I’m Gina Taruscio and I’m running for re-election as your representative to the Moscow City Council.
I have a maturing vision to provide leadership on the issues facing our city. Below, I’ll share some insights about my perspective, and I invite you to share your thoughts with me.
I say “maturing” because of course, who could live through the last 20 months and not learn a few things?
As we approach the November 2021 election, I’m completing my sixth year on the Moscow Council. From my lens, here are the big planning issues for Moscow -- topics on which I think we need community conversations:
1. Growth – How will we manage and accept it? How will we approach the impact of growth on the city’s infrastructure? What kinds of cost impacts should we prepare for?
2. Housing – There just is simply not enough housing - affordable or otherwise! What’s the plan? Is there a plan? Who owns the plan?
3. Water – The time to make a plan for our water needs is now. Available data suggest that there are legitimate concerns facing us in the next 30 years. We need to get going on this conversation.
4. Division – Relationally, we pride ourselves on being a welcoming city. However, for far too long, we’ve been indulging in rampant hate and selective respect. We need to face reality and press the reset button on what it means to be neighborly.
In Moscow, this strange time in which we live has found local businesses carrying the brunt of the impact of COVID-19, with some businesses having closed permanently.
Hindsight is 20/20: I am sorry for the manner in which we failed to provide a voice for individuals and businesses -- the Council led how it thought best with the limited data and projections at hand. I have learned that some choices are citizens’ to make.
Another thing I’ve learned is that as citizens we all have a responsibility to contribute. We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results. I have the vision to get better results.
And it’s clear to me that now is the time to make a change: I’m looking for residents who are willing to put their hand to the plow, if you will, and be engaged in citizenship. Are you ready to do something different?
Citizenship is illustrated by the quality of individual behavior. Good citizenship should include truthfulness, respect, responsibility in daily life, and participation in how we govern ourselves.
We need to educate ourselves about the issues, respectfully hold elected representatives to their word, and vote in city elections.
Are you with me so far?
Neither citizenship nor good governance means that we will always agree, which would be impossible in the first place. But even when we don’t all agree, we must engage the basics we started learning way back in Kindergarten – be truthful and respectful, and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
We must relearn how to discuss and debate issues and still leave conversations without hating each other. As citizens, we have two key opportunities to let our opinions be known: When we vote for members of the city council. And, when we show up at any number of community meetings or city council sessions.
I have to ask, “Do you attend any city\community meetings?” If not, why not? Are you expecting, or even demanding better results? With all do respect, you must get involved. My coalition will help each person find a path to involvement and start doing things differently.
Here are the basic tenets of my vision. If you will join my coalition and engage within this framework, then I believe there’s no limit to what we can accomplish for Moscow’s future:
1. Transparency: A continuous sentiment, if not frustration, expressed by city residents, me included, is the need for transparency. What issues is the city thinking about? How do citizens get to have input? How do we improve the opportunity for citizens to have a voice? These are important questions and with your support, I will be unrelenting in pursuit of improving transparency into city government. If transparency is important, your voice needs to be part of the audience that calls for it.
2. Involvement: We get the government we deserve and the lack of consistent, broad, citizen engagement is a direct contribution to the results we’re getting. Consider this:
The sad fact is that at the average regularly scheduled city council meeting, a handful of people show up from among the 20,000+ residents and hundreds of Moscow businesses. Let that sink in.
Check out the city of Moscow website and scroll down to Current and Upcoming Events. There, look through the variety of community meetings that are already in motion. Even if you don’t see a topic that is of direct interest, what should you do? Pick a topic, show up. Keep showing up. Get involved in the name of good citizenship.
The City Council regular meeting is also on that list. I encourage you to come, listen, learn the process -- and let’s collaborate on the future.
3. Be a good neighbor: In a free society, we will differ on philosophy, approach, or religious grounds. In a civil society, we must come together, exchange ideas, listen to what others are saying, and then hammer out the details and forge our way ahead -- together.
It is a misconception that everybody has to believe the same thing, let alone agree all the time.
During the prior 245 years of American history, people have agreed to disagree.
We’ve lost our way. Around us is the pinnacle of arrogance – people believe that theirs is the only view. It devolves into hate when our neighbors scheme how to run other neighbors out of town, or makes lists of businesses to boycott because of their religion, or to accost someone on Moscow’s streets just because they don’t hold the same lockstep view.
Some of our neighbors have deluded themselves into believing these behaviors are good.
Let’s be clear – there is no civilized place on Earth where those behaviors are good. I’m a leading voice standing up against the intolerance that bills itself as “tolerant.” Will you join me?
If we will apply ourselves to transparency, involvement, and being neighborly we will be postured to face the future. Together, we can chart a better course to good governance.
When critical issues arise, you must be willing to set aside what you’re working on and engage with the city council.
Are you willing to do your part to obtain different results? If so, I need to be able to contact you and let you know what’s happening so that you can act.
Join my grassroots coalition. Tell me which topics are important to you. I’ll let you know when it’s time for you to do your part. Here’s the link to join the coalition.
I also need to hear from you. Thinking about our city, what’s bugging you? What’s working for you? Do you wish something was different? Is there a mystery I can solve? These are important questions, and I want to help. I hope you’ll take the time to tell me what’s on your mind. Please feel free to email me.
When you cast your vote for me on the Moscow city council, here’s what you’ll be voting for:
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REMEMBER: Your vote counts. For Moscow city council positions, the top vote-getters win.
Vote like your future counts on it!
Oct 4 - Absentee voting begins (Request an absentee ballot at the Idaho elections page).
Oct 8 - Advance voter registration closes. Individuals can still register on election day but why wait! Use this handy Idaho link to register online today!
Oct 18 - Early in-person voting begins.
Nov 2 - Election day.