Katherine "Kit" Craine
(candidate for 2005 Moscow City Council (4 year seat))
1. Moscow’s police officers recently approached the city with a request to form a union. The city refused. Was that the right choice – why or why not? What should the city do now?
A union is formed in response to an apparently unresolvable conflict
between labor and management. I don’t know anything more about the
conflict than what was in the Daily News—that the entire department
joined in the request, the mayor did not respond for two months, then
the request was refused. I don’t know enough about the situation to say
whether the refusal was the right choice or not.
However, given that the entire department reportedly joined the
request, I take the situation as a huge red flag. There maybe major
problems in the department which may not be related strictly to
salaries and/or benefits. The upper levels of management and the
Council need to determine why the request was made and take steps to
resolve the problem(s). This should be done as quickly and publicly as
I think simply ignoring then refusing a request to unionize a
department is an insult to the workers and does not change whatever is
wrong. That is a misguided approach.
2. Which schools, if any, (K-12, colleges/universities, commercial schools) should Moscow's zoning code allow downtown in the central business district, and under what conditions, if any? Explain why.
I think the zoning code concerning schools in the CBD is fine the way
it is. The CBD should be devoted to businesses and services. Trade
schools with a business component and arts schools fit the concept;
academic institutions do not. The CBD is too small for enitities, such
as colleges and universities, which tend to grow. There is too much
traffic and not enough play space for K-12 use.
Of course, the underlying question here is whether the City should fix
the “mistake“ of allowing unpermitted academic uses in the CBD by
rewriting the code to make them “legal” in all non-residential zones.
There is a companion question of whether the City should change zoning
district boundaries and the comprehensive plan so individual property
owners can use their land in ways that are not incompliance with the
code. My answer to both is NO. Either the city follows the plan or
throws it out. Trying to fix things after a use is established and only
in response to complaints is misguided, at best.
3. Please list the changes in city regulations or policy, if any, that you favor to lessen the depletion of our aquifer: for example, a stronger tiered rate structure, required use of treated effluent water for irrigation in parks, required installation of water-conserving designs in new structures, limitations on building permits, or any other changes?
I think water use is one place where the market system could be a good
tool. The basic fee should cover the cost of delivering water to a
place and the users should pay for each gallon consumed. The use rate
should be tiered so the more one uses, the more it costs.
The city should lead in conservation and use of effluent/gray water for
irrigation. It should also have an aggressive system for identifying
leaks in the pipes and fixing them. It should also establish a
maintenance rotation so older pipes are replaced as they wear out.
The codes should be adopted with language that encourages the
installation of water saving devises, including composting toilets and
4. Should a bridge be built over Paradise Creek to connect Third Street between Hayes and Mountainview Road? If no, why not? If yes, should that bridge be built for use only by bicycles and pedestrians or should the bridge be designed for motor vehicles? Are there ways to improve the city’s approach to planning and maintaining our transportation needs?
I am against building a vehicular bridge across Paradise Creek to
connect Third to Mountain View. Granted, this connection has been in
the comprehensive plan for many years, and it is a logical in terms of
Moscow’s transportation system. However, once upon a time, the City
allowed the area around Lena Whitmore Elementary to develop as if Third
Street would forever be a dead end. To go in now and make it an
arterial would endanger too many children, split the town into
quadrants, and further clog Third Street as it moves through downtown.
It will also create a problem for the houses between the creek and
Mountain View which have driveways off Third. I think having traffic
backed up at Mountain View will make access to these homes difficult,
if not impossible, and will lower the values of the properties.
I think a bridge for bicycles, pedestrians, and wheelchairs is a good
idea for that location. It will provide the flattest possible route
from Mountain View to downtown and enhance the neighborhood.
In terms of traffic planning, I believe transportation pathways, such
as streets, are the community’s skeleton. They need to be designed for
vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians and the locations generally
established well before development occurs. That means the City decides
where not only the arterials and connectors will be, but also the
neighborhood streets. The City should control how each development
links into the neighboring areas and not allow structures to be built
in the way. I like adaptive grid systems, because they are easy to
I would like to see “what-if“ studies to evaluate changes in traffic
patterns before the City closes or opens any intersections. Any
proposed development should also include traffic studies that look at
the impact of increased traffic throughout town and determine
mitigation as part of the discussion of how much housing density should
The question of how people will travel between places throughout town
should be central to the comprehensive plan and a focus in the initial
stage of any development, whether it is a subdivision or new ball
fields. The city must look far enough into the future that it doesn’t
eliminate needed routes by allowing today’s project to block access to
5. What are your views about the proposed city ballfields on Palouse River Drive? To ensure that neighborhood parks are created in new subdivisions, should development of dedicated parkland there occur simultaneously with the initial development of the subdivision? Are there ways to improve the city’s approach to planning and maintaining city parks?
The ball fields are a good example of how the City’s land use decision
process could use some work. Currently, the city‘s focus is on the
development of a site for a particular use and the neighbors’ concerns
are often dismissed as NIMBYism. In this instance, there is a real
need: more ball fields. The City finds and purchases a site, asks what
the users want there, and has university students produce some possible
designs as a class project. The people who will be most affected by the
development—the neighbors—aren’t brought into the process until the
last minute, when they have little or no say in the project.
The neighborhood’s objections are as real and legitimate as the need
for the fields. The ball field’s development will create problems that
go beyond the site—such as greatly increased traffic (creating a need
to widen the road to three lanes, plus bike lanes and sidewalks on both
sides), lights, and noise. I believe the City needs to have solutions
to those problems—and funding to pay for them—before developing a
detailed design. If solutions are not available or affordable, perhaps
moving to an alternative site should be considered. The consideration
should include balancing all costs, such as road improvements.
I would like to see a process where the first step is to bring the
developer and the neighbors together to resolve concerns and problems.
This should not be a “them” vs. “us” confrontation. It should be a
process of fitting the new into the existing with a minimum of adverse
As for the general development of parks, it should take place at the
same time as the development of a subdivision. In situations where
landownership indicates piecemeal development of relatively small
parcels, the City should require some type of public space to be
developed with the parcel—even if it is just bench under a tree.
To improve the planning and maintenance of parks, the most important
things the city can do is: develop a plan, complete with the size and
location of proposed parks; carry it out, perhaps by reserving the
site, by buying the development rights; and —most importantly—realizing
that parks are an asset, not an expense.
6. Please include biographical information about yourself and any other message or contact information you want to share with Moscow voters.
I was born and raised in Moscow, graduating from Moscow High School in
1971. After going to college and working in the wider world, I traded
high salaries and big titles for the quality of life in Moscow. I have
a BS in Geography from the University of Oregon and both an MS
(Geography) and an MA (English) from the University of Idaho. I have
worked in environmental requlation, geographic database development,
information management systems development, computer programming, and
data quality control. I did the design and production for the literary
magazine, Idaho Connections. Currently, I am a freelance writer and
I have extensive experience in coordination, planning, procedures and
implementation. I believe that good government is open government, and
that city council must be receptive to citizen input and involvement.
I also believe in planning for the future, in anticipating problems
before they become intractable, and in paying strict attention to
clearly laid-out guidelines and procedures. There should be no such
thing as government “on the fly.”
In past lives, I have been a field director for Camp Fire Girls & Boys,
the Recording Secretary for the American Association of University
Women, and on the board of the Moscow Civic Association. Currently, I
am the chair of the Lit Group, a book review group which is over
fifty-years old. I am a citizen activist. and have been involved in
the revision of the animal codes and zoning issues.
I live in the house I grew up in with my mother, three cats with weird
medical conditions, and a dog that was left behind when her first
people left town.