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A recount that couldn’t change the winner also didn’t change the vote totals.
Last week, Spokane City Council candidate John Ahern paid to have a partial recount in his race against incumbent Jon Snyder.
Ahern, a former state representative, lost the race by 5,669 votes in a margin that was nearly 2-to-1 in favor of Snyder.
The recount was completed today. Officials said the four precincts that he requested to be recounted by hand, which included about 1,600 ballots, were counted accurately the first time by machine.
If the machine count had been wrong, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said last week that changes could not have changed the winner because Ahern had not request enough votes to be recounted to make up the difference.
Former state Rep. John Ahern, who lost his race against incumbent Councilman Jon Snyder by a nearly 2-to-1 margin is questioning how he could have performed so poorly.
Ahern is requesting a partial recount in the race just to "double-check" the accuracy of the ballot counting.
“I doorbelled a little over 10,000 homes,” Ahern said. “I got a very good reception from just about everybody.”
A Spokane City Council candidate who lost big in his attempt to unseat incumbent Councilman Jon Snyder is demanding a recount.
John Ahern, a former state representative, sent a letter to the Spokane County Auditor’s Office on Monday requesting that four precincts be recounted. A check for $429.50 was attached. That’s a quarter for each of 1,718 ballots that he wants recounted.
County Auditor Vicky Dalton says candidates have the right to pay for a recount even if a race isn’t close. Ahern probably will end up paying closer to $1,500 because state law says that he has to pay the full cost of a recount.
So the Spokane City Council will soon have a new, more liberal majority. And while some big issues haven't been decided along easily identified party lines, there likely will be a noticeable change.
To get a sense of the kind of policies that could be affected, here's a review of many of the 4-3 tallies cast since the council shifted to a more conservative bent after the 2011 election. The following votes ended with Republican-leaning Mike Allen, Mike Fagan, Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Salvatori beating out Democratic-leaning Jon Snyder, Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref.
- Supporting the filing of lawsuits to stop two citizen initiatives from appearing on the ballot, including Envision Spokane’s proposed Community Bill of Rights.
- Rejection of proposal to pull money from reserves to hire 10 police officers.
- Creation of 13 new public safety departments to allow Mayor David Condon to hire and fire more managers without using civil service rules.
The flood of money into Spokane City Council races is accompanied by campaign accusations flowing to the state agency that oversees election spending.
In the last week at least four complaints have been filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission about Spokane races.
In the aftermath, a political action committee has acknowledged that it did not file proper campaign reports.
The Spokane Republican Party this week accused Citizens for Honest Government, a political action committee that supports the campaigns of Jon Snyder and Candace Mumm, of not properly reporting its spending.
Snyder, an incumbent, is running against former Republican state Rep. John Ahern for a seat representing south Spokane. Mumm is running against Michael Cannon for a seat representing northwest Spokane.
Melissa Carpenter, Citizens for Honest Government’s treasurer, said Thursday that the PAC did not intend to hide any expenditures and that it would “take steps to rectify the situation immediately.” She also noted that the PAC reported the expenditures on other reports to the PDC.
Rules require that PACs to report much of their spending on behalf of candidates within 24 hours. But Citizens for Honest Government didn’t report how it spend nearly $50,000 until it filed a required summary report earlier this week.
In the KSPS debate that aired earlier this month on KSPS City Council candidate John Ahern spoke in confusing terms about the area served by the city's Fire Station No. 9 on the South Hill. So confusing, apparently, that Spokane County Fire District No. 9 has issued a clarification:
Here's a portion of the district's press release sent today from Fire Chief Jack Cates:
In his rebuttal, John Ahern stated that “another area I think we really need to shore up is Fire District 9.” Furthermore he felt that that area was only half-staffed at this time and indicated he had been knocking on doors talking to taxpayers in that area. The context of Mr. Ahern’s rebuttal appears to indicate that he was actually referring to the area around the old Fire Station 9 on the south hill area in the City of Spokane. He even referred to the Eagle Ridge neighborhood near Highway 195.
Item: PF mayor candidates square off: Jacobson, Thoreson speak to Highlands group/Brian Walker, Press
More Info: Kerri Thoreson and Ron Jacobson sit elbow to elbow on the Post Falls City Council. Both want to become Post Falls' next mayor on Nov. 5. And, on Tuesday night before about 30 members of the Highlands Homeowners Association at the Highlands Grill, the two shared their thoughts on what makes them the best candidate. Current mayor Clay Larkin decided to not seek re-election. Both Jacobson and Thoreson bring community service and knowledge of city issues to the table, but have different skills.
Question: Thoreson has the Reagan Republicans endorsement, Jacobson has the Balance North Idaho endorsement. They're running for mayor in Post Falls, not Coeur d'Alene. Who has the advantage?
On her Facebook wall, City Council candidate Amber Copeland posts: "The website is finally up. It has taken a little longer than originally believed because my web design savvy leaves something to be desired. I will continue to add to the website as the election progresses. If there is an issue you would like to see discussed, please don't hesitate to post it. All questions and comments are welcomed. So check it out and share." Click here for Amber's campaign page.
Question: Do you look at candidates' Facebook pages?
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Candace Mumm topped all the candidates for Spokane’s Northwest City Council seat. Her two main opponents lean Republican and were bound to split the vote.
Topping 50 percent in a four-way race, however, is a win of sorts for her and clearly puts her as the front-runner for November.
On the other hand, Mumm was actively involved in this campaign:
So we assume Mumm knows that she can’t take Tuesday’s win for granted.
