Letters to the Editor for Oct. 11, 2011

McDaniel considers all sides

I have known Jennifer McDaniel for many years, and I believe she is an effective, dedicated member of our City Council. Not only does she do her own research when faced with tough issues, she considers all sides, and ultimately puts Washougal first when making her decisions.

Jennifer has said that government should live within their means, and I agree. She has proven to be very fiscally conservative, and has served on the city’s financial committee for the past two years. She scrutinizes every tax dollar the city spends, and supports a balanced budget. I believe that in order to make it through these tough economic times, we are going to need to keep a frugal voice on the City Council, and I believe that Jennifer is that voice.

If you would like to maintain a strong leader with a business background, who listens to our needs and provides positive, constructive solutions, please vote for Jennifer McDaniel for Washougal City Council Position No. 5.

Ron Tooley, Washougal

Kakuk was ‘railroaded'

This is in response to the Camas-Washougal Post-Record article concerning the mayoral run of Ken Kakuk.

Family and close friends were privy to the events that led up the Ken’s dismissal at the city. We expected to take a great deal of heat when Ken decided to run for mayor. People who are close to him were surprised that administration could treat an excellent longtime employee with such disrespect and cruelty. The last thing this administration wants is to be subordinate to a mayor who knows the inner workings of our city.

Ken was respectful of his supervisors and coworkers, but he did not give up his rights as a citizen just to please them. They came up with all kinds of accusations, in fact, Mr. Higgins under recommendation of administration, judged Ken and fired him without ever giving Ken a chance to defend himself. When given the opportunity by a State of Washington Employment Security Department Office of Administrative Hearings to support their accusations, city administration opted not to give sworn testimony, thus the accusations were found to be “unsubstantiated.”

How can those things be printed in the Post-Record if they were never proved? These are biased and libelous remarks and Ken is taking them very seriously. It seems the Post has opened this can of worms and a response is necessary. Ken was railroaded by Camas administration and he won’t give up his convictions of what is right.

Ken Kakuk is a good man with solid principals. He has a passion to make our city more efficient, having greater accountability and ethical practices. I believe the Camas city administrator and the Camas-Washougal Post-Record owe Ken a public apology. Now let’s get down to real issues.

Carol Kakuk, Camas

Editor’s note: Details about Ken Kakuk’s termination from employment with the City of Camas published in the Oct. 4 article were obtained through the Open Public Records Act and are considered public information.

Margaret for Camas Council

I most emphatically encourage all to vote for Margaret Tweet for Camas City Council.

I have lived in Camas for 17 years and have known Margaret for 13 years. She has always proven to be genuine, sincere and caring. She remains upstanding and puts her heart and soul into all that she does. She listens to the people and would be a voice for the people and help ensure wise decisions made for the future of Camas.

I have researched and followed Margaret’s views and stances. Margaret has a solid depth of knowledge of the local issues and will not hesitate to ask the hard questions when needed. I’m in agreement with her that the city ethics policy should apply to the mayor and council. See her website: Tweet4Camas.com.

I’m glad Margaret took the time to field test play equipment at local parks and recommend more play equipment for Grass Valley Park than was planned. Whenever we stop by, smiling faces of kids enjoying themselves make me grateful for spots like this. Plus, the tennis courts are a nice feature for all ages. We love our parks and trails and are grateful for how Camas invests in them.

Lisa Reiter, Camas

Ward for Port Commissioner

Bill Ward has done an excellent job as our port commissioner. Under his leadership the port has improved communications with the cities of Camas and Washougal, developed a long-term strategic plan to bring jobs to our region, protected the marina and the Parkersville Historic site, and has encouraged public input on all decisions the port has made.

Mr. Ward made a thoughtful and well informed decision regarding the recent Grove Field Airport expansion and helped relieve the concerns of many long-time Fern Prairie residents and port district members.

Ward has earned our trust and I encourage everyone to re-elect him to our Camas-Washougal Port Commission.

Linda Busch Pfeifle, Fern Prairie

Cooper is an excellent choice for ECFR

I have known Brooks Cooper for many years. I was a volunteer firefighter for the CFD when he became a volunteer firefighter and as time progressed with hard work and determination a career firefighter with the City of Camas.

He has shown his willingness to help his community whenever possible. I feel that he has the common sense and knowledge to be an excellent choice for ECFR Fire Commissioner Position No. 4. His experience in the fire service would be an asset to ECFR in these tough economic times.

Brooks fully realizes that the backbone of ECFR is the volunteers and they will have his full support.

Please join me in support and vote for Brooks as a ECFR fire commissioner.

Leo Jones, Camas

Council got Farrell House ruling wrong

I was very disappointed by the recent decision by the City Council to deny the permit for the adaptive use of the Farrell House. And I was perhaps as disappointed by the process as the outcome.

