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Conservative To Challenge Roskelley

A conservative grandmother worried about rising crime and threats to rural property values will make a run for the Spokane County Commission.

Lila Howe, 54, a North Side resident, will announce her candidacy today against the newest board member, John Roskelley.

Roskelley was elected in November to fill the final year of Skip Chilberg’s term.

“I think I would bring balance,” she said, “and a woman’s voice.”

Roskelley didn’t want to comment on Howe’s candidacy Wednesday, but he got his first look at her the night before during a long and rowdy public hearing on how to protect the county’s environmentally sensitive lands.

Howe, a staunch but not “rabid” advocate of private-property rights, quizzed Roskelley about his “personal involvement” in the drafting of the critical-areas ordinance.

She said the document was too restrictive on development and could lead to the illegal taking of property. Roskelley is a former member of the Spokane County Planning Commission but was off the panel when it forwarded the ordinance.

“Mr. Roskelley is a nice gentleman,” Howe said Wednesday. “But his views politically are very opposite of mine. He’s a liberal, and I’m a conservative.”

While Howe favors managed growth, she fears provisions of the ordinance would lower outlying property values, shifting the tax burden to the inner-city poor and other urban dwellers.

“I have no problem with managing growth - where we want it and how it should occur,” she said. “But stopping growth is going to kill us.”

Howe is a Montana native, former Spokane real estate agent and former owner of Royal Maps, author of the Spokane County Atlas. She has served on the planning and shoreline-management boards in Stevens County and boasts that she always does her homework.

She has been married to her husband Roy for 37 years. She is mother of four and has 10 grandchildren.

“I’m concerned about rapid growth of regulations,” Howe said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo