Health corridor process offers powerful lesson

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For entertainment purposes, itís a 7.

Pure information? Give it a 5.

How about as a lesson that might help guide locals in the future? Ah, that could register a perfect 10.

Todayís adventure led by reporter Craig Northrup through some of the blazing quotes and background from Tuesday nightís health corridor vote is worth the five solid minutes it might take you to absorb. Weíre ignoring the goal of keeping articles as short as possible because in one big bite-sized chunk, youíre receiving a synopsis of the way the publicís business should be conducted.

What some might perceive as rancor and ranting in newsprint and ink, we see as a pure positive: Passionate citizens and public officials engaged in the decision-making process on an issue that will have major ramifications in our community for many years to come.

Whether you side with the urban renewal agency team and Kootenai Health CEO Jon Ness and the vast majority of the Coeur díAlene City Council or with the head of the local Republican Party and the anti-urban renewal agency team and the occasional citizen whoís going to tilt against any windmill rising in the kingdom of officialdom is beside the point. Tuesday nightís 5-1 vote capped a civics lesson that was flunked by many because they werenít paying attention.

Of all the reasons some people may have had for opposing the massive project, at least one is completely groundless. Accusations that the city, the urban renewal agency and the hospital were sneaking a fast one past the people are bogus. Claims of an 11th hour coup are simply wrong.

June 4 headline in The Press: New health corridor seeks public guidance

June 25 headline in The Press: Health corridor still looking for public input

July 9 headline in The Press: Big ideas, small crowds at health corridor workshop

July 11 headline in The Press: Consultants reveal first design to health corridor

On and on the coverage has gone. In fact, few topics have consumed more space in the communityís newspaper since early summer than this one, much of it dedicated to soliciting the publicís involvement and opinions on the subject. Anybody saying the power brokers were dealing in back rooms is admitting he or she just wasnít paying attention.

The health corridor vote is over, but developing issues with community-wide impact are unfolding. Right now, Coeur díAlene School District is reaching out to the public for many of the same reasons Kootenai Health and the city of Coeur díAlene did: Growth is necessitating serious adjustments in the way business is being conducted. With Coeur díAlene schools, growth means school boundaries are going to change. And that may become a major disruption for any parent whoís going to have to conduct the business of education differently next year than this one.

An old Buddhist saying goes, ďWhen the student is ready, the teacher appears.Ē

Students, the school boundary teacher is already here.

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