Let’s put aside the obvious criticism that campaign promises are made to win elections, but governing is the place where grown-ups must deal with the realities of the law.
Instead, let’s discuss what happens next. A recent Spokane Valley City Council meeting saw a presentation from City Attorney Mike Connelly that clearly gave the “Positive Change” gang information that should make them consider “carefully” just how they will attempt to change or repeal the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. As the next few months pass, the method of how they will try to accomplish their stated goal of repealing this forward-looking vision of the future will become clearer.
What will be their vision for this most important thoroughfare? Do they have a plan to stop the increasing numbers of empty storefronts, plummeting land values and lack of economic development that has plagued Sprague Avenue since the recession of 2001? Whose interests are they really protecting? Council member Dean Grafos has attacked the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Spokane Valley Business Association as special interest groups who do not represent the “real” citizens of our city.
I suggest that since these two organizations represent more than 1,000 businesses of all sizes, they are indeed part of the “real” fabric our city. Their support and active participation in helping to fine tune the plan should receive praise, not the unfair and wholly inaccurate criticism Mr. Grafos has leveled at them.
Mr. Grafos owns property on Sprague Avenue. The Pring Corporation owns property on Sprague Avenue. Mr. Pring donated heavily to most of the candidates who comprise the Positive Change gang. Do the interests of these two represent the “real” citizens of Spokane Valley?
Sen. Bob McCaslin wants to remove all of the zoning changes that were affected after incorporation and go back to Spokane County’s zoning plans. Even Spokane County has changed those zoning regulations since 2003. A plan to go back is not a plan to move forward. Do we want to go back to a plan that was not working for the citizens of our city?
Before the City Council starts to change anything, they should develop ideas that will move our city forward into the 21st Century. They have every right to change any law they feel will not further the economic and social benefit of our city. In fact, that is their job.
However, they had best examine the motives of their change recommendations and make it very clear that the change is not targeted on providing benefit to a few individuals. Before changes are made, I hope the City Council will develop solid plans that will make Spokane Valley a better place to live now and in the future. That’s not too much to ask.