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Tuesday, October 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Three To Challenge Barnes For Council Seat Retired Colonel, Social Worker, Telecommunications Expert Want Job

FOR THE RECORD: Friday, September 15, 1995 CLARIFICATION: Spokane City Council candidate Steve Thompson says he doesn’t want to fire the city manager, just abolish the job. A Thursday story stated otherwise.

Three challengers are hoping to boot Spokane City Councilman Orville Barnes out of office.

A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, a former social worker and a telecommunications expert are vying to take Barnes’ Position 2 seat.

The four men running for the four-year term will face off in Tuesday’s primary. The two top vote-getters advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

The race is non-partisan and citywide.

Incumbent Barnes, a commercial real estate manager and developer, is finishing his first council term.

Barnes said he decided to run again because he’s been “a little bit bitten by the idea of being on the inside and knowing what’s going on.”

The former president of the Spokane Taxpayers Association readily admits he’s been criticized by some who say he failed to take a hard line on council spending.

“You can’t take as narrow a view when you’re on the council. You’re not there to do things by confrontation,” Barnes said. “The thing is, it takes more time than you would like.”

Barnes supports zero-based budgeting, Civil Service reform and slimming down the city’s staff. He’s head of the council’s streamlining and down-sizing committee.

“Things can and should be combined, some should be eliminated,” he said. “We have too many administrative people who are attending too many meetings.”

John Talbott, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, chose to run because he thinks the council is failing the public. “I don’t believe the council is in charge of running the city,” Talbott said.

Talbott said the council needs to set policy and make sure that policy is carried out. He wants to be out in the neighborhoods, evaluating the services the city provides.

He supports privatizing services where cost savings can be shown and reforming, if not eliminating, Civil Service, the city’s screening and hiring procedure.

“If it saves money, we ought to do it,” Talbott said.

Talbott wants to have more public meetings and fewer closed sessions.

Steve Thompson, a telecommunications manager, said his frustration watching council meetings on City Cable 5 forced him to run for office.

“Time after time, they would arrogantly tell citizens that they would decide on important issues ignoring the call from citizens,” he said.

Thompson came to Spokane five years ago, three years after losing his California telecommunications business to a bankruptcy he blames on the 1987 stock market crash.

Thompson said the council takes too much direction from special interests and the wealthy. He supports keeping jobs local and working to increase wages. He said his first order of business if elected would be to fire the city manager.

“In order for City Hall to be accountable and credible to the public, they have to be making the majority of the decisions,” he said. “The majority right now are being made by the manager.”

Greg Works, a former social worker, said he decided to run because of his past eight years on the Okanogan City Council.

“I’m running not as a novice to public services,” he said. “I’ve had many years of experience. I’m offering that service.”

Works said he supports job formation and wants to eliminate the city’s spending on consultants. “Do you want to lose half a firefighter or a $46,000 study?” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 4 Photos

MEMO: These 4 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. ORVILLE BARNES Personal: Age 68 … born in McCall, Idaho … moved to Spokane 45 years ago … semi-retired commercial real estate manager and developer … former member, Spokane School Board … former member, state Board of Education … former president, Spokane Taxpayer Association … married with two grown children. Education: Bachelor of arts in accounting and business administration, University of Idaho. Finances: Public disclosure form listed $425 in donations. Issues: Downtown: Considers keeping downtown vital as the city’s “major challenge.” Government must support downtown developers, getting out of their way when necessary. Consolidation: Thinks a 13-member council would be too cumbersome but does think the city is ready for a strong mayor system. Public Safety: Said government can’t solve the problems of teenagers today, although everything possible should be done to support the family.

2. JOHN TALBOTT Personal: Age 61 … raised in Spokane and returned here in 1989 … retired Air Force colonel, served 29 years … worked seven years with Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Virginia … member, Senior Legislative Coalition … member, Retired Officer’s Association … former member, community development board … former member, Youth for Christ … married with two sons. Education: Master’s degree in community development, Central Michigan University … Bachelor of arts degree in social science, College of Great Falls, Mont. Finances: Raised about $1,350 in donations as of Sept. 11. Issues: Downtown: Private business should pay for private enterprise. Supports equitable revitalization of all Spokane, not just downtown. Consolidation: Proposal needs cost analysis. Likes the open process that drafted the charter, but thinks concept is faulty. Public Safety: Thinks strong family values and a strong work ethic are the keys to solving crime.

