Thursday, September 11, 2014

Writing Off the News Pitch

Two-sentence explanation: The City of Pullman has many goals for their future. One way they reach that goal is through hiring consultants to take another look at the city.

Evidence: Recently the City of Pullman had a parking study done by two consulting firms. The city and it’s people were not pleased with the consultant’s suggestion to consider eliminating 41 parking spots on Grand Avenue to open up a lane on each side of the street. The reason I bring this up is because this incident got me wondering, how does the city choose their consulting firms to hire for studies? The people of Pullman were furious at the notion to eliminate parking spaces. I started wondering, “how did this firm get the job? They clearly don’t understand what Pullman needs or can handle.”

Why now: The Planning Department is beginning their Comprehensive Plan process. Although the entire process takes two years, the consultant choosing process can be explained and understood at any time. The story about choosing a consultant is important now because the Comprehensive Plan helps the city plan for 10-15 years at a time. In the grand scheme, the department already has a 50 year plan in place (set to be “complete” in 2060), but historically the city checks itself every 10-15 years to make sure they’re on track and if the citizens like the city’s plan and goals for the future, according to Pete Dickinson.

Interviews: Pullman Planning Director, Pete Dickinson, I’ve already interviewed Pete a few times. I’m going to set up an interview (hopefully) with Public Works Director, Kevin Gardes, because Dickinson says Gardes deals with hiring consultants the most because Public Works has so many different facets and potential consultants needed to hire. I also want to talk to a Pullman resident and get their thoughts on the past consultants (especially the last one with the parking fiasco).

Format and Length: I think I can tell the story in 500-750 words. I don’t think it will be hard to digest or confusing because I’ve been working all summer to make my pieces easily digestible for the public.

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