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Carroll enters race for Grafos’ City Council seat


There is competition now for one of the Spokane Valley City Council seats up for election this fall with the entry of John Carroll, who has served on the city’s planning commission since 2003. Carroll, 66, recently filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission to run against Councilman Dean Grafos.

Carroll said he wants to run because many of the current council members are not looking to the future. “I don’t think we’re doing enough to protect our children’s future,” he said. “Today’s actions are tomorrow’s jobs. Right now the council is so focused on the current situation, they’re not looking at tomorrow.”

The city should create an economic development council of about 15 people to try to address the need to attract and keep businesses, he said. It should include council members, the mayor, citizens, business owners and representatives of various groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Homebuilders Association. “That means we have a buy-in from every aspect,” he said.

Carroll said he also believes the city should investigate what it can do to enhance the Auto Row area. “That’s one of our biggest tax producers and we’re not doing anything to help them,” he said.

The city has faced declining revenues, and Carroll said he would examine the policies used to set the budget to see where changes could be made. Carroll questioned why the city is setting aside money every year for the eventual replacement of CenterPlace when the city needs money now to pay for street preservation projects. He does not agree with a decision the council made last year to deny raises in 2011 for only non-union employees, a move that saved about $40,000.

“That’s not worth it,” he said. “That’s wrong, pure and simple. If you’ve got five people working together, you can’t cut two of them out.”

While Carroll was in favor of keeping the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan, he said his views are really not all that different from the current council members, most of whom wanted to get rid of the plan. Like some council members, Carroll said he believes it is private enterprise that will lead the city out of its economic funk but that the council needs to walk a fine line between allowing business owners to do what they want and protecting the city as a whole. “I don’t think giving people carte blanche is going to do it,” he said. “If you don’t provide a road map and a destination, you end up going in circles.”

Carroll has owned Servicemaster Cleaning Services in Spokane Valley since 1994 and has 40 employees. He joined the Air Force in 1963, two weeks out of high school, and worked in communications before retiring from Fairchild Air Force Base as a major in 1988. Along the way he picked up a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Eastern Washington University.

Carroll is supported by former City Councilwoman Rose Dempsey, who chairs his campaign. He has set up a campaign website at