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Welcome to the Fuse Progressive Voters Guide to the 2019 primary election! The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information you need to make decisions about the races on your ballot based on your values.
Remember to return your ballot by Tuesday, August 6, and share this guide with your friends!
Spokane County Measure 1 would renew a 0.1 percent sales tax dedicated to public safety and criminal justice for the next 10 years. Revenue from Measure 1 would be limited to funding police, jails, the court system, domestic violence programs, and programs to relieve the overcrowding of jails and the courts.
Measure 1 would allocate 60 percent of the funding to the county and the remaining 40 percent to local cities on a per-capita basis. A third of the funding must be spent on criminal justice and the rest is discretionary. While we have broader concerns about the amount of money devoted to incarceration, this measure would help alleviate overcrowding in local jails. In addition, activists have the ability to provide input about how the discretionary funding is allocated.
We recommend a yes vote on Spokane County Measure 1.
As Spokane continues to grow, public libraries remain centers of equity where all people can learn and benefit from educational resources and classes. Unfortunately, the demand for materials and services at the library has exceeded the funding available.
Spokane County Library District Proposition No. 1 would restore the property tax levy that funds maintenance and daily operations of the Spokane County's 11 libraries. If Proposition No. 1 is approved, the levy rate would increase from approximately 43 cents to 50 cents per $1,000 assessed value. This increase would cost the average Spokane homeowner less than $17 per year. New funding revenue is necessary not only to cover current expenses but future ones as well for the survival of Spokane County libraries. Vote Yes on Spokane County Library District Proposition No. 1!
Moderate Councilmember Brandi Peetz is running for re-election to Spokane Valley City Council, Position 2. Elected to the council in 2017, Peetz wants to continue economic development in the city by creating a tourism and recreation program, increasing the council's social media outreach to residents, and continuing to invest in public safety.
Peetz is running against Michelle Rasmussen and Rocky Sampson. Rasmussen is a conservative planning commissioner running on a platform of lean budgeting for the city, public safety, and infrastructure development. Sampson is the owner of Checker Auto Repair. He ran and lost in 2017 for city council against Councilmember Pamela Haley. That year, he was under court supervision for alleged financial crimes in Kentucky. He's running as a fiscal conservative who is concerned with budgeting and infrastructure.
While she is not progressive, Peetz is the best choice in this race.
Accountant Lance Gurel is running for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 3. He is prioritizing green spaces and says that the city should have purchased the Painted Hills Golf Course and developed it into a public park. He supports maintaining the public safety contract with the Spokane County Sheriff's office, while fully staffing the police department and programs like Crisis Response Teams. Gurel has spoken positively about trying to dispel Spokane's Valley's reputation for extreme ideologies and bigotry and wants to see the city take a stand against hatred.
Gurel is running against Albert Merkel, Adam "Smash" Smith, and Arne Woodard. Merkel is a former contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and currently employed in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Spokane. He has yet to update his campaign info since his run in 2017 and as of July, he is facing a DUI charge. Police were called to the scene after he crashed into a group of boulders with a passenger in May 2019. Smith is a mixed martial arts fighter and co-owner of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym. He's declared that he's running to spark youth interest in local government, and hopes to bring positivity to the council as well as updates to infrastructure to the city. Woodard is a conservative council member who has asked if the city can limit protests at City Hall after progressive constituents organized rallies at the location. He has also denounced anti-racism efforts in the city, stating that racism isn't a problem.
Gurel is the best choice in this race.
Retired teacher Tim Hattenburg is running for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 6 to improve growth management, transparency on the council, and public safety. He served on the Spokane County Library District Board for a decade. Hattenburg is concerned with the way that the current council is being run, stating that he believes council members make up their minds on issues without weighing all the evidence or carefully considering their constituents.
Hattenburg is running against Patrick Stretch, Shaun Stanfield, and Bo Tucker. Stretch is a former Coast Guard officer who is running to "ban the berm" by having municipal snowplows clear them from driveways. He also wants to address homelessness and prioritize smart growth. Stretch also previously ran for the Spokane City Council in 2016. Stanfield is an assistant manager at Walmart who was motivated to run because of his concern for his daughter and her classmate during a lockdown at their school. Tucker is a conservative chiropractor with no political experience. Neither Stanfield nor Tucker appears to be running a viable campaign.
Hattenburg is the best choice in this race for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 6.
Endorsed By: Spokane Regional Labor Council, Spokane County Democrats
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