Public works outsourcing: Proceed with caution

I read with interest the article in this newspaper about the city of Washougal’s plans to explore the feasibility of outsourcing the work now performed by employees in its public works department. Affected public works employees would most likely be laid off and the work would be done by employees or contractors working for the outsource company. Having written about outsourcing in the legal industry and having led a delegation of lawyers to India to meet with companies doing outsourced work, I was quite surprised and concerned. I sent emails to the mayor and members of the City Council and started a Facebook page (Don’t Outsource Washougal). The Mayor and one council member responded to my emails and Mayor Guard even weighed in on the Facebook page.

Farmers markets offer more than food

Farmers Markets are popping up in small towns across rural America. Increasingly, farmers and ranchers realize there is interest in fresh, locally-grown food. And while it may not be their only source of income, it puts local dollars in local pockets and impacts the health of local folks.

Primary election politics can have significant impacts

Primary elections are funny creatures. They can take on many different meanings. For candidates who win the primary, they point to the results and declare themselves on a roll and deserving of support. Politicos study the results much like they do polling data. This helps them determine who should be considered for general election support both financially and otherwise.

The tragedy in Aurora, can it happen here?

So many of us send our kids and loved ones off to the movie theater and assume they are safe. After all, this is one of America’s favorite pastimes that is cherished by young and old alike. My teenage boys attended a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” They went with my blessing. Little did I know that at the same time their movie trailers were starting, a horrific tragedy had just unfolded in Aurora, Colo. This incident made me sick to my stomach because of so many reasons. As a parent, it is unbearable to imagine what the families of the victims are going through right now. The senseless and violent deaths of 12 people including children at a movie that was developed from a comic book hero, is unfathomable.

Be fully informed about EMS levy facts

Recently there was a letter published regarding the upcoming Camas EMS renewal levy, and I want the readers and voters to be more fully and factually informed. Since the late 1970's voters have repeatedly supported the emergency services provided to the community by approving levy ballot measures. The initial rate of 25 cents per $1,000 assessed value, and then a subsequent voter approved rate increase to 35 cents per $1,000 to continue to provide the funds necessary to provide nationally recognized superb care to the citizens.

Celebrating July 4th a neighborhood tradition

If you’re someone who appreciates the Fourth of July holiday as much as I do, you know your reasons for it being such a special day.

Small businesses need more than bread and circuses

May 20–26 was National Small Business Week. Around the country, government officials paid homage to the small business owners who drive innovation in our national and state economies. The recognition is certainly well deserved, but small businesses need more than a week of ceremonial platitudes in order to create the jobs that will spur our national and state economies out of recession.

Yes, your student is smart but...

Can they make good decisions? I often wonder about this because as I am writing this, my senior is at a presentation at his high school about the perils of alcohol and drug use while driving. I hope it's kind of a "Scared Straight" presentation, complete with a car that has been crashed to an unrecognizable pulp, simulated blood and guts, EMT and firefighters giving sobering facts, and hopefully a young adult giving a horrific testimony about their own experience. I really hope that the term "smart decisions" is floating in his mind right now. Not just now, but for some time to come. Because, this is a presentation I did not have in high school.

Will the Northwest economy be a casualty of the war on coal?

Activists waging a national war on coal have turned their sights on the Pacific Northwest, targeting proposed shipping terminals in Washington and Oregon that would export coal to China.

Voters deserve the light rail vote promised

If anyone had any doubt why light rail to Vancouver is so controversial, look no further than what the city of Vancouver tried to do. In November 2011, voters approved Proposition 1, which raised the sales tax rate in the Clark County region by 0.2 percent. C-Tran officials promised voters then that the new revenue would raise between $8 million and $9 million per year, and they would use this new money to preserve the existing bus system and prevent further service cuts.