August 1, 2012 | LXXII, No. 18

On leadership and money spent, well or not

• There is a difference between decision making and leadership. Leaders of the Colville Tribes discovered that recently after they made significant, long-impact decisions on behalf of their constituents without really involving them in the process that brought the tribes a huge sum of money in a settlement, but that some say also may have compromised tribal sovereignty.

Coulee Dam leaders have been involved for years in a less dramatic, but nonetheless significant process as they planned upgrades to the town’s aging wastewater treatment plant.

It is undoubtedly frustrating for anyone sitting on any town council to be criticized for decisions made with the best of intentions and in a nearly complete void of public input; nobody wants to deal with those issues, we collectively think, that’s the council’s job. Those who scold them eight years into the process should go easy. But democratic leaders everywhere should realize that sending letters that get no response won’t count as public involvement if the public finally takes notice and disapproves.

• That the golf course would take a toll on Port District 7’s purse was predictable. The size of that bite in just one season, though, is a shocker.

• In 1989, the Bureau of Reclamation’s new laser light show on Grand Coulee Dam was an amazing splash of new high tech that added sizzle to an impressive, but stationary, huge dam — complete with Neil Diamond’s 1981 hit song, “America” that had been presidential candidate Michael Dukakis’ campaign theme song in 1988.

A lot has happened since then, hasn’t it.

At what probably figures to be an average cost per visitor to the dam of 8 to 10 cents each over 24 years, the bureau will have gotten our money’s worth out of the investment. The new one of $1.6 million should bring a welcome change.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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