Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
I serve on the Spokane City Council and have been an attorney for 26 years. I founded the Smart Justice campaign to reform criminal justice and represented Otto Zehm's family in reforming the Spokane Police Department. I graduated in the top 10% of my class from Whitworth and UW Law School.
During my time on the City Council we have spent more money on road rebuilding and repair and other infrastructure projects than any other time in the city’s history. The challenge is that for many decades the city deferred its road maintenance so we are now building our way out of a deep hole. I support further large infrastructure investments, including the long neglected sidewalks. Our current strategy of using integrated capital management in street construction is a great means of stretching our dollars with matching state and federal grants and insuring that today’s construction will last longer. If I am chosen to retain my seat I will continue with substantial infrastructure investment until we remedy years of past neglect.
During my time on the City Council we have adopted a “Housing First” model. In the last year substantially increased the use of local tax dollars to fund low barrier shelter and 24/7 services for the un-sheltered. This is proven to save more money in avoided police, fire and emergency medical services than the costs of shelter and also creates safety and a path out of homelessness for the users. It also dramatically reduced the number of people sleeping outside downtown, thus improving the business climate. We continue to leverage our federal and state dollars to fund permanent housing for the homeless and are partnering with local non-profits to rapidly re-house families and individuals who lose their housing. If chosen to continue serving on city council, I expect that we will have substantially reduced chronic homelessness by 2021.
The city provides many of its locally funded services to seniors through its community centers. I have spent the last year working to update the services at the East Central Community Center in my district in order to improve and expand services to seniors and other community members. I have also supported providing property tax relief to low income seniors in the city and we are currently awaiting an important Supreme Court decision on those efforts.
Immigration enforcement is a federal issue. I supported the decision of our police department to stay out of the immigration debate so that victims of human trafficking may safely call the police for protection without fear of immigration consequences. I also included language in our recently passed human rights ordinance that provides protection to refugees from discrimination in housing and employment.
Two other major issues facing city government are property crime and a lack of affordable quality housing. I am serving on the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council that is addressing how best to reduce crime and the cost of our criminal justice system. I also serve on a city-wide task force that is working to implement strategies that will improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing throughout all neighborhoods in the city.
Criminal justice reform is the most urgent because it takes up the majority of our general fund resources and threatens the security of all people in the city. Five years ago, I co-founded the Spokane Smart Justice Campaign and we have been making great progress in proposing and now implementing new strategies that are proven to reduce crime, save money and reclaim lives. That work is now being adopted by both the city and the county and should pay large dividends if we stay the course, which is my highest public policy priority.
I meet monthly with the Mayor to discuss emerging issues and strategy. I am also known for being a successful collaborator across political divisions. By communicating effectively and often with key department heads appointed by the Mayor I am able to move the city forward in areas where historical conflicts have slowed down progress.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
I founded my small business, Dunau Associates, 30 years ago. The business focuses on communications, facilitation and outreach, particularly in natural resources. I served on the Spokane Park Board from 2011-2016. I received a BA from Grinnell College and MPA from New York University.
When doorbelling, by far the most common concern I hear is STREETS, FIX THEM! Although Spokane is spending more than ever on streets, the commitment to efficiency and effectiveness needs improvement. To do better, we need to answer questions like what streets repairs have failed, and why, since the first street bond passed in 2004? Compare what materials and standards have been used to determine what streets are holding up better and provide the best long-term effectiveness. And is there any difference in longevity based on who is doing the work? We need a city council actively asking these questions, getting clear answers to them, and then acting on the information.
Spokane made a terrible error in judgement by spending $150,000 to put rocks under the freeway to deter homelessness. That was followed up by floating the idea of a tent city, a proven failed and expensive strategy. To break the current cycle, we need a coordinated care approach that includes non-profit providers and multiple city departments working together. To support coordinated efforts, we need to build a system that shares information in a way that directs the homeless to the right set of services, and then assures appropriate follow-up care is offered. Without a coordinated approach, individuals face very steep odds of breaking out of homelessness and becoming healthy, productive members of society.
When I was on the Spokane Park Board, I successfully led the effort to overturn a staff recommendation to eliminate direct funding to senior centers. Such a vote would have eliminated the ability of all or most senior centers to stay open. We need to recognize that seniors are the fastest growing demographic in our area. Assuring they have access to services is essential.
Spokane has a policy of “unbiased policing,” which I support. This allows our local law enforcement to focus on property crime and other local safety needs. It does not, however, cross the line of making Spokane a sanctuary city.
Spokane’s 6-1 super, super progressive city council majority finds itself crafting ever more ordinances and supporting more taxes and fees. As a small business owner and proven fiscal conservative, I want to bring balance back to city council. That means streamlining regulation that welcomes business and grows the job base; prioritizing government services around public safety, streets and other core services; investing in infrastructure that supports business and quality of life needs; and embracing innovation and efficiency to achieve superior service delivery.
The most urgent need is to refocus city council on addressing public safety, streets and other core city service needs.
I will work collaboratively with Mayor Condon to set priorities of government, make wise infrastructure investments, and bring the highest efficiency possible to delivery of city services.