September 15, 2014
The Liberty Lake Splash
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Cover Story: Face Off
9/25/2013 4:53:19 PM

About this special election preview

WHO DID WE ASK? The Splash contacted the six candidates with competitive races for Liberty Lake City Council in September asking for responses, in writing, to a questionnaire that included basic resume information and five interview questions. The responses are below. Keith Kopelson, a current Council member whose name is also on the ballot, was not contacted because no one filed to run against him for his seat. (For more on Kopelson, read this month's Cup of Joe.) 
 
WHAT WERE THE GROUND RULES?
Given a "job application" theme, the candidates were allowed a total of 150 words to use at their discretion among questions in the "resume" portion (the breakout boxes that contain candidate bios) and 600 words to spread as desired among the five interview questions (displayed in Q&A format).
 
HOW WERE THE WRITTEN RESPONSES EDITED? The candidates responses were edited slightly and only for consistency of style and grammar. No words were substituted, added or deleted.
 
WHAT ABOUT OTHER LOCAL ELECTIONS? This year's Central Valley School Board races are unopposed. There is, however, a race for Spokane Valley Fire Commissioner that will appear on many Liberty Lake ballots. Coverage of that race between incumbent Ron Schmidt and challenger Mike DeVleming is included in the October issue of The Splash's sister publication, The Current, and can be picked up at local newsstands or viewed at issuu.com/valleycurrent
 
WHAT ABOUT OTHER COVERAGE? In the October Splash, there is a column and graphic as well as the aforementioned written questionnaires. Also watch for Splash e-updates showing up in your email inbox during the month of October with any breaking campaign news (you can sign up here if you haven't already). At minimum, a story will be delivered by e-update and posted on The Splash website following the Oct. 2 Liberty Lake candidate forum (details about that event are in the white breakout box). Though ballots will have already arrived by that time, look for further election coverage in November's issue, which will land in mailboxes on Halloween.  
 

Hear the candidates in person
Liberty Lake Candidate Forum

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2

WHERE: Meadowwood Technology Campus cafeteria, 2100 N. Molter Road, Liberty Lake

INVITED PARTICIPANTS: Liberty Lake City Council candidates in competitive races

HOSTED BY: Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce

 
 

Liberty Lake City Council, Position 1
 
DEBBI J. HASKINS

AGE: 51
FAMILY: Daughters, Bailey Shepherd (22) and Halle Shepherd (19)

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Paralegal

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Been a municipal finance paralegal for 30 years, representing cities, counties, school districts, fire districts and library districts

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: Attended SCC, SFCC and Gonzaga University

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Various community service projects (food drives, volunteer at shelters)

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Running, skiing, reading


What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
My experience working with government entities, which has enabled me to become familiar with the finances and working of budgets and planning. 

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
Not so much concerns, but the care of the community. I have felt that Liberty Lake is a well-run city, and I want it to continue to prosper and be a part of that. 

What opportunities for the city of Liberty Lake excite you about service as a council member? 
As I said before: the prosperity of the city. Planning development in a smart and organized manner is important as a City Council member. 

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
My experience and knowledge of government entities. 

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
Martha Washington at The Cedars in Coeur d'Alene (when it's summer)!





LORI OLANDER

AGE: 50
FAMILY: Daughter, Stella (12); mutt-dog, Zak (3)

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Nurse Anesthetist, Spokane Eye Surgery Center

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Retired Naval officer and past department head; numerous elected and appointed positions on state and national professional organizations; past volunteer with Kiwanis, Holiday Ball Committee, Parent Teacher Association for Liberty Lake Elementary and Greenacres Middle School

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: Variety of courses in city management taken through the Association of Washington Cities; master's in health sciences and anesthesia from The George Washington University; bachelor's in nursing, California State University, Long Beach 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Current City Council member, member of finance and community development committees, past member of public safety committee 

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Anything outdoors or on the water, watching Stella play soccer, reading, cooking, travel, biking, wine tasting and laughing with family and friends




What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
Being open minded and willing to listen to all opinions in the decision-making process. I like involvement in open discussions that illuminate all points of view. If this process is allowed to take place, correct decisions will generally emerge, and governing bodies will find common ground and areas for compromise in order to move forward.

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
The rapid pace of residential growth concerns me as it is outpacing the business/retail sector and the capacity of our local schools. 

