Post Falls voters chose to maintain the status quo on their City Council by re-electing Mayor Jim Hammond and Councilman Scott Grant on Tuesday.
Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Bodman was narrowly defeated by longtime resident Clay Larkin, who campaigned to continue the council’s business as usual.
A “pleased, excited” Hammond said he was gratified by the vote.
“I think the majority of the people recognize that we’re making real good progress in the direction we’re going in Post Falls,” Hammond said.
Even in defeat, Don Kline remained consistent with his campaign promise of letting the people have a say in government.
“I’m happy,” he said. “People in Post Falls, a few think big business isn’t the way to go. But I go with the majority of the people.”
Hammond and Bodman spent a soggy Election Day doing some last-minute campaigning in snow and rain.
In the morning, the two waved campaign signs at commuters from the same corner of Spokane and Seltice streets.
“One lady stopped and said, ‘You know, you’ve really got to be dedicated to be standing out here in the snow,”’ Hammond said.
Then they returned in the afternoon in hopes of capturing the attention of potential voters.
Later in the evening, Bodman headed for The Dugout bar with friends.
“I’ll probably get a better turnout there than I do at the polls,” he jokingly predicted earlier in the day.
Bodman, Kline and Robert Hunt were the underdogs in the low-key city races.
As Kline went bowling and Bodman watched the returns at The Dugout, Hammond and Grant spent election night at a council meeting, followed by a gathering in the Templin’s Resort lounge.
Larkin also attended the council meeting and joined the others afterwards at Templin’s.
The three benefitted from the support of one of Post Falls biggest community boosters and businessmen - Bob Templin. Templin was Hammond’s campaign manager, and contributed to the campaigns of Larkin and Grant.
“Their future outlook and philosophy on running the city has been very positive,” Templin said of the incumbents. He cited Larkin’s involvement with the school board and other Post Falls agencies.
The three also have similar philosophies toward economic development. All three support continued industrial and commercial growth to ease the tax burden on residents.
Larkin said he was running not to protest the direction of the City Council, but to fill the position being left open by outgoing Councilor Karen Streeter.
Although the three also said the schools are a high priority, Bodman criticized the current council for failing to do enough to help ease the space crunch at the schools.
His approach was to hold off on residential growth, to slow the influx of new students.
He and Kline, both deputies with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, wanted more public involvement in city decisions.
Bodman said as much in a letter he distributed door-to-door last weekend.
“I got feedback from people who said they weren’t even going to vote until they got my letter,” he said.
Hunt also ran for council, finishing a distant fourth. The retired U.S. Navy officer failed to attend voter forums and declined to be interviewed by the media.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo