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Washington Voices

Grafos leads field in campaign funds

Sat., Oct. 1, 2011

Spokane Valley City Council candidates continue to amass money as the November election approaches, and Councilman Dean Grafos is by far the biggest recipient of campaign cash in his hunt for re-election.

Grafos has collected more than $17,000 in cash contributions and gave himself a $5,000 personal loan. He has also spent the most, paying out $10,866 as of last week for newspaper ads, radio ads and campaign signs.

Several donors gave Grafos $800, including businessman Jack Pring, real estate agent Gordon Curry and AAA Sweeping, which has a contract with Spokane Valley for street sweeping. Those who donated $500 include billboard company Arger Sunset, state Sen. Jeff Baxter, the Build East PAC, Central Pre-Mix Concrete and the Spokane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. Many other Valley businesses and business owners donated lesser amounts.

Grafos’ opponent, John Carroll, has significantly less cash in his campaign coffers. He has raised $7,182 and spent $5,537 of it. He has found support from many former council members, including Rose Dempsey, Dick Denenny and Diana Wilhite.

Many of his campaign donations were under $200, but he did receive $500 from current Councilman Bill Gothmann, $300 from businessman Dick Behm and $250 from dentist Philip Rudy. He has also given himself a $2,000 personal loan.

Councilman Arne Woodard has about double the cash of his opponent, Dee Dee Loberg. Woodard has raised $4,738 and spent about $3,000 of it. In recent months he received donations of $500 from Central Pre-Mix Development Corp. and the Inland Northwest Association of General Contractors. Donations of $300 came from Oil Analysis Lab Inc., Sunshine Recyclers and Pring.

Loberg has collected $2,328 in donations, significantly more money than she had in August. She received $500 from the Asbestos Workers PAC, Councilman Bill Gothmann and the Heat and Frost Insulation and Allied Workers Union No. 82.

Marilyn Cline has increased her campaign chest by $500, to $5,631, since the end of August. Her opponent, Ben Wick, has raised $8,118 in donations and spent $5,800 of it. In September his $600 in new donations were mostly in the area of small contributions and in-kind contributions.

But in all the records of money raised and spent filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, many of the “Positive Change” candidates have still failed to declare all or some of the expenses tied to a joint fundraiser held in early July.

Each of the four candidates – Grafos, Chuck Hafner, Woodard and Cline – agreed to split the cost of the event. As of the end of August only Cline had declared the cost of the food and tent used at the event as in-kind donations and none of the four had included anything for the use of the land, which is owned by Pring.

As of last week Grafos had disclosed the donation of the food and tent and reported a fee of $1 for the use of the land, which is valued at $1.5 million. “That’s been revised,” Grafos said. “There’s been an amendment. (Pring) sent everybody a $25 bill for renting his land.”

It was Pring who set the cost of using the land, Grafos said. “The land is not for rent,” he said. “All it is is a vacant field, and it’s not for rent.”

Woodard’s PDC forms do not show the food, tent or land. Woodard said he was told by the PDC to include it in his next report, which is due the second week of October.

“I don’t know why they don’t want me to go back and revise it,” he said. “It will be there. I’m trying to follow what the law is.”

Hafner said the bill for the use of the land didn’t go out until Sept. 10, and it was received after his monthly C4 report was filed on Sept. 5. Hafner is running unopposed and has not raised any money since May, but has spent nearly $4,000 on advertising, signs and other expenses.

Wick, Loberg and Carroll held their own joint campaign event on Aug. 27. The last filing period for campaign expenses ended on Aug. 31, so the expenses for the event have not yet been reported. The next expense report is due the second week of October.

Carroll said he has paid some of the bills, and Loberg has already given him $145 for her share of the event and Wick has paid $180. Carroll said he hasn’t yet gotten a price for the use of the land where the event was held. Ice cream for the event was provided by Behm’s Creamery and company owner Dick Behm recently died, Carroll said.

“That got lost with Dick’s death,” he said. “The kids don’t know anything about it.”

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