Saturday, March 01, 2008

Foot In Mouth Disease

There has been an ongoing criticism of LCDC, our local urban renewal agency, and today's paper points out one more reason why.

We have the potential of creating what the City is fondly calling the "education corridor" which will enlarge the exisiting County funded North Idaho College campus and incorporate expanded facilities for two other institutes of higher education that have satellites here.

A local developer now holds the option on a key piece of property that has a price tag of 10 million dollars. That's a hefty chunk of change for a town the size of Coeur d'Alene.

The City and LCDC are quite often accused of stonewalling the public. At times it does seem they are covering their tracks rather than laying out what they are considering and why before decisions are made. To make matters even more complicated, it at times seems to be more a battle of personalities than issues. This is brought about by the people in the positions and their political savvy - or lack thereof.

The following goes to the issue of savvy. An article in this morning's Spokesman Review reads Officials mum on DeArmond site purchase. This smacks of obfuscation. The front person is Tony Berns, executive director of LCDC, not the mayor. Mr. Berns is known for using a poor choice of words. On being asked how they will come up with the $10 million, he is quoted as saying ,"It's something we're still working on and can't share."

Excuse me. You're looking for ways to generate $10 million to aquire tax generating land for a non tax generating project and you can't share? And if Tony Berns is involved, how much LCDC money (read Coeur d'Alene Taxpayers money) is being considered as a part of the mix? Providing there is a mix.

The way this reads to me is they are looking at options. As well they should be. But why can't those options be shared? Or are they going to look at the options, choose one and tell the community that is their decision based on the information available only to them.

Sometimes I get the feeling that they think the "public" is too dumb to understand a complicated process. That they alone have the wisdom to sort through the options and come up with what's in the best interest of the community.

Whether intended or not it's perception. This does nothing to discourage their reputation for being less than transparent.

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