October 4, 2013 in City

Spokane City Council District 3: Candace Mumm vs. Michael Cannon

By The Spokesman-Review
 

If convincing people to contribute to a political campaign is a sign of future success in government, Candace Mumm will be a hit.

Mumm has raised more than $70,000, beating all previous fundraising records of City Council candidates and almost doubling her opponent’s fundraising in the race to replace Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, who has served the maximum two terms allowable by local rules.

Out of Mumm’s 21 biggest donations – most of which total $900, the top amount that someone or some organization can donate to a campaign – 17 are from unions such as Washington Teamsters Legislative League, International Union of Painters, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW and the Washington Education PAC.

Michael Cannon, who is facing Mumm in the general election, said he didn’t fault Mumm for raising money, but did question its source.

“My criticism is there’s so much union support for my opponent,” he said. “Unions make up so much of a part of the budget. It’s no mystery that they want to influence the decisions made about the budget.”

Mumm said it’s not so much the dollar amount as the number of donors to her campaign. The average donation from her 594 cash contributions is about $110.

Cannon – who has been given money by Mayor David Condon and the maximum contribution from both city Administrator Theresa Sanders and her husband, Mark Smathers – has received 140 cash contributions averaging $240.

Also, Mumm said she sees nothing wrong with having support of labor unions.

“Our community has painters and plumbers and carpenters and home health care workers and bus drivers and firefighters and garbage collectors. They’re all part of our North Side district,” she said. “They have a right to form a membership. If they want to support me, I think that’s great.”

Cops and crime

Cannon said he wholeheartedly supports the ordinance being pursued by Councilman Steve Salvatori giving the police ombudsman powers in line with Prop 1, which was approved by voters in February.

“I supported it back then and I support it now,” he said. “Steve’s right. Too much time has passed. Voters want accountability.”

Cannon said it was important for elected officials to pursue the voters’ will, and said the council should pass the ordinance even if doing so complicates labor negotiations between the city and the Police Guild.

“I think that’s a risk we should take,” he said. If the Guild protests strengthening civilian oversight of police, “that puts them at odds with the will of the people.”

Mumm didn’t take a stand on Salvatori’s ordinance, citing her own lack of information.

Still, she said it was clear the community wants strong oversight for police, and labor negotiations between police and the mayor’s office need to be more transparent.

“We need to have council representation in on negotiations,” she said. “That’s the problem. We need to have more open government.”

As for body cameras worn by officers, both candidates said the technology was well worth the $730,000 recently spent by the City Council used in part to purchase them.

“When it comes down to it, we found a way to make it work,” Cannon said of finding the funds for the cameras. “It’s a one-time purchase, and the logic of using the city’s reserves for the purchase is OK.”

Mumm said the cameras were important for building trust between the police department and the community, and added she believed the cameras could end up saving the city money by reducing the number of complaints against officers.

“I think it’s important for the public to see how our officers do deal with these arrestees, to see what they’re up against,” she said. “My hope is it will reduce frivolous complaints.”

City coffers

When it comes to taxes, Cannon and Mumm agree with each other: They don’t like them.

Cannon said he was supportive of the mayor’s proposed budget for 2014, calling it “transparent and open.” And though he said the budget is “financially savvy,” he did add the 2 percent property tax hike the mayor has proposed “gave me pause.”

“Not that we should never raise taxes,” he said. “I would never go so far to say we should never do it. But when we do, we need to be clear how we’re using it and why.”

Mumm said she wasn’t “a fan of raising taxes,” especially when considering the raises Condon has given some of his department heads.

“I don’t think we need to give top administrators raises, to the tune of $100,000, especially when we’re faced with cutting costs,” she said. “When you’re faced with the choice of cutting police or giving bonuses to management, I would pick police. That would help. It helps with attitude and it shows priorities.”

For Cannon, he said it’s the approaches of the candidates that show their priorities.

“It’s become clear we have different political philosophies,” he said. “Her first approach is asking for money and raising taxes. That’s my last approach.”

Mumm, however, said Cannon was too partisan to be elected.

“I’m a hometown girl. I’ll represent (the voters) and not a political party,” she said. “I’m not sure the City Council’s a good fit for him.”


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