No Enough Action -- Last week's commentary by William Stimson, "Getting from 'Nay' to 'Yea' "(2/27/03), raises some interesting and insightful points. Unfortunately, author William Stimson seems to have missed mine entirely. He accurately describes my talk before the Spokane City Forum last month as addressing the issue of the local public process, which has been hampered by a willingness on the part of many to embrace the rhetoric of "no." I tried to point out that part of our getting past this malaise is to recognize that this group is comprised of two distinct factions -- those that will say no regardless of the facts, and those that will continue to say no until given a compelling reason to say yes. In no way did I suggest there was nothing to learn from even the most ardent "naysayers." I merely suggested that in many cases continuing to focus on blaming them or even changing their thinking was an exercise in futility. Far better, I proposed, to focus on advancing the "big ideas" that put such voices in perspective.
Stimson's advice that the business community should "not dismiss the past until it figures out what went wrong" is worth heeding. However, at some point our inability to move beyond fixing blame and admiring our region's lack of ability to capitalize on its many strengths must change.
Which brings me to my central point: The Spokane region has a number of opportunities to create a future, which capitalizes on our attractive quality of life, vibrant downtown and unique neighborhoods, along with a world-class health-care system and higher education resources. These include initiatives to build a university district campus at Riverpoint, a medical research institute, creating the River Gorge Park recreation area, mixed-use revitalization of downtown, development opportunities near the airport, job creation around the North-South Corridor and a unique economic development strategy promoted by the Chamber of Commerce that focuses on attracting back those who have moved away but who now possess the ideas and capital to add to what we have managed to build and preserve. Most importantly, these (mostly) young people return unburdened with the political baggage or cynicism that impairs our ability to move this region ahead. It is a perspective all of us, including myself, would do well to embrace.
For those interested, a tape of my talk is available for a small charge from First Presbyterian Church, which should be congratulated for providing such a great forum for thoughtful civic debate and discussion.
Chairman, Spokane Regional
Chamber of Commerce
Let's Be Pro-Something -- It's an interesting observation that if people are "anti" something they get a lot of attention, especially by the media. Maybe it's because they make so much noise or because it's often so much easier to tear something down or attack it than to defend something or build something to be proud of. We have anti-war demonstrators, anti-strong mayor proponents and now anti-Spokane Valley demolitionists. Sometimes it pushes me to the brink of being anti-people.
I live in Spokane. I worked on the campaign to create the City of Spokane Valley for several reasons: the size, population and structure of Spokane Valley is by definition that of a city. The repeated desire of a large number of residents to incorporate sent a strong message of a visionary population. The potential to become the most livable, prosperous, desirable and successful city in the state of Washington is as obvious as Christmas on December 25th. Last but not least, the ability to influence our legislators in Olympia, perhaps in a team effort with the city of Spokane, to pay attention to the needs and wants of the people in both of our cities, is a very valuable asset.
There are more reasons still. The elected city council members in Spokane Valley are doing an excellent job, setting a wonderful example of courteous, conscientious, fiscally responsible and citizen-responsive leadership. There are many days I wish I lived in Spokane Valley (and probably some folks in Spokane who wish I did, too -- they own a garage here).
In Spokane Valley, you have Sally Jackson and her disgruntled band of sore losers. Instead of involving themselves in building an even more wonderful place to live and grow for themselves and their children, they want to make a lot of noise and tear it down. They use arguments against the voters' choice that have no substance, no validity and no basis in fact, that any loser could use about any election. Frankly, I find that having neighbors of the Sally Jackson mentality depressing and counter-productive. Maybe they need to go somewhere where obstructionist, anti-progress, anti-growth, anti-visionary people are welcome and bitterness is admired. Leave the diamond that is Spokane Valley for skilled craftsmen and women to design and make even more valuable.
Taking Liberties -- Thank you for Jake Tapper's story on the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003." ("Patriot Act: The Sequel," 2/13/03). I watched the Bill Moyers show (NOW on PBS) and was so chilled by Mr. Lewis' report that I immediately e-mailed Senators Murray and Cantwell and called the Spokesman-Review.
All Americans should be outraged. The rights and civil liberties that made this democracy what it is are about to be destroyed in the name of national security.