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November 2011 elections

It seems awfully early to be talking about the elections scheduled for this fall, but it's really not. The candidate filing week is June 6-10 and there are a ton of seats up for election in local city councils and school boards. Anyone who doesn't file at the Spokane County Elections Office by the end of the day on June 10 will not be on the ballot this fall. Some candidates, however, have already thrown their hat in the ring by filling out Public Disclosure Commission documents so they can start fundraising now.

The City of Spokane Valley has four council seats up for election and three of those already have announced candidates. Councilman Dean Grafos is running for re-election and planning commission chairman John Carroll has filed to run against him. The newest appointees to the council, Arne Woodard and Chuck Hafner, are running for election in order to continue serving out the terms they were appointed to. So far no one has filed to run against them. Councilman Bill Gothmann has announced he will not run for re-election and so far no one has filed for his seat (though I am hearing things that indicate that will change soon).

And it's not just Spokane Valley. This fall the Liberty Lake Mayor and four council seats are up for election. There are three seats on the Millwood City Council, plus three each on the Fairfield City Council, Latah City Council, Rockford City Council, Central Valley School District and Freeman School District. There are two seats up for grabs for the East Valley School District, the Liberty School District and West Valley School District. Plus there will be a scattering of fire district commissioners and one Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District commissioner on the ballot.

For an off year election, the ballot is going to be pretty crowded in November. So sit down and buckle up. It should be a fun ride.

Gothmann won’t seek re-election after all

In this 2005 photo from The Spokesman-Review archives, Bill Gothmann is sworn in as a city council member with his wife, Myrna, at his side.

Spokane Valley City Councilman Bill Gothmann announced yesterday that he won't seek re-election when his term expires at the end of the year. He filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission last month to launch his re-election campaign, but said after a vacation with his wife he decided he would rather retire to spend more time with her and his family. "At the end of my life I want to turn around and say I spent a lot of time with my family," he said.

Gothmann had only collected a few campaign contributions since announcing his candidacy. "We will be returning 100 percent of that," he said. "Any money I did spend has come out of my own pocket."

As of right now no one has filed paperwork to run for Gothmann's seat, though Chuck Hafner filed to run for city council last month without specifying which seat he was running for.

Salvatori will run for city council, not mayor

Downtown businessman Steve Salvatori filed paperwork this month to launch a bid for Spokane City Council.

Salvatori, a Republican who run unsuccessfully for the Spokane County Commission last year, hopes to win the seat representing Northwest Spokane that will be vacated by Councilman Steve Corker. Corker announced late last year that he will run for City Council president.

Salvatori has been meeting with various city leaders in the last few months to explore bids for City Council, City Council president or mayor.

His paperwork announcing his run was filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission on Jan. 4.

Salvatori's campaign last year gained attention through numerous campaign signs with his picture that were pasted throughout downtown. Salvatori owns the Spokane Entrepreneurial Center and won signficant support from Spokane's business community in his run for county commission.

Corker announces bid for council president

Spokane City Councilman Steve Corker announced Monday that he will run for Spokane City Council president next year.

Corker, 69, is a former advertising and marketing executive who was first elected to the council in 1999. Rather than run for re-election, Corker ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2003. He also lost a City Council election in 2005. He returned to the council after winning a seat in 2007.

The only other candidate so far in the race is City Councilman Steve Eugster, who announced his intention to run for the position last year. City Council President Joe Shogan is term limited from running again.

18 months before Election Day, Mary Verner officially begins bid for second term

Mary Verner is seven months away from achieving what some might consider a sad milestone: Only three years into her term, she will become Spokane’s longest serving mayor since voters approved the strong mayor system.

On Thursday, Verner officially began her quest to dislodge another Spokane mayoral curse. She hopes to become the city’s first reelected mayor since David Rodgers won a second term in 1973.

Illness, scandal, a lack of union support, River Park Square and neighborhood turmoil have worked against any mayor serving more than four years since Rodgers left office. And since Spokane mayors became strong mayors a decade ago, no mayor has even served a full four-year term.

Verner held a $40-a-plate breakfast Thursday to kick off her 2011 reelection bid.

While her “kick-off” event is Friday, her first reelection fund-raising event was in October — more than two years from Election Day.

She’s raised $8,000 so far, some from the same Democratic, union and neighborhood sources she won backing from in 2007. The Spokane Firefighters’ Union gave $450. Water attorney Rachael Pascal-Osborn gave $100. Neighborhood leader Mel Silva gave $50.

But she also has the support of Avista, which backed her opponent, Dennis Hession, in the 2007 race. Avista, which often contributes to incumbents, gave her campaign $500. And she even got $100 from Republican county commission candidate Steve Salvatori. (There’s no donation as of yet reported from Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager, who gave $100 to Verner’s 2007 bid.)

Other contributors include city hall administrators Sheila Collins and Karen Stratton, as well as Scott Staab, husband of Tracy Staab, who was appointed by Verner to the city’s Municipal Court bench, and Kim Danek, wife of Ted Danek, who serves as Verner’s city administrator.

She also has support from one of her one-term predecessors: Sheri Barnard gave $20.

(Photo above is from Verner’s 2007 election victory party.)