Letters to the Editor for April 5, 2011

Vote on light rail in 2011

On Sept. 14, 2010, C-TRAN passed a motion to put a ballot measure on the Nov. 8, 2011, general election with two questions: 1) A two-tenths percent sales tax hike to fund bus and para-transit. 2) A one-tenth percent sales tax hike to fund operations of light rail as part of the Columbia River Crossing Project and the Capital and Operations cost of Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit.

County Commissioner Steve Stuart restated that as a campaign promise (Columbian Oct. 27, 2010), “As for light rail, …there is going to be a vote next November.” Stuart now urges to delay the promised light rail vote, “But nobody has made that policy case to me about the other measure, about why we have to go out this year” (Columbian March 17, 2011).

Stuart and others are pushing a final decision on a replacement I-5 bridge with light rail now. Clearly the public vote should be held before light rail is included as part of the proposed Columbia River Crossing.

Furthermore, if the vote occurs prior to July 2012, the vote must take place throughout C-TRAN’s entire service area. After July 2012, C-TRAN can form a smaller subdistrict. If Vancouver were the subdistrict, Camas and Washougal residents would not have a vote. If Vancouver passes the sales tax hike, all would who shop in Vancouver would pay, taxation without representation.

Camas and Washougal are represented on the C-Tran Board by a city councilor, and all are represented by all three Clark County Commissioners.

The Post-Record reported Camas Councilor Linda Dietzman’s statement, “There might not be enough time to put information (about both measures) in front of the voters.” The Post failed to report that, C-TRAN CEO Jeff Hamm said that preparation for the light rail ballot measure would be “tight,” not impossible.

Citizens who want to vote on costly light rail should contact their city and county ASAP. The C-Tran Board is expected to decide whether to proceed with the planned light rail vote in 2011 at the Tuesday, April 12, meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the County building. (www.c-tran.com)

Margaret Tweet, Camas

Camas mayor needs to decide

Many, many years ago a friend asked me to explain the meaning of “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” During the course of our discussion it became evident that he was trying to maintain a “friendly” relationship with two young ladies at the same time. Obviously it was not working well. After much deliberation and considerable consideration he made his choice and never looked back.

Camas Mayor Paul Dennis, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” If being the economic czar of Camas/Washougal is more important to you than being the mayor of Camas then I would suggest you resign now and not later – time to “make your choice.” The City of Camas deserves “first choice” not “second choice” in its elected officials. We do not need a “default” mayor.

My friend did the right thing and it worked out well.

John Raynor, Camas

‘Community commercial’ rezoning unwise

I’m sorry I couldn’t get to the March 22 Washougal Planning Commission meeting. I wanted to get a few points cleared up before my private residence could be swallowed up by a “Community Commercial” black hole.

I live on “G” Street, east of Hathaway Elementary School. Two blocks from “E” Street. I’ve gotten the notices that my property would fall into that above category. Really? Community Commercial property two blocks from “E” Street?

I agree with the opinions that we have enough commercial property. More than enough it seems. Why are we looking for other locations when we can’t fill all the openings we have now?

Before we allow our private houses to be rezoned, there’s some things we need to think about. In a typical rezoning the committee would have the final say on what is done with each parcel of property. If you have a desirable property with, say, extra lots on one or two sides, and a well known store decides they want to build on your property, that committee could force you to sell whether you wanted to or not. The price paid for your property would be a minimum value. Of course the committee doesn’t say anything about that now.

Another thing I wanted to be cleared up was property taxes. Community Commercial properties are taxed at a different rate than private residence property. And believe me, it’s definitely not less than you’re paying now. Could that be a reason for “rezoning?” A healthy raise in revenue for the Washougal city coffers is a very attractive incentive.

Mitch Kneipp says that “rezoning is an effort to create jobs and opportunities for ongoing retail sales tax.” Let me say this, if the existing commercial property we already have can’t be filled up “for ongoing retail sales tax,” where is the wisdom to keep adding vacant businesses?

Fred M. King, Washougal

Washougal resident has the ‘E Street blues’

As I feel it’s always better to laugh than cry, I offer this to my fellow E Street travelers:

E Street Blues are on the rise

LA commuters can sympathize.

Flagger stops me, I must wait, or whirling rig may decapitate.

Flagger absent, are they insane?

Cars coming at me in my lane.

“Lane closed ahead” Left or right?

Both seemed closed the other night.

Potholes here, gashes there.

May bust a tire, where’s my spare?

Zigging, zagging, what a bummer, should be over by late Summer.

Cheryl Moulton, Washougal

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