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Spokane Mayor David Condon had the best primary election night of his elected life tonight in his quest to re-election.
Spokane Mayor David Condon is trying to block the Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the November ballot just a week after the City Council approved the measure for the ballot. The latest measure put forth by Envision Spokane – the group’s fourth to qualify for the ballot – would amend the city charter to require large employers to pay workers a “family wage,” ensure equal pay for equal work regardless of gender or race, and make it more difficult to terminate workers. The measure would make the rights of a corporation secondary to people’s rights.
Spokane Mayor David Condon is trying to block the Worker Bill of Rights from appearing on the November ballot just a week after the City Council approved the measure for the ballot.
At least two firefighters must respond to a call for help, the Spokane City Council decided Monday in a surprise decision that not even the fire chief was briefed on until just prior to the vote. The requirement raises questions about the future of the city’s “Alternative Response Units,” which were formed in 2013 in response to long-standing concerns that the department was over-responding to minor medical emergencies with multiple firefighters in gas-guzzling firetrucks. Fire officials had long argued that they needed to be in firetrucks so they would be ready for any call. But they said that position shifted with the increasing load of medical calls and budget crunches.
Efforts to reform the police department and enhance community involvement have made Spokane a national model, said Mayor David Condon and police Chief Frank Straub, who were at the White House on Thursday as part of a forum on community policing. Condon said Spokane’s voluntary two-year review by the U.S. Department of Justice, the creation of the Criminal Justice Commission and the citizen-led effort at expanding oversight through an empowered ombudsman have put it ahead of other cities struggling with trust and legitimacy in their police departments.
Two ballot measures are before Spokane voters this primary election, one that should be familiar and another that won’t. Proposition 1 will allow the city’s Salary Review Commission to set the mayor’s pay. The measure is the culmination of a heated discussion between Mayor David Condon and the Spokane City Council after the mayor’s 2015 budget proposal included a nearly $7,000 pay raise for his position.
For the past year, the debate at Spokane City Hall often has devolved into two camps, the mayor versus the City Council. Or, more directly, David Condon versus Ben Stuckart. It’s true that Mayor Condon, who hails from Republican circles, doesn’t always agree with the City Council, which has held a left-leaning, veto-proof voting bloc since last summer. And it’s true that at times Condon and Council President Stuckart have entered into public political fisticuffs over issues including how much Condon’s inner circle at City Hall should be paid and an informal handshake deal between Condon and hotelier Walt Worthy to use city funds to pay for environmental cleanup.
“I ’m not intimidated by old history, I know Spokane is willing to embrace a good strong mayor for the future of Spokane for a second term.” – A confident pre-election 2011 Mayor Mary Verner discussing her chances of breaking Spokane’s Curse of the One-Term Mayor. We’re officially a tad more than a month away from Spokane’s Aug. 4 primary election and an excellent question has arrived by email from Paul Baxter, a civic-minded and loyal reader.
Spokane’s independent police oversight panel is in turmoil. Three of its five members, including former Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, likely will be removed by the City Council if they don’t immediately resign following an investigation that found multiple instances of misconduct including records tampering, disclosure of sensitive information, demeaning treatment of city employees and attempted overstepping of their authority.
Seeking to quell any more criticism over the handling of city money going toward the Davenport Grand Hotel, Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart announced Monday the creation of a program that would offer city incentives to developers in a “uniform and transparent way.” Condon noted that discussion for such a program has been happening at the city for a couple of years, but the issue came to the fore when the City Council pushed back against Condon’s informal agreement in 2013 offering Walt Worthy up to $2 million for environmental cleanup at his new hotel. Earlier this year, Worthy asked for $318,000 for pollution mitigation.
A proposal to use city funds to pay for more than $300,000 in environmental cleanup at the Davenport Grand Hotel was shot down this week by Spokane City Council members, who argued that doing so would be unconstitutional and set a bad precedent for other polluted properties the city has previously owned. Mayor David Condon, who made an informal commitment for the soil remediation to Walt Worthy, the hotel’s developer and owner, said the city could still be responsible for any polluted soil on the land because the city is in the “chain of custody” for the property. He added that the Worthy hotel mitigation was part of his administration’s larger effort to clean up developable lands across the city.
The Davenport Grand Hotel will open before controversy closes over city contributions to the project. That’s simply backward, no matter how good the project is for downtown – and there is every reason to think it will be very good indeed. As Mayor David Condon, the City Council and even hotel developer Walt Worthy debate just how it is that the city is on the hook for $318,000 the council has not yet approved, one point of agreement has emerged: The city needs a clear, clean, consistent plan for how and when it offers incentives to developers and businesses.
Sound the air-raid sirens. We interrupt today’s Clark column with the following announcement that Spokane is in a Defcondon 1 state of emergency.
A woman makes $11,614 less than a man, on average, at Spokane City Hall. Females represent nearly half the city’s population, but they hold just a quarter of positions in city government. About 90 percent of clerical and secretarial positions at the city are held by women. These imbalances have drawn the latest promise for change from the Spokane City Council.
Requiring employers in Spokane to provide workers paid sick leave took another step forward this week. The Spokane City Council on Monday approved the formation of a committee comprising health, labor and business representatives to help craft a paid-leave law.
Marchers took to the streets of the nation’s cities Wednesday evening in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage, following a similar if much smaller rally in Spokane earlier in the day. About 25 people gathered outside of the Fred Meyer store in the East Central Neighborhood of Spokane at 9 a.m. The rally lasted just a few minutes before demonstrators boarded a Seattle-bound bus, where people from around the state gathered for a larger protest.
Spokane Mayor David Condon gained his first challenger Tuesday in his race to be the first re-elected mayor since the era of Expo ’74. Shar Lichty, an organizer with the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, said Monday she is running for Spokane mayor, declaring that she is “one of the people” and drawing a contrast with Condon, whom she called the “millionaire mayor.”
When state auditors and city officials found that Gary Lindeblad, the golf pro at Indian Canyon Golf Course since the mid-1980s, owed the city nearly $90,000 because of poor bookkeeping, he didn’t balk. Instead, Lindeblad delivered three handwritten pages to the city arguing he was owed more than $190,000 because “severe maintenance issues” at the 80-year-old golf course had cut into his revenue over the years, a line of reasoning that met little resistance at City Hall.
The issue of how much Spokane’s top elected official should be paid was revived Monday by Mayor David Condon, who challenged the City Council to “look to solutions rather than just the problem.” Condon called on the City Council to put a measure on the “next available ballot” asking voters to approve a plan to have the city’s Salary Review Commission set the mayor’s pay. The commission currently determines compensation for City Council members and Municipal Court judges.
An ally of Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart has been chosen to replace city attorney Mike Piccolo as the council’s legal adviser, a move designed to assert the council’s independence from Mayor David Condon’s administration. Brian McClatchey, a local attorney with ties to regional tribes and experience on the city’s Plan Commission, was picked by a unanimous vote of council members Thursday afternoon.