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Recent Whitworth grad is Verner’s first challenger

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has her first official opponent in this year’s mayoral race.

Christopher W. Fenton, 32, filed paperwork last month announcing his intention to run for the city’s highest office.

Fenton, who works as a lab analyst at Signature Genomics in Spokane, said he began to think about running for mayor after the Spokane Police Department did not respond to three calls in 2009 reporting vandalism happening in the Logan Neighborhood, where he lives.

He said the lack of response is a sign that the city is not adequately serving its citizens and that more police officers need to be hired. He also said he is concerned about the city’s bond debt – including debt approved by voters that was accompanied by property tax increases to pay it off.

Federal records indicate that Fenton has personal experience with debt. He and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2003 owing creditors $58,000.

Fenton said if elected he would work to speed up paying off the city’s bond debt by selling city property. He said he hasn’t identified any specific city-owned parcels that should be sold.