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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Thirteen people apply to fill last seat on Spokane Valley City Council

The Spokane Valley City Council is now just one seat short of again having a full dais.

The seats left open by the resignations of Chuck Hafner and Dean Grafos earlier this year were filled by the appointments of Pamela Haley and Caleb Collier.

Now the council has to choose from a group of 13 applicants who are vying to fill the last vacant seat.

Some applied for vacant City Council seats years ago, and some unsuccessfully applied for the two seats that were just filled.

Here are the applicants who did not apply earlier this year:

Robert T. Blum is a retired marketing consultant who has lived in Spokane Valley for 44 years. He served on the Spokane Valley Planning Commission from 2003 to 2007, and unsuccessfully applied for a vacant council position in 2009. He writes that his highest priority is to listen to the citizens, process the information and “make sound decisions based on that information.” He lists state Sen. Mike Padden and pastor Ian Robertson among his references.

Howard Curtis Griffith is an information technology specialist at Eastern Washington University who has lived in Spokane Valley for more than a year. Griffith lists his top priorities as affordable housing and strong public schools, encouraging business growth and “finishing the job of creating a Spokane Valley Police Department.” Griffith lists the Combat Vet Riders motorcycle group and the Washington State Patriot Guard as two groups he’s affiliated with.

Tammy Anne McCauley is a health program specialist with the Spokane Regional Health District, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She lists the Spokane Regional Labor Council and Leadership Spokane Class of 2017 as groups she’s affiliated with. Her two highest priorities are: to rebuild the City Council’s image and restore trust with people in Spokane Valley; and fiscal responsibility and public safety, including making a decision about the police department, which she believes can be made by having “an open, honest and transparent conversation in order to reach a decision that’s good for the whole.” Her third priority is to develop a comprehensive transportation package that includes public transportation.

Kristopher Kevin Pockell is a college student and software developer with a background as a machinist, who served as the Region 7 director for the Libertarian Party from 2014 to 2015. He also applied for a vacant City Council seat in 2015. Pockell writes that “Individual property rights is one of the most important issues facing Spokane Valley. The current city council does well handling these issues and I intend to continue to do so.”

Adam Daniel Smith is a lifelong Spokane Valley resident, the owner of Spokane Valley Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a volunteer firefighter with Fire District 4. Smith writes that he has plans to run for an open council seat in 2017. About his highest priorities, Smith writes that it’s important to connect with the next generation and work hard to create a sense of community in Spokane Valley. He believes it’s important for the City Council to evaluate how it’s perceived by the community and that the “attitude of the council needs to be the same as the community.”

David Nathan Starr is a retired firefighter who worked for the U.S. Department of Defense until April. He also applied for a vacant council seat in 2015. He lists the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Templaris International as groups he is associated with. Starr writes that now that he’s retired he can finally get involved in the community he lives in. His highest priority is law enforcement, as he’s been burglarized twice in the last year. Starr writes that he is “concerned about the Sheriff’s contract and the control the county has over our city.” He also wants to alleviate the negative impact train traffic has on Spokane Valley. Starr lists Matt Shea as one of his references.

These candidates also applied for the two seats that were just filled:

William Francis Bauder works for the U.S. Postal Service and relocated to Spokane Valley from Mead 13 months ago. He has a master’s degree in public administration and lists the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Letter Carriers as groups he’s associated with. His highest priorities are for the city to be fiscally responsible; for Spokane Valley to have its own police department, “which would end any of our officers having allegiance to the Sheriff and their loyalty would solely be with our city,” and to find a solution to the traffic congestion and noise caused by trains running through Spokane Valley.

Theresa Elizabeth Griffith is married to Howard Curtis Griffith, and she’s a housing counselor for the Arc of Spokane. She lists her top priorities as affordable, safe housing and safe access to public schools (via buses and sidewalks) for all children. She writes that more town hall meetings with neighborhood residents “could go a long way in making people feel a better sense of community and responsibility.” She lists the Washington Home Ownership Resource Center, Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium and the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance as groups she’s affiliated with.

Frank Edward Hutchison, co-owner of Hutchison Solutions, has extensive experience as a business coach and consultant on government programs. His priorities are to improve strategic planning for Spokane Valley, continue to attract and retain businesses by working closely with the existing business community, and to improve physical, mental and emotional infrastructure to better connect people. Hutchison writes that the city also must be more responsive to suggestions, complaints and comments from the public.

Michael J. Munch, president of Able Construction LLC, lists 20 years of construction work as his occupation and was treasurer of the Stevens County Republican Party for two years. Munch’s first priority is protecting private property rights, followed by “continuing to get government out of the way of business and residents,” and finally, working on a better disaster preparedness plan. Munch lists state Rep. Matt Shea, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase and former council member Brenda Grassel as his references.

Michelle Rene Rasmussen is the director of parking and transportation at Eastern Washington University in Cheney but has lived in Spokane Valley for 18 years. She worked as an administrative assistant for the city of Spokane Valley from 2008 to 2015. Her three top priorities are to continue economic development, crack down on property crime and find funding to bridge the Valley.

Linda June Thompson, executive director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, writes that she’s lived in Spokane Valley almost her whole life and wants to be part of the city’s decision-making process. Her top priorities are to continue to contract with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement in Spokane Valley, maintain roads and city services, and increase positive citizen engagement by starting a Citizens Academy of Local Government that would give Spokane Valley residents an opportunity to intern with city departments and learn what the departments do.

David Anson Wiyrick, retired Spokane County undersheriff, writes that he wants the City Council to be a “well-rounded council without excessive influence of special-interest groups.” Wiyrick writes that if he’s appointed he will be accessible to Spokane Valley residents. Wiyrick has been critical of the Valley’s law enforcement contract with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, but writes that he would use a professional negotiator to review the contract and find a solution that’s agreeable to both parties. Wiyrick writes that the city needs better public relations “because they haven’t presented a good public image of what a great city we are.”

The Spokane Valley City Council will nominate candidates to be interviewed at its regular meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. Any candidate who gets three or more votes will be interviewed at the council meeting on July 19. Final selection and appointment is expected soon after.

All the new council members are interim council members and will serve until the election in November 2017, when five council seats will be up for grabs.

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