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Elections guide out today

Ballots will begin arriving in the mail at the end of next week, so we've published our annual elections guide today. There's a special section in today's paper that includes every contested race in Spokane County and North Idaho as well as information on the state and local ballot issues. If you haven't had a chance to grab a paper yet, click here for all our election coverage.

Putting out the elections guide doesn't mean the end of our coverage, however. We'll continue to write stories and next week we plan to have some question and answer format stories for the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake races. Reporter Lisa Leinberger will also have a story in Thursday's Valley Voice on last night's debate among Liberty Lake candidates. In the Spokane Valley races, only the challangers showed up so there was no debate. All three of the current city council members seeking to serve a new term failed to show up, though councilman Dean Grafos did submit a written statement.

Candidate debate on Monday

First of all, I'm sorry I've been neglecting the blog this week. Between a really lovely cold and scrambling to get voter's guide information done, it just slipped to the side. You can look for our comprehensive voter's guide in Tuesday's paper.

Along those same lines, a candidate debate is planned for 5 p.m. Monday at Central Valley High School, 821 S. Sullivan Road. The debate was supposed to be for all candidates running for Spokane Valley City Council, Liberty Lake Mayor, Liberty Lake City Council and Sate Senate District 4, but we received word today that none of the Spokane Valley candidates have committed to coming. The debate is being hosted by the CVHS government classes. 

The event opens with a meet and greet with the candidates, followed by an opening speech by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. After the candidates have answered questions, the students will have a debate on various local and state ballot issues.

City council candidate debate Thursday

All the candidates for the open Spokane Valley City Council seats have been invited to take part in a debate Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. Candidates in the contested races will be up on stage answering questions and those who do not have an opponent have been invited to set up information booths. Index cards will be available for members of the audience to write their questions on before the debate begins. 

The debate is hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and is open to the public. So if you are still not sure who to vote for on November 8, stop by and hear what they have to say about the issues.

Election results

Most people have probably heard about the election results by now, but here's a look at today's story if you missed it. Voters in Spokane Valley had only one thing on the ballot - narrowing the field of candidates for Bill Gothmann's council seat from four to two. It's shaping up as a contest between the old council supporters and the new council supporters. Marilyn Cline, who has the support of the Mayor and most council members, got the most votes at 3,702 (41%). Ben Wick, who was endorsed by Gothmann and others who favored the previous council, came in a respectable second at 2,288 votes (25%).

Longtime SCOPE volunteer John Baldwin came in third with 1,507 votes (17%) despite not actively campaigning or raising any money. Retired mining executive Lewis Higgins, a relative newcomer to the Valley compared to the other candidates, picked up 1,392 votes (15%). The elections office also counted 113 write in ballots, but there's no way of telling who people were writing in. It's probably a safe bet that a few jokers wrote in Mickey Mouse.

There's still a few thousand votes to count, so the results aren't official yet. I wouldn't expect any large change in the percentage results, though.

Today’s highlights

James Clancy, 83, sells produce for bargain price, like these tomatoes for 39 cents a pound at his stand near the corner of Maxwell and Ash in North Spokane. SR photo/Dan Pelle

One of  today's highlights from the Valley Voice is a story about something that isn't in the Valley, but it's such a great read anyone can enjoy it. Reporter Pia Hallenberg talked to James Clancy, who runs Clancy's Produce Stand on West Maxwell in Spokane. Clancy has a heart of gold and seems to enjoy helping those who are down on their luck.

On Tuesday the Spokane Valley City Council voted to reject a zone change requested by St. John Vianney Church so a low income senior housing complex could be built. Primary ballots are being mailed this week, so we asked five questions of the four candidates for City Council Position 6 to help you make a decision on who to vote for. The top two vote-getters will advance to the November primary election. Last week the city had a small celebration to mark the new state law that requires cattle trucks to go through the Port of Entry at Stateline instead of using roads through residential neighborhoods.  

Reporter Lisa Lienberger tracked down some information on Liberty Lake Days, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The event includes a car cruise, a car show, community picnic, carnival games and more. A word of warning - you will want to grab some tissues when you sit down to read Cindy Hval's touching tribute to her father-in-law, who died suddenly last week.