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McCaslin takes on Munson for council

Sat., June 6, 2009, midnight

He would keep Senate post; Spokane Valley vision cited

State Sen. Bob McCaslin filed Friday afternoon for Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson’s seat on the City Council.

If McCaslin unseats Munson, he would retain the Senate seat for which he won an eighth term in November.

McCaslin would not become mayor by defeating Munson because, under Spokane Valley’s city manager form of government, the mayor is a figurehead elected by fellow council members.

State law allows legislators to hold local offices simultaneously, and several have done so. The question is whether McCaslin would run afoul of a state law that says council positions “shall become vacant” if a member misses three regular meetings in a row without being excused by the rest of the council.

McCaslin said he would hope to be excused from council meetings while the Legislature is in session, but would drive home for an important council vote.

He said there is nothing personal about his decision to run against Munson, who was out of town Friday and not available for comment. Rather, McCaslin said he wants to change the direction of the municipal government and to make sure every position up for election has a candidate who feels the same way.

He said other candidates who fill that bill are businesswoman Brenda Grassel, city Planning Commissioner Tom Towey and Councilman Gary Schimmels. McCaslin said he was unable to persuade any other critic of the city government to file for council.

Schimmels is running unopposed, as is Towey, who filed for the position being vacated by Dick Denenny. Grassel is running against incumbent Councilwoman Diana Wilhite.

McCaslin opposes the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan the council is poised to adopt, including plans to reduce commercial zoning and to build a new city hall. Combined with Councilwoman Rose Dempsey, who also opposes the revitalization plan, the challengers could overturn it if elected.

The primary election is Aug. 18; the general is Nov. 3.


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