If the past is any guide, Barbara Lampert’s attempt to beat Joe Shogan for Spokane City Council president will be a significant challenge.
Not only has she lost an election annually for more than a decade, she’s been defeated by Shogan before – by more than 50 percentage points.
Still, Shogan isn’t taking any chances. He has raised $22,000 in contributions, purchased billboard ads and scattered his campaign signs across the city.
The City Council president, who earns $40,000 a year, is a voting member of council who runs the meetings.
Lampert and Shogan advanced to the general election after defeating Councilman Rob Crow, who dropped out of the race too late to get his name taken off the primary ballot. Crow has endorsed Shogan.
One of Lampert’s key campaign arguments is that she would run meetings more efficiently than Shogan. She said she hasn’t seen Shogan in action, but her friends who have watched Shogan on cable tell her she would be better.
“I believe that following the agenda and following the rules of procedure are very important,” Lampert said.
Shogan believes he runs meetings just fine, especially considering the complicated issues that often are discussed.
“I’ve run roughly 80 council meetings since I started,” Shogan said. “We’re getting the city’s business done very efficiently.”
If elected, Lampert said she will push to hire 100 new police officers, but when asked how she would pay for the huge addition to the force she admitted, “I haven’t looked in detail at the budget.”
“I’m not interested in cutting taxes; I’m interested in utilizing them appropriately and not raising them,” Lampert said.
Shogan said Lampert’s idea is unrealistic. “Good luck,” he said. “I have no idea where she would find the money.”
Still, Shogan has a modest proposal to hire more police. On top of new officers suggested this summer in a new policing plan announced by Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Mayor Dennis Hession, he wants the city to add 2 1/2 positions for Spokane public high schools.
Lampert said she hasn’t looked at the Matrix report, the thick study that made numerous recommendations about changing city services earlier this year.
“I will (look at it) if I get on the payroll,” she added.
Shogan said while he disagreed with portions of the report, he believes it has been beneficial.
“It was a commitment that we made,” he said.