Letters to the Editor for Sept. 6, 2011

Coston, Morris and Greenlee see the ‘big picture’

During times of economic uncertainty, Washougal City Council must make tough decisions on our economic future.

Now when construction costs are low and companies are competing for limited jobs, this is the time to invest in infrastructure to make Washougal more attractive to business owners.

The city’s income comes from property and sales taxes. We must develop an atmosphere to attract new living wage jobs, and make current business owners proud that they are located in Washougal.

Molly Coston, Rod Morris and Paul Greenlee understand this need. They have lead the City Council in making the tough business and economic decisions in these tough times. They are trusted elected officials that understand that you have to take advantage of the economic climate.

The E Street project is more than just roads and sidewalks. It is part of a larger plan to attract new business, along with new jobs, and in return, more tax base for Washougal.

Council members Coston, Morris and Greenlee have earned our trust and should be commended for making the right business and economic decisions.

Larry Keister, Washougal

Coston, Morris have served citizens well

Molly Coston has earned my trust. I can attest to her outstanding character and commitment to our community. I served with her on the board of directors of the Washougal Schools Foundation, and we recently worked together on passage of the maintenance and operations replacement levy that the Washougal School District so badly needed to sustain its level of service. Molly was supportive in the creation of Captain William Clark Park, Steamboat Park, and the George Schmid Little League fields.

David Shoemaker speaks as if he “owns” the reserves. But if it wasn’t for the foresight of Molly Coston and Rod Morris, there would be no reserves. Several years back they worked to establish the reserves because they knew a time would come when we might need them. We need to tell both Molly and Rod “thank you for your foresight.”

With regard to the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, Shoemaker and Michael Delavar were the only two who voted against it. I’m glad the entire Camas City Council, plus all three Port Commissioners and 5 of 7 Washougal City Council members knew that this was the most important issue we have faced in years — and it was essential to move forward.

With regard to “benchmarks” and “measurable outcomes,” that Shoemaker and Delavar wanted to paralyze the process over, Paul Dennis knows exactly what we want, and that is to bring business and industry to Camas and Washougal. I have heard from reliable sources that Dennis already has several businesses in the pipeline to bring to our area. We will learn more about this later this month when he gives his first report.

Shoemaker is a former college teacher and he likes to write and listen to himself talk. Maybe that wasn’t the best training ground for politics. When I was an administrator at Clark College we had a saying: “Professors are experts on all fields but their own.” David seems to have an opinion on everything and he has made comments that have alienated officials outside of Washougal City government. How does this affect his leadership? Is he the best person on council to talk to state officials regarding transportation issues? Absolutely not.

We need city councilors who know the art of diplomacy, decorum and collaboration. Shoemaker’s actions reflect the kind of extreme polarity that we see in Washington DC and which many of us are tired of, because we see only gridlock. We seek people who are at neither extreme end of the pendulum to represent us. Coston is a moderate, she is independent, and she has integrity. And, Molly has earned our trust.

Roger Daniels, Washougal

Neighborhood does not want events at Farrell House

I have many acquaintances and friends in the Evergreen Terrace neighborhood. Most of these people object strongly to the proposed type of business at the Farrell House because it will tear apart the social fabric of the neighborhood, in addition to increasing noise and traffic.

There is already The Fairgate Inn in Camas, why do we need more?

The desires of a few people should not override the needs and comforts of many.

Hilary Cole, Camas

Event center does not belong in residential neighborhood

My wife and I were both born and raised in Camas, and have been residents at the same home in the Evergreen Terrace neighborhood for 40 years. Our three sons enjoyed all the benefits of being raised in our neighborhood, a safe and friendly place to live.

We became aware of the proposed Farrell House event center when the signs were posted on the property. We were shocked and outright insulted that someone would become part of our neighborhood and attempt to create a business with high impact on our living conditions, without any consideration of the neighbors.

I have been involved in opposing this business from the day the signs went up. Why anyone would want to create such an impact with the increase in traffic, potential noise and possible behavior issues that can follow celebrations is difficult to understand.

Many letters opposing the event center were sent to our Planning Commission members prior to the public hearing on July 28. We believe a strong case was made as to why a business with such a potential of disrupting our neighborhood should not be permitted.

As the hearing progressed, it became obvious that three of the four commissioners had already decided the proposed business should be allowed. Only one commissioner appeared to have done their homework and questioned the focus of the hearing: Should this business be in a residential neighborhood? The other three did not get the message.

The entire focus of the hearing was to question and fine tune the conditions recommended by the planning department, conditions to minimize the impact on the neighbors. My point is, they must have recognized an impact on the living conditions and determined they should be minimized. Not having this business in our neighborhood would have solved the problem: no impact.

I was frankly embarrassed by the actions of my city’s Planning Commission. The discussion of conditions was disorganized.

If this process was an example of my city government in action, what a great disappointment. The only opportunities the opposition had to provide input to the Planning Commission and City Council was by letters prior to the commission hearing and testimony during the hearing. There is no opportunity to communicate directly with the City Council members before they make the decision to approve or deny the permit for the Farrell House event center. They must rely on the letters submitted to the Planning Commission, testimony during the hearing, and the commission recommendation.

At this point my picture of a well-informed City Council being ready to make a decision that will impact many is very grim. Having to rely on the proceedings of the Planning Commission hearing and their recommendation with unclear conditions, and listen to a CD recording that is many hours in length, will be a challenge to make a carefully thought out and informed decision. They must address the fundamental question, “does a business with the potential impact mentioned by letters and testimony belong in a residential neighborhood?”

Alan Stoller, Camas

Vote for Cochran

I have had the privilege of knowing Kenny Cochran since September of 1963.

I know the environment in which he was raised, the many positive influences that have affected his development as a family man and responsible adult, and would like to offer support for him as he runs for the East County Fire and Rescue fire commissioner position.

Kenny is a rare individual, seeking such a position without bringing a political agenda with him. He truly cares for his community and it’s residents, and is motivated to serve them by becoming the fire commissioner. Throughout his career as a professional firefighter, he has always shown a desire to work on behalf of others to help ensure their safety and well being. He has willingly risked his life for years to prove it.

The background Kenny brings to the fire commissioner role is one of practical knowledge and experience (for nearly 30 years). e has been an inclusive individual, always working to gain consensus in his efforts to do a good job. It’s refreshing to have an individual bring the level of enthusiasm, experience and desire that he exhibits to the position.

Ask around and you’ll learn that Kenny “does the right thing,” stands for the good of the community, works very hard for the common good, and lives his life as a role model, both as a husband, father, and proud American.

I can only hope the voters recognize the leadership and dedication that Kenny will bring to the position of fire commissioner.

Ross Cook, Executive vice president, Gordon Trucking, Inc., Pacific, Wash.

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