Fast Focus: 'Is the Tri-Cities growing too fast?' Business trumps citizens

July 28, 2013 

If you listen to our business community leaders the "growth" is not fast enough! They're promoting programs to push growth; anything to build "tourist traffic" and increase retail sales, increase transportation access, reduce or even eliminate regulations that impede development, construction and business start-ups, etc. These are their priorities!

The chambers, business/professional groups and service club surrogates chronically beat the drum for "growth;" interchanges, tax brakes, $35 million publicly funded facilities, convention center expansions, etc., etc., all under the guise of "helping" the community.

Does anyone think for a minute that an organization named the Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau really has the interests of the average citizen in mind; more likely it has the self-interests of its tourist, development and business members that pay their salaries. For if they didn't, they'd be out of a job in a heart beat.

The only way an average citizen gets to speak on these issues is through their elected representatives. And unfortunately all too often, these representatives are "helped into office" by ... you guessed it ... the chambers, business/professional groups, etc., and their members. In fact if you take the time to look closely, you'll see that most of our influential elected folks come from these very roots themselves. Of course it's all "legal," but a far cry from truly representative government.

And we the voters -- and our lack of real, independent candidates -- are the reasons it continues.

-- PHILLIP CHURCH, Richland

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