Residents of northwest Spokane have two appealing choices for the District 3 City Council position: Steve Salvatori and Joy Jones.
The Spokesman-Review endorses Salvatori based on his experience as a small businessman concerned about the cumulative effect of recent fee and rate increases passed by the council.
Salvatori is a relative newcomer to Spokane, but he has quickly embedded himself in the community, founding the Spokane Entrepreneurial Center and joining the Greater Spokane Incorporated Small Business Council and the board of Spokane Public Market, among others. He made a premature run for Spokane County commissioner last year, losing in the Republican Party primary to eventual winner Al French.
Although he supports the $20 vehicle tab fee that is backfilling for lost real estate excise tax revenues, he says a council decision last year to double business taxes was unwise, as was the water rate increase that significantly increased costs for consumers like small businesses. Instead of taking on major infrastructure projects like water main replacement right now, he says, it would be better to take care of weak points until a more comprehensive approach is financially possible.
City voters may be open to another street bond issue like the $110 million, 10-year package passed in 2004, he says, but there must be assurances no construction dollars will be dribbled off for maintenance or used for bike lanes or sidewalks without voter approval.
He supports red-light cameras, provided revenues from fines are kept dedicated to street improvements.
Salvatori calls the gap between city worker pay and private sector pay “the elephant in the room” that must be addressed and closed, if necessary by pressing the Legislature to amend the salary arbitration process. He would not vote for a contract with the Spokane Police Guild that does not give the police ombudsman the power to conduct independent investigations.
Jones is a longtime Spokane resident but first-time candidate with some small-business chops of her own, in part as a student counselor for Eastern Washington University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Activities. She works for Goodwill Industries, heading up the organization’s Mentoring Children of Promise program.
Jones supports the tab fee and would be willing to impose them on bicyclists as a way to fund bike lanes. She defends the changes in water rates because they will reduce costs for the many lower-income residents of the West Central area. She opposes red-light cameras.
Jones also supports an independent ombudsman but adds that adequate law enforcement resources are a priority for the district.
Jones knows the district and its needs well, but Salvatori’s experience and skills are a better fit for the city as it works through another year of budget constraints.