Letters to the Editor for Nov. 1, 2011

What are Steve Bang’s motives?

I wasn’t going to write a letter to the editor, but after seeing the “Write-in” signs for Steve Bang pop up in the last couple of days, I decided I should.

Why would someone who wants to run for an elected seat run a secret campaign? What does Mr. Bang have to hide? What is the platform he is running on? What is his reasoning for wanting to be on Council? Why not debate like the rest of the candidates? Where is his transparency?

I have grave concerns for someone who does an 11th-hour run for an election. The citizens of Camas should be asking the same questions.

Linda Dietzman, the person he wants to run against, is a very thorough and conscientious Council member, she listens and researches the issues given before her. I also support Mayor Scott Higgins, and Council members Tim Hazen and Shannon Turk. They have all demonstrated the willingness to jump in and learn their respective positions. They are not afraid to speak up and ask questions.

I really believe we have a good team, we are all individuals with our own opinions, we may not always agree with each other, but it is OK to disagree as long as we respect each other, and I believe we do.

I ask the citizens of Camas who have not voted yet to please seriously ask yourselves the same questions, and if we are not doing a good job, then tell us so we can have the ability to regain your trust, before electing some unknowns.

Melissa Smith, Camas Council member, Ward 1, Position 2

Clean-up dysfunctional City Council

If you like a dysfunctional city council, wasting time on issues like Arizona immigration law and abortion, and rejecting anything that might help our city if it has state or federal funding attached, vote to re-elect Michael Delavar and Jennifer McDaniel. They have, along with council members Jon Russell and Dave Shoemaker, been the cause of the dysfunction. You can vote in Jon Russell’s chosen candidates, Connie Jo Freeman and Caryn Plinski, if you want more dysfunction.

Or, if you think we need a fully functional city council during these hard times, one that keeps their focus on what is really important for our city government to accomplish, vote to re-elect Molly Coston and Rod Morris. They are proven and dedicated leaders with the best interests of all of Washougal as their guiding principal.

And vote in Niki Anderson and Joyce Lindsay. Niki has deep roots in Washougal and is involved and active in our community. Joyce is a retired small business owner with a long list of achievements and involvement in Washougal. They would be careful members of the city council, paying attention to the needs of the city.

Richard Hamby, Washougal

Clancy, Hoober and Larson are part of a good team

I retired from ECFR in 2008 after serving our rural community as a volunteer firefighter since 1977. During that time I saw many improvements in Fire District 9.

The merger with Fire District 1 in 2006 created East County Fire & Rescue. Not only did that add many volunteers, it raised the Board of Fire Commissioners to five seats.

The current Board has done an outstanding job of managing ECFR’s budget to provide apparatus, equipment and facilities, so that ECFR’s dedicated volunteers can provide emergency services to the residents of the area. Training, under the guidance of Chief Scott Koehler and his staff, keeps those volunteers up to date on their skills.

The terms of commissioners John Clancy, George (Jack) Hoober and Gary Larson expire this year and each are seeking re-election. They are an integral part of a team that has served the voters of the ECFR area well, keeping cost efficient service and financial stability in the department. The diverse backgrounds of all of the commissioners provides for a comprehensive view of the challenges they face.

In contrast, having three professional firefighters in control of ECFR would severely restrict that view and possibly put the financial future of the department in jeopardy. To me, the opposition candidates seem to present a conflict of interest to the wellbeing of ECFR.

Please, be an informed voter and visit www.fcomm.org for a more information about the accomplishments of the current Board of Fire Commissioners and the detrimental effects that ECFR could face pending the outcome of this important election.

Join me in voting to retain these conscientious stewards of your fire department. Keep Clancy, Hoober, and Larson as fire commissioners to protect ECFR and its volunteers.

Jim Ludwig, Fern Prairie

Don’t vote for ‘that guy’

I am a flight instructor, my wife is also a pilot, we have owned several airplanes, and we are obviously aviation enthusiasts.

