Return Ballots by Tuesday, August 6th
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 11 Spokane County 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!
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart is running for Mayor. Stuckart has been a champion for working people and the environment. He led the charge in passing a quality jobs package that encouraged the use of local contractors for city contracts and increased access to family-wage jobs through apprenticeship opportunities. Stuckart has also been a leader on protecting clean air and clean water, paid sick and safe leave, and protecting immigrants in our communities.
Stuckart is running against former news anchor Nadine Woodward, small business owner Jonathan Bingle, West Central Neighborhood Council chairman Kelly Cruz, and firefighter Shawn Poole. Foremost among these is Woodward, a conservative candidate who has posted videos on her campaign page criticizing homeless people at the library. She believes public safety needs to be the first priority of the government and says she prioritizes business owners when it comes to oversight.
Poole wants to increase the number of firefighters and police officers in Spokane and is very critical of our homeless neighbors. Cruz is Chair of the West Central Neighborhood Council as well as Spokane C. O. P. S., a nonprofit dedicated to crime prevention and safety. He wants to increase accountability for the homeless and believes property crime in the community is up because of drug trafficking. Bingle founded Bingle Enterprises in 2010 and has been a pastor at Genesis Church in North Spokane since it was founded in 2017. Bingle wants increased accountability for the homeless, to make Spokane more business-friendly, and fewer taxes.
Stuckart is the most progressive choice in this race and will be a great next Mayor of Spokane.
Spokane City Councilmember Breean Beggs is a strong champion of smart justice and criminal justice reform. He has a long track record of holding corporations accountable and protecting the rights of low-income residents. Beggs is the former Executive Director of the Center for Justice in Spokane and has recently pushed to increase safety protections for coal and oil trains that run through downtown Spokane. In his time on Spokane City Council, Beggs updated Spokane's Title 18 (Freedom from Discrimination) ordinance, established civilian oversight of police actions, expanded the Multi-Family Tax Exemption to increase opportunities for housing for every income level, and increased funding for traffic-calming projects, including the construction of new sidewalks and paving unpaved streets.
Beggs is facing Councilmember Mike Fagan, Phil Tyler, and Cindy Wendle in this race. Fagan has been the most conservative member of the council and has frequently aligned himself with Tim Eyman. Fagan is skeptical about climate change and the need for vaccines. Wendle is co-owner of Northtown Square and was on the advisory board of the Washington Policy Center, a right-wing think tank. She cites her opposition to the presence of homeless camps as the main reason she is running. Tyler is a Campus Security Officer at Gonzaga, who is facing accusations of abuse and harassment from three of his ex-wives and during his time as a corrections officer at the Spokane County Jail. Tyler has denied all allegations.
Beggs is a progressive leader and the best choice for Spokane City Council President.
There are two strong progressives running for Spokane City Council District 1: Naghmana Sherazi and Jerrall Haynes.
Jerrall Haynes is Vice President of the Spokane Public Schools District 81 Board of Directors and owns a fitness business where he works with young people. While on the school board, Haynes has dedicated resources to technical skills education, which has led to increased enrollment in places like the New Tech Skills Center. Haynes is running his campaign on eliminating unpaved streets and alleys, improving housing affordability, and increasing employment opportunities.
Haynes is a good choice for Spokane City Council in District 1 if you want to be represented by a young military veteran who is dedicated to working with at-risk youth.
Naghmana Sherazi is a community leader running for Spokane City Council in District 1. She serves on the board of Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, as Secretary for Muslims for Community Action and Support, and as an outreach coordinator for Spokane Women Together. Sherazi has also been actively involved on immigration issues, including co-chairing the campaign to defeat a local anti-immigrant ballot measure. As a single working mother, she is running to be a champion for working families, encourage small business development, and build more affordable and transitional housing in Spokane.
Sherazi is a good choice for city council if you're looking for a strong advocate for economic justice and a respected leader within immigrant communities.
Haynes and Sherazi are running against Michael Cathcart, Doug Salter, Krys Brown, Louis Lefebvre, and Tim Benn. The leading conservative is Cathcart, a longtime Republican political operative who worked for the extremely conservative state Senator Michael Baumgartner and now runs Better Spokane, an advocacy organization funded by big developers.
Salter is a bus driver for the West Valley School District who believes the City Council is making too many decisions without soliciting the opinions of the public and that the city should support businesses that will be affected by the completion of the North Spokane Corridor. Brown is a Resident Advisor for the Union Gospel Mission who works with homeless people and wants to put humanity back into the conversation about homelessness. Louis Lefebvre works for the Spokane Fire Department as a dispatcher and is emphasizing public safety in his campaign. Benn is the very conservative chairman of Spokane's Minnehaha Neighborhood Council who ran Councilmember Mike Fagan's campaign in 2015. None of them are running viable campaigns.
Lori Kinnear is running for re-election to Spokane City Council in District 2. She was first elected in 2016 and has focused on repairing and maintaining streets, adding more fire and police personnel, and supporting environmental protections. Kinnear also sponsored legislation to prevent human trafficking.
Also in this race are Anthony "Tony" Kiepe and Elizabeth Fleming. Kiepe is a Republican small business owner running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and public safety. Fleming is a real estate broker and former staff person of the right-wing think tank the Washington Policy Center and former Republican Rep. George Nethercutt.
