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Today’s highlights

Volunteers Kathy McAteer, left, along with Kathy and John Malone sort through donated food on Tuesday at Spokane Valley Partners. SR photo/Dan Pelle

I have to begin by apologizing for not blogging much this week. I've been scurrying about trying to work ahead for next week, which includes two days off (yay) and early deadlines (ugh). For now we should celebrate being exactly one week from Thanksgiving by going over some highlights from today's Valley Voice.

Eight Spokane Valley churches have been collecting money to give to the Spokane Valley Partners Food Bank to buy turkeys and other items for Thanksgiving baskets that will be handed out to those that need them next week. The churches are collecting money instead of actual turkeys this year because Thrivent Financial has promised to match their donations up to a $1,600 cap.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on several Central Valley High School music students that created the LETEM Play non-profit that distributes donated musical instruments to low-income students. The students have handed out $13,000 worth of instruments and have begun offering music clinics.

The results of the November elections will be certified next week, but the outcome of at least one race is still unknown. There is a tie among two city council candidates in the town of Latah and one race for Spokane Valley Fire Department commissioner is very near the threshold that will require an automatic recount. In Spokane Valley challenger Ed Pace has cemented his lead over City Council incumbent Gary Schimmels.

The Spokane Valley City Council debated on whether to request state funding for the Appleway Trail Project or the expansion of Balfour Park. The city's finance committee recommended Appleway Trail, but Balfour Park also has some support.

14 Spokane City Council votes that would have been different under new majority

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.

May 2013

  • Supporting the filing of lawsuits to stop two citizen initiatives from appearing on the ballot, including Envision Spokane’s proposed Community Bill of Rights.

April 2013

  • 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.

Saturday’s highlights

Oh, dear. It's coming. This morning on the way in to work I saw a truck sporting a cap of about an inch of snow. While we contemplate the arrival of snow flakes, we can check out some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a report on student enrollment in the Central Valley School District. Many more students are projected in the coming years and eventually the district will have to consider a third high school.

Election Day is tomorrow, so don't forget to mail in your ballot or drop your ballot off at any library. (Look for a ballot drop box by the book return.) The Spokane Valley City Council candidates got some late donations from PAC's last month, allowing a last minute advertising push. Tomorrow we will find out the results, or at least get a look at the first count. The race to watch is between established incumbent Gary Schimmels, who has served on the council since the city formed, and his well-funded challenger, Ed Pace.

Lisa also spoke to the new Miss Washington, Allyson Rowe, who started the Miss Washington competition as Miss Spokane Valley. She will compete in next year's Miss USA pageant.

PAC backing Snyder, Mumm missed filing deadlines

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.

Fire District safe from Ahern

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.

Souza, Widmyer Debate Before Dems

A few jabs were traded between Coeur d'Alene mayoral candidates Mary Souza and Steve Widmyer at the Kootenai County Democrats luncheon on Friday, but Joe Kunka was a no show. Tamara Poelstra, who moderated the event, said Kunka did not respond to repeated requests. Souza and Widmyer responded to 17 questions ranging from whether they will support the Arts Commission - which they both said they would - to how they differ from their opponents. Those differences were probably best illustrated when the candidates debated over the city's anti-discrimination ordinance which followed Poelstra's question about their positions on it and whether they believe the ordinance creates a special protected class. Souza said she had a couple of issues with the ordinance. She said the process used to pass the ordinance was rushed, and should have included more public input/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust CdA Press photo: Steve Widmyer and Mary Souza debate at the Democratic Club luncheon Friday)

DFO: Souza and Widmyer will debate again today at North Idaho College, from noon to 2 p.m., sponsored by the NIC Republican Club.

Recallers To Meet Some Candidates

Frank Orzell and ReclaimCDA, the re-minted RecallCDA organization, will meet the candidates — or at least some candidates (judging from the group's email list) at Kathy Sims' Honda dealership on Seltice Way this evening. The get-together will begin at 7. Coeur d'Alene council candidates on the email list circulated last week were Sharon Hebert, Chris Fillios and Noel Adam. Adam is also the guest speaker this week at the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans. Meanwhile, Balance North Idaho is busy interviewing candidates fior endorsement purposes.

