It's hard to keep crybabies quiet.
The back story to this scrap of wisdom runs thus. An out-of-area developer, the Hawkins Companies, wants to put in a retail development just west of Moscow. Five Moscow councilmen, three of them recently elected after running on an openly pro-business platform, are now officially a nefarious cabal, the "Hawkins Five," dubbed so on this page because they voted to sell water to the developer after closed-door mediations.
Now the United States has this thing called representative government. Voters, expressing preferences at the polls, elect people to office, then turn over to those people decision-making authority. That way, everything doesn't become a referendum. Every time a decision has to be made, we don't have to run to the polls, or sit in hothouse meeting halls picking up the flu from the guy with the wet cough behind us.
But there's a class of people in Moscow who don't like representative government, for it gives misguided little people license to vote. Those voters in turn have the temerity to elect to office candidates who are not aging hippies whose notion of economic development is coffee stands (which use water) and tattoo parlors.
What's their problem? For starters, the developers are from Boise. That must mean they're curly-mustachioed, cigar-chomping carpetbaggers, in town to offer the rest of us 40 acres and a mule in exchange for our water. Reasonably, though, the developers believe that business owners might want to tidy up after us and that employees and shoppers should wash their hands after flushing.
But these are all salutary activities. People would presumably be doing them anyhow, somewhere (one hopes), thus using water from the same aquifer, unless of course they're really good at holding it so they can go use water from someone else's aquifer. But then they'd be burning gas, melting the polar ice caps, and drowning the giant Palouse earthworm - the point being that we all exist, so every single one of us uses resources no matter what we do and where we do it. And if we don't have to leave carbon footprints between here and Lewiston or Spokane to do it, something's been gained.
Further, these establishments might sell things people actually want, need, and can afford, without turning to the Internet, as many currently do, thus shipping away dollars and the tax revenues they generate. It's likely that most of the products they'd sell won't be made of hemp or bamboo - or made in co-ops redolent with patchouli. So that means they represent sprawl.
The usual gambit employed by people who don't like a decision is to grumble about process. Closed doors for them are always a bad sign, as they are for my cat. But as I've tried to explain to my cat, mediations are always closed. People are more inclined to mediate (another salutary activity) when they know that a card they show behind closed doors won't get trumped later in a lawsuit.
So the crybabies, who didn't get their way in the last City Council election, want to "recall" the newly elected councilmen. They intone solemnly that there should have been more "public discussion" and that the Hawkins Five (one quakes at the very name) has "betrayed the public trust" - by doing what the little people elected them to do. Of course, the process included no vigorous "public discussion" when the mayor unilaterally filed a petition to quash Hawkins, but this mote of hypocrisy escapes the notice of the hemp-and-bamboo crowd.
Meanwhile, the little people are cattle. We're told that the councilmen who voted in Hawkins' favor were "ushered into office by the Greater Moscow Alliance," more cigar-chompers bent on selling off the Palouse in pieces to the highest bidders. Many of us little people find smug, elitist comments like this a slap in the face. The council members were ushered into office not by the GMA but by the citizens who chose to vote for them. The GMA didn't even exist when two of the Hawkins lapdogs were elected.
But the voters, lobotomized by the GMA, were wrong. The people the voters voted for voted in favor of something some people don't like. So of course we must throw the sonsabitches out.
Get out the (organic) teething biscuits.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
"Time to throw the rotten so-and-so's out"
Another classic column from Michael O'Neal in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News: