Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, January 04, 2007

They're Not Paying Attention to Rural Values, As Usual

An article in the Seattle Times on Tuesday wistfully wondered if I-933 proponents and foes could reach a compromise on property rights in Washington:
...those who opposed I-933 may be paying more attention now to rural concerns: "To the extent it helps create a respect for the values rural folks contribute, that's a good thing."
The arrogant editorial from Mary McCumber, chairwoman of Futurewise, that appeared the same day in the Seattle P-I doesn't give much hope of that happening, despite paying lip service to "protecting farmers":
Where there were many reasons to vote against I-933, no one voted against the rights of property owners. They simply reaffirmed the common-sense understanding that our property rights are by definition balanced with the rights of neighboring property owners, who have a right to protect themselves against destructive actions that would harm their property.

...After two lopsided initiative losses in 11 years (Referendum 48, a similar initiative sponsored by the Farm Bureau in 1995, lost by 20 points as well), it's time to move on.
This is the same old lie that was repeated during the campaign. I-933 was not aimed at helping developers in any way. All the major building and construction associations in Washington stayed on the sidelines and did not actively support I-933. The only thing that I-933 would have destroyed is the tyrannical hold of government over our private property, without which fringe groups like Futurewise and PARD would be totally irrelevent.

The Democratic supermajority in Olympia has already indicated that environmental issues will be a top priority this session. God help us.

The saddest part of the editorial is that Whitman County is singled out for "praise" because we opposed I-933 by a 59% margin. I hope our local farmers, who don't feel the sting of Critical Areas Ordinances as badly as other rural areas in the state, don't come to regret that vote one day, but I fear that they will.

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