Merchants doing the right thing

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Cohesiveness in any body of people can do amazing things as is evidenced in the civil rights movement, the Revolutionary War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Cohesiveness in the form of a

merchants association can provide the spark needed to invigorate downtown North Bend.

Recent discussions by downtown North Bend merchants about forming

a merchants association are the right thing for both merchants and North

Bend residents. Too many times issues and decisions come up that directly

affect business and residential members of the community resulting in action

that may not be in the best interest of the city as a whole. In North Bend's case,

city staff, though they work diligently, cannot possibly cover all the bases and

know the direction a city should take. And the mayor, also working diligently,

cannot possibly have the pulse of the residents and businesses on every issue. So

the creation of a voice representing the business interests of downtown North

Bend is the right thing to do.

So what are the benefits of a cohesive group representing business

interests? Well, for one, influence on elections. Maybe a political candidate is

short sighted in their endeavors or doesn't take into account business issues

when deciding on various city actions. Maybe a political candidate doesn't

realize the importance of small business tax generation, failing to shop locally

for their dry cleaning, banking or gifts. A unified body of merchants, with

collective dollars, can influence elections and launch those that don't truly

represent all their constituents' interests.

City staff will be more inclined to assure that the interests of

downtown merchants are heard, but the most important element that a merchants

association can bring to the table is passion. Passion for the businesses that

support their families and passion for the community that their business hopefully

thrives in. Sometimes city staff and elected officials fail to bring that same level

of passion to the table, which when lacking, can cause erroneous decisions to

be made or over zealous ordinances to be passed.

North Bend merchants are doing the right thing and hopefully, when

talking about a vision for the city, they are heard as much as the elected

officials and residents.

Jim McKiernan

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