empire Ford) and a former business and economics professor, she has expertise needed to tighten the city budget and reform the city’s civil service system. As a former welfare caseworker, she understands complexities in the war on crime and appreciates the need to get neighborhoods involved.

In the second of three council races, we prefer Orville Barnes. He was earning respect as a businessman and conservative critic of government budgeting long before 1989 when his opponent, John Talbott, moved back to Spokane and joined the pack of naysayers who make it a hobby to criticize the city’s every move.

During his tenure, Barnes has tackled issue after issue with thoughtfulness and courage. This senior statesman of local government has the credibility needed to push for cuts he wants in the city’s administrative hierarchy.

Bev Numbers also offers a pro-business mind-set, and during her current council term, she has worked to temper an acerbic attitude with listening skills. Her opponent, Jeff Colliton, got himself in trouble with state gambling authorities in 1991 by trying to skate around rules concerning pull-tab sales.

We recommend voters stick with Orville Barnes and Bev Numbers. And we recommend Roberta Greene as one uniquely qualified to become a leader for the whole community.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, ENDORSEMENT, COLUMN - Our view CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board