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City Council District 2 Candidate Tony Kiepe

Three challengers are looking to unseat Spokane city councilman Breean Beggs in Spokane’s second District. All three opponents are expressing concerns that the current city council is spending too much time on issues that are outside the purview of what the council should be focusing on.

Today we look at candidate Tony Kiepe.

Tony Kiepe has been a Spokane resident for 17 years, and has worked for the pharmaceutical industry and as a health care consultant. His public service work has included a two year stint with the Spokane Valley Chamber of commerce.

He says he wants to bring a balance to the city council that he thinks is leaning too far to the liberal side of the scale. Kiepe says, “We’re not representing all of Spokane just one side of Spokane. Of course when you have a mixed population of conservatives and liberals, they are very passionate about both sides of the fence. We need to make everybody is represented.”

Kiepe believes the council has focused too much on issues that don’t resonate enough with city residents, like the oil and coal train issue. He says one priority should be public safety.  “When I’ve been doorbelling I’ve had neighbors show me on their phone, there’s a prowler looking through my windows. I show it to the police but they can’t show up because it’s not a priority. That’s sad, and we got to make sure we are protecting our citizens.”

He cites the recent study that says the city needs to hire 45 new police officers to keep up with the current criminal activity. When it comes to funding that hiring, or dealing with other issues like plowing snow, he says the city has wasted money on other projects.  He says, “Snowplowing takes four days. We could hire or purchase more snow equipment with the money we spent for the bridge for University, UW, going to Sprague. Ten Million dollars. Is that something we really need when so few citizens can actually have access or use that bridge. Here we needed the money for snow equipment or police. Let’s look at the priorities and let the priorities our needs.

Kiepe says keeping the public trust is also important. He cites the recent flap over the park bond issue when there was debate over whether it actually included funding for a cover for the old American Pavilion from Expo 74 at Riverfront park. “This is where our park board needs more oversight. They should be reporting to the city council. Here the citizens pass a 60 million dollar bond levy, based on the money we want to raise; we want to raise these bonds. They said we would have a cover. The biggest issue is we make these promises to our citizens. The next time we need a bond or a levy, will they vote for it?

All this week, we will take a look at the other candidates for the second district city council seat. The primary ballots need to be mailed back by Tuesday, August first. The election stories are also on our website, Spokane Public Radio.org

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.