Thoughts?

Wolfe Files For Post Falls Council

Alan Wolfe, of 591 N. Stephanie Street, has become the third candidate to file for Post Falls City Council Seat 2, creating a three-way race with Jim Hail and Barry Rubin. Three people signed Wolfe's petition: Laurel Rollins, Danielle Wolfe and Ami Boni. Two of the three City Council races are currently have three candidates. Councilwoman Linda Wilhelm remains the only council member unopposed for re-election, for Seat 6. Filing deadline is at 5 p.m. today. You can see a list of all Post Falls candidates here.

Adam Files For CdA Council Seat

As mentioned on this blog last week, Noel Adam of 3939 N22nd St. has filed his candidacy papers to run for open City Council Seat No. 6. Kiki Miller is the only other candidate who has filed for the seat now occupied by long-time Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander. Adam, a Coeur d'Alene Realtor, submitted a petition with six signatures: Tricia Dean, P.J. Dean, Sandra Davis, Nancy A. Adam, James E. Pryor and his own. Huckleberries told you that he would be a candidate after seeing that he was listed as a Coeur d'Alene City Council candidate who would be a Reagan Republican guest speaker this month. Filing deadline for Coeur d'Alene city candidates is 5 p.m. Friday.

Jim Hail Files For Post Falls Council

With the support of his family and friends, Jim Hail formally announced today his candidacy for Post Falls City Council, Seat No. 2. In his announcement, Hail described his campaign for office and his vision for the future of the city of Post Falls. “Being a lifelong resident of the area, I am passionate about the city of Post Falls and its people,” said Hail.  “I hope to keep Post Falls a family-friendly community where I can raise children and maintain the qualities that make the city a place people are proud of.” Bringing over a decade of business experience to the table, Hail went on to say, “I believe that my life experiences, professional expertise, abilities, and understanding of the issues uniquely position me as the best candidate for Post Falls City Council”/News Release. More here.

Thoughts?

Today’s highlights

Tyler Reeves mixes colored sprinkles and frosted animal cookies into ice cream to make Brain Freeze’s Circus ice cream. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Good Thursday morning, everyone. It's time for some highlights from today's Valley Voice. The election results are in for races in Spokane Valley, Latah, Rockford and Spokane County Fire District 9. In Spokane Valley incumbent Gary Schimmels will face challenger Ed Pace in November.

Reporter Pia Hallenberg stopped by the Brain Freeze Creamery in Spokane Valley, where you can buy flavors like salted caramel or Crayonberry Sorbet. They are always in search of new flavors to make. The maple bar bacon flavor sounds interesting.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger checked into the annual inspection process that all school buses must pass. Recently the Washington State Patrol was working its way through the Central Valley School District bus fleet. Any vehicle that carries children must pass inspection at least once a year.

There's also an interesting Vocal Point submitted by two Newman Lake residents addressed to whoever is having repeated parties on nearby land, leaving behind beer bottles and smoldering camp fires.

Spokane Valley incumbent advances

Incumbent Spokane Valley City Council member Gary Schimmels sailed through the primary election and will appear on the general election ballot in November along with opponent Ed Pace. Schimmels collected 34 percent of the vote while Pace garnered 36 percent. There are still some ballots to be counted, but the percentages aren't expected to change much.

It will be a tight race and the key to winning may be attracting the 28 percent of voters who cast their ballot for Loberg. While Loberg may be out of the running this year, don't count her out. “I'll just do it again in a couple years,” she said. “I think I have what the city needs. I'm just going to work harder to show people who I am and what I do.”

Look for a story on the election results in tomorrow's Valley Voice.  

Stuckart 1, Condon 0

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.

Last chance to vote

Attention procrastinators: Today is your last chance to vote in the primary election. Ballots must be postmarked by today or dropped off before 8 p.m. at any ballot drop box located at local libraries. Many people didn't get a ballot, which only includes races with more than three candidates. But there are contested races in Spokane Valley, East Valley School District, Latah, Rockford and Spokane County Fire District 9.

