Letters to the Editor for Oct. 25, 2011

Turk is a strong addition to Camas Council

To be an effective elected representative I think it requires a focus on process, information gathering (through listening, reading, and participation), fact-checking, balancing big-picture with the details, then consensus building and/or compromising to reach a decision.

While a fairly new member of the Camas City Council, Shannon Turk has already displayed the positive abilities and sensibilities as a council-member, able to balance the issues, willing to seek information, all the while listening and learning. Please consider voting for Shannon Turk for Camas City Council.

Greg K. Anderson, Camas Council-member

Vote no on C-Tran tax rate hike

C-Tran is proposing a sales tax rate hike, again. Their ballot measure information is misleading. It states, “In 2005,…voters approved a .2 percent increase to preserve service for a period of 5 years.” The truth is, the 2005 tax hike was never presented as a 5-year measure, and it has not expired.

The Prop 1 propaganda states that drastic service cuts of 35 percent need to be made in 2013 if citizens don’t vote for the tax hike. The truth is, C-Tran is well funded with about $50 million in unrestricted assets available for public transportation as of Dec. 31, 2010, and no debt. This includes cash, investments, and assets that can be sold, like buses and land. These hefty assets are more than enough to provide service for years, although cuts on empty bus routes and better efficiency may be called for.

C-Tran sent out an annual report in July with over 100,000 inserts in local papers, followed by a ballot measure insert in August, both at taxpayer expense, with a graph predicting a rapid decline in future funding (the August graph was mistaken, and no correction was made in local papers). The graph doesn’t include all the assets available, nor does it explain why the funds will vanish soon. The main reason is an aggressive capital spending program for things like costly bus rapid transit that voters have not yet approved, contingency funds, and more.

C-Tran staff claim that the C-Tran board has no choice but to follow the future spending plan, hence drastic service cuts are inevitable. The truth is, the C-Tran board can choose to prioritize future spending on existing bus and C-Van service instead of wasteful dedication of funds to empire building for a 20-year plan for light rail and bus rapid transit that has not been shown to fit the needs of our region. The Keep Clark County Moving PAC rolls in tens of thousands of dollars from donors like Gillig, a bus maker, Waste Connections, C-Tran staff, David Evans, (the company receiving tens of millions of dollars from the CRC), other light rail profiteers, local politicians, etc.

For more information, see www.c-trantax.com.

Debbie Peterson, Vancouver

Vote Higgins and Turk

I am asking Camas residents to vote for Scott Higgins and Shannon Turk. These are uniquely qualified citizens who want to serve our community. Mayor Higgins has extensive experience serving Camas as a council member and has demonstrated strong leadership skills during his time as mayor. Scott listens to the residents of Camas and believes in a fair and open process of city government, following established city plans, regulations and codes. He has a strong sense of responsibility and accountability to his city.

Council member Shannon Turk was recently appointed to her council position. Her formal education in public administration, knowledge and experience in local government financing, involvement in many community activities and a strong desire to serve our city made her the candidate for this position. She makes decisions based on available information and proven established procedures. As a council member she will continue to complement our council, recognizing agreement and disagreement are part of the decision-making process.

Scott Higgins and Shannon Turk will be very strong assets to your city.

Alan Stoller, Camas

Lindsay, Coston, Anderson and Morris will work together

Washougal residents have a unique opportunity in the election of four City Council candidates. What makes it unique is that all four positions have two candidates.

My biggest wish is that our voters will see through all the rhetoric and smoke screens on websites, blogs and Facebook and vote for the candidates best qualified to represent the needs of the entire community.

It is unfortunate that some candidates and their chosen leaders and benefactors have decided to take the low road and engage in negative campaigning and unfounded accusations. I have never seen any values in that direction.

I believe that candidates should be focused on the community’s needs and then have some plans and strategies for focusing on meeting those needs, as opposed to chasing national agendas and partisan political values that have nothing to do with meeting the needs of Washougal’s citizens.

That’s why I am asking voters to elect Joyce Lindsay, Molly Coston, Niki Anderson and Rod Morris to serve as your elected representatives to the Washougal City Council. All four have demonstrated that they will be focused to meeting the community’s needs and that they can work together to make decisions that are in the best interest of Washougal.

Please remember to vote and exercise your role in being a part of the community decision making process.

Jeff Guard, Washougal

ECFR volunteers exceed training standards

East County Fire & Rescue firefighters logged 5,377 training hours in fiscal year 2010. This included national standard classes on Fire Fighter I and II; hazardous materials, incident command, safety officer and wildland disciplines. There were, also, too many in-house classes to list here.

Several members have attended the National Fire Academy or the Emergency Management Institute. Many have degrees in fire science. Currently, our 40 line personnel have 35 IFSAC accreditations, with more members testing last week.

Drills and classes are daily events. ECFR’s personnel receive training that exceeds state and federal training requirements.

Scott Koehler, fire chief, East County Fire & Rescue

McDaniel makes good decisions

It’s nice knowing we have people like Jennifer McDaniel helping make the decisions in our town. I’ve really liked the changes that have been made over the last couple of years.

I like that Jennifer voted to preserve our Parker’s Landing Historic Park, and to create and maintain many of our other wonderful parks such as the Stevenson off-leash dog park.

