Letters to the Editor for Oct. 18, 2011

Turk will be an effective voice

We are privileged to have Shannon Turk running for the Ward 3 position of the Camas City Council.

Ms. Turk has a positive attitude, and an enthusiasm for local government that is infectious.

Her experience working on both the state and local levels of government will give her the background to be an effective voice on the Council.

Her accounting background will be invaluable, as decisions key to the future of Camas are discussed.

Shannon Turk has already demonstrated the ability to work with her fellow council members, since her appointment.

Please join me in voting for Shannon Turk.

Sandra M. Alex, Camas

Unhappy with police response

For the second time within six months, a contractor of the Evergreen Shopping Center in Washougal, flagrantly violated the city noise ordinance. The sub-contractor on the night of Oct. 5 used a high-powered gasoline pressure washer for over three hours, beginning at 9 p.m.

Previously, I have contacted the mayor, council members, and the code enforcement officer about other noises at night from the shopping center, with mixed results.

I was told when I witness what I perceive as a violation to call 911.

I did. No patrol car came to my house.

I live across from the shopping center and receive a lot of noise from activities including car parties near Jack in the Box with sub-woofers blaring, vacuum truck sweepers and pressure washers. These distractions are not enjoyable and since 2000 have been a very strong irritant to the comfort of my home. My neighbors are also impacted but are less vocal and critical of the city and how they handle relationships, than me.

As the city works with developers along E Street and Evergreen, let this be a “warning,” to home owners adjacent to developments. If you think there was an agreement to keep noise and lighting controlled, you may be wrong.

Be vocal and involved. Protect your rights. No one wants to buy a home adjacent to noise, lights, litter and gangs.

The gang and drug dealing seems to be no more adjacent to the drug store, but we neighbors must continue to be vigilant.

Our elected officials pass the buck to enforcement, and enforcement is not there.

Perhaps with the fall elections, we’ll gain some new leadership that is more taxpayer friendly.

After all the city is meant to be our corporation, not a rubber stamp venue for developers and those with partisan political aspirations.

Claude Earl Rorabaugh, Former Washougal planning commissioner and council member

Yes on I-II83

I hope I’m not the only one seriously disturbed by the barrage of primarily web-based advertisements from the “No on I-1183″ group.

This group continues to use outright lies and misinformation to confuse a very simple issue and to hide their true agenda.

This group is not out to “protect our communities,” their goal is simple: to preserve a government bureaucracy and the unions that it supports. There are no less than 21 unions listed on their website, of which six are state employee unions.

We should not allow a group of labor unions to dictate to us what should be common sense: there is nothing inherently wrong with using normal retail channels to sell liquor. It will not cause an increase in drunk driving or in teen alcohol abuse, which is one of the primary straw men that this group throws out in all of their ads showing “teens” buying liquor.

According to the 2007-2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington state has a 30 percent drinking rate for youths ages 12 to 20.

On the other hand, California, which is one of the least controlled liquor sales states in the nation, only has a 26 percent rate for the same age group. In fact, most states are in the 25 percent to 30 percent range, regardless of their level of control of alcohol.

The level of control over the distribution of liquor absolutely does not affect the rate of youth drinking. If you’re worried about your kids drinking, take responsibility and educate them about alcohol. Do not let a bunch of bureaucrats and labor unions dictate more stupidity to us all by using lies and fear mongering.

Jason Downs, Camas

Four candidates will keep taxes low

When I was a medical provider at Columbia Gorge Medical Center in Washougal, I saw hundreds of patients from the Washougal area. Many of my patients were longtime residents of Washougal.

In our casual conversations about Washougal one thing was clear: they loved our city but had concerns about its direction. Many of them felt we were losing our small town identity and the cost of living was beyond what they could afford on a fixed income.

I share their concerns on many levels, and yet I have great hope for our city. This year’s election is critical to the future of Washougal. There are four candidates I am supporting for Washougal City Council: Caryn Plinski, Michael Delavar, Jennifer McDaniel and Connie Jo Freeman. These four candidates represent transparency and less burdensome government. Each of these candidates support a platform of keeping taxes and fees low enough to help us keep more of our money.

In hard times, we need a team that can work together on our behalf.

Please vote for Plinski, Delavar, McDaniel and Freeman for Washougal City Council.

Sarah Russell, Washougal

Leaders should work together

As a 15-year Camas resident, I continue to feel how lucky we all are to have such a great place to live, work and play. We have the best schools and a wonderful historic downtown. The parks, trails and recreational opportunities are incredible.

To keep our area special though, I think it is very important that our East Clark County civic, political and business leaders all work together.

I have seen firsthand wonderful improvements from our leaders in this capacity. So it was refreshing for me to hear Camas-Washougal Port Commissioner candidate Bill Ward talking at a recent Chamber After Hours function about how we all need to work together. His re-election yard sign says that “Bill works for everyone.” I believe it.

And the good news is I have heard other experienced leaders and candidates speak to this subject, including Scott Higgins who is running to retain his position as Camas mayor.

This attitude and belief will be a driver for me when it comes to who I will vote for in this election.

