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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

Tim Eyman associate Mike Fagan eliminated in Top Two for Spokane City Council President

Longtime Tim Eyman associate Mike Fagan will be departing the Spokane City Council at the end of this year after failing to clinch a spot on the general election ballot for Spokane City Council President, early returns suggest.

As of the last count, there were 16,135 votes for Breean Beggs (35.84%), 13,785 votes for Cindy Wendle (30.62%), and 11,856 votes for Fagan (26.34%). Last place finisher Phillip Tyler has 3,067 votes, or 6.81%. Only the top two vote getters advance to the November runoff, so Fagan’s campaign is at an end.

Fagan, fifty-nine, occasionally appears alongside Tim Eyman at press conferences with his father, Jack. The Fagans have been associated with Eyman for nearly twenty years. Originally, they and Eyman were part of a quartet that also included Monte Benham of the Tri-Cities in the early days of Eyman’s initiative factory.

However, Eyman and the Fagans parted company with Benham in 2003; Benham objected to their plans to continue profiting from sponsoring initiatives.

This is Fagan’s second loss as a candidate for Spokane City Council.

He also came up short in his first campaign ten years ago, at the same time Eyman was trying to bring destructive Colorado-style expenditure limits to Washington State with Initiative 1033 (which failed). However, Fagan tried again two years later. His 2011 bid for District #1 was successful, and he secured reelection in 2015.

Despite having become a local elected official responsible for making crucial budgeting decisions, Fagan has remained a zealous proponent of gutting public services in Washington, putting him at odds with his Spokane City Council colleagues as well as municipal leaders around the state.

The last time a destructive tax-cutting Eyman measure (cosponsored by Fagan) appeared on the ballot, the Spokane City Council voted to oppose it, over Fagan’s objections. Fagan is currently the cosponsor of Tim Eyman’s I-976, which would rescind the vehicle fee that Spokane collects to fund basic street maintenance.

Beggs is a fellow Spokane City Councilmember who represents an adjoining district, District #2. Beggs is in the middle of a term, so if he doesn’t win in November, he would remain on the council. Fagan’s term expires at the end of this year, so as mentioned, he will be off the Council in a few months.

Beggs is a longtime advocate for the disadvantaged.

“For more than twenty years he has effectively presented causes and cases to juries, appellate judges, arbitrators, mediators, community groups and the media,” his biography states. “Highlights include substantial police reform measures in Spokane, Washington, in connection with the death of a mentally disabled janitor; substantial national reform on oil pipeline safety in connection with the death of three children in the Olympic Pipeline Explosion, and multiple jail reform and LFO issues in Spokane County in connection with class action lawsuits.”

Former bank manager Cindy Wendle looks like Beggs’ opponent. Wendle edged out Fagan despite not having run for office before. She has proved to be adept at fundraising. She has the endorsement of outgoing Mayor David Condon and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, both conservative Republicans.

“For three years she helped lead the efforts of Washington Trust Bank to open branches in Pullman, Moscow, and Lewiston,” Wendle’s campaign biography states.

“In 2015, Cindy was given the opportunity to manage the Spokane Main branch at Washington Trust Bank headquarters. […] Since May of 2018, she has assisted with property management issues and been a part of lease negotiations with their national and local business tenants. Her goals are to provide a first-class property to help businesses achieve their goals, and market Spokane to out of area retailers so they will open stores here and help invest in our economy.”

“In the months leading up to the [Top Two election], Wendle substantially outspent Beggs, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin,” noted the Spokesman-Review’s Kip Hill and Adam Hanks in a report last week. “In addition to the $57,591 Wendle’s campaign spent on the race directly, she was the beneficiary of $80,679 in independent expenditures made by political action committees in support of her candidacy. Beggs spent $33,633 on the race, Fagan $18,665, and Tyler $6,098.”

Current Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart is a candidate for Mayor. He’s placing second in the Top Two, behind ex-television anchor Nadine Woodward.

Seven candidates are vying for Fagan’s current council position. The leaders are Tim Benn (with 25.99% of the vote) and Michael Cathcart (with 23.3%). They appear set to advance. Doug Salter, Jerrall Haynes, Naghmana Sherazi, Krys Brown, and Louis Lefebvre will not be joining them on the November ballot.

Fagan’s successor is pretty much guaranteed to be someone with a similar far right wing political outlook, as both Benn and Cathcart are Republicans.

Benn has the support of hardcore militant extremist Matt Shea, while Cathcart is an associate of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

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  1. The Spokane City Councilmember you speak of is named Breean Beggs, not Briggs.

    # by Amy :: August 13th, 2019 at 2:33 AM
    • Thanks for catching that. We’ve corrected the spelling.

      # by Andrew Villeneuve :: August 20th, 2019 at 12:43 PM