Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"GMA is welcome addition to political mix"

Steve McClure, on behalf of the editorial board, weighed in on the GMA in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News .

I hope the GMA enjoys the publicity, because if the trend continues with our local media, it will be next to impossible to ever get such coverage again, unless its in reaction to something that some left-wing or anti-growth group does or says. Meanwhile, all a member of one of those groups has to do is break wind and it makes the front page.

The more the merrier. That’s an initial reaction after the Greater Moscow Alliance made its presence known this week. The group of local business leaders, educators and civic leaders announced its formation Friday. The organization’s agenda includes issues most people in Moscow are familiar with: growth, water, city politics.

Former Moscow City Councilman Steve Busch, the chairman of the Greater Moscow Alliance, said the group already has 115 members and is just beginning its membership drive. They plan to be active in the debate and represent a perspective that incorporates private property rights, free enterprise and responsible growth.

Members of the board say they plan to educate residents on city issues and be active in the next round of City Council elections.

The level of civic participation has increased in recent years, in both Moscow and Pullman, with groups such as the Moscow Civic Association, Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development and Business and Residents for Economic Opportunity joining the fray. Issues such as growth and development have taken center stage, and attendance at various hearings and presentations, from council meetings to NewCities workshops, has increased — with no shortage of opinions.

That’s how the process is supposed to work. It’s good to see local folks organize in a way that guarantees community involvement and healthy debate. Communities become stronger when people are active and the diverse opinions of the populace are shared.

Complacency doesn’t get a city anywhere and only serves to disconnect people from the process.

We see the injection of another organization into city politics as a means to heighten awareness of important issues and improve the participatory process.

There’s a good chance it might ruffle a few feathers as well, as new voices step to the podium and bring perspectives that should be heard by the various decision makers. Good.

We’ll be stronger in the long run.

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