We feel groups like PARD should have the opportunity to debate the development occuring in their town and though we feel those in city hall have the city’s best interest in mind, changes should be made.God bless the Evergreen. I really don't think they have an agenda like the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. I just chalk it up to youthful idealism. There is a quote that is often attributed to Winston Churchill that goes: "If you're not Liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not Conservative when you're 35, you have no brain." There is no record that Chuchill ever said that, but it is a great line nonetheless.
Careful thought and planning must go into all aspects of the town’s growth, this goes without saying. To ensure successful growth, we must hear all sides.
However, it is just as false to keep saying that PARD has had no voice and has not been heard in the Wal-Mart decision process. They have had ample opportunity to debate and present their case since January, getting extensive coverage in all the local newspapers, reports on TV news, a write-up in The Inlander magazine, and mentions on various anti-Wal-Mart websites around the country. They have protested at city council meetings, held press conferences, circulated petitions, issued a position paper, wrote letters to the editor (over and over again), set up a booth at the Lentil Festival and the Moscow Farmer's Market, and sent in comments during the city's SEPA DNS comment period. Boy, did they send in comments. 75 letters in all, encompassing several hundreds of pages of objections.
The city spent six weeks evaluating those comments and went ahead and approved Wal-Mart's SEPA checklist anyway. PARD will also have an opportunity to appeal the final SEPA determination, as well as the Wal-Mart site plan.
So, it's not that PARD hasn't been heard, it's that their opinions have not been acted on. City Planning Director Mark Workman said in the Daily Evergreen that the "the comments that were of issue to me were the ones that were factual." Ouch.
Why, the impertinence of those city officials! How could they know more than all these amateur city planners and traffic engineers with PhDs? As T.V. Reed said in his SEPA comment letter to Mark Workman, "...And I write as a social scientist whose work focuses on contemporary US society and culture...Given all the concerns raised [by PARD]...and many others raised by local citizens, expert and lay, it is simply incomprehensible that a DNS is the appropriate preliminary decision in this case. It makes one wonder where your judgment as Public Works Director has gone." Montine Vona-Pergola, PARD spokesperson, was also quoted in the Evergreen as saying, "During the public comment period, Pullman residents turned in 585 pages of comments and documentation...many of those from experts in a variety of fields. Because Mr. Workman has opted not to heed these warnings of concern, the citizens of Pullman will be forced to take the issue to the courts."
This whole situation reminds me of a memorable scene in James L. Brooks' 1987 romantic comedy "Broadcast News." Driven, intelligent, and supremely arrogant news producer Jane Craig has just been told of a decision by News Division President Paul Moore that she vehemently disagrees with:
Paul: Okay, that's your opinion.I think it's time to trim back the ivy from those halls of academe and have a reality check.
Jane: It's not opinion.
Paul: You're just absolutely right, and I'm absolutely wrong. It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.
Jane: No, it's awful.