March 8, 2011 in City

Nine seek open seat on Spokane Valley City Council

By The Spokesman-Review
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The council will review the applications in executive session March 22, then vote publicly on which applicants to interview.

Nine people have applied to fill the Spokane Valley City Council seat vacated by the resignation of Councilwoman Rose Dempsey, and none is a stranger to City Hall.

Eight previously applied or ran for a seat on the council or the city’s planning commission. The ninth has written frequent letters to the editor and spoken out at council meetings.

• John Baldwin , 74, is a longtime University SCOPE and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office volunteer. He ran for council in 2002. His application states he would like to encourage manufacturing businesses to move to the Sprague/Appleway corridor.

Joseph Collins, 47, a self-employed carpenter, applied for a vacancy on the planning commission in 2009. On his council application he listed the city’s highest priority as property rights, saying that “people’s ability to use or develop their land is overburdened by government intrusion.”

Ronald Lippincott, 39, an actor, unsuccessfully ran for a council seat in 2005. He indicated he is strongly in favor of community surveys and favors loosening the sign ordinance to help businesses.

DeeDee Loberg, 47, spoke at recent council meetings against an emergency ordinance to eliminate the City Center zone from the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. The plan has been a hot-button issue; five of the current council members ran in 2009 vowing to eliminate it. Loberg, a homemaker and community activist, said she would like to bring a “non-business-owning, engaged citizen perspective” to the council.

Steven Neill, 47, a distribution specialist with OfficeMax, has spoken out against SARP at several council meetings. He applied for a planning commission seat in 2010, stating then that he’d like to make zoning rules more flexible to create a business-friendly city.

George Watson, 58, is a partner at Watson and Herres Architects who applied for a planning commission seat in 2009. He wrote that he favors having a city center near University City and wants the city to offer tax breaks to businesses relocating to Spokane Valley.

Ben Wick, 28, is an information technology systems administrator for Goodrich Corp. Wick ran for the council in 2002 and applied for a vacant seat in 2009. He wrote that he would like the city to create a vision for the future instead of focusing on “undoing the past.”

Jennie Willardson, 49, works as a customer service representative for West Corp. She previously ran for a council seat in 2005 and applied for a planning commission seat in 2008. Her goals are to create a business-friendly atmosphere and to keep the budget balanced without raising taxes or fees.

Arne Woodard, 57, is the current Spokane Valley planning commissioner, as well as a real estate broker and owner of Woodard Properties. He took his seat on the commission in January 2010 and has testified at numerous council meetings against SARP. On his application he said he favors loosening zoning regulations: “We should limit regulations and zoning to primarily health and safety and let the free market determine the rest.”

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