Transition Theater

What the initial meetings of David Condon's cabinet must sound like.

"I'm Theresa Sanders, director of Mayor-Elect David Condon’s transition team, and I welcome all 70-some-odd team members to our first meeting. [applause]

“It is now my great pleasure to introduce our city’s newly elected mayor, the man whom we know will usher in better times, David Condon.” [more applause]

“Thank you Theresa. Over the next few weeks, team members will work on goals and objectives. We have broken you down into five different groups — public safety, budget reform, infrastructure, jobs and economic development, and quality of life and social services. We have assembled here years and years of experience, former business leaders, government leaders — both elected and professional. Truly, this is the best and the brightest of Spokane. The city faces many challenges, and I’m looking forward to your recommendations. As for my own agenda, well, I can summarize it in four words, my campaign motto: WE CAN DO BETTER. I now look forward to you taking my utterly vacuous line and fleshing it out. Now back to my transition team leader, Theresa?” [more applause]

“Thank you, David. Before we break into our groups, let me open up the floor for some general comments — we want to be inclusive, as you can see. Yes, Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, I see your hand up.”

“Thank you, Theresa. I’d just like to say that I really hope we have heard the last of climate change and the need for conservation efforts here in Spokane. I have a list of two scientists who think that climate change is bogus. And since the End Days are almost upon us, what’s the big deal?”

“Hmmm, thank you, Nancy, for those words of wisdom. Anyone else. Yes, Mr. Allen. Mike?”

“I want to thank you all for not selecting for the transition team anyone representing any neighborhood council on the South Hill. These people just hate me, and besides you can count on them opposing every big-box-store proposal on Regal. So I applaud your decision to ignore the yammerings of the historic neighborhoods. They oppose wider roads and actually think we should stop traffic engineers from widening every arterial on the South Hill — and we all know that wider roads are necessary to support suburban sprawl, which promises to bring all those tax dollars to the county.”

“Thank you, Mr. Allen, for your best thoughts. Anyone else? Yes, Ben Stuckart, our newly elected council president.”

“Thank you, Theresa. I want to suggest that we expand our group. Like Mr. Allen, I note that the historic neighborhoods have no voice in these proceedings; however, I take the opposite view — I want them represented. Also, I do wonder why, in selecting this team you overlooked preservation expertise and urbanist expertise. There are many who argue that the improvements in Spokane over these past years have everything to do with preservation and urbanism — the Fox, the Davenport, the arts district and the urbanist improvements, including the wise use of CDBG money that has brought back commercial life to Browne’s Addition and Lower Perry. I wish both Ron Wells and Jim Frank were serving with us. I would think that downtown preservation and the development of Kendall Yards would be at the top of everyone’s list. Of course, this presupposes that they weren’t invited; it’s entirely possible you did invite them, but they declined, figuring that this drill would be a huge waste of time.”

“We kept this group small, as I say — only 70 or so — because we wanted to keep it intimate.”

“Well, yes, and I thank you for your thoughts, Mr. Stuckart; we will look into expanding the team membership. We kept this group small, as I say — only 70 or so — because we wanted to keep it intimate. And by the way, we did want to make sure that the pro-growth people were well-represented. We want growth, I mean. We want to support all new businesses including those that pay minimum wage with no benefits; they provide jobs, and jobs is at the top of our list. But, yes, we will look into those preservation and urbanist concerns.

“Kate McCaslin, nice to see you here.” “I’ve got something to say about Urban Growth Boundary issues: Mayor Verner sure wasn’t supportive of expansion. She said it wasn’t always in the city’s interest. Phooey! As a former county commissioner, this really sticks in my craw. It’s a God-given right to make a bundle on your land speculation. And, by golly, I’m here to tell you that the county needs all those tax dollars.”

“Thank you, Ms. McCaslin. I can assure you that the city and county will enjoy a new era of cooperation. We will provide developers all the water and sewer they need, and, unlike some mayors, we will never complain about lost tax revenue.”

“Mr. Leroy Eadie, so what’s on the mind of our parks director?” “Thank you, Ms. Sanders. Is it true that you intend to cut our benefits?” “Cut benefits? Hmmmm? Well, you know, I think that’s about it for now. As David said, we need to get to work.” [applause]

Mild Riders Thursday Night Rides @ Lunarium

Thursdays, 6 p.m. Continues through Sept. 26
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Robert Herold

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. Robert Herold's collection of Inlander columns dating back to 1995, Robert's Rules, is available at Auntie's.