SPOKANE, Wash. - With the November election next month, the candidates for Spokane mayor are working hard to get support.
Monday night, Nadine Woodward moderated a debate between Spokane's mayoral candidates at Ferris High School. Students in the school's leadership class organized the debate and even helped to ask the candidates some tough questions.
Before that happened, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and challenger David Condon got a chance to make a strong impression.
After opening statements, it was straight to business. The candidates were asked a host of questions regarding the Otto Zehm case, the city's budget, and the controversial water rate increase that was recently passed by City Council.
"People are asking a lot of questions and one of them is how did we get these water rates and where did the car tab fees come from," Condon asked.
"I have been on the campaign trial with my opponent for quite some time and I know his stump speech and it didn't surprise me at all," Verner replied.
Verner then addressed the water rates. "I proposed a gradual increase. The City Council chose to go in a different direction. I don't control them it was a veto proof decision. They did what they did," Verner said.
"Then didn't we veto that mayor? Well it's a veto proof vote David, well again if you veto it, it goes automatically back to them and maybe they would re-work it," Condon replied.
The recent elimination of Spokane's Property Crimes Division was also a hot topic.
"We are still providing service, we are just doing it in a better way," Verner said.
"Forbes announced we are fourth on the list of stolen vehicles in the nation, this is something I don't want Spokane to be known for," Condon said.
At the end of the debate, Verner and Condon made one last plea to the audience.
"I had this little scroll put together today because I wanted to show you the endorsements I have received in this campaign," Verner said.
"We need good leadership in City Hall to make sure those things happen, I would appreciate your vote," Condon said.
The leadership class conducted a straw poll after the debate. Condon won the straw poll with 63 percent of the vote while Verner got 37 percent. The real test will come when Spokane voters cast their ballots on November 8th.