Larry Blaufus, Camas

Turbine project sets bad precedent

Just at the edge of our beautiful Columbia River Gorge is a proposed windmill farm called Whistling Ridge, in Underwood, Wash. They are cutting forests to make room for about 50 turbines towering 400 feet into the air.

Although they are just outside the scenic boundary, many of these turbines will mar the pristine vistas that enticed people from around the world to travel to the Gorge.

When the National Scenic Act was created to protect the Gorge, wind turbines were not a known threat. If anyone had considered that 400-foot tall windmills would one day fill the skyline, I am sure that the Gorge boundaries would have been placed 500 feet down the back side of the bluffs that line the Gorge. Now we face the possibility that the skyline will be forever ruined with ugly turbines.

I’m not against wind energy. But we need to be responsible when creating wind farms. For this particular project, how can it be called “green” when they are destroying a forest? Forests are a sustainable resource. I see nothing green about removing the forest and destroying wildlife habitat to create wind power. Allowing this project will set a terrible precedent of removing forests to replace them with wind turbines.

Gov. Gregoire is the final decision maker for this project. Please contact Gov. Chris Gregoire: Fax No. (360)753-4110 or P.O. Box 40002 Olympia, WA 98504-0002. Ask her to stop the Whistling Ridge project. The Columbia River Gorge and our forests need your help.

Sherri Irish, Washougal

ECFR has great balance

Ask yourself, if you owned a chicken ranch would you hire foxes for security?

Union, non-union, or volunteer fire fighters don’t make the best fire commissioners due to the potential for conflicts of interest when voting on issues that affect compensation or working conditions. A commissioner would have to abstain from voting on all such issues, creating a dysfunctional organization unable to conduct business in an efficient manner.

A balance of volunteer and full-time paid fire fighters is the key to an efficient and cost effective fire department as demonstrated by ECFR, Washougal, and most fire departments in Clark County. Conversely, Camas’s problems began when that balance tipped too far after a prior fire chief allowed an excellent volunteer organization to die on the vine due to union pressure. Rural departments used Camas as a model when it had that good balance.

Twenty-eight years as a volunteer firefighter and chief for 20, have given me firsthand knowledge of what makes a successful fire department. ECFR Commissioners Clancy, Hoober and Larson have earned my respect and support to continue their excellent leadership. Learn more at www.fcomm.org.

John Straub, Camas

Cochran will be a successful commissioner

I have known Kenny Cochran for over 20 years and I am sending this letter in support of him for Fire Commissioner Position No. 1 at East County Fire and Rescue.

I am aware of Kenny’s enthusiasm and commitment toward his profession as a firefighter and I have no doubt that these qualities will serve him well as a fire commissioner. In addition, the same demonstrated dedication and team attitude that Kenny has shown through his duties as a firefighter will help ensure that the fire district has someone that can be counted on to help govern fire district policies in an unbiased, positive manner.

The position of Fire Commissioner will further allow Kenny to put his skills and experiences to additional positive use and be significant assets and background for his input in planning policies and helping the fire district to reach its goals. Kenny’s good character will also allow him to lead by example and set a standard of excellence for what it means to be a fire commissioner.

I began my professional career as a practicing attorney and then retired from IBM Corporation where teamwork and commitment were essential to successful business practices. As noted above and reinforced through my own personal experiences, I believe that Kenny possesses essential qualities for success and I can say that I would welcome having Kenny serve in any fire district that would directly affect me and my family. I highly recommend him for fire commissioner at East County Fire and Rescue.

Lynn Molander, Newberg, Ore.

Coston and Lindsay are best for Washougal

Washougal is blessed to have Molly Coston and Joyce Lindsay as candidates for Washougal City Council. I know both of them very well and I highly recommend them for the positions they seek.

Molly has always put the needs of citizens above all else. Her courage and strength are to be admired. She is a true professional as well as an enthusiastically involved member of our community. Her love of Washougal is apparent, and this is demonstrated in every decision she makes as your current council person.

Joyce has worked hard to learn what Washougal wants. She has walked the streets and knocked on over 1,000 doors to hear what people are saying. She has attended council meetings, and has diligently prepared herself to become a city council person.

Her ability to think carefully about all sides of an issue has earned my respect. I look forward to having her bring the joy and great ethics she has expressed in conducting her campaign to our Washougal City Council.

Vote for Molly Coston and Joyce Lindsay for Washougal City Council. You will be getting the best for Washougal.

Martha Martin, Washougal

Support ECFR volunteers

We were volunteers with the Camas Fire Department and witnessed firsthand their systematic elimination of volunteers.

That same effort to downgrade and alienate the volunteers of East County Fire and Rescue occurred when Camas personnel were hired to help staff ECFR stations. This staffing agreement was cancelled in 2010, before too many ECFR volunteers were lost.

Don’t let the candidates supported by the Camas Firefighters’ Association take over ECFR. Camas’s lack of support for volunteers and their desire to hire only full time (read “expensive”) firefighters will cost more than tax revenues can support.

Re-elect Commissioners Clancy, Hoober and Larson.

Rick and Paula Knapp