What opportunities for the city of Liberty Lake excite you about service as a council member? 
I am excited about developing strategies for economic development. If we can increase the number of quality jobs and successful businesses in our city, we will build a tax base that funds not only the safe, well-maintained, green city we are known for but also an increase in services such as a community pool, as an example. 

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
Unfortunately, I do not know my opponent.

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
It is hard to select one from a long list, but I would choose Condoleezza Rice. Her humble and difficult beginnings, stellar academic achievements, professionalism, service to country, eloquence and faith impress me. As far as a favorite lunch spot: Hay J's Bistro!












 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 









 
 
Liberty Lake City Council, Position 2

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HUGH SEVERS

AGE: 27

FAMILY: Wife, Jolene Severs; sons, Jackson (6) and Liam (3) 

CURRENT OCCUPATION: I run a financial strategies group with Northwestern Mutual.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Small business owner, BA in landscape architecture = urban planning training, financial services business = excellent understanding of individual/family and business needs financially; previously helped manage a contracting business (leadership/management in a fast-paced environment); extensive service experience in various roles (customer service in businesses, community service/volunteer work with the American Cancer Society, WSU Alumni Association, etc.)

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: BA landscape architecture from Washington State University; Central Valley High School graduate; continued education through American College (not yet complete, financial planning education) 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Young Professionals of the American Cancer Society, President of the Inland Northwest for Washington State University Alumni Association 

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Family, especially my kids' soccer and baseball games; boating; fly fishing; camping; golf; campfires with friends






























What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
While my degree in landscape architecture has given me a solid understanding of urban growth and planning, what best qualifies me for the job is my experience running a financial strategies group. I work with families and business on a daily basis - hearing new stories about people's lives, struggles and successes every day. I get to hear all of the concerns that keep business owners up at night. I believe hearing so many stories has armed me with an excellent understanding of what both families and businesses need to thrive. Because of my experience, rather than just opinion, in these areas, I feel well equipped to help make the best decisions possible for the betterment of our community.

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
My family and I love Liberty Lake; that is why my wife and I chose to settle here and raise our two sons. That is why after 21 years in the Air Force, my parents chose to settle here. Though every city has its issues, my concern for our community less where it is today and more where Liberty Lake will be in 10, 20 and 30 years, when my sons are deciding where to raise their children. I want to play a key role in ensuring our community is as great or better at that time as it is today. Without tackling and making good decisions about key planning issues today (traffic, taxes, park spaces, etc.), I fear Liberty Lake won't be the premier place for families and businesses that it is today. 

What opportunities for the city excite you about service as a council member?
Thanks to being a young, growing city with community-oriented businesses and individuals, Liberty Lake has a lot of fun and good change on the horizon. Whether it's making decisions about a civic center, aquatic center, town square, ball fields, etc., exciting ideas are out there.  What energizes me is having the opportunity to support individuals and businesses who organize for the good of our community (i.e. Fallen Heroes, the Farmers Market, etc.) as well as getting to welcome (and hopefully entice) new businesses and families to join our community.

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
My intention is not to sound negative about Mr. Sitton as an individual - I hear through the grapevine Jeff is a nice guy. We haven't had the opportunity to meet because my opponent has yet to be at any City Council meetings or other community events over the past six months or so - including this year's council retreat. He also has not made the time to speak with organizations that reached out to interview us so to offer an educated opinion to the public, so I can't speak to his philosophies or ideals. My concern is that without being present and hearing all of the existing issues, thoughts of community members and hearing the decisions and reasoning of the current City Council, I have a hard time thinking my opponent will be dedicated, educated and prepared to take the job as a council member. I have dedicated time since last winter to almost every council meeting, this fall's council retreat and miscellaneous events to ensure I am both educated and prepared to transition smoothly into the council.

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
Without a doubt, I would like to have lunch with Thomas Jefferson. Also trained as a landscape architect, he took that planning knowledge (and vast other experiences) and put it to use in the writing or our constitution and architecture behind our government. We would eat here, in modern times, in the "Louisiana Territory" (I don't care what home or restaurant) and discuss what he considers his triumphs and his faults regarding his decisions that impact where our society is today. 