I would like to see Camas Grove Field become more than the hobby airport it is now, however, not at any expense to the community. Expanding the airport should be a community decision. Local control is important

The real reason for Neil Cahoon running for Port Commissioner is not about digging into Port business and financials; it is about getting the agreement signed with the FAA. In doing this he is only representing one small group in our community.

Tony Rhodig, Washougal

Anderson fails a fundamental

One fundamental qualification for a candidate for public office should be that they are a regular voter. In Washougal city elections, I checked out how often city council candidates have voted. Most of the candidates appear to have been regular voters. All except one of the candidates have at least managed to vote in the last two even-year general elections — elections when such offices as president, governor, U.S. Senate and House are on the ballot.

I was amazed to find that Washougal City Council candidate Niki Anderson has not voted since 2004 — seven years. How can a person who never votes be expected to take her job seriously as a potential city council member when she can’t take her right to vote as a citizen seriously?

Instead of Anderson who apparently can’t be bothered to meet her civic responsibilities by voting in the past seven years, I am voting for Jennifer McDaniel for Washougal City Council Position No. 5.

Don Weidner, Washougal

Questionable votes

Some votes cast by the Washougal Mayor and some Council members, which they apparently seem reluctant to share with the voters in the upcoming election, are as follows:

Mayor Guard revealed his political beliefs when he joined the three liberal council members by voting the same as they did on five occasions during the last several months.

He solidified that position by endorsing Council members Coston and Morris and candidates Lindsay and Anderson in the upcoming election.

Last July 4, Coston agreed with my description of Washougal’s Councilors’ political make-up. Four fiscal conservatives and the three liberals, Coston, Morris and Greenlee. Coston described herself as a moderate liberal.

Some of Coston’s and Morris’s votes are as follows:

  1. Both voted yes creating a new position for an aide to the City Administrator. Salary $40,000 a year to start, plus benefits.

  2. Both voted yes to have sidewalks installed on the South side of E Street from Sixth Street to 17th Street. Cost about $250,000. Money to come from the city’s Reserve Fund.

  3. Both voted yes every time a vote was taken for installing roundabouts on Highway 14 at River road and at 32nd Street. Total City money spent on the study of roundabouts since 2006 is almost $100,000, plus 400 to 500 employee hours. The last vote taken was in 2010 when the roundabouts were removed from Washougal’s six-year transportation plan. The vote was 4 to 3 against. This ended the discussion, and the controversial roundabouts were finally voted out.

  4. Both councilors Coston and Morris voted yes to restructure E Street from four driving lanes to two driving lanes.

  5. Both Coston and Morris voted yes to replace the traffic light at 17th and “E” streets with a roundabout. Voted down 4 to 3.

  6. Councilor Morris opposed, at two different meetings, a resolution to be read yearly on 9/11 honoring our police officers and firefighters.

Morris at the first council meeting when the resolution was suggested by me, said that it should be a day for all employees, not just first responders.

At the next meeting, when the resolution was discussed again, Morris suggested that some utility workers had more dangerous jobs than firefighters. Morris has been a volunteer firefighter for about 30 years.The resolution was passed. My research has shown that Washougal is the first city in Washington State to pass a first responder resolution.

We need voices of reason on Washougal’s City Council that have and will, in the future, vote to protect your tax dollars and say no to anyone’s pet project.

Please vote to retain McDaniel and Delavar, and vote for Freeman and Plinski. These four will return Washougal’s City Council to fiscal responsibility.

Harvey D. Olson, Washougal

No to Whistling Ridge

The Whistling Ridge wind energy development proposal intends to construct up to 50 turbines on a 2,000-foot-high ridge line adjacent to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

In 2009, National Geographic Traveler ranked the Columbia Gorge No. 6 in the world among iconic destinations, ahead of every national park in the country. Going forward with a project like Whistling Ridge would ruin the outstanding scenic resources of the Columbia Gorge for miles around.

