What happens in the courthouse...

Unless explicitly noted otherwise, this blog represents my own opinions, not those of any organization (like the Kittitas County Democratic Party) that I might be involved with.

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Response to Daily Record Editorial about professional land use decisions

A couple of days before my letter (see next post, below) appeared in the Daily Record, the paper published an editorial called County not yet ready for big change. There isn't a way to make comments on the editorial at the Daily Record's website, so I'll make some here.

I hadn't really made the connection between the idea of a county executive form of government and the vote on using an expert to make final land use decisions, but the editorial raises this idea. It is an idea that has been floating around since at least the 1990s.

The thesis of the editorial is that the county commissioners worked very hard to deal with the well moratorium, and wasn't directly responsible for muffing the marijuana issue, so our system of county government -- which dates from 1889 -- is still worth maintaining.

The problem is, the editorial seems to be an attempt to rewrite history, or at least isn't looking back far enough in history.

The fact is, the Board of County Commissioners of the time was directly responsible for a series of expensive blunders that have us led to the point that large parts of the county have no access to ground water. To be fair, only Paul Jewell's term overlapped with the period where the worst mistakes were made, but the mistakes did result from the lack of an expert, professional approach to water- and land-use issues. Smarter citizens than I have tried to figure out how much taxpayer money has been spent on legal fees as a result, but it was a lot.

Anyway, the fact remains that a different response from the Board of County Commissioners at the time very likely would have led to a different outcome with respect to groundwater and the county red zones. I wrote about this in a blog post on July 12, 2010. Here's a link to the whole post, and here's a link to the key section.

Here I'm focusing only on water, but the way the Board of County Commissioners ignored the Growth Management Act was also a significant problem, and is another example of where an expert, professional approach would have made a difference.

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