JEFF SITTON

AGE: 36

FAMILY: Wife, Stacy; son, David (5); daughter, Grace (3)

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Owner, Spokane Roofing Company

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Small business owner; leadership responsibilities include managing resources, planning schedules, financial cost outs, marketing, sales, vendor sourcing

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: Courses taken at Spokane Falls Community College, North Idaho College and Spokane Community College; graduate of East Valley High School; Idaho Public Works License Program; AHERA building inspector

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: YMCA youth sports, contributions to Habitat for Humanity, Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts, Gonzaga University, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and Make a Wish Foundation

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Spending evenings playing with my kids at Rocky Hill Park and tending to our community garden bed, jet boating, wakeboarding, fishing, snow skiing and attending Valley Real Life Ministries






















What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
Effective communication is essential to successful transactions within an organization, and I've honed that skill. Helpful communication bridges gaps created by confrontation. As a business owner over the last 11 years, I've witnessed good communication transcend disagreements to achieve positive and enduring results. My experience and ability to communicate effectively has prepared me to face multiple community concerns while synergizing solutions that meet the majority's needs. 

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
The rapid growth of Liberty Lake over the past several years has prompted me to be involved with planning and the future of our fine city.  Liberty Lake is a highly sought-after place to live, work and recreate and requires forward thinking in regards to regulations, boundaries, schools, roads, health and access to accommodate the fast-paced growth. I believe our district deserves leaders that can provide a common sense approach to finding long-term solutions that enhance and preserve the attributes that make Liberty Lake a phenomenal community.

What opportunities for the city of Liberty Lake excite you about service as a council member? 
I am excited that I am part of Liberty Lake's vibrant community and blessed to raise my two young children here. I have grandparents, siblings, parents and many friends that live and work in Liberty Lake. I would like to pay Liberty Lake forward by providing experience and proven leadership and assist the rapid growth and opportunities within by serving the community as city councilman.  

Specifically, I'm interested and excited about the conclusion of a viable plan for the Town Square Park project. The opportunity to bring our community several options for recreation, business, service and a central hub will be very exciting and rewarding.

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
My business and community experience sets me apart from my opponent. Eleven years of operating a successful business has provided invaluable expertise and flourishing associations with vendors, suppliers, businesspeople and community. I am excited and interested in serving Liberty Lake and providing enduring solutions to Liberty Lake's motivating growth and sustaining community development.

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
Ronald Reagan. I feel our 40th president of the United States was a great American. He made the tough decisions in which he took much criticism for but stood for what he felt was right. President Reagan had a pro-business mindset and a big heart for people. We would eat at Hay J's and have a seafood cob salad with a large iced tea.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

















 
 
 
 
 
Liberty Lake City Council, Position 4

ODIN LANGFORD

AGE: 61

FAMILY: Wife, Jill; daughter, Kellie (33)

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Area manager for IC Security

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Member of the Liberty Lake City Council, having served since 2007. Elected by sitting council members to serve as mayor pro tem.

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in administration of criminal justice, master's degree in criminal justice, Boston University; certificate of municipal leadership, Association of Washington Cities

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Washington state Court Appointed Special Advocate (for children); Washington state certified ombudsman (senior service); prior member, Friends of the Library (Liberty Lake); prior member, Meadowood HOA (Liberty Lake)

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Muscle cars, camping, traveling, photography

























































What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
Knowledge- 
1. Learned over 12 years of residency (history).
2. Gained by service (volunteer spirit).
3. Acquired by listening to residents (representation).
4. Increased by certified municipal leadership classes (education). 
5. Gleaned by administrating city budgets (fiscal management). 
6. That comes from doing what's right but not necessarily popular.

