The Spokane City Council District 3 primary election pits four community activists against each other in a contest that will allow only two to continue campaigning beyond Aug. 6.
This is a tough one.
Kelly Cruz is the former chairman of the West Central Neighborhood Council, but he does not have the solid business credentials Michael Cannon, Curt Fackler and Candace Mumm could bring to the council. That’s a failing, and his efforts with his neighborhood council were not as fruitful – in fact, they were contentious – as those of his competitors with their groups.
Mumm and Cannon have been cast as surrogates for City Council President Ben Stuckart and Mayor David Condon, respectively, who have lent financial and other support. They are more than that.
Mumm chaired the city plan commission for a decade, helping complete a comprehensive plan that opened the way for revitalization efforts like that transforming the South Perry district today.
She’s on the city’s stormwater task force and the Mead School District committee looking at a purchase of Joe Albi Stadium in a partnership with other districts.
A car theft victim, Mumm says she can relate to citizen concern on property crime in her gut as well as her head. Like every other candidate, she wants more police on the streets and would support a tax levy to put them there, as well as another street bond.
Cannon would rather create a dedicated street fund like the one that supports city parks and says the city could make a start toward hiring the 25 police officers Chief Frank Straub wants without asking voters for more money first.
Nor would he make the ask without securing a contract with the Spokane Police Guild. The city and union have not come to terms after more than 18 months of talks.
Although he is a manager within Bank of America, and the owner of a therapeutic massage franchise, Cannon says he has seen the rougher side of Spokane as chairman of the city Community, Housing and Human Services Board, which administers funds for homeless programs.
Fackler founded and sold insurance and financial services businesses. He chairs the North Indian Trail Neighborhood Council, as he once did the Spokane County Republican Party.
Despite the party label, Fackler has been an independent thinker critical, for example, of health insurers keying excessive reserves at policyholder expense. He says the city, rather than giving tax breaks to new developments, should find ways to prevent the deterioration of the existing housing stock.
To ease the costs of police and fire protection, Fackler says future contracts should create two-tier wage scales that gradually lower expenses.
Mumm, with name recognition to complement her record of achievement, will likely advance to the general election. But the strong financial support she has received from labor, particularly firefighters, is troublesome. Fackler and Cannon are more realistic about the toll burdensome contracts take on city services.
Fackler’s independence makes him the stronger choice of the two, but either will match up well in November with Mumm, if she does indeed progress on Aug. 6.
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