Two years old and besieged by naysayers, Spokane Valley gained an ally Wednesday night when the group that ushered it into cityhood re-formed to battle a petition drive to disincorporate.
The Community Action Committee, or CAC, which gathered more than 4,000 signatures to put incorporation to a vote in 2002, huddled with a dozen or so supporters in the basement of the Spokane Valley Library, strategizing to protect what they helped create.
The city, which celebrated its anniversary Wednesday, is under attack by residents contending they were better off when Spokane Valley was under county rule. Lead by former Democratic activist Sally Jackson, the group is circulating its own petition asking for a do-over on cityhood.
Disincorporation advocates would need 25,000 signatures to make the ballot, which CAC members called a long shot Wednesday. Nonetheless, the pro-city group urged citizens to throw Spokane Valley a lifeline.
“If you want this city, please, please, please get active in the city,” said Annette Remshardt, CAC secretary. “Do something. It’s the only way we’re going to save our city.”
Spokane Valley advocates vowed to bombard area newspapers with letters to the editor, pointing out what CAC leaders labeled falsehoods by the disincorporation movement, including allegations that city isn’t maintaining city parks or the public swimming pool.
Spokane Valley Mayor Diana Wilhite, who joined the CAC meeting late, encouraged the group to stress that Spokane Valley wouldn’t revert to county rule if it disincorporated. Rather, the city would fall into the hands of state government, where someone would be appointed to look after it until other local governments absorbed portions or all of the city.
“We would go into receivership. Other municipalities could go to the receiver and ask for portions of our land,” Wilhite said. “I want you to know Sally thinks it’s going back to the county, but Spokane still wants that area west of Argonne.”
Rich Munson, a Spokane Valley City Council member, urged CAC to keep its discourse with the disincorporation backers civil and not draw too much attention to the petition drive.
City proponent Dick Behm suggested a ban on using Jackson’s name, so as not to draw attention to the disincorporation leader or attract rebuttal from her.
Contacted late Wednesday at her home, Jackson said momentum is building for the disincorporation drive.
“This is not a one-woman deal,” Jackson said. “I got 400 people who are on our calling list.”
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