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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Election 2014: Experience at issue in county treasurer race

The candidates fighting for the job of Spokane County treasurer agree on one thing: The post should go to someone who understands investments and government finance. They differ, of course, on why they believe their opponent is less qualified for the job.

Candidates say county commission race about leadership style

The candidates locked in a tight race for the Spokane County Commission say November’s vote is a decision between two distinct leadership styles. Democrat Mary Lou Johnson, making her first attempt at elected office, paints incumbent Republican Al French as a divisive politician unwilling to compromise. French calls Johnson’s promise to create a collaborative approach on the commission a way to bog down decision making, frustrating job growth and leading to wishy-washy outcomes.

Two Spokane County incumbents face strong challenges

Two incumbent Republicans in the Spokane County Courthouse appear to be facing tough challenges from Democratic opponents. GOP County Commissioner Al French was virtually tied with Democratic challenger Mary Lou Johnson, with each scoring 36 percent of the vote in the county’s initial returns Tuesday night for the District 3 seat.

Democrats face dilemma in Spokane County commissioner race

Democrats face a dilemma in next month’s primary election for Spokane County commissioner. That’s because among the candidates they can choose are a Democrat and a high-profile former Democrat who chose to run as an independent.

Growth is key in Spokane County commission race

Republican Spokane County Commissioner Al French is facing a potential rerun of 2010, when he ousted Democrat Bonnie Mager in a close race. This time, Mager has shed her Democratic Party affiliation, choosing to run as an independent.

Finance experience an issue in county treasurer race

Current Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase learned one lesson in defeating his predecessor, Skip Chilberg, in the 2010 election. “For sure, I’m campaigning. I’m raising money,” said Chase, the 60-year-old self-described constitutionalist who’s facing a primary challenge from two Spokane accountants, Mary Kuney and Amy Biviano.

Airway Heights mayor, others protest county’s fight against casino

A group supporting a proposed Spokane tribal casino and resort rallied in front of the Spokane County Courthouse on Tuesday decrying the spending by county commissioners to fight the project. Ed Clark, part of the consulting team working to advance the casino project, said the Spokane Tribe Economic Project would bring 5,000 jobs and $450 million in investment to the region.

Smart Justice activist Johnson enters Spokane County commissioner race

A leader in the movement to reform criminal justice said she would bring her expertise to the Spokane County Board of Commissioners if voters choose her over two other candidates for the District 3 commissioner seat this year. Mary Lou Johnson, a Democrat and a member of the Smart Justice coalition in Spokane, formally announced her candidacy Thursday at a gathering of supporters.

Spokane County Commission seat likely three-way fight

Former Democratic County Commissioner Bonnie Mager is seeking a rematch with the Republican who unseated her in 2010, only this time she is running as an independent. Mager lost in a close race to Commissioner Al French for the District 3 seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners. French beat Mager by 2,700 votes out of 173,000 that were cast.

Shawn Vestal: Commissioner’s records request adds fuel to flare-up over planning

Public records laws are important tools for citizens to use in the battle against government secrecy and power. Anyone who has ever used them is familiar with occasional stonewalling and foot-dragging from public officials – just as they are familiar with the occasional harassing, burdensome requests to agencies from gadflies and journalists.

Marijuana growers in county will need 8 acres, for now

Spokane County commissioners may have thrown a wrench into the plans of some would-be marijuana growers hoping to set up in rural areas. An interim zoning ordinance approved Monday says anyone growing recreational marijuana will have to be on at least 8 acres, with plenty of space between the fields or buildings and the property lines.

Spokane closes loophole for contested developments

In a bid to curb unwanted sprawl, Spokane city leaders Monday imposed new prohibitions on extending water and sewer service to potentially contested developments outside city limits until any legal challenges are resolved. The 4-2 vote capped a marathon evening of public testimony pitting developers and business boosters against environmental activists, planners and fiscal conservatives. Councilmen Mike Allen and Mike Fagan opposed it.

Aerospace jobs coming to Spokane County, commissioner says

Economic growth in Spokane County may be ready to take off with the expansion of the aerospace industry, county Commissioner Al French said Friday. Spokane is on the verge of attracting two new aerospace employers while two other companies are expanding operations, French said during an annual State of the County address to community and business leaders gathered at CenterPlace Regional Events Center.

Landmarks Commission at standstill while county sends message

A little more than a year after Spokane celebrated its historic legacy by hosting a national preservation conference, Spokane’s own historic preservation program is being ground to a halt. The city-county Landmarks Commission that oversees historic listings and approves local tax incentives cannot take a vote because six of its 11 positions are vacant and county commissioners are withholding their approval of nominations to fill four of the vacancies. The Landmarks Commission needs at least seven members to constitute a voting quorum.

Work begins to install city signs meant to keep drivers updated

Drivers last week might have wondered about that huge drill rig along the northbound lanes of Division Street at Gordon Avenue. Wonder no more: A contractor is installing a series of variable message signs at nine locations along Spokane city streets.