Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"The other side of state line, and looking glass"

What an unbelievably sloppy, selective, biased and outright false editorial from Jim Fisher in today's Lewiston Tribune, even by his leftist standards. I love it when liberals start trying to lecture us on what conservatism really is all about.

Sure, a developer and Pullman businesswoman expressed reservations over the Hawkins bond proposal last Tuesday. But a developer and a Pullman businesswoman expressed support for the bond the previous Monday. And this statement by Fisher is patently false: "despite reservations from constituents who are hardly starry-eyed radicals." What the..? PARDners Chris Lupke, Don Orlich, Janet Damm, and the Liberal Women Voters are not starry-eyed radicals? How about anti-everything activist Cheryl Morgan? And let's not forget Carolyn Kiesz, who compared shopping to tuberculosis.

If the Hawkins deal falls through, development in the corridor is finished. All those who say we should stop and look back at the last 25 years will be looking at no more growth for another 25 years. I'm sorry, but I am just sick to death of all this small-minded myopia, this whole attitude of "let's go slow" and "let's not change a thing." I'm sick to death of all these petty jealousies, internecine squabbling, and the whining about "so where's my handout from the commissioners?" Some in Pullman are jealous of the county getting the development instead of Pullman.

If you ever wonder why Pullman and Whitman County are so backwards, take a look in the mirror.

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
How many Moscow residents who resent their city officials discouraging certain developments because of potential effects on the community wish today they were residents of Whitman County? There, commissioners are preparing to obligate county taxpayers to subsidize work for a private shopping center.

It is a strange kind of conservatism that proposes floating $10 million in revenue bonds to provide infrastructure for the retail development by Hawkins Companies of Boise. Yet that is what county commissioners are rushing to do, despite reservations from constituents who are hardly starry-eyed radicals.

"I'm worried that we don't have answers to specific questions, and we're a week away from this decision," Pullman business woman Carol Chipman told commissioners Tuesday afternoon, according to the Whitman County Gazette.

More pointed was the warning from Pullman developer Duane Brelsford that commissioners were preparing to set "a dangerous precedent."

Saying his Corporate Pointe Development is planning several large projects in and near Pullman, Brelsford said, "We'll of course assume we would be treated the same."

"If we choose to go that direction," he added, "I think we're going to need a lot more than $10 million."

Do commissioners believe they can say yes to an out-of-state developer's request for up-front public financing, even if it is intended to be repaid by private revenue, and then say no to such requests from within their own county?

That is a separate issue from Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney's challenge to the shopping center's water rights, some of which were transferred from the city of Colton to the proposed development on the Pullman-Moscow highway abutting the state line. Chaney says she fears the 700,000-square-foot center will deplenish underground sources of water for Moscow and the entire Palouse.

Whitman County Commissioner Jerry Finch blames Moscow's resistance to the development for increasing Hawkins' costs, which he says justifies using public money to provide water and sewer service to the center.

"I think in a perfect world, they should do this 100 percent on their dime," Finch has said.

The question remains, however, whether commissioners can tap taxpayers for the cost of this development and ever hope to require future projects, by Brelsford and others, to pay their own way.

Putting public dollars into private development might be considered pro-business, but it is more reflective of socialism than conservatism.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Pullman wants to develop around the airport and on our end of the corridor. The City of Pullman can't afford to put in the utilities by themselves, they will need to partner with Whitman County. This proposal will help Whitman County get a foot hold in the corridor and then a partnership of shared cost and shared tax revenue between Pullman and Whitman County is much more viable. Without this bond, without Hawkins and without the income the Hawkins development will bring, there will be almost no way that Whitman County will have the funds or water rights to partner with Pullman.