[Vision2020] Kimmell in Daily News
msolomon at moscow.com
Fri Aug 27 16:31:45 PDT 2004
COLUMN: Trying to live peaceable lives in Moscow
Paul J. Kimmell
As a child, I would wander through Philadelphia staring at the
Liberty Bell and through Independence Hall not knowing what that
"experiment in liberty" was all about or that the men who signed the
Declaration of Independence had risked their lives, fortunes, honor,
and reputations for a very risky proposition.
During my years of public service, I've come to realize the great
amount of scrutiny that one in such a position is under. Much has
been written of my dual roles of late, both as a Latah County
commissioner and as executive director of the Moscow Chamber of
Unlike some in the media and in the community, I am accountable to
all of you in one form or another. For the record, I wish to respond
to some of these recent attacks on my character and the organizations
I work for.
First of all, I want to assure those of you involved in the chamber
of commerce our financial situation is not grim but in fact fairly
healthy. In the 3 1/2 years I have been with the organization, our
bottom line has improved steadily. While some of our numbers have
been taken out of context, it is difficult to explain them without
looking at them as a whole and in one setting, which is what our
Executive/Finance Committee does every month. They have realized
areas that needed to be fine-tuned, and have provided great direction
to our outside bookkeeper, making sure each account is properly
During this process, some items have needed to be moved from the
Chamber Foundation to the Chamber - again, per the Executive/Finance
Committee. That is what some of these numbers that have been
discussed reflect. This committee is well aware of the Foundation's
and the Chamber's status - none of these decisions have been made
without their direction, contrary to what some have implied. This
same volunteer-based committee and Chamber Board continue to provide
this important oversight while making suggestions as to how we
provide our membership and the community with quality services. This
is a group of small-business owners dedicated to improving and
protecting Moscow's quality of life and business.
I am also very proud of our chamber staff and the tremendous amount
of work they produce on behalf of Moscow and its businesses. Like
many of you, they're overworked and underpaid, but I appreciate how
well they represent this community when the phone rings or a visitor
stops in for travel information.
As the community's "front door," the chamber is often the first
impression someone has of Moscow. We take this responsibility
seriously and we make sure it is a warm and inviting one. We operate
on a fairly small budget and we rely on the great generosity of our
business community to help us provide these services.
Can we do better? Absolutely.
I'm often reminded just how fortunate we are to live in a place where
crime is low, the air is clean and the culture is abundant.
I am also very aware of the importance in protecting these assets,
our farms and farmlands, our forests and lumber mills, our water and
other resources, our businesses and institutions and, most
importantly, our people and our community's rich heritage.
Moscow is a great community full of genuine, caring and active
citizens. I am thankful that I live in a country where I have not
needed to worry about liberty or freedom, that the past and present
sacrifices of those in the armed forces protect us.
As of late, however, there has been a small but loud group of
displeased persons who claim tolerance, yet they are showing how
intolerant they are of other religious and/or moral views.
It's important for me, and others, to keep in mind the majority of us
are trying to live in an area that we are convinced is one of the
best places on Earth to live and raise our families.
I am concerned some have grown suspicious of others in our community
and harsh words have been expressed. Accusations have been made about
one another and those who have control of the "public square."
Moscow is far too good a town for this kind of behavior to continue.
Our founding fathers would have expected more, and so should we.
* Paul J. Kimmell is executive director of the Moscow Chamber of
Commerce and a Latah County commissioner.
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