My Plan as Mayor
Cleaning up the streets and addressing Spokane’s crucial homeless issue
Homelessness is an issue that has touched just about every city in the U.S. and Spokane has seen an exponential increase in the past 5 years. I firmly believe that there are two different groups of people that make up this population, the homeless population, and the transient population.
I would categorize the homeless population as a group of people that have fallen on hard times. For one reason or another, they have either lost their existing residence or can’t find affordable housing. They generally want to get back on their feet and contribute to society. They are respectful of their community, other citizens, and their environment.
The transient population, on the other hand, have very little respect for anything in their community. This is evidenced by the trash and squalid conditions that they create for themselves and the hard-working taxpayers and business owners in much of the downtown core. They don’t have a sense of belonging to a community, and rightly so. Many in the transient population are not native to Spokane. They are transplants who have come here, or who have been given a 1-way bus ticket for the sole purpose of getting “FREE” handouts. As a local firefighter, I have seen it time and time again. Many in the transient population will tell you that the only reason for their existence in Spokane is so they can get free stuff. They have no impetus to work because they are getting everything provided to them. Is enabling them the way to end homelessness? Are we really doing them a service? More importantly, are we doing a service to the hard working tax paying citizens and business owners who have for many years been subjected to the stench of urine/feces, drug needles, alcohol containers and garbage left over by the transient population?
As Spokane’s next Mayor, I pledge to combat this problem, in conjunction with other community leaders, in a positive constructive manner. Giving taxpayer money to Catholic Charities and with no expectation of a return on our investment is reprehensible. I am not opposed to obligating taxpayer money to fight homelessness, but it comes with a price tag. I believe clean and sober housing is paramount along with maximizing access to mental health professionals and drug/alcohol counselors/treatment programs. I also believe that the homeless population need to submit to drug and alcohol screening. If you want help from the City of Spokane then you need to stay clean and sober. If you don’t want to conform to and respect our community then you can find another city to live in. It's not fair to the honest taxpaying citizens of Spokane to have to continually subsidize, in the form of tax dollars and public safety services, a population of people who care to give nothing back to the community that is willing to help them.
Public Safety is crucial to the city and its citizens
Police Department - The Spokane Police Department is doing a great job in many areas of policing but as your next Mayor, I pledge to put more uniformed police officers on the streets, especially in the downtown core. I pledge to build a robust property crimes division that will be able to investigate, apprehend, prosecute, and incarcerate criminals who commit property crimes. There are ways to fund an increased police force without raising taxes. Cutting the fat at city hall, reducing/eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse within city departments and continuing to request and secure Federal Grants such as Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will be paramount in supporting these initiatives.
Fire Department - The fire department has been doing a great job of mitigating fire and medical emergencies and hiring personnel to help meet the growing demand of incidents within the city, but more is needed. The fire department has been doing a great job of securing Federal SAFER grants to pay for more firefighters that are able to respond to an increased volume of medical and fire-related calls. SAFER grants pay for expenses for the first 2 years of newly hired firefighters and then the city must secure funding to retain those highly skilled firefighters for the remainder of their careers. Additionally, more Fire Department resources need to be diverted and reallocated to public education as it relates to the medical services within our community. An educated and informed public will reduce the strain on emergency services, local hospital emergency rooms, the health care industry in general and ultimately the tax payers.
Ensuring your tax dollars are well spent and efficiently used in the city budget
City leaders have a long-standing history of bad spending habits and Spokane is no different. One example: Many city employees drive city-owned vehicles and use city gas for not only business but pleasure as well. These vehicles, in many cases, are driven to the employees’ homes, out to dinner and to the mall all while using city-funded gas. The same applies to cell phones, laptops/tablets, vehicle insurance and the like. As Spokane’s next Mayor, I will hold every department accountable! Every line item expenditure will have to be justified as an absolute necessity. Vehicles, cell phones, electronic media, city gas etc. will no longer be a PERK of city employment and that practice will cease to exist in most cases. The cost savings from removing the PERKS of employment will be reallocated to areas of special interest like Libraries, Public Safety, Streets, Community Mental Health/Drug and Alcohol Counseling and Affordable Housing.
In order to ensure prosperity for all citizens of Spokane, city infrastructure is crucial
There are many aspects of infrastructure that need attention but as your next Mayor, street maintenance/pothole repair will be the top priority. The hard-working citizens of Spokane deserve to commute on streets without the fear of destroying their vehicle or worse, getting in an accident because city leaders didn’t care enough to fix potholes. A comprehensive plan will be developed to maintain and fix our streets before we spend money on things that are “nice to have” but not needed.