It has been nearly three years since Washington began to build its state-based insurance exchange and profoundly expanded Medicaid.
Reducing mankind’s carbon footprint has become the defining issue of our time and rightly so. Virtually every level of government has policies to reduce greenhouse gases by regulating everything from industrial CO2 emissions to cow flatulence.
“Build it, and they will come,” is the theme from the movie, “Field of Dreams.” And it also seems like it could be a mantra of what’s happening in Camas recently. I’m not talking about building a baseball field in the middle of our hiking trails, I am referring to the different landscape taking place in our own little Shangri-la.
From impromptu negotiations down the hall to discussions on the subway to the Capitol, sometimes, something as simple as having offices next door to one another can make all the difference in Congress these days.
I had the honor of seeing our county government and citizens in action lately when I was invited to give the Invocation at the County Commissioners meeting last month on June 3. I had picked the date at random and arrived to find a packed hearing and the kind of testimony that makes your hands shake and your voice crack. Almost everyone in the room was there because they felt their families, their homes, and their quality of life was at stake. The tension was palpable.
Preliminary estimates for 2015 indicate that Washougal is projected to have a deficit of $322,000 in our general fund. This preliminary estimate is an improvement over earlier estimates, resulting from continued prudent fiscal management and a recovering economy. When I first took office in January 2010, we had a deficit of $1.5 million. In that first year, we erased that deficit by implementing more conservative budgeting practices and through expense reductions. In fact, we ended 2010 nearly $300,000 to the good.
It is a great honor to receive this recognition, named for such an inspirational person. I recall Florence’s kind words of encouragement and support, as well as her smile. It is also special for me to be nominated for this award by Mayor Scott Higgins and City Administrator Pete Capell, with supportive letters from Bill Barron, Roger Knapp, Brent Erickson and Bill Dygert, all of whom have done much to support and promote parks, open space and trails.
Let’s face it. We’re spoiled. Even in our tough economy, most Americans enjoy a myriad of conveniences we take for granted. We awake to a warm house, turn night into day with the flip of a light switch, jump into a hot shower, get dressed and grab a cup of fresh brewed coffee before heading to work in our car or on the bus. On the way home, we stop at the grocery store to pick up a few items from the 40,000 choices offered there.
One of the problems with the minimum wage debate is the name itself. If we want to ensure that we don’t hurt lower-income workers, we should consider total compensation, not just wages. Case in point: Bill H. earns $15 an hour as a parking lot attendant. Lisa W. earns $12.25 an hour at a fast food restaurant. But Lisa’s employer provides merit raises, paid vacations, health insurance, management training, education scholarships, childcare assistance and a 401k retirement plan.
Washington state agencies face the same issue that confronts private citizens when it’s time to update their personal computers. How do you safely dispose of your old computer in an environmentally sound way that does not leave your confidential information stored on the computer’s hard drive?