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Friday, February 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Down To Earth

Chat with Mayor Verner…. Sort of

In this cutthroat day and age, the level of creativity you can bring to your approach is often the measurable difference between your results and someone else's results.  And this couldn't be more true in media.  Look around, what's dying now is old approaches and business models that haven't adapted to a new world.  No, this isn't Tony Robbins advice hour, just an observation from something that happened to DTE yesterday morning.
We had heard that Mayor Mary Verner would be the guest chatter on KHQ's morning online chat - a chat room that runs simultaneously with KHQ's Morning Show, and a feature that before then we had no idea existed.  So being an opportunist, we logged on at 6 a.m. and asked when the Mayor would be available to chat.  What we had expected to encounter was a full chat room of some of Spokane's "finest" (have you read Letters to the Editor, or the letters the local television news programs read nightly?).  What we actually encountered, was an empty chat room and an eager Mayor awaiting questions.  That didn't last long as within ten minutes the conversation was primarily dominated with questions about bus benches (thanks local news for giving life to that story), but through it all we were able to get the Mayor to comment on the Sustainability Action Plan, Envision Spokane, and some other generalities.
After the jump you will find the script - edited of course to only include DTE-related material.  Nothing you read will be particularly shocking, but we felt it worth posting because of how candid it felt.  And because it goes to show how desperate bloggers can be.

DTE: Good morning Mayor Verner - are you confident that the city council will approve the Sustainability Action Plan this coming up Monday?
MMV: Yes, fairly confident Council will accept the plan

DTE:  And will it be a priority to begin implementing some of the steps addressed in the plan? MMV:  Many priorities. Can a City have a dozen #1 priorities all at the same time?! :) Yes, we want to implement, especially the good ideas for saving fuel and energy.

DTE:  Were you surprised at how fierce the opposition arose against the plan?
Surprised by opposition at last minute from folks who were never involved and seem misinformed about the process and content of the plan.

DTE:  What is the attitude in City Hall towards Envision Spokane?
MMV:  Can't really speak for everyone in City Hall on any topic, but as to Envision Spokane, general sense is that there are some good concepts, but we already have a fine system for community involvement through Council Districts, Neighborhood Councils, Community Assembly, and transparent, accessible City government.

DTE:  But couldn't it be argued that that system has no real shot when combating big business in Spokane (GSI).
MMV:  Perhaps Envision's charter reached a bit too far in one big reach? My personal experience dispels notions about a monolithic mighty opposition. While we don't always agree, there are many business leaders devoted to improving wages, providing job security, protecting neighborhoods and the environment. Some try to bully, but I am committed to chipping away at that technique to show the benefits of collaboration.

(At this point in the chat, Mayor Verner tried to move the topic of conversation away from bus benches [she probably got 20 questions about it] and asked what others were interested in.
DTE:  Like to hear more about energy conservation, smart growth, smart transit, a more sustainable Spokane, thus a better Spokane!
MMV:  Energy conservation piece is moving well. Sustainability Plan places us well to promote private sector business cluster in energy conservation and renewables. We want more people to know about Spokane's hubs of international leaders in energy!

Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.