Moscow Pullman Border War Cease Fire
My, what a difference an election makes. And thanks to the most recent Moscow City Council election, peace in the valley might be at hand. As George Bush once noted, democracies do not wage war upon each other. And now that democracy has flexed its muscles in Moscow, Idaho, the looming border war may be averted after all.
Moscow has not been friendly to business these last few years. When given the opportunity to have a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Moscow turned it down. The Wal-Mart will now be sited just across the city line in Latah County. A hostile business climate drove a car dealership to seek refuge across the state border in Whitman County.
And finally, when the Boise-based Hawkins Company sought to invest in the Palouse economy, it chose to settle in business friendly Whitman County, right on the state line and just beyond the jurisdiction of Moscow’s mayor and city council. Now Lowe’s Building Center and other businesses will be opening their doors in the Moscow-Pullman corridor, drawing customers from Idaho, but paying taxes only to Whitman County and the state of Washington. The message was clear. Businesses wanted to conduct business with Moscow’s residents, even if Moscow’s political establishment was anti-business.
But Moscow’s politburo was not content to simply exercise its anti-business agenda within the city limits. Moscow’s city government, under the leadership of Mayor Nancy Chaney and the recently deposed Linda Pall, Kit Craine and Aaron Ament, decided to do all they could to obstruct development on the Washington side of the state line by refusing to sell water and sewer services to Hawkins and to appeal water rights transfers needed for the development to take place.
If the duly elected Chaneyites wish to impose an incense and sand candle economy upon the residents of Moscow who voted them into office, that’s between them and Moscow’s voters. But when they started trying to dictate terms to people outside their legal jurisdiction and over people who cannot vote them out of office, then them’s fightin’ words.
Fortunately, the Greater Moscow Alliance fielded three candidates who believed in both economic and religious liberty and who convinced enough Moscow voters to steer the city away from the progressive precipice.
I expect to see a shabby and disheveled Aaron Ament on a Moscow street corner one of these days holding up a hand-lettered cardboard sign reading, “Will disparage people of faith for food.”
For the moment anyway, Moscow’s graying and plumping anti-capitalist hippies and flower children have had their dangerous and age-inappropriate toys taken from them. I’m not sure that I would ever trust an ex-hippie with the reins of government. The new city council is willing to revisit the issue of selling water and sewer services to the Hawkins Company, although the last surviving vestige of Moscow’s leftist axis, Tom Lamar, expressed his discomfort with Moscow selling such services across state line.
“To me, it doesn’t seem right to be selling our services outside the city limits. If it’s development taking place in Moscow I feel differently about providing water or sewer rights.”
Unfortunately, he has no qualms when it comes to imposing Moscow’s progressive agenda across state lines. “I don’t think it is good to put this development in the corridor,” he said.
I don’t recall that he had any problems with Moscow’s appeal of the water rights transfers. Unfortunately the recent election cannot directly influence that. The appeal is apparently out of the city council’s hands and is solely at the discretion (or lack thereof) of Mayor Chaney, so a full and lasting peace may be a ways off yet.
I really can’t imagine what there is to preserve in the Moscow-Pullman corridor. Sure, a creek runs through it, but for part of the year, it’s nothing more than Moscow’s treated sewage effluent. The rock quarries, asphalt plants and gravel pits that now blight the landscape aren’t all that attractive to the eye.
The proposed services extension from Pullman to the Idaho border now under consideration would facilitate greater business expansion along the corridor and would boost both cities’ economies.
In other words, planned growth in the corridor would benefit Moscow and Pullman. And in one form or another, the growth will occur. A less hostile Moscow would permit a more controlled and harmonious growth. The world doesn’t stop for left wing economic Luddites.