Democrat Keefe Endorses Condon for Mayor

October 5th, 2011

Long-time Democratic Party activist and lawyer Tom Keefe announced today that he was endorsing David Condon for mayor saying Mary Verner was “dishonest” and “deceptive.”

Keefe, a life-long Democrat and former Congressional candidate, said that Verner’s handling of the Otto Zehm case caused him to lose confidence in her leadership.

“The best way to remove the cloud of doubt now hovering over City Hall is for the citizens of Spokane to hire a new mayor and police chief, and to insist upon a new relationship between the Spokane Police Guild and the citizens of the city they paid to protect,” Keefe said in a statement.

“During her tenure, Mayor Mary Verner has chosen to be advised by the same counsel who once cost this city over a million dollars in a federal court judgment for civil rights violations involving a minority group, and whose aggressive, bullying, legal tactics have been roundly criticized on numerous occasions,” Keefe said.

Otto Zehm was killed by a police officer in 2006 who federal prosecutors are bringing to trial starting next week. The city is also involved in a civil suit over the matter.

Verner has defended the police department and refused to answer questions about the case. Last week federal prosecutors said some of the statements issued by the mayor were “patently false.”

Keefe said Verner acted incorrectly.

“Her statements as mayor concerning the Zehm tragedy have ranged from inept, to ill-informed, to insensitive.  As a candidate for re-election, they have proven to be disingenuous, deceptive and dishonest.  We deserve better,” Keefe said.

“I like Mary Verner personally, but feel she is the wrong person to carry out the long overdue task of restoring credibility to the Spokane Police Department.  We need a mayor who is committed to seeing that the department begins to look like the community it polices, respects the rights of its most vulnerable citizens, and follows the rule of law.  I believe David Condon is up to that task, and that is why I am endorsing his candidacy for the nonpartisan job of Mayor of Spokane,” Keefe concluded.

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Keefe’s full statement follows:

STATEMENT OF TOM KEEFE ENDORSING DAVID CONDON FOR MAYOR OF SPOKANE

As a lifelong Democrat, congressional candidate and former chair of the Spokane Democrats, I have enjoyed over forty years of active participation in partisan political jousting at the local, state and national level.

That is one reason why I find the opportunity to set aside party labels and participate in elections that focus on issues rather than party labels most refreshing. Municipal elections, most notably a race for mayor, are such an example.

In a free and democratic society, the fair and impartial administration of justice stands out as an indispensible imperative.  The function of law enforcement and community policing is closely tied to that objective.

For that reason, I believe the current administration of Mayor Mary Verner has failed to carry out its obligation to the citizens of Spokane to assure that the administration of justice, and the actions of those charged with its administration, are open and accountable.

No example speaks more directly to that failure of mayoral leadership than the tragic Zehm incident.  Although Otto Zehm’s indefensible homicide did not occur on Mayor Verner’s watch, much of the ensuing cover-up, deceit and obstruction of justice did.

The best way to remove the cloud of doubt now hovering over City Hall is for the citizens of Spokane to hire a new mayor and police chief, and to insist upon a new relationship between the Spokane Police Guild and the citizens of the city they paid to protect.

During her tenure, Mayor Mary Verner has chosen to be advised by the same counsel who once cost this city over a million dollars in a federal court judgment for civil rights violations involving a minority group, and whose aggressive, bullying, legal tactics have been roundly criticized on numerous occasions.

Her statements as mayor concerning the Zehm tragedy have ranged from inept, to ill-informed, to insensitive.  As a candidate for re-election, they have proven to be disingenuous, deceptive and dishonest.  We deserve better.

I like Mary Verner personally, but feel she is the wrong person to carry out the long overdue task of restoring credibility to the Spokane Police Department.  We need a mayor who is committed to seeing that the department begins to look like the community it polices, respects the rights of its most vulnerable citizens, and follows the rule of law.  I believe David Condon is up to that task, and that is why I am endorsing his candidacy for the nonpartisan job of Mayor of Spokane.

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