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Mayoral candidates break down the issues they'd address first if elected

SPOKANE, Wash. - We're less than six months away from learning who will take over for Mayor David Condon, who served as the city's first two-term mayor in 40 years.

Soon, you'll see Jonathan Bingle, Kelly Cruz, Shawn Poole, Ben Stuckart and Nadine Woodward's names on your ballot and across the city, as they work to earn your vote. Aside from Spokane's homeless crisis, each candidate has centered their campaign on a wide range of issues.

Business owner Jonathan Bingle:

  • Taxes: "For us to increase our tax revenue, we don't necessarily need to increase our tax rates but rather, if we could increase our tax base, and you don't have necessarily fewer people paying higher taxes but you just have more people in the tax base, I think that that's how you get to see an increase in revenue for the city without having to raise taxes." ​​
  • The local economy: "You can always make permitting easier, making regulations... Only keeping regulations that make sense for the majority of the population -- continuing to attract businesses through tax incentives or helping businesses to grow in Spokane through tax incentives."

Spokane C.O.P.S. chair Kelly Cruz:

  • Property crime: "Our property crime is being driven by a drug culture in our community. I mean it's, break into a car, steal something to create cash to get your drugs. So, if we hammer down on the drug and substance abuse in our community, I think we can kind of stop or slow some of that property crime."
  • Mental health: "Our mental health system is overburdened at the state level, at the federal level and even at our local level. It would be nice if we had a lot more bed space for folks with mental health issues. We don't have that."

Spokane Fire Department liutenant Shawn Poole:

  • Roads: "We put road diets on hold. We put beautification projects on hold. We put every other street project on hold, other than fixing potholes and paving streets."
  • Waste in city government: "It seems to be a foregone conclusion that when you get hired with the city, that there's perks that come along with that. You know, you get a vehicle, or you get a gas card or you get the latest and greatest cell phone... I think a lot of these perks are unnecessary. There's a lot of employees that have city vehicles. And it's the taxpayer dollars that are paying for that."

City council president Ben Stuckart:

  • Public safety [on the public safety levy passed this year]: "I'm eager to work next year when that kicks in and we have that funding to make sure that we have more officers downtown and that we expand the program where we have mental health professionals riding with our police officers, so that we're getting people to services and not putting them straight into jail."
  • Streets: "We're spending $34 million a year on our streets but what it's not touching is our residential streets and that's gonna be prioritization. How are we going to prioritize residential streets because the 4.5 to 5 million we put into residential streets isn't enough right now."

Former broadcaster Nadine Woodward:

  • Property crime: "Our police officers do a fantastic job but I think they're overwhelmed by the number of reports that come in. In fact, one officer told me, 'quite frankly, we take the report, but it doesn't always go anywhere because we're understaffed and we just don't have, you know, the resources that we need to go after property crime." 
  • Infrastructure: "I think we need to rethink what we do with our arterials. Someone used a great analogy and they said, 'you know, when our arteries in our body narrow, what happens? We get a heart attack.' Why are we narrowing our arterials in this city as we grow?"

Each candidate agrees Spokane's homeless crisis is a top priority this year. To read more on each candidate's thoughts on that issue, click here.


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