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Two vacancies on Spokane Valley City Council draw numerous applicants

The Spokane Valley City Council will appoint two members to fill seats vacated when members Dean Grafos and Chuck Hafner resigned. The appointed council members will serve until the general election in 2017.

Here are the applicants listed in alphabetical order:

William Francis Bauder, a postal service letter carrier who has lived in Spokane Valley for a little over a year. Bauder writes that his education and work experience would make him a valuable council member. Bauder is active with the Association of Letter Carriers and is the safety captain at the Spokane Valley Station. He supports the creation of a Spokane Valley Police Department and would like to see a stronger emphasis on crime prevention.

Jonathan “Caleb” Collier, a letter carrier and a precinct committee officer for the Republican Party. Collier wants to reduce government interference and unnecessary regulations as a way to allow small businesses to prosper. He writes that he wants to provide a robust public safety environment, but does not take a stand on the Sheriff’s contract.

Kevin Matthew Culwell, executive director of The Arts Academy of Spokane, writes that his priorities are engaging youth in the city, having a community conversation about the legalization of marijuana – which he writes “should be resolved at a local level” though he respects state law – and working with and improving Spokane Valley schools.

Brian DuPlanti, service manager at Camp Chevrolet, writes that if he’s appointed he will first spend time learning city processes and current law. Then he would work to balance the city’s budget, encourage new businesses in Spokane Valley and be part of a government that’s transparent to the public.

Theresa Elizabeth Griffith, a housing counselor with The Arc of Spokane, writes that she wants to be part of the decision-making that shapes the future of Spokane Valley. Her priorities are to create more affordable, safe housing and do a better job of promoting safety in Spokane Valley neighborhoods, which she feels are “very isolated.” She wants to make children a priority and ensure safe paths to schools, potentially by installing more sidewalks.

Pamela Joan Haley lives in Spokane Valley but owns businesses both there and in Spokane. She writes that she is proud of the work the City Council has done and would like to “help in any way that I can.” Haley would like each contract signed by Spokane Valley to have more than one bid, to lower city expenses, and increase public safety while especially cracking down on property crime. If appointed, she wants to work on increasing public participation and interact more with community members to make sure all are heard.

Frank Edward Hutchison, co-owner of Hutchison Solutions, has extensive experience as a business coach and consultant on government programs. His priorities are to improve strategic planning for Spokane Valley, continue to attract and retain businesses by working closely with the existing business community, and to improve physical, mental and emotional infrastructure to better connect people. Hutchison writes that the city must also be more responsive to suggestions, complaints and comments from the public.

Michael Scott Maclay lists his occupation as real estate broker and president of the Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club. Maclay is a frequent speaker at Spokane Valley City Council meetings and the person behind the “Dump Ozzie” (Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich) Facebook page. He writes that he fought for Spokane Valley’s “complete independence” through incorporation, and that he will continue to work to establish a city of Spokane Valley Police Department.

Michael J. Munch, president of Able Construction LLC, lists 20 years of construction work as his occupation and was treasurer of the Stevens County Republican Party for two years. He writes he’s a firm believer in the values this country was founded on and he would welcome an opportunity to help institute meaningful change. Munch’s first priority is protecting private property rights, followed by “continuing to get government out of the way of business and residents,” and finally, working on a better disaster preparedness plan.

Michelle René Rasmussen is the director of parking and transportation at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, but has lived in Spokane Valley for 18 years. She worked as an administrative assistant for the city of Spokane Valley from 2008 to 2015. Her three top priorities are to continue economic development, crack down on property crimes and find funding to bridge the Valley.

Patrick M. Stretch, community development specialist with Spokane County Housing and Community Development, has also worked in a juvenile boot camp and with the victims/witnesses unit of the Spokane County prosecutors office. Stretch wants an oversight board that will hold law enforcement accountable; he wants to improve how federal block grants are spent in Spokane Valley; and he wants to establish a Community Municipal Court in Spokane Valley.

Linda June Thompson, executive director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, writes that she’s lived in Spokane Valley almost her whole life and wants to be part of the city’s decision-making process. Her top priorities are to continue to contract with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement in Spokane Valley, maintain Spokane Valley roads and city services, and increase positive citizen engagement by starting a Citizens Academy of Local Government that would give Spokane Valley residents an opportunity to intern with city departments and learn what the departments do.

Larry Allen Wendel, retired basketball official, writes that he participated in several attempts to incorporate the Valley and now he wants to give back to the city. Wendel wants to examine the cost effectiveness of solid waste collection, as well as the cost of establishing the city’s own police department, and he wants to address historic preservation “through a chosen committee.”

Ben T. Wick, IT, purchasing and marketing manager for Spokane Industries, lost his council seat to Councilman Sam Wood in 2015. Wick writes that he continues to believe that Spokane Valley has great potential but lets too many opportunities slip by. Because he already served on the council, he writes that he can step up quickly and that he also brings the perspective of someone “from a younger generation, at a different stage in life, and having a background in technology.” Wick wants to prioritize rebuilding trust in local government by sharing more information with residents and being more open with the public. Wick wants to find funding to bridge the Valley and prioritize a parks-and-recreation master plan.

David Anson Wiyrick, retired Spokane County Under Sheriff, writes that he wants the City Council to be a “well-rounded council without excessive influence of special interest groups.” Wiyrick writes that if he’s appointed he will be accessible to Spokane Valley residents. Wiyrick has been critical of the Valley’s law enforcement with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, but writes that he would use a professional negotiator to review the contract and find a solution that’s agreeable to both parties. Wiyrick writes that the city needs better public relations “because they haven’t presented a good public image of what a great city we are.”

Councilman Bill Gothmann leaves the council in June after fulfilling a temporary term. The seat Gothmann has held still belongs to Councilman Bill Bates, who may or may not return when Gothmann steps down. If Bates doesn’t return, the City Council will go through this procedure one more time in an effort to find his temporary replacement.


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