Richland’s Mayor Thompson was quoted as saying that the city approving funding for a public market “could actually create an expectation on their part saying the city is actually going to build the amenities that they need for their private enterprise to be successful. That’s not our job. In fact, it would be dumb to do something like that.”
The mayor is saying that it is not the city’s job to create a community where private enterprise (and citizens) can thrive. But isn’t that what government is supposed to be about: common resources put to use for the good of the citizens? This definition broadly covers such things as utilities, public parks (and the events they hold), and schools.
It’s exactly this shortsightedness that make newcomers to Richland remark that there is no sense of community here, and that there isn’t enough to do. The City Council needs to seriously think about these problems going forward, rather than dreaming of how many tax dollars they could bleed out of tourist attractions and luxury apartments.
Mayor Thompson is flat wrong. And if that is truly the way he feels about community, he shouldn’t be in charge of ours anymore.
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Carina Mitchell, Richland