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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Editorial: Haley is clear choice in Valley race

Pamela Haley says she’s not sure how she drew the most challengers, but we believe she’s an easy choice in the race for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 5.

Haley was one of the council members appointed last summer after the controversial departures of Dean Grafos and Chuck Hafner, both of whom resigned in protest over the ouster of then-City Manager Mike Jackson.

Haley graduated from Central Valley High School and holds master’s degrees in business administration and education. She owns a day-care facility in downtown Spokane and is part owner of two others. She is also part owner of Paint and Pints in downtown Spokane.

Haley has been self-employed for 25 years and appreciates that Spokane Valley is business-friendly, and she wants to keep it that way. Her priorities are economic development, road maintenance and public safety.

She said her home was broken into, so she is sensitive to property crime. But she also knows that anti-police sentiment and lower pay relative to other jurisdictions have made it difficult to recruit officers. A hiring bonus for Valley officers might help, she said.

As for roads, she would like to see a definitive determination for what shape they’re in and what citizens would find acceptable before settling on funding. She said she would consider a local-option car tab fee for maintenance if that turned out to be the best option. The more than 400 emails she received on a possible 6 percent utility tax confirmed to her that it wasn’t a good idea. She says the tax is too regressive and would be especially burdensome for people on fixed incomes.

Haley says the council could do a better job of communicating with the public, especially on social media.

She touts infrastructure improvements at the city’s industrial park as a way to draw manufacturing jobs with good wages. She expects an announcement soon about landing a couple of employers.

Angie Beem, born and raised in Wenatchee Valley, was employed in a microbiology lab at a local hospital and left work because of a disability. She volunteers with Hope House and Volunteers of America and helped organize the local Women’s March. She was inspired by that experience to run for office.

She says she really cares for the homeless and thinks the city should do its share to help. She would like to see the city adopt some sort of ethics commission. Beem is well-meaning, but needs to become better informed on key issues.

The other two candidates have criminal histories. Ingemar Woods was upfront about his checkered past and says he has turned his life around. Robert “Rocky” Samson did not divulge his history to the editorial board, but he eventually contacted a reporter about it.

Woods served five years in an Oregon prison after being convicted on attempted murder charges. He explained that he was intoxicated and at a low point, calling it a “suicide by cop” scenario. He also served 13 months on an attempted burglary conviction in a Stevens County case. It was after that incident that he found religion and turned sober.

He obtained a doctorate in business administration from Apollos University, a distance-learning institution with headquarters in Great Falls. He now works for the school and helps prisoners and others gain an education.

Woods has a clear soft spot for the downtrodden and would like to see the city invest in people as much as it does in infrastructure. But given his criminal history, he’d be better suited to pursue that passion with charitable organizations.

Samson owns Spokane Valley Checker Cab and Rocky’s Flea Market. Before moving to Spokane Valley, he was arrested as a fugitive in Florida after leaving creditors in Kentucky, where he was involved in a furniture store bankruptcy. He is currently under inactive supervision. He also has traffic violations that have gone to collection. Suffice it to say, he’s not what the Valley needs on its City Council.

Pamela Haley has business sense, stability and experience. She is the obvious choice in this race.

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