3. STEVE THOMPSON Personal: Age 39 … born in Bakersfield, Calif. … moved to Spokane five years ago … manager for RCW Sound and Communications, … officer, Patriot Party of Eastern Washington … married with one daughter. Education: At least seven advanced courses offered by computer and telecommunications manufacturers … San Juan High School, Sacramento, Calif. Finances: Raised $110, contributed $125 of his money. Issues: Downtown: Opposes using taxpayer money to finance redevelopment, but supports a healthy downtown. Consolidation: Says 13 council members would make a bad situation worse. Favors consolidating some areas where cost savings are shown. Public Safety: Police Department needs to be scaled down. The department needs to stop offering “tarnished information” to fit the department’s needs.

4. GREG WORKS Personal: Age … refuses to disclose … born in Seattle … moved to Spokane five years ago … receives Social Security disability benefits … former social worker … spent eight years on the Okanogan City Council … spent 10 years as on Okanogan volunteer firefighter … “not currently married,” four children. Education: Master’s degree in social work, University of Washington … bachelor of arts in political science from Seattle University. Finances: Nothing filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, but doesn’t plan to raise any money. Issues: Downtown: Everything possible must be done to encourage jobs throughout the city, especially downtown. Consolidation: “That’s a better issue to ask voters.” Public Safety: Jobs are the key to lessening crime. “People who are active and have something worthwhile to do are far less likely to get in trouble.”

These 4 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. ORVILLE BARNES Personal: Age 68 … born in McCall, Idaho … moved to Spokane 45 years ago … semi-retired commercial real estate manager and developer … former member, Spokane School Board … former member, state Board of Education … former president, Spokane Taxpayer Association … married with two grown children. Education: Bachelor of arts in accounting and business administration, University of Idaho. Finances: Public disclosure form listed $425 in donations. Issues: Downtown: Considers keeping downtown vital as the city’s “major challenge.” Government must support downtown developers, getting out of their way when necessary. Consolidation: Thinks a 13-member council would be too cumbersome but does think the city is ready for a strong mayor system. Public Safety: Said government can’t solve the problems of teenagers today, although everything possible should be done to support the family.

2. JOHN TALBOTT Personal: Age 61 … raised in Spokane and returned here in 1989 … retired Air Force colonel, served 29 years … worked seven years with Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Virginia … member, Senior Legislative Coalition … member, Retired Officer’s Association … former member, community development board … former member, Youth for Christ … married with two sons. Education: Master’s degree in community development, Central Michigan University … Bachelor of arts degree in social science, College of Great Falls, Mont. Finances: Raised about $1,350 in donations as of Sept. 11. Issues: Downtown: Private business should pay for private enterprise. Supports equitable revitalization of all Spokane, not just downtown. Consolidation: Proposal needs cost analysis. Likes the open process that drafted the charter, but thinks concept is faulty. Public Safety: Thinks strong family values and a strong work ethic are the keys to solving crime.

3. STEVE THOMPSON Personal: Age 39 … born in Bakersfield, Calif. … moved to Spokane five years ago … manager for RCW Sound and Communications, … officer, Patriot Party of Eastern Washington … married with one daughter. Education: At least seven advanced courses offered by computer and telecommunications manufacturers … San Juan High School, Sacramento, Calif. Finances: Raised $110, contributed $125 of his money. Issues: Downtown: Opposes using taxpayer money to finance redevelopment, but supports a healthy downtown. Consolidation: Says 13 council members would make a bad situation worse. Favors consolidating some areas where cost savings are shown. Public Safety: Police Department needs to be scaled down. The department needs to stop offering “tarnished information” to fit the department’s needs.

4. GREG WORKS Personal: Age … refuses to disclose … born in Seattle … moved to Spokane five years ago … receives Social Security disability benefits … former social worker … spent eight years on the Okanogan City Council … spent 10 years as on Okanogan volunteer firefighter … “not currently married,” four children. Education: Master’s degree in social work, University of Washington … bachelor of arts in political science from Seattle University. Finances: Nothing filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, but doesn’t plan to raise any money. Issues: Downtown: Everything possible must be done to encourage jobs throughout the city, especially downtown. Consolidation: “That’s a better issue to ask voters.” Public Safety: Jobs are the key to lessening crime. “People who are active and have something worthwhile to do are far less likely to get in trouble.”

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