AWH council candidates make their pitches
Field of six will shrink to three after Feb. 16 meeting
Last updated 2/11/2021 at 10:46am
AIRWAY HEIGHTS — On Feb. 1 the Airway Heights City Council learned about the 13 candidates who had tossed their names into consideration to fill a pair of openings on their panel. Later in executive session that list was down to six finalists.
And on Feb. 8 council got to officially meet — via Zoom that is — and get to know a little more about Hank Bynaker, Dave Malet, Jonathan Schrock, Arthur Bubb, Davin Perry and Paula Randall. Each had identical 15-minute sessions where they introduced themselves and then took questions from Mayor Sonny Weathers and council members.
Results from the Q & A session will help council arrive at three finalists who will be announced at the Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting, the date moved due to Presidents’ Day. A council vote will then establish the two candidates to fill vacancies left when Steve and former Mayor Kevin Richey resigned in 2020.
Oaths are expected to be administered on Feb. 22.
Bynaker, whose pre-retirement work centered around shipping and seaports, told council he had worked with the public most of his career. That time, which included serving as the CEO at the Port of Astoria, Oregon, included dealing with many of the things that just might surface on the Airway Heights Council such as noise abatement and pollution.
When questioned just what he might do should he receive a $1 million grant, Bynaker suggested collaborating with others within City Hall to determine its best use.
Malet, a former council member from 2012 to 2020, said outside work moved him to not run for reelection, “But now I have time” he said.
Quite familiar with the landscape in Airway Heights, Malet said the top issue facing the city is contending with the ever-present matter of water. There needs to be a long-term solution and that is not to be connected to Spokane.
“This city has a future and I want to be part of that,” Malet said.
Schrock brings current collaborative experience to the possible council seat having served on both the Park Board and Spokane Regional Transportation Commission (SRTC). And when asked why he applied for more on his plate, Schrock said, “It’s a wonderful city and I love to be of service to my community.”
Schrock took on the challenge of a personal family matter to address the question of how he would deal with having to change his mind on a city matter. The need to hear from all sides is critical he said.
A familiar face and name across the West Plains, Perry was raised in and now teaches in Medical Lake, went to school at Eastern Washington University and has lived in Airway Heights for 3 ½ years.
His top priority, short-term, is to deal with COVID-19 while further out is handling long-term growth and the need for middle income housing. Perry called the city “renter centric” and something in need of change from being what he termed a “pit stop” community.
Bubb, a former educator and high school principal, came to Airway Heights 4 ½ years ago. In that time Bubb has served on the city’s Planning Commission.
With that background in mind, Bubb continues to be a strong advocate for building a new middle school in Airway Heights and helping eliminate the daily 25-minute — or more — journey children make to Cheney for class.
Bubb wants to also encourage citizens to become involved in their community on a regular basis, not just when there is a problem or over anger.
Randall moved from Colorado Springs, Colo. in 2019 and told council a recent drive throughout the entire community was quite revealing.
It helped her to identify one of the most crucial issues facing the city, that being what she termed “classism.” In her eyes this meant providing the same nicely paved streets found in new neighborhoods to those who live in mobile homes on streets full of potholes.
And if a $1 million grant landed in her hands, Randall would make sure every child received a book each month.
In other council business, Zach Becker spoke about Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping which is projected for launch the end of March. Also, the effort to fill a vacant seat on the Planning Commission was pushed to the Feb. 16 meeting agenda.
Paul Delaney is a retired former Free Press Publishing reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.