COMMUNITY MUST HEAL: A CHALLENGE

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I have been behind the microphone for 10 years now. In the course of time, I have covered many elections and have seen first-hand how bruising and hurtful campaigns can be to people. None have been as difficult to watch, however, as the annexation battle in Washington--which pitted good people who care about their community against good people who care about their community. For those of us who were not nearly as vested in the debate, it was like watching a couple of dear friends heading towards divorce.

Now is the time for healing. Throughout its history, Washington has been a forward-thinking place, defined by those who give generously of their time, talents and treasure to the community. Washington works not just because of the folks within its boundaries, but the folks who live in the country as well. Our city cannot afford to have a lasting rift between the folks in town and those on the other side of the city lines.

On behalf of those who witnessed the ferocity of the debate on both sides, I urge the pro- and anti-annexation people to come together. I also challenge respected leaders of the community who have not been directly involved in the debate to step forward as mediators.

Clearly, the plan of intent outlined in the involuntary annexation proposal is not workable. There are however, common interests. The city has a water and sewer treatment facility it would like to extend to neighboring areas. Everyone wants to see more affordable housing available so younger people will stay in town. There are many more ways to do this than the plan of intent or the involuntary annexation process.

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