Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Unintended Consequences

The last several days have produced a groundswell of opinions regarding a recent grant from the Kroc Foundation. This grant was for the purpose of erecting and continuing support of a community recreation facility. Coming up to a matching funds deadline for participation, the City of Coeur d"Alene, feeling that pressure, donated three million dollars to complete the lack of donated private funds.

The Kroc Foundation has donated the bulk of the funds to the Salvation Army, a religious organization, which will operate this center. The question seems to be whether or not the City can give money to a church, which will own the facility.

As I understand it, the purpose of this private matching fund requirement was to assure that the community was behind the project enough to support it financially. One local activist with Libertarian Tendencies, raised the question of should a government entity give money to a private, religious organization.Over last week-end, in the Huckleberries Blog, well over two hundred people attempted to "kill the messenger" figuratively speaking, shouting down the protester that blew the whistle.

I was one of very few that suggested that we stop the lynching and debate the issue like grown-ups. We were steamrollered by proponents of the center who didn't understand that opposition to the City's Money was not necessarily condemnation of the project itself.

Some of the same people with the same arguments fought for the public confiscation of a locally owned beach that the public had been allowed access for a long period of time. After the local home owners went all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court, and spent a huge amount for legal bills, they were finally allowed to keep what was theirs all along.

What I am getting at here is that many of us do not support legislation that eats away the fabric of our State and U.S. Constitutions, whether or not the cause is good. In fact most of our bad laws, come about through the majority voting for bad law because the cause is good.

If the City of Coeur d'Alene were to loan the money to for instance the Lake City Improvement Corporation, perhaps that would solve the problem of the City facilitating the construction of a religious chapel, along with the recreational facility.

People should not shout down protesters when in other instances the were the ones protesting. The rule of law is more important to maintain than any one cause. Be careful what you wish for...You might get it.

1 comment:

Bill McCrory said...

Good post, Herb.

Sometimes when people want something so very very badly, they lose their objectivity as well as their civility. Sadly, much of the commentary from Kroc Center proponents has deteriorated into name calling at those who dare raise questions. Some of the proponents have even suggested that if the Kroc Center project goes off the rails, it will be the fault of one or two articulate and courageous citizens who have raised the questions. If the project is so fragile that one or two people asking reasonable questions could derail it, then it was not on solid ground in the first place. The personal and unrelenting attacks on Larry Spencer and Dan Gookin are unwarranted. The best way to overcome Larry's and Dan's concerns (shared by others as well) is to simply supply clear, straightforward facts that address the questions asked, not the questions the proponents wish had been asked.