EDITOR’S DESK: ‘No’ on Parenthood expansion

       As some readers may have noticed, this paper has avoided taking strong positions on specific issues since we started hitting the streets back in January. Part of this was a matter of presumptuousness - when one is new on the block, one doesn't want to jump right in and start issuing proclamations. Another part relates to this scribe's personal outlook that taking strong positions is not necessarily the best way to achieve the so-called common good. And, from a newspaper standpoint, objectivity helps control the kind of emotion that can impede impartial news gathering .
       However... There are times when a position is unavoidable. In this case I am talking about Planned Parenthood's proposed expansion of its facility at 14th Street and West Colorado Avenue. I won't go into all the details here (the article on Page 1 would be useful for that purpose), but the long and short of it is that the plan is bad for the neighborhood and bad for the Westside. I'll stop short of saying bad anywhere. I'm limiting this position-taking to just our part of town.
        Let's be clear: This is not playing to the crowd, even though 26 people spoke against and only 2 in favor at the public meeting June 2. Not that the majority didn't raise some good points - such as historic preservation, neighborhod character, safety and property values. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood representatives made no real points of their own - no statements about love of the area, of wanting to be part of the community. I even asked them about that afterward. They just reiterated their main items: They want to expand their business (with the rather weak argument that a bigger parking lot will help local traffic), and it would be hard to obtain the needed zoning elsewhere. I'll continue to strive for fairness on news coverage of the issue, but editorially Planned Parenthood gets my first “no” vote.

- K.J.