I don’t get it.
Why is it OK for Spokane, Cheney or Deer Park to form a city but not the Spokane Valley?
For years, even the mention of Spokane Valley incorporation has whipped Spokane business, civic and media leaders into a lather.
If our county government is so wonderful, why don’t Spokane and other nearby cities unincorporate? They could have a government similar to that in the Spokane Valley, where voters and elected leaders from outside the area make all the decisions.
Spokane and other cities could have their leaders elected at-large by the county. That’s what the Valley has now.
The city of Spokane, with twice as many voters, controls the county commissioner elections. However, the comissioners have little impact on the city, but they control nearly everything in the burgeoning Spokane Valley.
If Spokane were to unincorporate, it could have zoning issues determined by someone living in Airway Heights, Newman Lake or Colbert. City residents could have someone in Cheney telling them to allow manufactured homes in any residential neighborhood with an open lot. Swimming pools could be shut down by a vote of non-residents.
Valley residents have put up with that type of decision-making for years, and they are tired of it.
Incorporation has been good for Spokane and other smaller cities in the county. For instance, city residents enjoy a wonderful neighborhood park system - Comstock, Manito, Riverfront, Franklin, Audubon and Corbin, to name a few.
But county government has provided Valley residents with a woeful park system. Our gem is Valley Mission park with its breathtaking view of Interstate 90 and Spalding Auto Parts.
The Spokane Valley is not just another metropolitan suburb. There is a sense of community pride and history in the Valley. When asked where they live, most residents respond “the Valley” - not Spokane.
Downtown interests urge Valley residents to wait for the freeholders’ plan. Forget the freeholders. They’ve worked hard and have a noble idea, but there is no support for it in the Valley. It will never fly.
Incorporation is a political way to say that the Spokane Valley wants to be a community. The people of the Valley deserve to have self-determined, locally controlled services and programs.
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