Kinnear is the clear choice for Spokane City Council in District 2.
Karen Stratton is running for re-election to Spokane City Council in District 3. In her time on the council, she has served on the board of the Spokane Regional Health District, the Spokane COPS board, the board of Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs (SNAP), the Community, Housing and Human Services Board, the Spokane Arts Board, and the board of Priority Spokane. Stratton is running to continue her work advocating for residential street and alley repairs, as well as increasing affordable housing for all income levels and services for low-income families, seniors, and veterans.
Stratton is running against Jeff Martin, Andy Rathbun, Christopher Savage, Jeffrey Rugan, and Ken Side. Martin is a Republican whose number one campaign priority is public safety. Rathbun was a navigator in the U.S. Air Force and the Washington Air Guard and served as Vice President on the West Central Community Center's Board of Directors. He is running a "safety-first" campaign. Savage is a Lyft driver and Rugan is an Express Employment Account manager, though neither of them has a strong campaign presence. Side is a former Pend Orielle County Sheriff's deputy whose campaign website states that "the left wing radical progressive socialist PC crowd is assaulting our gun rights and killing our babies."
Stratton is the best choice for Spokane City Council District 3.
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.
Nikki Otero Lockwood is a public schools advocate and community activist running for Spokane School Board Director, Position 1. She has served as chair of a Montessori parent group, as well as a member of the Human Growth and Development Committee and the Superintendent’s Work Group on Restorative Practices. She currently works as an organizer for the ACLU trying to reform the school to prison pipeline. As a mother of two children, one with autism, she has advocated for special needs children as a member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. As part of her commitment to equitable policies and fully-funded education, she would push to reform school discipline, address systemic racism and inequality in schools, and ensure the accessibility of mental health workers for students.
Lockwood is running against Brian Trimble and Katey Randall Treloar. Trimble is the Executive Director of the Herzog Family Center, an early learning academy. He is the father of three children, one currently in the school system. Trimble is focusing on mental health support for students, supporting all socio-economic populations, and providing services for special needs students with inclusion models. However, most of his endorsements are from businesses and in our local council interview, we were concerned by his comments about running the school board like a business.
Treloar is a former elementary school teacher who has served on the steering committee for At the Core and as program coordinator for Bite-2-Go, both programs focused on ending weekend hunger for children who receive free or reduced meals at school during the week. Treloar is running to address budget shortfalls, hold principals and administrators accountable for their conduct, and support community nonprofits that support students. In our local council interview, we were disappointed in her equity analysis and belief that solutions that worked for most kids should be supported (such as her suggestion to arm resource officers) instead of designing solutions that worked for the kids who are struggling the most.
Lockwood is the best candidate in this race.
There are two good choices for Spokane Public Schools Director in Position 2: Jenny Slagle and Luc Jasmin.
Jenny Slagle is the Director of Community Services at Better Health Together, where she advocates for healthier communities and improved Medicaid access. She has served on the Spokane School District Diversity Advisory Board. A member of the Yakama tribe, Slagle states that she wants to be bold in her equity work by strengthening relationships with regional tribes and other communities of color. Slagle wants to see appropriate school and class sizes, increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, and institute social-emotional learning programs.
Luc Jasmin III is the owner of a childcare center that serves low-income families and the president of the board of Washington Childcare Centers Association. As a Haitian-American who experienced poverty as a child, Jasmin is determined to reduce the disparity between students from different communities served by Spokane Public Schools. He seeks to foster partnerships with local agencies to provide on-site mental health, speech, and occupational therapy services to students. Jasmin also wants school staff to participate in implicit bias training, provide community connections to serve their highest need students, and prioritize early learning.
Also in this race is educator Kellilin "Kelli" MacFarlane, who works as a substitute teacher in Spokane and has taught since 2005. She is running to get teachers’ voices heard. Unfortunately, MacFarlane did not return an election questionnaire and does not have detailed platform information available as of early July.
Erin Georgen is running for Spokane School Board, Director Position 4. She is prioritizing the expansion of resources and interventions for struggling students, training staff in de-escalation techniques, and ensuring that students get more practical-skill and project-based education, including preparing kids to work in the clean energy economy. As someone who has worked at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation for many years, Georgen does not support arming campus resource officers because she doesn't believe it makes students or staff safer when dealing with behavioral issues. Georgen’s background as a physical therapy assistant working with high needs patients also lends her experience in mental health and discipline issues in schools.
Georgen is running against Kevin Morrison and William “Bill” Baxley. Bill Baxley is a former educator who states that he’s running because he has time and loves Spokane. He has little detailed campaign information available. Morrison has worked in Spokane Public Schools for sixteen years and served seven years in the superintendent’s cabinet. He is prioritizing working with the city’s legislative partners to find budget solutions and to advocate for additional funding for special education and youth mental crisis care. While he is progressive on some issues, in our volunteer interviews he was evasive on the issue of arming school resources officers and he is not as strong on racial equity as Georgen.
We believe Erin Georgen is the best choice in this race because of her thoughtful analysis of equity in Spokane Public Schools.