Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Moscow group plans to bring different perspective to issues"

People in Moscow are fighting back against the moonbats. From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
A group of local residents has formed to support free enterprise, healthy growth and private property rights in Moscow.

Members of the Greater Moscow Alliance say these viewpoints have been underrepresented in the past, but they are hoping to change that.

Chairman Steve Busch and Vice Chairman Jim Anderson said Thursday the group hopes to address issues such as land use, changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, water use and the unionizing of the police department.

Anderson used the NewCities initiative as an example of the differing viewpoints within the community. NewCities, an organization hired by the city for $20,000, has been collecting ideas since the fall to promote the economic and social vitality of the city.

The ideas originally presented by representatives of NewCities weren’t necessarily indicative of the opinions of the majority of the community, Anderson said.

At its first few meetings, representatives from the Kentucky-based group collected input from 40 to 50 people. When a draft proposal was presented to the community, about 150 showed up at a March meeting with much different opinions.

Part of NewCities’ plan focused on elements of Smart Growth, relying less on cars and focusing development in the core of Moscow.

But the principles of Smart Growth, which focus on building connections between development and quality of life, have been taken to the extreme, said Busch and Anderson, both of whom have served on the Moscow City Council.

“Smart Growth is a code word for no growth,” Busch said.

The same is true of the water issue, Anderson said. Water is a precious resource, but some people are using it as an excuse not to do anything.

The Greater Moscow Alliance has been working under the radar the past few months as the group developed its structure, organizers said Thursday. At 100 members, with a 12-member board of directors, the group continues to grow.

The group formed in January with interest starting to blossom after the last city election in November.

“People say ‘it’s about time,’” Busch said. “They are glad we’re in existence.”

Right now the group is forming committees, concentrating on government affairs, communications, education and the environment. Busch said the group plans to host candidate forums, get involved in the county election after the primaries and mobilize people and candidates for the next city election.

Although the group can’t do anything about the current City Council at the moment, they plan to send people to public meetings and hearings so their views will be known.

Anderson said that although the group can’t change Moscow’s leadership until the next city election, it still can give its perspectives on hot button issues to try to make a difference.

In a group of more than 100, not everybody is going to have the same opinion on every subject, so the board members are trying to determine the best way to take official positions.

The board probably will collect input at its general membership meeting, held the third Wednesday of every month, and take that information back to their board meetings.

“Moscow is blessed with a vocal community,” Busch said. “We want to make Moscow a better place to live, work and do business.”

On the Web: www.greatermoscow.org.

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