Spokane city council candidate forum
Earlier this month the League of Women Voters held the first candidate forum for those running for the Spokane City Council this year, which was first aired yesterday and re-aired today on local city access. The following is my assessment of the forum and who appeared to have won.
The first candidate forum was between incumbent Al French and challenger Valentina Howard. I may be biased, but it was completely obvious that French was the clear winner in this debate. French was always reserved and appeared confident, sticking to a pro-business, pro-growth, fiscally-conservative theme, while easily dispatching repeated attacks on his record by his opponent. Howard, in contrast, looked consistently nervous and unprepared. She spoke extemporaneously and often in generalities, lacking specific solutions to her theme issues of crime prevention and creating jobs with higher living wages.
The second district forum featured appointed incumbent Mary Verner, along with challengers Jeffrey Bierman and Dallas Hawkins. The only loser in this group was Hawkins, whose style and responses were often boring. Verner did very well in presentation, appearing very poised and knowledgeble of issues, while Bierman had a lot of substance to his answers and was almost always specific in his positions on issues, despite incessant fidgeting. Both Bierman and Hawkins stuck to fiscally-conservative themes in the area of taxation, and Verner alluded to it as well, though generally took a populist tone to her intentions on fixing the budget shortfall, seeking to go to citizens for options on the issue.
The free-for-all in the third district contained seven candidates. Out of this field, frequent candidate Barbara Lampert appeared the most versed on issues and consistently provided answers that were brief and to the point. Former Councilman Steve Corker appeared the most experienced and professional out of all. Businessman Daniel Day was the only candidate who often appeared nervous and unable to answer specifically with regularity. Notable of the crowd were Nancy McLaughlin, whose theme focused on family needs and strong fiscal conservatism, and Keith Springer, whose theme focused representing the working class and reforming mass transit.