The 35 turbines, all of which would be more than 420 feet tall and constantly flashing, would be visible from the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Historic Columbia River Highway, the town of White Salmon, and many homes and popular hiking spots.

The Washington State Energy Site Evaluation Council recently recommended approval of this controversial project to Gov. Gregoire. She needs to have the courage to deny this poorly conceived proposal. After all, the entire project would have a maximum capacity of only 75 MW, and the energy would more than likely be shipped to California.

Let’s not sacrifice Washington communities and the beautiful Columbia River Gorge to power hair dryers in Los Angeles.

Eleanor Warren, Washougal

Tweet does her homework

Margaret Tweet has been actively serving the Camas community since 1998. She has worked diligently on local projects like Grass Valley Park and updating library policy. She has also opened up local government.

For example, the Camas City Council used to have their annual planning meeting at Skamania Lodge with overnight stays and fine dining at public expense. Tweet publicly objected until the wasteful practice was stopped. She has already displayed the determination it would take to serve well on the City Council.

She does thorough research and shares her findings, as was evident at the CHS Candidate Forum last Monday. Tweet displayed knowledge about the current issues at hand with facts, figures and examples. To see the forum, see www.cvtv.org. I also encourage you to take a look at her website: Tweet4Camas.com. She has compiled a “cheat sheet” on some of the hot topics in Camas.

For example: Steve Bang is running as a write-in candidate for Camas City Council Ward 2. You can access information about his extensive business background at www.StevenBang.com

Tweet does her homework; now it is time for citizens to do theirs and cast an informed ballot.

Hannah Tweet, Camas

Cahoon for port commissioner

CHS students asked relevant questions at the recent candidate forum, available on-demand at www.cvtv.org.

I was impressed with Neil Cahoon, a former engineer, Air Force Academy professor, military officer and current airline pilot.

Port Commissioners are responsible for three key community assets: the marina with park, industrial space and an airport.

An opportunity to apply for a $10 million federal grant to improve the safety and function of the airport has arisen that should be seized. The lengthy environmental study necessary to apply for the funds has already been completed, yet current port commissioners decided against submitting the grant application.

If accepted, the grant would return money to our area and boost needed jobs. The application is supported by all our state legislators, county commissioners, the Camas mayor, and some city councilors.

Cahoon explained that Grove Field is the only airport near Portland above the flood plain, and could be vital in a natural disaster. The massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami is a reminder of the need for alternative rapid response when roads are damaged.

If Cahoon is elected for Port Commissioner, this missed opportunity can still be pursued and strong leadership will serve the entire port district. For information, see www.ElectNeilCahoon.com.

Doug Tweet, Camas

Elect write-in candidate Steve Bang

My good friend, Steve Bang, is running as a write -in candidate for Camas City Council Ward 2.

I was delighted when Steve chose to run for city council. We were talking about how the incumbent had not even bothered to offer her bio nor hopes for Camas in the voter’s pamphlet. That indifference to our community really bothered me.

Steve has been on our homeowner’s association for many years and I know that if he put the same kind of intelligence to work for Camas, we’d live in a better town. Because of his years in business he has just the skills Camas needs to move forward. I’ve known him since 1999 to be hard working and intelligent.

His opponent is advocating an unnecessary C-Tran tax hike this November that will take about $9 million out of our local economy each year and transfer it to government. Has Camas been any part of the decision process here?

She and Coucilwoman Shannon Turk are the liaisons for a new community center. The idea is to borrow money to build a $15 to $22 million facility and add a new layer of taxation to keep it going. This plan was discussed in the city council this October and might replace the Moose Lodge with a new pool. Lacamas Swim & Sport has a pool not too far away that already exists and won’t cost the taxpayers additional millions of new taxes. Plus, I’d miss the Moose Lodge.

Steve has a web site at www.StevenBang.com. Have a look to see what more can Steve offer our community.

Richard Arnold IV, Camas

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