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
It would be very easy for me to give the novice, safe and popular answers: 1. Make sure that there isn't growth without planning; 2. Keep the citizens protected; and 3. Bring in commercial income; and 4. Keep taxes low.  
Honestly, I am not worried about those concerns. Not that I don't care, but we already have a good handle on these. There won't be growth without management, because we are a planned community. The city of Liberty Lake doesn't fail to protect its citizens; we have the best chief of police on the east side of the state. Commercial development is driven by economy and hindered by the state, which isn't known for their business friendliness. 
As for our city taxes, they are already pretty low, and overall, the current City Council tends to vote against raising them: 
From Nov. 19, 2010, Spokane Valley News Herald story by Editor Craig Howard: "Liberty Lake residents paid a property tax rate of $1.55 per $1,000 in 2010, the second lowest level among jurisdictions in Spokane County."  
From Nov. 22, 2012, Splash story by contributor Craig Howard: "Homeowners in Liberty Lake received their first gift of the holiday season on Tuesday night as the City Council voted down a proposed property tax increase of 1 percent for 2013. The nominal levy lift lid was included in Mayor Steve Peterson's preliminary budget for next year and would have raised $19,000 with funds earmarked for a speed monitor trailer and two surveillance cameras. Mayor Pro Tem Odin Langford acknowledged the value of the capital purchases (stated), I think we could find those funds from other places.'" 
My major concern is that our economy is fragile. What's an intelligent approach? Get out of long-term debt. I believe that it's feasible and practical.
Sometimes we get caught up in nice but unnecessary programs and projects that tend to take on a life of their own but aren't conducive to maintaining tight fiscal controls during an economic period of uncertainty.

What opportunities for the city of Liberty Lake excite you about service as a council member? 
1. To be long-term debt free.
2. North side growth utilizing the LIFT (Local Infrastructure Financing Tool) and TIF (Tax Increment Financing) - the redistribution of property taxes to accomplish infrastructure development as the framework for creation of a mixed property use and a supportive, as opposed to consuming, commercial area.

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
I say this in all humility, but depth of experience is the gorge that separates us.
When I want the advice of a financial advisor, I'm not interested in speaking with someone who got out of school and thinks that because they know the difference between an asset and liability that they are a financial advisor. 
I want to speak with the guy who has a few million in his own retirement account and will share with me his experience on how to get it, grow it and keep it. It's his experience that makes him valuable.
I've worked hard over the last seven years to make sure that you will enjoy coming home to Liberty Lake. It's my experience that validates my vision: "protect, preserve and get out of debt."

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
I would like to take Etienne Eduard Laliberte (Stephen E. Liberty), to a picnic lunch at Pavillion Park, where I would tell him, "Thank you."

MIKE TEDESCO

AGE: 35

FAMILY: Wife, Caitlin; kids, Madelyn (14) and Cooper (7)

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Realtor

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Expert in all things economic development, urban planning and tax increment financing. Career highlights include: over $320 million in closed public/private partnerships, successfully recruited hundreds of high-tech jobs, redeveloped blighted neighborhoods and managed statewide tourism attraction efforts.

RELEVANT TRAINING/EDUCATION: Master's degree in urban planning

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: American Planning Association, Inland Northwest Business Alliance, International Council of Shopping Centers, Spokane Association of Realtors

HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Confident I can beat The Splash's Editor and Publisher (Josh Johnson) in a match of table tennis. I'm also nurturing a fantasy football addiction.







What is the one thing about you that you believe best qualifies you for the role of Liberty Lake City Council member? 
My fresh, innovative perspective. It's amazing how much can be accomplished without having to raise taxes. There are plenty of tools available to us within state law that provide for solutions to complex problems. A little creativity and innovation can go a long way toward accomplishing goals and saving Liberty Lake residents a few bucks in the process.

What concerns about the city of Liberty Lake prompt you to want to be involved? 
Although Liberty Lake is still a young municipality (incorporated in 2001), the era of establishing how to operate this city is coming to close. Now attention may be served to moving Liberty Lake into the future. We're in a unique position not to repeat mistakes of other communities and ensure Liberty Lake maintains and improves upon the best quality of life in the metropolitan area. 

What opportunities for the city of Liberty Lake excite you about service as a council member? 
What happens next? This is the big unanswered question that faces the community. We've incorporated. We're pretty good at managing the business of the city. Now what? That's the fun part. 

What is the main thing that separates you from your opponent in this race? 
My fresh, innovative perspective. My opponent has been on City Council since 2007, and he's done a great job helping to establish the business practices of the city. However, now it's time to look at the future and choose it before it chooses us. I have the skills and experience in urban planning and economic development to thoughtfully contribute as a member of City Council, and I'm excited to initiate discussions that will help move Liberty Lake forward.

Finally, for fun, who is one person, past or present, you would like to have lunch with - and where would you eat it? 
Ty Webb, Bushwood Country Club (after a round of golf)



 
 

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