Spokane mayoral candidates respond to Woodward’s library security post

Spokane mayoral candidates respond to Woodward’s library security post
Copyright 2019 KXLY.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.
Spokane mayoral candidates Ben Stuckart and Shawn Poole. 

Spokane mayoral candidates responded Wednesday to their competitor’s now viral post about concerns involving the homeless at the downtown public library.

On Friday, candidate Nadine Woodward posted a video from January of an altercation between a library security guard and a homeless man. The video, which was given to Woodward by the guard’s father, was posted with the caption “Our beautiful library has turned into a transient center, and that’s NOT ok!”

When asked further questions about the post, Woodward said she posted it not as a reflection of daily life at the library, but to show the burdens that a growing homeless population places on the city.

Officials at the library disagreed with Woodward’s assertion, saying the 90-second clip was not a representation of what happens at the library on a daily basis.

On Wednesday, candidates Ben Stuckart and Shawn Poole responded to Woodward’s post.

Stuckart posted the following to his Facebook page:

I am not afraid to go to the library, and neither were the million pairs of feet that came to our downtown library last year for books, movies, and programs like:

· Storytime!
· Lilac City Live
· Level Up Co-working Space
· Books for Babies
· Library of Things

I have been a strong champion for libraries my entire career, and I reject efforts to damage them through the politics of fear.

We will not run a campaign based on FEAR, instead will continue to celebrate new jobs and businesses, champion public safety, invest in street repairs and offer REAL solutions to our challenges. We have too much fear and loathing at the federal level with Donald Trump, Spokane is better than that.

You can do something about it! Join our campaign today and help us share our vision of helping Spokane to become even greater! I will be A Mayor for All.

Stuckart also spoke to KXLY over the phone.

“One isolated incident, talking about that in isolation… that that make it a transient center does more harm than good, and it’s not the way we should be running this campaign,” said Stuckart.

In a phone interview with KXLY on Wednesday, candidate Shawn Poole called the post “fearmongering.”

“It’s one thing to bring awareness, but it’s another thing when you talk about fearmongering and I think that was part of her intent,” Poole said. “It’s one thing if you identify a problem, but how about come up with a solution for it? She identified a problem. She reposted a problem, but did not bring a solution.”

In her statement Tuesday, Woodward said the following:

As Mayor, I would create a task force of community activists, law enforcement, business owners, and mental health and addiction experts to figure out how we better manage the challenge of homelessness. We can provide for those looking for a hand up, without overburdening our community and turning our public spaces into daytime shelters. I will be committed to finding a path forward that balances Spokane’s generosity and compassion with accountability.

Poole acknowledged rising concern about Spokane’s homeless population and their presence in and around the downtown public library.

“Something obviously needs to be done,” Poole said. “One of the best deterrents we have is the Spokane Police Department.”

Poole said one solution to issues at the library could be staffing the building with a resource officer, similar to those in public schools.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as Nadine is making it out to be,” Poole said.

Mayoral candidate Jonathan Bingle told KXLY4 he didn’t have a comment on Woodward’s Facebook post right now, but he could speak to Woodward’s campaign.

“I know that she is a good woman and her camp, they are good people wanting to do good for this city,” Bingle said.

KXLY4 also reached out to Kelly Cruz, however, our call was not returned for comment.

The security guard in the video was terminated from his position on Tuesday. Library officials said he did not take the proper channels to get access to the security video; instead of filing a public records request, he downloaded the video himself. He told KXLY he downloaded the video to show to police and his doctor.

Spokane Police said the homeless man seen in the video was 33-year-old Utrillo L. Morris. He was arrested a few days after the incident on assault charges.

Catch up on the day’s news and look ahead to tomorrow by signing up for the Daily Local email newsletter from KXLY4. Headlines, events, and staff picks every weeknight at 8 p.m. Sign up HERE to get your news on the D.L.