Jim White of Colfax, who is running for the county commission seat being vacated by Commissioner Les Wigen, said he favored leaving the current ordinance like it is. Other candidates vying for the seat were also in attendance, but gave no testimony.I appreciate Jim's courage in taking a stand. It seems that he is against the proposed changes, which is good, but leaving the current ordinance in place with its three year moratorium on farming before selling farm land needs to go away. Shame of the other commissioner candidates for not showing more leadership on what is clearly the biggest issue facing commissioners now. Despite claims to the contrary, it will continue to be an issue after Wigen retires and they need to address it.
"The League of Women Voters believes that the residents of Whitman County, now living in a rural landscape unique in America, want to change very slowly, very carefully and with minimal impact on that landscape," Kiessling said, reading from a prepared statement. "Please continue to take your time and err on the side of caution."Yes, by all means, let's grow even slower than we have been. Eventually, no one will be left in Whitman County at all when the farmers go under and others find it too expensive to live here. That ought to suit the environmentalist tastes of the Liberal Women Voters just fine.
Scott Cornelius, who lives south of Pullman in Sand Road, held up a 1982 feature article in National Geographic Magazine called "A Paradise called the Palouse" and favored retaining the scenery of the Palouse through the proposed regulations.There are many places featured in National Geographic that are visually stunning, but I wouldn't want to live there. There is more to quality of life than nice scenery.
"What part of 'private' don't they understand," said Ray Lindquist of Pullman.You tell 'em Ray!!
An informal show of hands at a public hearing with about 70 in attendance Tuesday night indicated most were against plan.I think the growth and development argument is the one that really needs to be made, even more than personal property rights. Our future is at stake. As Peterson's study showed, this decision can have consequences that last for decades (more on that later today.)
Susan Fagan of Pullman, governmental affairs director for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, noted the need for more housing opportunities for the expanding company.
She also cited a 2005 study by University of Idaho Research Economist Steven Peterson, who noted a $60 million net economic leak into Latah County, possibly due to housing costs.
"If we had more people here, we might be able to capture some of that," she said.
Barlass noted he is a veteran,and said he thought his freedoms were getting" shorter and shorter and shorter."I agree. Let's vote on it and find out people really think.
He said the county commissioners might as well take down the American flag posted behind them and put up a hammer and sickle.
Several who gave testimony suggested putting the final proposal before the people in a countywide vote. That proposal was backed by applause from the audience.
"The issue is intrusive government," said David Bromling of Oakesdale. "I definitely want to make it an election issue when the incumbents come up for election."Get your input in to the commissioners if you haven't done so already.
After the close of the hearing, County Commissioner Jerry Finch said the plan has already seen a countywide vote.
"When they elected the three commissioners, they put it to a vote," he said.
The official comment period will end at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, and the commission is planning workshops on the document beginning the following Monday, Sept. 11.