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Four file for Valley council job

Sat., Aug. 29, 2009

Four people filed this week for a Spokane Valley City Council seat that promises a referendum on the city’s hot-button issues.

As expected, the candidates include incumbent Ian Robertson and council critic Dean Grafos. They were joined by Ed Foote, a twice unsuccessful Democratic candidate for state representative, and retired Lutheran minister and electronics worker Edward Pace.

Robertson was appointed Aug. 4 to replace Councilman Steve Taylor until the end of the year. Taylor quit June 30 to become city administrator in Connell, Wash.

Whoever gets the most votes in the Nov. 3 general election will serve the remaining two years of Taylor’s term.

The regular filing period for general election had closed by the time Taylor resigned, so the county elections office declared a special three-day filing period that ended Friday. The filing period also was for three other offices with last-minute vacancies.

Also this week, Fairfield Town Councilwoman Karrie Stewart was challenged by Brian Kauffman. Stewart was appointed to the vacancy created June 21 when Councilman Carl Toetly died.

Another death-caused vacancy occurred July 27 on the Deer Park School Board when three-term board member W. David Franklin passed away. Lyle Crecelius and Jeff Whittle filed for the position this week.

Only James McKelvey filed for the Fire District 10 commissioner’s seat to which he was appointed after Jerry McCoury resigned last month. McKelvey will continue serving out McCoury’s term, which runs through 2013. District 10 serves much of the West Plains.

In Spokane Valley, Robertson and Grafos may provide a measure of residents’ feelings about the controversial Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan the City Council approved June 16 – and about the city government itself.

Robertson was chairman of the Planning Commission when it recommended the Sprague-Appleway plan to the City Council. His appointment to the council was by members who voted for the plan.

Grafos has been a leading opponent of the plan because of the restrictions it places on property owners. He helped form Friends of Spokane Valley to oppose the plan, and that group has given financial support to Citizens for Disincorporation, which is collecting signatures to dissolve the 6-year-old city.

Grafos, owner of Grafos Investments, is a developer and landlord. Robertson retired last year as senior pastor of Spokane Valley Nazarene Church.

Pace recently retired as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chewelah, Wash., where he served for six years. Before that he worked in the electronics industry, including 18 years with Hewlett-Packard.

Foote was a substitute teacher when he lost his second bid to unseat now-retired state Rep. Lynn Schindler in 2006. Previously, Foote taught English in South Korea.

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