October 11, 2009 in Opinion

Proposition 4: Pipe dream discourages investment, invites lawsuits

Walt Worthy Special to The Spokesman-Review
 

About the author

Walt Worthy is co-chairman of the Jobs Coalition, one of the organizations opposing the proposition.

Proposition Four is bad for Spokane.

It is a wish list of things that would be great to have: low-cost housing, affordable health care, a super-clean river and good wages. In the end, if the city tries to do everything in Proposition 4, it will go bankrupt. Or it will be forced to raise taxes, cut services and then go bankrupt.

If the city tries to ignore the new law, it faces a never-ending series of frivolous lawsuits.

In business, if you advertise one thing and deliver another, it’s called “bait and switch” or just plain fraud. That’s just what we’re getting with Proposition 4.

Envision Spokane might as well promise everyone a free trip to Hawaii – who wouldn’t want to vote for that?

Spokane has struggled economically for decades and now we’re in the middle of a bad recession. We can hope for slow growth, at best. If Proposition 4 passes, who would want to invest here?

The lawyers who have studied Proposition 4 – including the proponents – all agree it sets us on a collision course with state and federal law.

Thomas Linzey and the other lawyers who wrote Prop 4 can’t wait to get into the courts and fight about it. But to the taxpayers in Spokane, this is just going to be another big waste of money.

When I think of how much money our city government has spent on lawsuits in the past decade – literally millions of dollars – I cringe at the thought of us going down that road again.

What can I say about the idea that 15 percent of the people in a neighborhood could overrule city zoning and building permits?

We have a democracy here in America; why would we take decisions away from our elected officials and give them to a handful of people who aren’t elected and don’t own the property in the first place?

In fact, if Prop 4 passes, no swimming pools, restaurants, parking lots, bus stops or office buildings would be built in the city without first getting approval from these unelected councils – and even then it could be blocked by anyone who wants to file a lawsuit.

It’s as simple as this: Prop 4 is a pipe dream, making promises it can’t keep and throwing a monkey wrench into City Hall. It would drive away jobs and stop much of the building in the city.

I urge you to vote “no”on Proposition 4.

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