For far too long, we have seen our communities become increasingly divided. Unfortunately, Lake County Commissioner Gale Decker has joined the ranks of other elected officials in worsening that trend. On many of the problems we face, he has not listened to the concerns of the citizens. His actions and words have only divided us further.
Perhaps our greatest common ground is our shared love of this place, and perhaps the greatest step toward guaranteeing its continued well-being was the county’s historic 2006 adoption of the Density Map and Regulations, which were complemented by parallel policies adopted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. When the commissioners sought public comment on the policy, a strong majority expressed support. It didn’t matter to Decker, who led the commission’s decision to gut it, rather than improve it. Their action amounted to destroying the village in order to save it – a nonsensical plan to bring money into county government by unleashing uncontrolled sprawl. This approach threatens to transform the Mission and Jocko valleys into places blighted by strip development, like the Bitterroot or the Flathead.
We are tired of the destructive, can’t-do spirit that has long dominated the county courthouse. We need leaders who will hear our concerns. We need practical leaders who also have vision and imagination, who will help us see that our path forward is not in descending into more division, but in nurturing mutual respect. We need leaders who will bring us together, toward a more prosperous and sustainable future – one that both supports our economy and also protects the quality of life that we cherish.
As chair of the Polson school board, Caroline McDonald has strong experience serving our community. It’s time for a change. Please vote for McDonald on Nov. 6.