Voters have who want a voice in state and local government need to postmark or drop off their ballots by Tuesday. For those still debating how to vote in some of the highest-profile state and local races, we have a few suggestions.
The Spokesman Review studied the issues and the candidates for months. Over the past few weeks, we offered recommendations in many races. We’ve recapped those recommendations below. Meanwhile, the paper’s reporters have assembled comprehensive election coverage for those who want to dig in on the races.
Whether or not you agree with our conclusions, we hope that our analyses help you cast your vote thoughtfully. The most important thing is that people participate in their democracy so that the results can be as true a reflection of the will of the people as possible.
Ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day (Nov. 5) or dropped off by 8 p.m. on Tuesday at any of a dozen drop boxes in Spokane County.
Statewide Ballot Measures
Referendum 88 – Yes
A yes vote will affirm Initiative 1000, passed by lawmakers this year after nearly 400,000 voters petitioned them to do so. It would mostly undo a 1998 measure that hamstrung state and local governments from factoring race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education and contracting. This isn’t about quotas, which would remain forbidden. Rather, it’s about empowering governments to provide a leg up to historically underserved groups.
Initiative 976 – No
Washington’s vehicle registration fees provide a large portion of the funding for repairing roads and bridges as well as public transportation. Initiative 976 would slash those fees, costing state and local governments more than $4 billion over the next six years. Motorists might save a few dollars upfront, but they’ll pay far more as they contend with more potholes, more congestion and more frustration on the road.
Senate Joint Resolution 8200 – Yes
If an enemy attacks Washington, the state constitution empowers the Legislature to take emergency actions that would keep the state functioning. SJR 8200 amends the constitution to give them the same authority in the event of “catastrophic incidents.” Whether the emergency comes from a missile or an earthquake, Washington needs to continue to work.
Spokane Prop. 1 – Yes
When city government negotiates contracts with public sector unions right now, it normally happens behind closed doors. The people get to learn what’s in the deal only after the ink is dry. Prop. 1 would require transparency in collective bargaining so that taxpayers and union members can ensure that their representatives are performing well. Shed some sunlight on public union deals and keep everyone honest by voting Yes.
Spokane Prop. 2 – Yes
We don’t expect anyone at City Hall to propose a local income tax any time soon, but seeing as a charter amendment to forbid one is on the ballot, voters might as well vote Yes. Make it abundantly clear to future city leaders that they have plenty of other ways to raise revenue.
Spokane City Hall
Spokane needs leaders who will focus on local issues, not scoring points on state and national debates that they have no real control over. The city needs diverse viewpoints on the council, more business sensibility and some fresh perspective if it is going to grow economically and solve serious challenges like homelessness. With those ideals in mind, we recommend to following for mayor and council president and for council seats:
Mayor – Nadine Woodward
Council President – Cindy Wendle
Council District 1 (Northeast) – Michael Cathcart
Council District 2 (South) – Lori Kinnear
Council District 3 (Northwest) – Andy Rathbun
Spokane School Board
With three seats open out of five total on the board, voters have a chance to secure a Spokane School Board majority that brings commitment to education and experience. We looked for candidates who also would be fiscally responsible and ensure student safety.
Position 1 – Katey Treloar
Position 2 – Kelli MacFarlane
Position 4 – Kevin Morrison
Spokane Valley City Council
As with the city of Spokane races, voters in Spokane Valley should look for candidates who will diversify their city council and bring expertise in areas like law enforcement, finances and economic development.
Position 2 – Brandi Peetz
Position 3 – Lance Gurel
Position 6 – Tim Hattenburg
There’s no good reason to throw out the incumbent in Liberty Lake. This stateline city has done well under Steven Peterson, and voters should give him four more years.
Mayor – Steve PetersonEndorsements are made solely by the ownership group and publisher of this newspaper. As is the case at most newspapers across the nation, The Spokesman-Review newsroom and its editors are not a part of this endorsement process.