Letters to the Editor for Oct. 26, 2010

BPA hearing is Nov. 4

Last December, Clark County Commissioners asked the Bonneville Power Administration to avoid private property impacts associated with their proposal for a new 500kv line, its 150-foot towers, and associated right-of-way.

BPA responded with minor improvements, but a major setback – they decided to drop further consideration of routes through Oregon (the only solution that would avoid grievous impacts in the Camas/Washougal area). In a letter sent over a month ago to the senior administrator at BPA, the boards of Clark County and Cowlitz County expressed our outright opposition to that decision and asked them to reconsider.

Last week, we received our response. BPA is still moving forward without including any Oregon routes, which is unacceptable. BPA has, however, agreed to our request that they tell both Boards and the public why they’re making this decision, at a public hearing on Nov. 4, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the Clark County Events Center. We hope you’ll join us at the hearing for the opportunity to hear from and directly question BPA Senior Administrator Steve Wright.

The bottom line is that we believe a balanced — and fair — public process seems unlikely as long as BPA continues to ignore the fact that the premature removal of the Oregon alternatives has tainted the process, especially when the vast majority of users for the new line will be BPA’s Oregon customers.

To our citizens’ credit, instead of simply accepting this failing, our communities have organized, holding numerous meetings in barns, grange halls and private homes all across the county to provide potentially affected home and property owners with as much information as possible. Thousands of people have turned out for these privately organized meetings.

For those people, and all interested citizens of Clark and Cowlitz counties, we look forward to your attendance at the Public Hearing on Nov. 4. I genuinely believe that BPA has not only underestimated the intelligence and resolve of the folks in Southwest Washington, but has failed to understand what their pre-emptive strike has done to damage the public process.

Steve Stuart, chairman, Board of Commissioners, Clark County

Heck supports needs of all

Before you vote you owe it to yourself to check out an article, “Covert Operations,” in the Aug. 30, 2010, New Yorker magazine. It is about the Koch brothers who just happen to own Georgia Pacific of which the Camas paper mill is a part thereof.

They, the Koch brothers, have spent some $280,000, as reported in The Columbian, in support of negative ads attacking Denny Heck and by inference in support of Jaime Herrera. If you do not have time to research the subject then take it from me, you do not want Georgia Pacific – Koch Industries – having a key to the $280,000 door at Congress to lobby our representative. I would imagine that that would buy a lot of influence from the Herrera team and I can again assure you that Southeast Washington does not need it from the owners of Georgia Pacific.

I have been a Republican since about 1950, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I don’t want Georgia Pacific — Koch — having access to a $280,000 “door” for the purpose of lobbying. By the way — Mr. Heck is a Democrat just in case there may be some confusion.

Your vote for Denny Heck will be a vote in support of the needs of all the people of Southwest Washington. Denny is a good guy, in my opinion.

John Raynor, Camas

A view on the President’s visit

On Oct. 20, Barack Obama made a stop in the metro area to drum up support for Northwest candidates. The election of these candidates will affect how we live in the Camas and Washougal area.

During his locally televised speech on Channel 8, the President used a cute analogy of the economy as a car going into a ditch, and the Republican party drove the car into the ditch, and that the Democratic party is getting it out of the ditch, and he has no plans to give the keys back to the Republicans.

I would like to remind the President that the USA is a republic, not a kingdom. The elected officials of the senate and congress are just as important as the Presidency. I would also like to remind the President that the Democrats won the November elections of 2006, gaining control of the senate and the congress. In 2006, the prosperity of this country was good. The downturn in economy did not start until end of 2007, about a full year after the Democrats gained control of the congress and senate.

If Mr. Obama really believes that political policies caused the recession, then he must put two-thirds of blame on Democrats for 2007 and 2008, since the Republicans only had control of Presidency.

I realize it may be difficult for the President to understand the shared powers of a democratically elected Republic, but I believe he could get a good lesson on Nov. 2. In the meantime Mr. President, you may want to polish that imaginary crown, because in the November elections of 2012, by vote, your kingdom be will changed.

Bud Brown, Camas

I-1098 has negative impacts

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors came out in opposition of Initiative 1098 that will be on the ballot in November. Washington’s biggest economic development recruiting tool is the fact that we do not have a state income tax. Initiative 1098 will take away that advantage and negatively affect job growth and create disproportionate taxes on small businesses.

According to the Columbia River Economic Development Council, the leading business recruiter in Clark County, “several current CREDC recruitment clients have stated that their relocation decisions are on hold until after the vote on 1098.”

According to www.defeat1098.com, Initiative 1098 affects local businesses by taxing on their adjusted gross income that includes salary, capital gains and the profits of many small to medium sized businesses who are S-corporations or LLC’s; and the measure calls for a high tax rate of up to nine percent (4th highest in the country), with no indexing for inflation. Unlike most states with income taxes, it does not allow deductions even on traditionally deductible expenses such as mortgage interest payments and charitable donations.

This initiative claims to be an income tax only on the wealthy, but is in fact, a disproportionate burden to small businesses and a detriment to business recruitment. The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce is East Clark County’s primary Business Advocate and we urge all voters to vote no on Nov. 2.

Brent Erickson, executive director, Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce

New development should cover costs

I read in the Post-Record about the consultant study and recommendations to increase water, storm water and sewer rates.

My wife and I are concerned that about future increases in utilities — as the needed fees appear to be for new residents and the new and recent developments.

My position is that the as a resident, my bills increase to pay for new development and residential needs. My comment is that shouldn’t the new development cover their costs?

It may make those homes more expensive for the builder, and for the new owners — but let the new people pay their way.

My income has dropped, health insurance has also skyrocketed, so I cannot absorb increases in any expenses or fees.

With the market crash our property has lost nearly $100,000 in equity the last several years.

So after my complaints, I do offer several green ideas and solutions:

  1. Please consider an alternative to pay for the infrastructure as higher new hook-up fees, permits, etc.
  2. Alternately, the city should consider storm water mitigation with pervious pavements for driveways, parking strips and lightly traveled city streets. Pervious pavements recharge the groundwater at the source.
  3. Another alternative is to change building codes to allow black water from toilets to be the only hook-up to sewers and that the gray water from sinks, showers and laundry go into cisterns to be used for yard watering.
  4. Furthermore, storm water credits could be issued for home owners who collect rain water from their gutters, who add pervious pavements and if code could be enacted, change the sewer hook up for black water, with gray water recycling for yard use.

Claude E. Rorabaugh, Washougal

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