Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stepping In It

I can't remember when a group of elected officials, even at the national level, have created a brouhaha like the Moscow City Council has created in the last six months. Aaron "One Term" Ament's and Linda Pall's latest efforts to defeat the "sprawl across the border" by threatening to let it burn as the Moscow Fire Department stands by have drawn wide condemnation, inlcuding this editorial today from Steve McClure on behalf of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News editorial board:
Ask a bunch of firefighters why they get up in the middle of night to answer a call for help. Go ahead. Ask.

Then round up a bunch of EMTs to see what motivates them to race from an accident scene to the hospital like every second counts.

Most of us already know the answer. They do it because they want to help people, and they’ve acquired the skills needed to do the job.

When the alarms start sounding, they go. They don’t stop to ponder the political positions espoused by their neighbors because they don’t matter. Some members of the Moscow City Council’s administrative committee would do well to remember that instead of trying to use tools meant to enhance public safety as a political club to thump their neighbors.

On Monday, the committee held up a proposed mutual aid agreement with Whitman County Rural Fire District 12 because they don’t like a proposed shopping complex slated for the corridor between Pullman and Moscow.

The agreement would allow the fire district to ask for help from Moscow in an emergency.

It’s what you would expect good neighbors to do. Instead, the city opted to confuse issues of public safety with disagreements over policy.

The two are not connected.

Moscow Fire Chief Don Strong alluded to that when he told the administrative committee, “We don’t stop at the (state) line; we never have. In all reality, we can’t hold most of our guys back.”

When your neighbor’s garage catches fire, you don’t sit back and watch it burn as you reminisce about how irritated you were that his friends took your favorite parking spot.

The committee likely will come up with some semantic twist to make its decision to hold out the mutual aid agreement more palatable. What it amounts to, though, is a juvenile attempt to assert some control over an area they have little control over. To do that, they’ve hijacked the issue of public safety.

Emergency aid is not a carrot to wave in front of somebody in order to get your way.

Our only hope is that Moscow’s neighbors don’t treat the city the way it seems to want to treat others.
Then there was Ed Christian's letter to the editor today:
Good neighbors are always there to help each other in times of need. In an emergency, they never question the request and never ask if others of closer relation have been called first. I have always thought the cities of Moscow and Pullman and the counties of Latah and Whitman as good neighbors living and prospering together on the Palouse.

I find it very disturbing that the city of Moscow would even question the validity of a mutual aid agreement between neighbors to the west. People of decent upbringing always help each other with no questions asked – they just do it out of a sense of civility and community.

The current city administration is moving Moscow toward a state of isolation from growth, while our neighbors to the west are embracing growth. The suggestion from council members Aaron Ament and Linda Pall that the city of Moscow should ever defer aid to their neighbors because of political boundaries and priorities is unconscionable.

To Ament and Pall, if you don’t like the neighborhood, then it is time you leave and please don’t let the door hit your back side on the way out of town.

1 comment:

Ray Lindquist said...

Well Mr. Ed C. You do have a way with words. WOW, that last pargraph, that was a zinner. I am sure the voters are starting to wonder what they have done. I am sure there will be changes next time around.