A Spokane Valley man said this week that an incorporation supporter tried to keep him from asking questions about the effort at a recent meeting.
Bob Blum, a one-time candidate for county assessor, said that Gene Hinkel of Citizens for Valley Incorporation approached him before Tuesday night’s town hall meeting at North Pines Junior High.
According to Blum, Hinkel told him not to ask questions during the meeting because he had already asked plenty during previous gatherings.
Blum, who lives within the boundaries of the proposed city near the Pines Cemetery, has questioned incorporation leaders at several of their town hall meetings, asking for specifics about the proposed city of Spokane Valley’s revenue forecast.
He said he was offended by Hinkel’s actions.
“That’s not a very good attitude,” Blum said. “I would think that this effort should be able to stand up to a little scrutiny. Otherwise, people start getting suspicious.”
Hinkel said in an interview Thursday that he did ask Blum to limit his questions, but only because Blum had asked the same questions over and over at prior meetings.
Hinkel, a Valley dentist, said he was afraid other people at the meeting wouldn’t get a chance to comment because Blum would dominate the conversation.
He said incorporation leaders have answered Blum’s questions before, but he told Blum to feel free to talk to them after the meeting if he wanted more information.
“I was in no way trying to stifle the man,” Hinkel said. “But normally, we don’t get people who come back four times to ask the same thing.”
Blum went ahead and asked some questions during the meeting.
Citizens for Valley Incorporation co-chairman Joe McKinnon said Hinkel acted on his own when he approached Blum.
While Blum’s questioning has become tiresome, Citizens for Valley Incorporation wants to give everyone a chance to speak at their meetings, McKinnon said.
“Anyone can come and ask whatever they want,” he said. “We’re big boys and girls. We can take it.”
One thumb sideways
The new incorporation video made its debut this week, and this reviewer gives it mixed marks.
Citizens for Valley Incorporation paid $750 to have the 15-minute videotape made.
It contains testimonials from Valley residents who support incorporation and some simple graphics stating why Citizens for Valley Incorporation officials think forming a new city is a good idea.
It opens well, with a scene of traffic piling up on Sprague Avenue with rocker David Bowie belting out the song “Changes” in the background.
Incorporation backers have campaigned on the idea that change is coming to the Valley in one form or another, and that forming a city is the best option.
The quality of the pictures in the video is good, and the graphics are effective if a little simplistic.
But the credibility of the testimonials suffered because the people weren’t identified, and 15 minutes of nonstop incorporation propaganda got a tad boring.
The closing graphic was a little hokey, too. “Help us help you,” it said.
Not bad for a debut, but it could’ve been better.
Mayor Herman? No way
Incorporation leader Howard Herman said this week that he has no plans to run for office if a new city forms in the Valley.
“You’ve heard the old adage, ‘If nominated, I won’t run. If elected, I won’t serve,”’ Herman said at a town hall meeting. “Well, that’s me. And you can print that in the newspaper.”
Herman is the co-chairman and attorney for Citizens for Valley Incorporation.
There’s no word from incorporation leaders Joe McKinnon and Sue Delucchi.
Going once, going twice …
Citizens for Valley Incorporation will hold an auction May 4 to raise money for their cause.
It will be held at the Spokane Valley Foundation bingo hall, 1212 N. Pines.
Gift certificates from local businesses and new and used merchandise will be on the block.
A silent auction starts at 6 p.m., with an oral auction at 7 p.m. County Commissioner Phil Harris will be the auctioneer.
Refreshments will be sold.