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Spokane City Council candidate had DUI in 2009

Ramos acknowledges ‘lapse’: It’s ‘behind me’

Spokane City Council candidate Randy Ramos. He is challenging incumbent City Councilman Mike Fagan in the August 2015 primary. Also on the ballot for the seat that represents northeast Spokane is Ben Krauss. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane City Council candidate Randy Ramos. He is challenging incumbent City Councilman Mike Fagan in the August 2015 primary. Also on the ballot for the seat that represents northeast Spokane is Ben Krauss. (Chad Sokol / The Spokesman-Review)
Randy Ramos, the only candidate actively campaigning against Councilman Mike Fagan in this year’s Spokane city elections, was charged with drunken driving in 2009 and still owes money to a debt collection agency for unpaid fines related to the incident. The original charge was later reduced to negligent driving as part of a plea bargain after Ramos went through alcohol abuse programs and agreed to probation. “As smart as I thought I was, I made one tiny lapse in judgment that ended up being a huge one,” Ramos said Friday when asked about the prior arrest, which showed up during a routine candidate background check conducted by The Spokesman-Review. “You can make one momentary lapse of judgment and it can end up costing you the rest of your life.” Ramos, who has no other arrests or criminal charges on his record, said the 6-year-old charge should not distract from his campaign to unseat Fagan, whom he describes as out of touch with his constituents. Fagan, a first-term council member who is an outspoken “traditional conservative,” is also being challenged by Ben Krauss, an analyst with the Spokane Police Department. But Krauss says he stopped actively campaigning when he was informed by the city’s human resources department that he’d have to leave his job if elected. Ramos, who has the backing of the Spokane County Democrats and Spokane Regional Labor Council, recognized the vulnerability the drunken driving citation gives to his candidacy. He also said the citation was frustrating because he prides himself on alerting friends to the dangers of driving drunk. “The irony is I’m the guy that everybody calls for a DD,” he said, referring to a sober, designated driver. “I’ve lost too many friends to that.” Ramos said the ticket came after watching Monday Night Football at his cousin’s house. At 1:40 a.m. Oct. 27, 2009, Ramos and a friend left his cousin’s home. Ramos was behind the wheel. “I hadn’t had anything to drink for a couple of hours. I  thought I was good,” Ramos said. “Probably made it a mile down the road and a cop pulled me over.” Ramos said he didn’t remember what his blood-alcohol level was, and court records from the case don’t disclose how high it was. After completing a sobriety course and agreeing to probation – and considering it was Ramos’ first violation – the DUI charge was reduced to negligent driving. But after failing to appear in court one time and pay his fines, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in 2010 and Ramos’ unpaid debt was sent to a collection agency. When Ramos set up a payment plan, his lawyer was able to quash the warrant. The fine for the violation originally came to $810, according to court records. In 2012, Ramos began paying $25 a month toward the debt, but in December 2014 he still owed $889.56. “It’s kind of hard to do that and take care of four children while keeping a roof over their head,” said Ramos, a single father. Ramos added that he tried to view the incident as positive. “I took care of it. Put that behind me,” he said. “But I’m determined to never go back there.”
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