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Former County Commissioner Mark Richard lands new job

Former Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard will lead downtown Spokane main business group.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership announced today that Richard started this week as the organization’s new president.

In September, the partnership’s board fired then-president Mike Tedesco, who earned $95,000 a year in the position.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership contracts with the city to manage about $1 million the city collects in special taxes on downtown merchants and business owners in the city's Parking and Business Improvement Area. The group uses the money to boost security, employ cleaning crews, market downtown and make other improvements.

Two Democrats consider bids for county commission

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Mark Richard announces he won’t seek 3rd term

Former City Councilman Bob Apple and former KREM-TV weatherman Daryl Romeyn are contemplating bids for Spokane County Commission.

Both would run for the seat held by Republican Commissioner Mark Richard. He announced last weekthat he would not seek a third term. Republican Shelly O'Quinn, who works for Greater Spokane Inc., immediately announced her candidacy and earned the endorsements of all three county commissioners.

Apple said on Monday that he is talking to Democrats about running. He ran as a Democrat for state House in 2010 but the party declined to endorse him. He said he would consider running as an independent if the party is not open to his candidacy.

Apple said his bid is dependent on the amount of support he gets before the May 18 filing deadline.

Romeyn appears more certain about running.

“I do plan to run, but it's not in stone,” he said Tuesday.

Romeyn, a former weatherman who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010, owns a farm in Greenacres. He also owns Green Acres Grown, which sells dried fruits to area grocery stores in the bulk section.

He said he would run as a Democrat, and his top two issues are cutting property taxes and preserving open space.

“That's our biggest problem — getting our property taxes down,” Romeyn said. 

County commissioners urge Condon to consider Knezovich for police chief

Spokane County's three Republican county commissioners are asking Mayor-elect David Condon to strongly consider Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's offer to be the city's interim police chief.

The three signed a letter to Condon's transition team saying that with Chief Anne Kirkpatrick retiring, it makes sense to consider consolidating the Spokane Police Department with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. If Knezovich is selected as interim chief, it would allow the concept to be studied, they said.


Here’s the audio for Shogan’s exchange with Richard

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Shogan & Richard clash at City Council

Read about the exchange here.

Joe Shogan and Mark Richard’s tense exchange raises more questions on cooperation

There’s been a lot of talk about regional cooperation from local leaders this year, but recent incidents spotlight continued tensions between the city of Spokane and Spokane County.

Last week, county officials expressed frustration that the city had decided to explore the possibility of opening its own jail after the county has spent nearly four years planning to open county facility. Despite that friction, Mayor Mary Verner and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich were able to agree enough by the end of the week to make a joint statement that they would continue to work together.

A Monday night confrontation between Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Spokane County Commission Chairman Mark Richard may be harder to patch.

Richard had come to the City Council to ask the city to join a board that will determine how to spend money aimed at preventing homelessness. Richard said Spokane was the only local government that had not yet agreed to join. Verner and the city’s Human Services Advisory Board had advised the council to use a city-run process to decide how to spend the city’s portion of the homelessness money, which is raised by fees on recording at the county auditor’s office.

Richard addressed the council a few times and got up to speak to a point made by city staff when Shogan demanded that he sit down. Richard paused and remained standing for several seconds, before walking out.

To read the transcript, continue on ….

Lemons to lemonade?

An interesting story now posted on spokesman.com relates that bleak budgetary times have county officials like Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard and budget officer Marshall Farnell talking aloud about local government consolidation.

Between Spokane County and the city of Spokane, just to be clear. Richard is quoted as speaking specifically about law enforcement activities. 

We missed a bet (in my opinion) a decade ago by not approving a unified local government. How odd if a recession puts that option back on the table.

Check out the story, then share your reactions.