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In politics, everyone’s for openness – for accountability, for transparency – until they get a good dose of it. Then, more often than not, they climb into a bunker, start issuing statements, managing the message and taking no questions. Because when you’re on the business end of true openness – listening to the nettlesome public, warding off the pesky media – it simply ain’t any fun.
Spokane Mayor-elect David Condon on Tuesday announced that his transition will be led by the city’s former economic development director, and he promised to oversee an open government. “Obviously, I am very humbled, very, very humbled at the outpouring of support that the voters have shown. I do think that it is a true honor to serve and to be expected to serve as their mayor,” Condon said at a news conference Tuesday at the Second Space Gallery in downtown Spokane. “I’m dedicated to living up to the trust the voters have put within me. The voters clearly want a City Hall that’s open, accountable and responsive.”
We’re still weeks away from that familiar moment when Spokane’s next one-term mayor will slide behind the desk in that spiffy City Hall office with a view. Although quite frankly, if Mary Verner keeps refusing to concede last Tuesday’s election, David Condon may have to call for an eviction.
And now comes the hard part: governing. David Condon made a spectacular comeback in his bid to become the mayor of Washington’s second largest city.
After years of frustration over Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan’s temper, a majority of council members for the first time this week engaged in a minor protest of Shogan’s behavior during a council meeting. When he leaves office at year’s end, he may be ending his tenure on a sour note.
David Condon, the former deputy chief of staff of Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, claimed enough votes on Thursday to make any last-minute, shocking comeback by Mayor Mary Verner unrealistic.
Now comes that post-election moment for rationally minded pundits to scientifically pick apart how David Condon, a political upstart, made up a Goliath-size disadvantage to knock off a sitting Spokane mayor Tuesday night. Remember the August primary?
Many of those elected Tuesday to serve in Spokane City Hall were the most outspoken ahead of the election that Proposition 1 would doom the economy. But the same electorate that chose those candidates also decided to give Proposition 1 – the Community Bill of Rights – a fighting chance. The ballot measure is still too close to call, although it lost ground in counting on Wednesday.
Washington voters checking their ballots this weekend for the first time may feel a sense of déjà vu. They voted last year on proposals to get the state out of the liquor business, and in 2008 to require more training for home health care workers. And while it isn’t immediately clear from the ballot language, the initiative on road and bridge tolls resurrects some of last year’s initiative requiring supermajorities in the Legislature.