Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, January 04, 2008

"A project to watch in 2008"

Gordon Forgey, publisher of the Whitman County Gazette, had another great editorial on the Hawkins development. Forgey stated:
Despite the advantages of the project to the county and the intrusion of Moscow into its progress, the issue has not attracted the attention of many county residents. Municipalities, business groups and independent citizens have not actively supported the county in this regard. Even the groups so vocal in other land use issues have not made a public stand in support of the county and its efforts.
Gordon was obviously referring to those in the county who were so outspoken in their opposition to the rural residential housing ordinance passed last year. Yes, I see the intrinsic hypocrisy of county commissioners saying they didn't want Whitman County to become like Latah County and then working strongly to bring in a shopping development bigger than the Palouse Mall. However, let's not allow petty political bickering amongst ourselves and poking the commissioners in the eye to distract us from our main enemy: Queen Nancy. With apologies to Gordon, Moscow's opposition to the Hawkins development has nothing to do with business and everything to do with Nancy Chaney's leftist ideals. Chaney's ally, outgoing city councilman Aaron Ament admitted as much in a sour grapes interview published Wednesday in the Lewiston Tribune. Ament said about social engineering, "That's what government is. To me, civilization is about making life livable for more and more and more people. If government is not working to make people's lives more livable, then we don't need government."

There is one group in Whitman County that very strongly supports the Hawkins development: Businesses & Resident for Economic Opportunity. If you would like to join us, click here.

You can also help by signing the online petition here asking Moscow to butt out and having your friends do so as well. It is BREO's goal to gather a 1000 or more signatures, and then deliver the petition to the Moscow City Council. After last November's election, it is certainly possible that the new council members may take a dim view of interfering with their neighbor's growth and development. There is considerable reason for optimism. The alternative is to wait until the Pollution Control Hearings Board hearings scheduled for June 2-6, another 5-10 months after that for the decision to be reached, and a possible court battle beyond that. GET INVOLVED NOW!!

From the December 27, 2007 issue of the Whitman County Gazette:
Whitman County has been working to secure development on the Pullman/ Moscow corridor. The effort has been both aggressive and professional. Even so, the process is being appealed by the city of Moscow, Idaho, ostensibly to protect the environment. Actually Moscow wants to protect its business and its dominance on the Palouse as a retail center.

Development along the corridor may ultimately be stalled because of Moscow’s interference.

Specifically, Moscow is appealing water rights allocated to the Hawkins Group development which will include a Lowe’s building supply store.

Growth along the corridor on the Whitman County side of the state line could generate important opportunities for the entire county. Tax revenues would increase, taking the county out of its hand-to-mouth existence. New employment would be available. A successful retail center there could lead to more growth.

Water rights are just part of the issue. Sovereignty is as important. Adjoining states, adjoining counties and adjoining cities need to cooperate on mutual issues and shared problems. As it stands, cooperation is seriously lacking. Moscow wants to control the destiny of the Palouse, even to the detriment of its neighbors. Moscow’s effort to stifle the development even affects growth potential in Colton, a participant in the complex exchange of water rights necessary for the development to succeed.

Some of the setbacks and problems encountered by the county were to be expected. No such developments are without difficulties. However, the complications created by Moscow are without justification.

The Hawkins development, the snags encountered and the benefits to the county and its residents have been well covered over the past couple of years. Despite the advantages of the project to the county and the intrusion of Moscow into its progress, the issue has not attracted the attention of many county residents. Municipalities, business groups and independent citizens have not actively supported the county in this regard. Even the groups so vocal in other land use issues have not made a public stand in support of the county and its efforts.

A lot is at stake. Moscow, Idaho, should not be allowed to determine the future of Whitman County.

1 comment:

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