[Vision2020] Kimmell in Daily News

Mark Solomon 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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