I realize the decision was a difficult one and thoughtful minds could disagree. But the Council did not appear to make a thoughtful decision. I heard absolutely no discussion of the long-term ramifications of the denial.

It is rarely possible for private owners to continue to maintain big old homes like this one without some adaptive use. They fall into disrepair, attract vandals and unlawful occupancy. They then face demolition and the land becomes available for uses which may be far less agreeable to the neighborhood. I understand that this now beautiful home had already begun a slow decline when it was previously on the market and failed to attract a buyer.

I did not even hear the Council acknowledge or attempt to understand the long, painstaking work by the Planning Commission. Sometimes leadership requires taking, or at least understanding, difficult positions in the long-term interests of our community.

A quick, politically expedient decision on such a complex issue should not be one in which our leaders take pride.

Patricia Wallace, Camas

Freeman is educated, organized

For things to change, we have to change.

If you want to make Washougal a better place to live, vote for Connie Jo Freeman.

As a former school administrator, she is well educated and organized to serve you as a new Washougal City Council member. At the present time, she is a bus driver, driving your kids to school every day, which exposes her humility.

She is tired of seeing all of the taxpayers’ money being wasted and having the present city council refusing to entertain future economic development that could have generated more jobs and stimulate the economy.

If Connie Jo Freeman is willing to drive your kids to school every day, may I suggest that you vote for her to be your new city councilwoman.

Joe Levesque, Camas

Open your wallet

At the Sept. 26 Washougal City Council meeting, there was a vote to create a new salaried position for an assistant to the city administrator. The voting was as follows: For — Molly Coston, Paul Greenlee, Rod Morris, and Mayor Sean Guard (to break the tie); Against — Dave Shoemaker, Jennifer McDaniel and Jon Russell.

The salary range for this new position would be $3,928-$5,352 per month, plus benefits. Currently, this money is not being spent, (therefore being saved) so the formation of a new position will ultimately result in an increased burden on the already strained fiscal resources of the City, and inevitably, the taxpayer. Furthermore, this position is a staff job, not a more essential service provider, such as police, firefighters or utilities.

Given the current fragile state of our struggling economy, where businesses are forced to cut back, I feel it is an irresponsible decision for the City to add such a position at this time.

Two members who voted for this new position, Molly Coston and Rod Morris, are both running for re-election. This is an opportunity to vote for new council members. Spending is out of control at the federal, state, local, and evidently, the city level. It appears that certain members of the Washougal City Council would feel right at home with the federal spending spree currently occurring in Washington D.C. Now is the time to take action.

Don Bohlin, Washougal

Morris, Lindsay and Coston are dedicated

I believe three candidates for Washougal City Council are especially noteworthy in their dedication to our community.

Rod Morris has been a volunteer first responder for Washougal for 33 years and a council member for 16. He has participated in every public event in which the Washougal Fire Department has been a part. He has fought for the safety and wellbeing of his fellow citizens as well as the emergency medical system in our home town.

He is expert in understanding the challenges of the EMS, which when combined with police is about half of the city’s annual budget. His council work persistently focuses on the good of the community. His reasonableness and approachability have been hallmarks of his work on City Council.

Joyce Lindsay has thoroughly prepared herself for the work of the Council. She has consulted with hundreds of homeowners and knocked on over a thousand doors. She is the only challenger who regularly attends City Council meetings and workshops.

She has had ride-alongs with the police and fire departments, has toured the city’s water supplies, met with city and port staff, the Economic Development Council executive, and met with the mayor.

She has done all of this in order to get a better understanding of the issues Washougal faces.

A former small business owner in Washougal, Joyce Lindsay is a dedicated member of Rotary and the Columbia Gorge Women’s Association. She has volunteered in events such as chairing a scholarship committee to help local women prepare to enter the work force, the Salvation Army, Walk and Knock, Ducky Derby, Santa’s Posse, the Hathaway Elementary School Memorial Garden, and the Camas Performing Arts Series.

Molly Coston is highly respected for her civic work not only in Washougal, but throughout Clark County. She served as mayor pro- tem during a difficult time in Washougal’s history, is an avid proponent of building fiscal reserves and a balanced budget, while wisely investing in attracting businesses to Washougal.

She has been a steady, positive force for public transportation, business growth, community parks and community attractions, while consistently demonstrating fiscal prudence. She believes in building consensus. Molly has done the hard work of patiently providing for the welfare and growth of Washougal.

I believe that Rod Morris, Joyce Lindsay, and Molly Coston have proven their dedication and excellence in our community, and will serve Washougal well on City Council.

Gail Burgess, Washougal

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