Letters to the Editor for Oct. 8, 2013

Martin is an asset to ECFR board

Voting for a fire district commissioner has always been a bit of a mystery to me in that they, the commissioners, are of rather low profile in the political arena. They just quietly do their job in support of the many dedicated fire and rescue professionals.

Martha Martin is currently a commissioner on the East County Fire and Rescue Board and is running for re-election to a second term. In my opinion, Martin supports spending our tax dollars only after due consideration and determination of real needs and therefore should be given your careful consideration for re-election. Martins understanding and concern for ongoing budget discussions will be of great value to the community and to the ECFR Board.

Vote to retain Martha Martin on the ECFR Board.

John Raynor, Camas

Tax credit program is a win-win

If the state government came and put $133,000 down on the table and said, “We want to give this to you to improve your city. All you need to do is be at the head of the line of requestors.” Wouldn’t you want to be the first in line to scoop it up?

This scenario is playing out right now in Camas through the Washington State Business & Occupation Tax Credit Incentive Program. WA State has 1.5 million in monies set aside for Main Street Programs across the state, and each Main Street Program (the Downtown Camas Association being one of them) has access to up to $133,000. Many communities are successful in receiving the total allocation, and we would like to be one of them this year! We simply need to be among the first to scoop it up.

However, this scenario reminds me of one of those party games in which one partner has their hands tied behind their back and only the other partner is allowed to scoop the prize off the table. We are looking for a partner in the game who values local economic prosperity and who can literally “lend a hand” to scoop up this funding!

Who can access the funds? Only a Washington State business owner who pays B&O tax, cares about local economics and community and has enough cash flow to extend to the Downtown Camas Association a donation. For that donation, they receive a 75% credit of the donation amount in the next year when they go to pay their B&O payments online at DOR. They are also allowed to write off the entire amount on their federal taxes.

Last year, 12 supportive business owners collectively helped the DCA to scoop $25,000 off the table, and our appreciation could not be greater for their generosity and the work we were able to accomplish over the past year … such as bringing increased attention to Downtown Camas through business recruitment, social media and regional marketing, a new walking map, tourist attracting events like the Camas Car Show, bringing back the flower baskets, the induction of the mural project — not to mention the development of numerous partnerships which will continue to have far reaching benefits to the community as a whole.

But there is so much more we could do! We remain optimistic about the potential of adding benches and trees to extend the charm of 4th Avenue to the side streets, of providing grants for storefront and façade improvements or build-outs, recruiting businesses that expand our reach to new customer groups, of marketing Downtown Camas to tourists traveling through to the Gorge. There many worthwhile uses of the funding, all which increase the desirability and economic vitality of Downtown Camas. This tax credit program is a win-win for businesses and the local community! Will you get into the game to help us access $133,000 for Camas?

For more information on how your business can participate, please contact us.

Brenda Schallberger, Director, Downtown Camas Association

Follow the Money

What are the facts concerning I-522?

First, the spending on the initiative may be the largest in state history. Over 9,000 small donors have contributed about $4 million to “Yes on I-522.” Six large corporations (Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, et al), and two private donors have raised $11.6 million.

I-522 would require labeling products that contain GMO (genetically modified organisms), in the same way salt, MSG, saturated fats, sugar, etc. are included on labels. Soup companies, for example, know where the corn for their soup comes from. It is either genetically engineered or it isn’t. Wouldn’t it seem to be a simple task to put that on the label along with everything else?

Those who advocate voting yes on I-522 feel we all have a right to know what we are eating, just like many of us need to know the salt, sugar, etc. content.

There is enough evidence to supporters that GMO corn, soy, beets are not the same as conventional corn, soy and beets and may, in fact, be contributing to the sharp increase in intestinal disorders that parallels the increase in GMO foods.

Many foreign countries ban GMO/GE foods, including importers of Washington produce. Europe chose to require labeling in 1997. They heard the same litany of reasons not to require labeling as we are hearing now. Cost of food did not go up, it was found. American companies adapted and have been providing products for sale in Europe that are either GMO-free or labeled. So why not here?

Those opposed to labeling are spending millions of dollars to prevent “GMO” from being added to labels that are printed every day in the industry. Why would they do that? Follow the money.

Genetically engineered seeds represent a multi-billion dollar industry. Farmers cannot save GE seed, like conventional farmers can, so must buy new seed each year. From the same company they purchase the herbicide that their expensive seed is immune to. Monsanto has sued conventional farmers when their GE seed is blown to their fields, and actually won, putting some farmers out of business

If the public in large numbers chose not to purchase products containing GE foods the maker would likely switch to conventional foods. That would definitely affect the bottom line of Monsanto et al. Imagine their wealth and power if they could control the food supply for the nation.

Dianne Kocer, Brush Prairie

Firefighters endorse Guard

East Clark Professional Firefighters endorse Sean Guard as the mayor of Washougal.

Sean has worked for the last two years to complete a merger of the Camas and Washougal Fire Departments, in order to continue providing exceptional service to the neighboring communities.

The combined department has proven to be more stable financially and allowed the two communities to enhance service in both cities while controlling costs and providing security for our membership.

We are committed to providing the best level of service possible and Sean’s vision for a consolidated, combined department provides the vehicle to keep us there.

We don’t take the endorsement for Washougal mayor lightly. Our membership endorsed Sean four years ago and we believe that his actions over the last four years have earned our support once again.

We understand that being the elected leader of the City of Washougal involves more than merging fire departments, but it is the leadership that Sean has demonstrated in pursuing consolidation, in part, that provides us the knowledge that Sean will continue to lead Washougal in the right direction.

Kevin Bergstrom, President Local 2444, East Clark Professional Firefighters