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Council slithered to a new non-position

Editorial

 


Our best guess is that last night’s non-decision by the less-than-courageous (being kind) Grand Coulee City Council was a dishonest move predesigned before the meeting to allow elected leaders not to make a decision.

If that’s true, it’s disgusting. If it’s not true, it’s still at least disheartening.

The city council foisted its responsibility as elected representatives of the people onto an unelected city clerk. She was told it’s now her responsibility to decide whether to issue a business license to a would-be marijuana retailer.

About 30 people in the room stood vocally against that idea. The two applicants were apparently caught unprepared and without supporters, not thinking the issue was at a decision stage.

The mystery seemingly at hand is, why wouldn’t the city council, faced with overwhelming testimony against the issuance of such a license, simply pass a resolution against it? Why wouldn’t that be the easy and popular course to take, arguably following the will of their constituents?

Answer: Perhaps because they’re sneaky. Dumping the clearly political decision into the hands of a paid employee could have the effect of indefinitely stalling the applicant without forcing the elected representatives to make a decision that could be taken to court.

Another possibility has nothing to do with such cynical governance tactics, but instead offers a picture of people unwilling to make a decision on a tricky topic.

Those railing against the idea of a pot shop in Grand Coulee certainly don’t see anything tricky about it. It’s black and white to them. Perhaps they think the city has no pot problem now, and keeping legal, regulated vendors out of the city seems to them a good method to keep it that way.

If so, they’re dreaming. We have severe drug problems evident in this community. The issue is not that simple. Keeping out legal dealers under the new state law likely gives more power to those who already deal in pot, and other drugs, illegally. That is why the voters of the state wanted to stop wasting money jailing pot heads, albeit with an arguably extremely flawed law to legalize recreational marijuana.

No matter what the city council’s motivation was for hiding behind their city clerk, it certainly seems less than forthright. If you don’t want that kind of business in the city, then just say so, and let the person interested in investing money and creating a few jobs here move on to another venture, or another area.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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