Being born to legacy money is a heavy cross to bear. Family empires built upon timber, minerals, rail, and media during Spokane’s formative years have diminished significantly as mothers and fathers passed and kids born to privilege mismanaged their birthrights.
Yet through the generations one legacy family has risen to the challenge of wealth management and maintained a firm grip on the empire their granddaddy built. Of course, I’m talking about the Cowles family. Owners of the Spokesman Review, significant local real estate investments, and timber interests, the family fortune is spoken for by Stacey and Betsy, brother and sister.
Alas, are we at all surprised they endorsed two empty suits in Sunday’s Spokesman Review? Perfect vessels for the Cowles to manipulate, Nadine Woodward and Cindy Wendle have no core expertise about cities, how to make them better, and quite clearly have little knowledge about how Spokane’s civic systems are built, what buttons can be pushed to create change, and what levers are nothing more than illusions. No, Woodward and Wendle are wholly within the box.
Stacey and Betsy, on the other hand, are the box. Ben Stuckart and Breean Beggs, both running against Woodward and Wendle, respectively, are experts at transcending the Cowles’ box. Stuckart and Beggs are competent, willing, and able to openly disagree with the Cowles. Woodward and Wendle would simply perpetuate Spokane’s antiquated civic structures – structures that support the Cowles’ box – as opposed to fundamentally altering the size and shape of the artificial boundaries that keep us mired in the 20th century, mired by the perspective of privileged, legacy money.
Make no mistake, Stacey and Betsy, on balance, have a clear record of positive projects within Spokane – The M, the Chronicle Building, renovating The Fox, supporting the symphony, etc. On the other hand, they also have a clear record of negative projects within Spokane – Riverpark Square Parking Garage, advocating for reduced water quality standards in the Spokane River, opposing the conversion of Main Street to a two-way arterial, etc.
Spokane doesn’t need two empty suits in the highest elected positions of leadership, poised and ready to concur with the self-serving whims of legacy money. Spokane needs leaders with the courage to disagree with entrenched, outdated perspectives that would love nothing more than to pull strings within City Hall.
When you’re filling out your ballot, vote outside the box. Vote Stuckart and Beggs.