Mayor: Shirley Maike, Mikeal Suniga
Council Position #1: John Paikuli, Monica Manza (write-in)
Council Position #2: John Merrick, Elizabeth Rosenbeck
Council Position #4: Tony Harbolt, Don Kennedy
Council Position #5: Theodore (Ted) Olson, Gary Plumlee
*Council Position #3 candidate Arthur (AJ) Burton runs unopposed and was not present.
Medical Lake Community Candidate Forum Oct 4, 2017, 6–8pm
Medical Lake Auditorium
Candidates for Mayor and Council Positions 1, 2, 4 and 5 appeared at a community forum in Medical Lake to share their values, perspective, and vision for the town. The political forum was sponsored by Re-Imagine Medical Lake and the Medical Lake School district, and was moderated by school Superintendent Tim Ames. Each candidate had two minutes to answer each of 6 questions prepared in advance for the audience of approximately 50 people.
Candidates voiced similar priorities for Medical Lake’s future including public safety, park maintenance and lighting, and protecting the small-town, family-friendly environment that currently exists. There is a strong, widespread desire for an independent, local police force but most feel that the current city budget does not allow for any changes at this time. Currently, law enforcement is the single largest item on the city’s 3.17 million-dollar budget at $934, 866. For the past several years the City has found it to be economically sound to contract public safety services to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Opinions differed regarding the state of unoccupied and dilapidated structures in the city limits. At one extreme is the view that the city core currently looks attractive and suggests citizens blur their vision and try not to notice the eyesores. At the other end of the spectrum is the opinion that these structures are an embarrassment to the community, and the owners should be proactively engaged and encouraged to improve them. Nearly everyone voiced support for tougher enforcement of existing building codes.
Another issue dividing the candidates is how and whether to embrace growth in Medical Lake. Some wish to see the city stay small, preferably below 5,000 residents in order to better compete for grants. Others emphasize the importance of building up and enticing more local businesses while encouraging visitors to spend more of their time and money here.
Common to all candidates is a love for Medical Lake and its small-town values, quality of education, and popular parks and trails. Many have served in various civic capacities around town over the years and wish to continue giving back to a community they love.