Apparently many people who have gotten a ballot haven't returned it. The small town of Latah is leading with way with 45 percent of ballots already returned. Rockford comes in second with a 28 percent return rate. Other return rates are in the teens: only 16 percent of ballots have been returned for the Spokane Valley City Council races. The numbers are 13 percent in the East Valley School District and 15 percent for Fire District 9.

The first vote tally will be released at 8 p.m. today. It usually takes two weeks to count ballots and certify the results.

Running Hard For Mayor

Steve and Marie Widmyer are shown in this Facebook photo at their booth at the Downtown Street Fair, which is attracting buckets of rain this afternoon. Steve, who is running hard for Coeur d'Alene mayor, plans to be at the street fair from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. today and Saturday — and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. His booth is located between 4th and 5th streets on the north side of Sherman.

Question: Who is running harder for mayor at this point — Steve Widmyer, Mary Souza, Jim Brannon or Joe Kunka?

Rockford candidate forum tonight

The candidates on the primary ballot for Rockford City Council Position 5 have been invited to participate in a candidate forum tonight at 7 p.m. at the McIntosh Grange and First and Lake St. in Rockford. The candidates are Larry Van Every, Chuck Collison and Robert Tollefson. However, incumbent Van Every has stated that he has resigned from the council and plans to withdraw from the race due to a family emergency. Residents are encouraged to attend and ask questions.

Look for a story in Thursday's Valley Voice highlighting primary races in Rockford, Latah, Spokane County Fire District 9 and the East Valley School District.

5 tax advisory votes this fall

OLYMPIAWashington voters will be asked in November what they think about five tax increases.

What legislators do with that knowledge is pretty much up to them, because the taxes are already law, and the election itself won’t change that. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to back I-522

One of the founders of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream said today his Vermont-based company will back a Washington initiative to require all foods to be labeled if they contain genetically modified ingredients.

Jerry Greenfield said Wednesday the company would give away “tons” of ice cream, send its “Scoop Truck” to Seattle and put up billboards in support of Initiative 522. The company's web site said the truck was scheduled to be in Seattle from mid August to mid September promoting its Greek frozen yogurt.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Saturday’s highlights

Broadway Elementary School students extend hands for high-fives from from Swoop, the Eastern Washington University mascot during an assembly, May 17 in the school gym. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Well, here we are on a Tuesday that feels like a Monday. I've successfully moved my base of operations across the room and am all set to go, so let's take a look at our packed Saturday Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story on Broadway Elementary students, who won a contest to have the Eastern Washington University mascot Swoop visit their school. The entry was a last minute decision, but the kids enjoyed the visit.

Three draft designs for the expansion of Balfour Park were presented to the community during a recent public meeting. The majority of people seemed to favor the design that put an angled library on the southwest corner of the property at Sprague and Herarld. Spokane Valley is developing the site in partnership with the Spokane County Library District.

Filing week is over and there are some heated races coming up. Controversies in Latah and Rockford have brought out more than the usual number of candidates. Every Spokane Valley City Council seat will be contested this fall.

A preliminary design for the Appleway Trail was presented at a recent public meeting to get input on planned features. The city has no construction money for the project and is creating a design so the project will be ready to go. At a recent meeting the Spokane Valley City Council heard details on several proposed comprehensive plan amendments.

The town council in Rockford recently took the unusual step of cutting their own pay to save money. They are down to one full-time employee and other changes are likely in the future.

Most money for I-522 from outside WA

OLYMPIA – Out-of-state money pouring into the campaign coffers of this fall’s initiative to require labeling of genetically modified food products make clear that Washington will once again be a battleground state for progressive causes.

Supporters of Initiative 522, which would require any product sold in Washington stores to say if it contains genetically altered substances, have raised nearly $2 million for various campaign organizations. Three-fourths of it came from businesses or people outside Washington who won’t be voting on the measure this fall.

“It’s part of a national movement,” Liz Larter, a spokeswoman for the Yes on I-522 campaign, said of efforts to require consumers be told if their products contain modified ingredients. But Washington is likely to be the only state where the battle will be joined at the ballot box this fall after a similar measure failed last year in California. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.