October 24, 1995 in City

Greene, Kolva Alike In Substance But Differ In Style

By The Spokesman-Review
 

They share concerns about the Spokane City Council’s poor public image.

They talk a lot about revitalizing downtown with housing for all income levels.

They worry about City Hall’s impact on businesses.

In fact, Roberta Greene and Jim Kolva rarely - if ever - disagree when answering questions during candidate forums and interviews.

Almost without fail, supporters of the two candidates running for Council Position 1 bemoan the fact they’re battling for the same spot.

“The tragedy here is that the two of them are running against each other,” said Randy Stamper, an attorney and Greene supporter who immediately follows with reasons why his candidate is the better choice.

“She’s going to be a leader on the council,” Stamper said. “She’ll move us.”

Trigger the passions of a Kolva supporter and get the same glowing response with a twist.

Stan Stirling, part owner of a Spokane engineering firm, said he hears good things about Greene but his loyalty lies with Kolva.

“He’s a true believer in what founded this country - the art of debate and the art of compromise,” Stirling said.

Kolva and Greene came away top vote-getters in the September primary and will face each other in the Nov. 7 general election.

The winner grabs the $18,000-a-year council seat held by Joel Crosby, who decided in May not to seek a third term.

Although they share many ideas and concerns, the candidates have different styles and backgrounds.

Kolva’s demeanor is professorial; Greene’s is nurturing.

Greene talks about her candidacy as a way to put “quality” in office; Kolva takes heat from his friends who say he needs to be a better self-promoter.

Kolva hails his years of planning experience - including service on the Spokane Plan Commission - as perfect training for the council. Greene says the same of her business background.

Greene co-owns Empire Ford with her husband, Nathaniel. The couple moved to Spokane nine years ago from Charlotte, N.C., where she was a professor of business and economics at Central Piedmont College.

Before that, she worked as a bank manager, substance abuse counselor and welfare caseworker.

The middle child of a janitor and a maid, Greene was raised in a “deeply segregated” Charleston, S.C., by parents who taught her to savor education as “the only way out of the situation we were in,” she said.

Greene earned scholarships and took out loans to get through college and graduate school. She married her high school sweetheart and had a son.

Kolva co-owns a land-use and environmental planning consulting firm with partner Anthony Anderson. He also teaches a class on land use at Eastern Washington University.

Before that, he worked at Eastern’s Institute for Urban and Local Studies, which offered planning and research services to small towns.

When Kolva was 8, his parents moved him and his three siblings to a small farm near Otis Orchards. His father worked as a laborer and taught his children about “honesty, hard work and humility,” Kolva said.

Kolva joined the U.S. Air Force in 1968 and did one tour in Vietnam. He left the service in 1974 and went to college and graduate school.

He married Pat Sullivan 13 years ago and has two grown stepchildren.

When supporters of Kolva and Greene describe their chosen candidate, they rattle off traits such as listening and compromising abilities, and active community involvement.

On their lists of top three priorities, Greene and Kolva share two. Both consider long-range budget planning and citizen involvement a must. Greene’s third priority is public safety, Kolva’s is citywide, long-range planning.

Kolva chides the city for not drafting a long-range plan detailing where it’s going and how it’s getting there.

“What will Spokane be in 20 years?” he said. “You have to have a vision and everything relates to that.

“If you say kids are important, you need to draft land-use policies that support that, you need to include parks within walking distance.”

Greene argues that throwing more money into public safety won’t reduce crime. Instead, leaders need to increase the ways teenagers can bond to their community through their churches, schools and parents.

“If you don’t have a bond to your community, you’re floating,” she said.

Asked why she’d make a better council member, Greene offers her years working in different cities at different jobs.

“The difference between us is the diversity of experiences that I bring to the table,” she said.

Jennifer Roseman, public relations director for Spokane Community Colleges, said Greene is gifted with the ability to “speak the truth, to reason with people and to come up with good solutions.”

Asked what sets him apart, Kolva points to his years on the planning commission - his “experience in working in the trenches.”

“I’ve been on the inside because I’ve always been willing to work with the outsiders,” Kolva said.

George Nachtscheim, an architect and Plan Commission member, said Kolva is a “good people person” whose land-use knowledge is just what Spokane needs for the years ahead.

“Land-use issues are the most emotional issues you see,” Nachtscheim said. “He’s got balanced judgment, and he looks at things from all perspectives.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: ROBERTA GREENE Personal: Age 51 … born in Charleston, S.C. … moved to Spokane nine years ago … co-owner of Empire Ford … member, Community Colleges of Spokane board of trustees … member, Momentum board … steward, Bethel AME Church … member, Lilac Festival Association … married, one grown son. Education: Master’s degree in urban studies from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas … bachelor’s degree in economics, Talladega College, Talladega, Ala. Finances: Raised about $20,000, including $500 from Washington Water Power, $500 from ACME Material and Construction Co., and about $3,000 from Ford dealerships in other cities. Top three issues: Budget, public safety, improving the council’s image.

JIM KOLVA Personal: Age 49 … born in North Dakota, raised in Otis Orchards … five years as an Air Force navigator … land-use planner for 17 years … teaches at Eastern Washington University … former president, Spokane City Plan Commission … president, Cheney Cowles Museum Art Committee … married with two grown stepchildren. Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban and regional planning, Eastern Washington University … bachelor’s in general studies, Washington State University. Finances: Raised about $14,000, including $500 each from Washington Water Power, MoMike Company, Greenstone Corporation, Walt Worthy and Tomlinson Black Realtors Top three issues: Citizen involvement, long-range planning and the budget.

This sidebar appeared with the story: ROBERTA GREENE Personal: Age 51 … born in Charleston, S.C. … moved to Spokane nine years ago … co-owner of Empire Ford … member, Community Colleges of Spokane board of trustees … member, Momentum board … steward, Bethel AME Church … member, Lilac Festival Association … married, one grown son. Education: Master’s degree in urban studies from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas … bachelor’s degree in economics, Talladega College, Talladega, Ala. Finances: Raised about $20,000, including $500 from Washington Water Power, $500 from ACME Material and Construction Co., and about $3,000 from Ford dealerships in other cities. Top three issues: Budget, public safety, improving the council’s image.

JIM KOLVA Personal: Age 49 … born in North Dakota, raised in Otis Orchards … five years as an Air Force navigator … land-use planner for 17 years … teaches at Eastern Washington University … former president, Spokane City Plan Commission … president, Cheney Cowles Museum Art Committee … married with two grown stepchildren. Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban and regional planning, Eastern Washington University … bachelor’s in general studies, Washington State University. Finances: Raised about $14,000, including $500 each from Washington Water Power, MoMike Company, Greenstone Corporation, Walt Worthy and Tomlinson Black Realtors Top three issues: Citizen involvement, long-range planning and the budget.

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