Also, you can see how important last fall's Pullman City Council election truly was by keeping pro-growth members in office. Moscow residents are now having to play catch-up because they fell asleep and let the left-wing no-growthers take over.
A new citizen's group called the Greater Moscow Alliance has been formed to promote the town as a better place to live, work and do business.
Steve Busch, the group's chairman, said Friday the alliance has 116 members and will be a voice for free enterprise, healthy growth and private property rights.
Asked if the group is an antidote to the Moscow Civic Association (MCA), Busch said, "I don't think we'd admit that, but from what I can see they're well organized and have sincere beliefs about what they want to do."
The problem, Busch said, is the beliefs that are central to the new alliance seem to have been drowned out. He said alliance members feel their ideas about Moscow's future needed new representation.
The MCA was formed, according to its founders, to foster dialogue about Moscow's future, work toward smart growth, and ensure that the community's small-town character remains intact.
But Busch said many people think MCA's stated goals are little more than no-growth rhetoric.
"I don't know that we'd back away from being called pro-growth," Busch said of the new alliance.
Busch, general manager of Busch Distributors Inc., said he also thinks there's enough "overlap" of ideas between the two groups that some common ground can be found. For example, he lives next door to Bruce Livingston, president of the MCA, and wants to remain good neighbors. "I'm looking for discussion in the middle."
But Busch said the MCA has already taken an active role on several fronts, such as endorsing certain candidates for city council and opposing construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in town, that are contrary to members of the new alliance.
"I think there are a lot of people who think like we do," Busch said. "You can't close the gate just because you got here first."
He said the city council's recent rejection of a rezone application that would have opened the door to a Wal-Mart Supercenter can be traced back to MCA's endorsement of candidates who lean to the political left.
"We are free-market oriented," Busch said of the new alliance. "We can't stand back and let government fix all our problems." A former member of the Moscow City Council, Busch said the current council is moving toward too much micro-management based on complaints from the most vocal.
"Decisions are made by the people who show up," said Busch. And the alliance plans to have people at both city and county government meetings. He said the alliance also plans to endorse candidates and work for their election within the legal bounds of being a non-profit organization.
The Greater Moscow Alliance has been organizing for the past five months and has a 12-member board of directors. Committees are now being developed and a membership list will eventually be made public, Busch said.
Moscow is blessed, Busch said, with a vocal citizenry. But voices on both sides of issues must be heard, he said. "We're hoping for civil discourse. There's been some shrill comments made, perhaps on both sides, and that doesn't get anyone anyplace."