That's because for one, summer turnout is low and few are paying attention. For another, the votes for third-place finisher Curtis Fackler are likely to go to Mumm’s November opponent, Mike Cannon. Perhaps most importantly, the race is likely to have an unprecedented amount of attention for a single City Council election, making it hard to know where the race goes from here.
Spokane City Council candidate Mark Hamilton says he misspoke at Monday's council meeting.
Testifying about the proposed pedestrian bridge that would link the WSU-Spokane campus with East Sprague Avenue over the BNSF tracks, Hamilton said: "We don't want a handle put on a broken cup. We don't need to feed the dying horse in the U District and hook it up to a new cart. We've got to use our senses."
Hamilton says he meant to say that "We need to feed the dying horse …"
His position on the pedestrian bridge, he said, is that it should only be built if the city invests other resources to boost the area south of the BSNF tracks.
OLYMPIA – In another sign that Washington will be the national battleground this fall over genetically altered foods, opponents of a ballot measure requiring those products to be labeled raised almost $1 million last month.
None of it came from Washington state. . .
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.
Spokane City Council candidate Mark Hamilton’s residency problems continue.
Two voters in Spokane's northeast council district filed a lawsuit today claiming that Hamilton's name should not be allowed on the ballot because he was not a resident of the city or district for a full year previous to filing to run last week.
The Spokane City Charter requires that candidates be resident at least a year before officials file to place their names on the ballot county auditor.
Signatures on petitions in support of two proposed citizens’ initiatives in Spokane will be counted and verified. But council members hinted Monday that they may block the proposals from the ballot even if activists collected enough support.
The Spokane City Council voted 6-0 on Monday to ask the Spokane County Auditor’s Office to verify the signatures collected for Envision Spokane’s Community Bill of Rights and Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution’s initiative that would, in part, outlaw people representing corporations from discussing legislation with elected leaders in private settings.
Both groups have collected significantly more signatures than necessary to place the initiatives on the November ballot, but some City Council members said they believe the proposals are unconstitutional.
The most contested race in this year’s three races for Spokane City Council seats is almost certain to be in the Northwest council district.
One seat in each of the three districts will be on the ballot this year, but the position in the Northwest district already is attracting the most candidates.
That’s largely because incumbent City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin is term limited, leaving the seat open. The other two seats on the ballot are represented by council members Jon Snyder and Amber Waldref, who are running for reelection.
As of Thursday, two candidates had announced candidacies with the state Public Disclosure Commission for the seat representing South Spokane (District 2), three candidates had filed for the seat representing Northeast Spokane (District 1) and four had filed for the seat representing Northwest Spokane (District 3).
The fight for McLaughlin’s seat should be all the more contentious because of the close split on the current City Council between members with backing from the Republican and Democratic parties. There have been several high-profile 4-3 votes in the past year that favor the Republican-leaning members.
Read on for info on the four candidates who have announced their intentions to run for the seat.
Today is the last day to vote in the February special elections in Spokane, Rockford, Spokane County Fire District 13 and East Valley and Orchard Prairie school districts.
Spokane voters are considering three propositions that would give the police ombudsman more authority; require a City Council supermajority ive-sevenths support from the City Council to increase some local taxes; and boost taxes by $7 a year for a $100,000 property to prevent branch closures and expand hours for the Spokane Public Library. Voters elsewhere are considering tax measures.
For more information on the items on today’s ballot, visit The Spokesman-Review’s Election Center as www.spokesman.com/election.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by today’s date in order to be counted. Voters can avoid having to pay for a stamp by dropping ballots at 13 ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m.
(For the list of where you can drop your ballot without a stamp, keep reading this post.)
NOTE: This post was updated at 6:25 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013 to reflect that the Public Disclosure Commission provided the Spokane Firefighters Union with incorrect information about when it needed to file campaign spending reports.
Thanks to Proposition 2, Spokane’s special election on Feb. 12 is heating up.
Each side is accusing the other of stealing signs. One side is accusing the other of campaign reporting violations. The other is crying pettiness.
Accusations of sign stealing are hard to pin down and are so common that we don’t typically investigate them. Though there are notable exceptions.
We at Spin Control will make an attempt, however, to sort through the potential of campaign finance violations.
Two Spokane City Council members have apologized for using their city email accounts to send campaign messages.
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart and Amber Waldref sent electronic newsletters to supporters recently that included their opinions on the three proposed measures that will be decided by voters in the city’s Feb. 12 special election.
The messages were sent via their city email accounts.
Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the state Public Disclosure Commission, said government officials should not use government email accounts to promote or oppose items on a ballot.
The campaign in support of the library tax in Spokane has fixed campaign disclosure problems with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
The group, Yes for Spokane Libraries, was late in reporting campaign contributions and spending by several weeks. Last week, it filed reports showing how much it has raised and spent.
Campaign manager Nathan Smith, who also is a Spokane Public Library trustee, promised quick action last week to update campaign finance reports. He said that the group misinterpreted the rules.
The group was formed in support of Spokane Proposition 3, a library lid lift that would increase taxes for libraries by 7 cents for each $1,000 of property value to prevent branch closures.
As of this morning, the campaign hasreported nearly $21,300, including seven donations over $1,000 or more:
Yes for Spokane Libraries, a group working on behalf of Proposition 3, a tax levy for the Spokane Public Library, has had signs supporting the tax displayed throughout the city for weeks, but hasn’t reported any contributions or expenses to the state Public Disclosure Commission. The group likely should have been filing reports weekly since the end of last month, according to state rules.
Nathan Smith, campaign manager of the group, said Wednesday that the group erred in interpreting the rules and would work quickly to file contribution and expenditure reports by the end of the week.
“It was our mistake,” Smith said. “We are diligently trying to get it done as soon as humanly possible.”