Fast Focus: What advice do you have for the Regional PFD? We need independent leaders

March 30, 2014 

The Regional PFD has demonstrated that it has neither the expertise nor the bias for action needed to develop the facilities necessary for our community to take its place as one of Washington's outstanding communities. By law, the city councils control six of the nine seats on the Regional PFD board and their built-in need to serve their own citizens first makes it impossible for them to take the steps necessary to address regional issues successfully.

I have appeared before the Regional PFD and made this suggestion: Appoint an independent task force made up of business and community leaders to come up with a comprehensive plan to address long-term community needs for performing arts, aquatics, convention and tourist facilities. Give them the time and resources to really engage the community in developing that plan. Expect to spend 12-15 months for before anything goes to the ballot.

The second critical step is to remove the distraction and potential conflict with the three "baby" PFDs tied to each city. If the mechanism to dissolve them and transfer their assets, liabilities, and taxing authority to the single Regional PFD doesn't exist, creating and exercising it should be the overriding priority. Voters are simply never going to vote "yes," knowing that another competing PFD is in the wings.

And, stop using the word "parochialism" to describe the outcome of the last two elections. Parochialism lives in the political structure, not in the citizens.

-- KIRK WILLIAMSON, Kennewick

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