Don’t expect two-way traffic on Sprague Avenue anytime soon. It’s good to be an incumbent (except if you’re Jeff Baxter). And voters were apparently in no mood to throw a bone for SCRAPS.
These were the lessons learned after Tuesday’s early election results came in.
While most of the results looked pretty definitive – for example, there’s no chance of Spokane Valley Proposition 1, which would have converted Sprague and Appleway to two-way arterials between University and Argonne Roads, making a late rally – it may take until the last vote is counted and the election certified on Nov. 29 to decide some elections.
Ben Wick and Marilyn Cline, both looking to succeed Bill Gothmann in the Position 6 on the Spokane Valley City Council, will likely go down to the wire. With Wick leading Cline by a mere 20 votes as of late Tuesday. (Updated numbers came too late for this week’s
Spokane Valley News Herald but will be reported next week.)
Wick, an young I.T. specialist who is advocating for greater city planning efforts, would be the only non-“Positive Change”-endorsed candidate should he go on to victory. Cline, a longtime sheriff’s volunteer, is supported by the majority of the current council and trailed Wick 7,098 to 7,078 on Tuesday.
Other candidates for council, however, have comfortable leads. In Position 3, Arne Woodard, appointed earlier this year to replace Rose Dempsey, led challenger DeeDee Loberg 7,342 to 6,722. Dean Grafos’ margin was wider over his challenger John Carroll for the Position 2 spot, 8,101 to 6,328. Chuck Hafner – who was appointed to replace the late Bob McCaslin for Position 5 – was assured a victory in his race, but write-in challenger Orvella Kendall did receive 554 votes for nearly 5 percent of the vote.
While the majority of the City Council supported putting Proposition 1 on the ballot, which would have authorized a $2.1 million bond to be paid through property taxes for the Sprague/Appleway conversion, voters made their wishes known with nearly 83 percent saying no. The negative vote, however, could have had more to do with the idea of higher taxes than traffic.
That may have been what defeated Spokane County Measure 1, which would have levied a 5.8-percent per $1,000 of property value tax to fund a new facility for the Spokane Country Regional Animal Protection service. The idea was to refurbish a building near the fairgrounds to more centrally serve the region – including the city of Spokane – while giving some SCRAPS some much-needed room that isn’t available at its current facility near Spokane Industrial Park. Voters were rejecting the plan 52,530 to 41,187 in early returns.
Another election of significance to Spokane Valley voters was the 4th District state senate race between Spokane County commissioners-appointee Jeff Baxter and former legislator and judge Mike Padden. Padden’s lead of over 10 percentage points – 13,469 to 10,766 – means he will likely be the one heading to Olympia in January.
In other election news:
- A maintenance-and-operations levy for Fire District 8, which serves the area south of Spokane Valley along with a portion of the Ponderosa area, appears to be failing by gathering barely over 50-percent in yes votes. The levy would cost property owners an estimated 17 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation for two years and needs a 60-percent supermajority for passage. As of Tuesday, the vote count was 2,719 for and 2,678 against.
- A bond vote that would build a new fire station in Newman Lake is failing 330 to 326. While the margin is small (50.3) percent, it would take a 60-percent supermajority to pass the $2.25 general-obligation bond for Fire District 13.
- Incumbents appear to be holding on Millwood, with both Brian Ellingson and Glenn Bailey holding on with over 52 percent of the vote in their races against Mike Ellis and David Kopp, respectively, in Positions 3 and 4. Shaun Culler was unchallenged for Position 6.
- It appears that there will be an upset in Fire District 9, which serves the area north of Spokane Valley including the Northwood neighborhood and Foothills, where incumbent Robert Strasburg, a retired small-businessman, is losing 4,005 to 3,131 to attorney Thomas McGarry.
- The town of Rockford’s Proposition 1 is also too close to call, with only six votes separating the yeses (53 or 53 percent) with the nos (47 or 47 percent). Approval, which requires a supermajority, will mean a replacement levy for the city fire department.
- Angela Keebler will be the newest member of the Freeman School District board of directors, after getting over 60 percent of the vote against opponent Lisa Paternoster.