Examine the principle and not the specific issues

What if the tables were turned and Clark County had eliminated hundreds of testimony, factual reports, and maps supporting the status quo of maintaining the old large lot zoning regulations from 1994? Would the county chose to defend the folks whose large body of work had been eliminated?  Would the county readily agree to supplement the record and allow their important work to be included, or would the county push back and argue against critical supplementations?  I’m asking everyone to examine the principle and not the specific issues.

Susan Rasmussen
Susan Rasmussen

It appears to me the county mounted an advocacy campaign well before the formal public process for the Comprehensive Plan update was even considered.  The goal of the campaign was to maintain the no-rural growth policy from 1994.  Pointed out in previous Clark County Citizens United’s (CCCU) testimony, the Growing Healthier Report, 2012, was drawn up by county staff and the Health Department.  It includes social services, health, food, and land use policies.  No representatives from construction, real estate, engineering, banking, or property rights were present in discussions. In July 2015, staff were told by the sitting Board of Commissioners not to advance the report before the Planning Commission.  Yet, the frivolous report has become a foundational document for the plan.  This infers the public participation process was a pointless exercise that had no chance to influence the outcome — it was meaningless.

CCCU’s large body of data could be seen as a threat to the campaign goal to buttress the policies, assumptions and text that had already been written.  The editing out and manipulations of the public record could be tools used to hammer-down property rights and a potential threat to the predetermined scheme.  The decision to manipulate the record crossed a line into censorship.  This jeopardizes non-compliance to a GMA process goal.  More importantly, the act insults a coveted right of citizenship.  The issue of censorship raises more concerns about the campaign’s tone of discrimination targeting a particular community of county citizens.  These citizens have a storied history of prevailing in the courts against county planning.  These citizens own property, vote, pay taxes, provide jobs, support local businesses and schools.

The county’s campaign tactics paid off.  The self-devised goal of the lobbying blitz was successful.  The emergency moratorium  ensures the goal’s no-growth policy a long life.  However, if you want affordable housing in Clark County, are you enabling that to happen, or erecting barriers?  Are you working to make safe affordable housing accessible to all — rural and urban?  Are you stifling growth for rural jobs and well-being of rural citizens?  A variety of rural densities and support for rural communities and lifestyles are bolstered by the GMA.  Examine the principle and the tactics used to intentionally diminish the rights of citizenship.  All should be very concerned.

Susan Rasmussen
Clark County Citizens United, Inc.

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