The answer, we think, is pretty obvious. Although Infrastructure First is small, poorly funded and fairly powerless, it's been a burr on the butt of the local real estate / developer / builder axis for years. As long as Infrastructure First exists, it continues to call attention to the dismal failure of Bend to intelligently plan for and manage growth. The growth-at-any-cost faction and its cheerleaders in city government and the local media would like nothing better than to see Infrastructure First just go away - quietly if possible, kicking and screaming if necessary.
Speaking of media cheerleaders, Bend's Only Daily Newspaper has predictably endorsed Capell's proposal. It conceded that it can take grassroots organizations time to get their act together, so "the city shouldn't set so short a limit that it would effectively squelch all initiatives." But without a time limit, the editorial argued, "almost any nutty idea could eventually get enough signatures to appear on the ballot."
Maybe so. But so what? Isn't it the right of the voters - not three or four people on a newspaper editorial board - to decide that an initiative is "nutty" and reject it?
And if Infrastructure First's idea is so nutty, what are the growth lobby and its apologists afraid of? Why do they want to shut down debate instead of arguing the issue on its merits?
Coming close on the heels of the council's decision to give builders a handout by deferring Systems Development Charges, the move to stifle Infrastructure First is disappointing, but not really surprising. Here's THE BOOT to Capell's idea, and to the council for not kicking it out the door immediately.