Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, March 31, 2006

Zoning the Palouse Back to the Middle Ages

Scotty already did an execellent job covering this story from yesterday’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News, but I just had to get my $0.02 in. I find it significant that NO official from either Pullman or Whitman County was quoted.

City, county brainstorm ideas on growth; Moscow and Latah County want Pullman, Whitman County to join discussion
Join discussion of what? Talk is the enemy of action, and action is what Pullman and Whitman County need (and are getting).
“Everything’s great, and Latah County is open for business,” said Commissioner Paul Kimmell.
I admire Kimmell for doing his job as Executve Director of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce, but this is the biggest example of whistling past the graveyard I have seen in a while. Moscow may be thought of as many things currently, but “open for business” is not one of them. Name another town locally that has a “big box ordinance” that not only discourages new retailers from opening, but also limits the growth of existing businesses. And they’re not done tweaking it yet.
One idea, posed by Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney, Kimmell and others, is to hold a Pullman-Moscow corridor conference. The summit would bring together the leaders of Whitman and Latah counties, city council members from Moscow and Pullman and the presidents from both universities. They would create a plan to ensure everyone is working in tandem rather than on their own toward common goals. In reference to the proposed 200-plus acre Hawkins Companies retail development along State Highway 270 between Moscow and Pullman, Kimmell said it is a struggle to communicate effectively between the two counties.
A conference? Was there a conference when the Palouse Mall opened in Moscow? How about when Wal-Mart opened in Moscow? Did we “work in tandem” then? As in international politics, the only time a government asks for a “summit” is when they are in a weak position. The only “struggle to communicate” that I see now is that Moscow and Latah County don’t understand the words “Butt Out”.
So far, the Hawkins project is a good example of what can go wrong when the two counties do not work together, he said. Kimmell thinks it would be a good idea for Whitman County commissioners and Pullman City Council members to sit in on the meetings. Latah County Commissioner Tom Stroschein said everything from water to development is interconnected in the Palouse, which should make a cooperative attitude the status quo.
Once again, kudos to Kimmell for doing his job. But the only thing that has gone wrong with the Hawkins project is that Nancy Chaney and her out-of-state city council have no legal standing is appealing the Whitman County SEPA decision. And with apologies to Commissioner Stroschein, one thing that is NOT interconnected on the Palouse is tax revenue. And that ultimately is what development is all about.
Specifically looking at Latah County, Lee Gibbs said he and other businesspeople in Latah County see the perception of a ravine between people who want growth and those who don’t.

“Maybe we should just stand back and look at where we are going,” said Gibbs, who represents the Clearwater Economic Development Association and Zions Bank. “Perception is reality as we talk about economic development.”

He said a no-growth policy is not the message elected officials at the state and national levels should be hearing.
That’s the only logical part of this article. I know there are many rational, pro-growth people in Moscow. But they were asleep at the switch last November (thank God we weren’t here in Pullman). As my grandmother used to say, “You’ve made your bed, now you have have to lay in it”.
Moscow Councilman Aaron Ament said he does not believe there is a no-growth ideal in the county.
BWHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!! Give me a break. Take a look at what some of Ament’s buddies and supporters at the Moscow Civic Association have had to say about growth over at the “Vision 2020” message board the last few months. Look especially for posts by Bill London, Joe Campbell, Mark Solomon, Nils Peterson, Tom Hansen, Joan Opyr, Keely Mix, and Wayne Fox:
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
Then there is the No Super Wal-Mart group’s site and blog.

Peruse those sites and tell me there isn’t a “no-growth” ideal in Moscow. I have heard of "bombing them back to the Middle Ages", but now we have "zoning them back to the Middle Ages". The hippies want to take Moscow back into the pre-industrial age with “homespun cottage industries” making clay pots and other “environmentally friendly”, “fair trade” goods. More power to ‘em. Just leave us out of it, please. We’re trying to have a 21st Century economy, not a 13th Century one where Pullman is a fiefdom of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Everyone should read Moscow's NewCities plan. It includes Pullman and WSU but not Whitman County or Washington State. They would like to replace elected officials with unelected university presidents. Their number two goal of their corridor plan is to "Make the state line disappear."

It's all here:

Extra credit if you can explain the "Walking School Bus."