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Infighting threatens UW branch campus — a lesson for us all

The Herald’s editorial board has a long history of urging cooperation among local governments and lauding the benefits of presenting a united front.

Soggy Snohomish County offers a cautionary tale on choosing divisiveness instead. Infighting over whether to build a University of Washington branch campus in Everett or Marysville appears to have dragged on so long that the point has become moot — at least for the foreseeable future.

The January edition of UW Newslinks, an alumni association newsletter, reports:

Disagreements among Snohomish County lawmakers over where to build a new UW campus have kept the plan from moving forward. The state Higher Education Coordinating Board was expected to announce a location in early December, but legislators failed to settle on either of two favored sites — near Marysville or in downtown Everett. Now, with budget cutbacks affecting all areas of the UW, some fear that the window of opportunity to approve startup money for the new campus may have closed.

Last month, an editorial in the Seattle Times pointed out that Gov. Christine Gregoire had put $1 million in the budget to start classes at a temporary location. Her only prerequisite — final, local agreement on a site — never happened.

Ouch. Expect a lot of talk around the Tri-Cities about unity in 2009. In tough economic times, pulling together will be more important than ever.