I have been a resident of Spokane Valley for 61 years, my whole life. I attend and have input with the Positive Change group for the last year. It is an open meeting to all who want to show up.
Former Councilwoman Rose Dempsey was the first candidate that ran on a platform of stopping Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan. Mrs. Dempsey has sat in on these meetings long before I did. Mrs. Dempsey also took part as a visitor to some of the campaign rallies that the Positive Change group had before being elected. Many times myself and others talked to Rose about SARP. Many times she expressed her displeasure with the SARP plan. That is why she was elected. I voted for Rose Dempsey because she, at that time, was looking for change.
After she took office you could see a change in her stance. She was voting along with the rest of the council on the SARP plan. She abandoned her platform from which she was voted to council on. As time went on, she started voting on anything that the former council brought forth in regard to SARP and spending the money to make it happen.
I was disappointed in my vote for her to council. As time went on the election for the new council positions was held. The “Positive Change” took the majority votes and ousted the sitting council. Tom Towey, Dean Grafos, Brenda Grassel, Bob McCaslin and Gary Schimmels were voted in.
Dean Grafos was in office two months earlier than the others because of taking an appointed seat at the council. At Dean’s first meeting, he had asked the voted out lame duck council not to vote on any matters that could be put off until the new council could be seated in the next month. They, along with Mrs. Dempsey, voted all the salaried staff a 5.5 percent raise that incidentally came out of our city’s reserve. The meeting before they stuffed the SARP plan into the Comprehensive Plan, so it would take months to remove. Rose voted for that also.
Those who like the SARP are constantly defending it by saying that it may have gone too far, but that it is a working plan. So, I guess they are saying that SARP will be able to keep many of the city staff busy for years tweaking it and the citizens paying for it. We the citizens pay for enough now. The previous council spent over a $1 million to consultants, plans and staff with never a vote of the people. All the time Mrs. Dempsey voted for all of these expenditures when she was in office. But, when you talk to her face to face she’ll tell you that she wasn’t for SARP.
I will say that after voting for Rose, she did not keep her campaign promises. In the last few months of her council seat, she, in my mind, had turned into the council clown. She was uninformed, unprepared and simply couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t represent those who put her in office. Her actions at her seat at the council meetings were close to incompetent. She took everything personal. That is a trait that should never interfere with your duties to the city and the citizens.
Now that the Positve Change council members have dismantled SARP, it again has taken many hours of staff time of which we the taxpayers pay for. They should do what it takes to get business moving in our city. They need to untie private enterprise so they can create jobs in our city. They should take a look at all expenditures and adjust. They should take a look at the need for all the staff we have now that SARP is gone.