Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"We called them 'chicken'"

As you know, outspoken liberal Lewiston Tribune columnist and apparent Pullman/Whitman County hater Jim Fisher, has been bashing the Hawkins development and the Whitman County Commissioners. The latest subject of his ire, in a column last Sunday, was the WSU golf course. Fisher implied there should be some sort of linkage between the golf course and the Hawkins development:
Next for Palouse water talks: WSU golf course

Now that a reconfigured Moscow City Council has demonstrated its willingness to cooperate with other Palouse governments on water use, it is in a position to seek reciprocity on one of the least defensible projects to threaten the region's underground water sources.

That project is the new 18-hole golf course that Washington State University is building, and watering, before the water reclamation system intended to keep it green is even begun. The school projects it will pour 60 million gallons of water on the course each year, and until the system that is years off goes on line, each of those gallons will come from the aquifers whose sustainability is in question.

The school's rush to complete the course without a wastewater irrigation system like the one the University of Idaho uses has raised objections from more than local water watchdogs. It even became an issue in the election that seated new Moscow City Councilors Wayne Krauss, Dan Carscallen and Walter Steed.

All three ran in opposition to the former council's reluctance to approve substantial increases in water consumption.

During the contested election, Krauss told people attending a candidate forum he objected to "the idea for us to try to save water here in Moscow so it can be used downstream." And a newspaper advertisement for the three candidates said, "In Pullman they're developing a new golf course. In Moscow we've raised water rates to cut consumption."

The promise to help end such a disparity no doubt helped elect the three challengers. And the other day, all three helped reverse Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney's objection to providing water to a new shopping mall on the Washington side of the state line along the Pullman-Moscow traffic corridor.

None of the three has claimed the Palouse sits on an infinite supply of water, however. And their willingness to negotiate a water agreement with Whitman County for the mall for which county commissioners have obligated taxpayers to the tune of $9.1 million in bonds gives them the right, and the credibility, to seek discussion of other water issues in the region.

The first of those issues should be WSU's rush to waste water.
I could rebut Fisher's arguments, but Idaho Rep. Bob Nonini (R- Coeur d'Alene), another target of Fisher's temper tantrums, did it best in a "Turnabout" column from Tuesday's Tribune:
Turnabout: Cheap shots, no warning

As some of my colleagues tell me, if the editorial writers at the Lewiston Tribune are criticizing you then you must be doing something right.

Well, I must be doing something right. In the last couple of weeks, I've been branded as being anti-education, and more recently the Tribune editors lend the impression that I'm leading a one-man crusade to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The criticism doesn't bother me. Anyone who serves in this body, or in any other elected office, is subject to criticism. What is troubling is the methods employed by the editorial writers.

I don't know Jim Fisher or Tom Henderson, and they don't know me. All I know about them is when I pick up the Tribune and occasionally read editorials taking me to task. Again, I don't mind the criticism. I'm only disputing the antiquated method.

Mr. Fisher and Mr. Henderson are living examples of why newspapers are dying, and why newspapers are losing credibility. They read what somebody else writes, dish up a few cheap shots and present them as "cutting-edge" editorials. The tactics might have worked during the 1960s or 1970s, when Bill Hall was writing editorials. But the method strikes me as outdated by today's standards.

During Bill Hall's day, when the only practical way to contact someone was by telephone, contacting an individual was not always possible. But in 2008, when e-mails are used at least as much as telephones, there's no excuse for not making that effort.

It's my understanding that some of the nation's leading newspapers, including the Washington Post, have a policy to make every effort to contact an individual before criticizing him in print - if for no other reason than to give that person a heads-up. A conversation with a source may or may not change the direction of an editorial, but giving a fair warning shows that a newspaper has professional standards and a degree of class.

I'm sure that nothing I said will make a difference, so Mr. Fisher and Mr. Henderson can criticize me all they want. That's OK. I was born and raised in Wallace and put up with a lot worse than that in the school yards.

But in Wallace, we had a name for people who said or did something without first confronting you.

We called them "chicken."

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

It helps to understand Fisher when everyone realizes that he is a resident of Moscow and friends with Nancy Chaney and Tom Lamar. His idiot positions are reflections of the Moscow commie movement. If he didn't carry their water, he might not be invited to their snooty wine and cheese gatherings. Fisher doesn't seem to actually believe in their crap, which he reflects in his poor writing and bad logic. His bad writing is like covert signals sent by prisoners of war.