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 possible.

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 gray-water systems.

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 expand.

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 be allowed.

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 tomorrow’s.

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 impacts.

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 computer tutor.

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.

Return to the Election page