Spokane City Council candidates for the northeast district Mike Fagan and Amber Waldref joined reporter Jonathan Brunt in The Spokesman-Review newsroom Sept. 25 for an informal debate.
Click here to listen to the full debate (about an hour) or use the headings below to listen to the candidates respond to questions on specific questions.
City Council and schools
(Following up on Waldref’s opening remarks.) Why would a City Council member have a responsibility for an issue handled by a different governmental branch?
The mayor’s plan for the making up a deficit in the 2010 budget includes contract concessions, dipping into reserves and raising new fees or taxes to cover the remaining $1 million. Would you be willing to support business license fees or any other tax or fee increase to make up that last portion?
If you didn’t support increasing or adding fees or taxes, how would you make up that $1 million?
Can you point to specific cuts in government that you’d support given that the budget projections look even worse for 2011?
Please rank these transportation funding issues in order of importance: improving, local streets, finishing the north Spokane freeway and developing light rail.
You’ve both said you’re interested in finishing the north Spokane freeway. How would you support raising taxes or fees to finish it (given state and federal officials’ comments that local money will be required).
Do you think the recently created police ombudsman position should have investigatory powers? Do you support the position in general?
Do you support maintaining the waste-to-energy plant on the West Plains? What would you do about changing or keeping the regional waste management system?
Last year Mayor Mary Verner proposed watering restrictions. Could you support such restrictions if the issue came up again?
Sign ordinance, bus-bench advertising
Do you support the new sign ordiance, specifically regarding digital signs that can change once per second? Are you accepting of advertising on bus benches?
Would you support fluoridating the city’s water?
City of Spokane sustainability plan
In the debate over the mayor’s sustainability plan, proponents downplayed the proposal as simple recommendations while opponents argued its principles could create an economic burden on the government. What did you think of that debate, and would you have supported the plan?
Both of you have opposed the Envision Spokane plan (for a community bill of rights). Would you support any of the rights in this measure if it were on the ballot individually?
Emergency response times
There’s been talk of the city taking over its ambulance contract or taking other steps to speed up its relatively slow emergency response times. What are your thoughts on this debate?
Mike Fagan’s response, also addressing Waldref’s criticism of Initiative 1033, which he backs
Downtown YMCA property
The city has purchased the old downtown YMCA. Among ideas for paying off the debt on the property is selling the land to a private developer. Could you support such a sale?
Mike and Amber, you have expressed more agreement in this debate than might have been expected. In closing, what issue most defines you in relation to your opponent?