She also supports city-wide sidewalk improvements, which are crucial for pedestrian safety. I see lots of people using our sidewalks. It’s great exercise, and we definitely need more of them.

As a taxpayer, I appreciate that Jennifer has kept her promise to keep our taxes low, and budgeted wisely to still meet the demands of a growing town.

As a resident, I’m grateful she wants to keep our city safe with well-trained, well-staffed fire, EMS, and police departments. My family saw our fabulous K-9 unit in action recently when someone was trying to break into our detached garage, and the K-9 officer got the guy.

Jennifer works hard for us at City Hall making good, responsible decisions.

Please vote to keep Jennifer McDaniel working for us on the Washougal City Council.

Didi Reeves, Washougal

Margaret Tweet for Camas Council

Vancouver did hold a vote on bonds to build recreational facilities with pools in 1997, and it failed. After that, the city opted to build the Firstenburg Center and pool without another vote.

Margaret Tweet supports a vote on both a new community center, and a new Metropolitan Parks tax district, in a general election, not a special election. November general elections have higher voter turnout, and include voters’ guides for pros and cons of ballot measures.

I’ve known Margaret Tweet about 13 years. She would be an asset to the Camas City Council. She is a dedicated person and works well with others. Margaret Tweet has the background and patience to be a great council member. Vote Margaret Tweet for Camas City Council.

Joan Rasmussen, Vancouver

Cochran is right for the job

I know Kenny Cochran. I also know what it takes to be a representative, like a fire commissioner, for a community having been a strong civic volunteer myself for more than 30 years, first in Gresham, Ore., and now in Pendleton, Ore.

My experience as a planning commissioner, city budget committee chair, transportation committee member and now as a Pendleton Round-Up director leaves no doubt in my mind that Kenny is the right person for fire commissioner, position 1, for East County Fire and Rescue.

Kenny’s 27 years as a firefighter is clear demonstration of his professional experience necessary for the fire commissioner position. His activity as a member of the Vancouver Fire Department Honor Guard speaks to his dedication to the fire fighting profession as well.

As important will be Kenny’s administrative abilities. In the many personal activities that Kenny and I have worked on, or that I have knowledge of, he has a clear head for making realistic and quality decisions about how to get things done. Having spent 39 years with the federal government I know administrative details and I am convinced that Kenny is a clear thinker.

Knowing Kenny’s dedication as a family man and as a friend that truly cares, I am certain that East County could do no wrong with Kenny as he will bring enthusiasm, dedication, caring and a desire to do the best he can in the fire commissioner position for the community.

I do not live in the East County fire district, but if I did I would do my level best to introduce you all to Kenny as I am sure once you know who he is you would cast your vote for him just like I would.

Carl R. Culham, Athena, Ore.

Turk is an asset to Camas

Shannon Turk is a true asset to our community in so many different areas. I know of nobody else who gives of her time and talent so freely and willingly in so many different avenues. It is not rare to find her to be the first person to arrive to help at a volunteer event, and one of the very last to leave. Shannon has no shortage of enthusiasm, ambition and energy in all she is involved in.

Shannon has earned the respect of many while holding a multitude of executive board, board member, chair position and leadership roles over the past several years.

I had the opportunity to get to know Shannon while working with her on the Dorothy Fox Elementary PTA board. Shannon was treasurer, vice president and president. She painstakingly managed, balanced and reconciled a budget of over $35,000 with meticulous organization.

Her professional presentation and speaking skills were also noted during monthly PTA board and general member meetings for the past seven years at both Fox and now Skyridge Middle School.

Shannon also continues to be an exemplary role model in balancing her career, demands of parenthood, raising her teenage daughters, as well as being such an upstanding and highly respected citizen of Camas.

Based on Shannon Turk’s reputation and vast experience, the City of Camas is very deserving of having her represent Camas and Ward 3 of the City Council. With her dedication, natural ability to listen, sense of accomplishment and passion to lead, she is a fantastic candidate for this position.

Rhacelle Rakoz-Anderson, Camas

Clancy, Larson and Hoober are good leaders

I was a volunteer firefighter with Clark County Fire District 9 for 26 years before the recent merger to what is now East County Fire and Rescue. During my fire service, I had held a number of different positions and was assistant chief when I retired in 2002.

In that 26 years, I attended numerous meetings with Gary Larson pertaining to FD-9. I became acquainted with Jack Hoober and John Clancy through meetings related to FD-1 and FD-9 before the merger. What I can tell you is that all three men are experienced, dedicated and make good decisions. Their collective experience managed the taxpayer dollars efficiently in both good and poor economic climates.

Fire Chief Scott Koehler has worked with the commissioners to mold ECFR into an efficient, well managed and organized fire district. East County Fire and Rescue is not broken and does not need Camas to come and fix it. In fact, the articles written about candidates running for fire commissioner found little fault with the management of ECFR.

I urge the voters to retain Gary Larson, Jack Hoober, and John Clancy for fire commissioners in ECFR. With their excellent decision making and leadership they have earned the right to be re-elected.

Joe Russell, Camas

Tweet is passionate about local politics

As you pull out your ballots this week, I would encourage you to vote for Margaret Tweet for Camas City Council. She is passionate about her role as a citizen in local politics, and she is well versed in the issues before us.

Her core values include such things as prioritizing spending, creating an environment conducive to small business, partnering with schools and neighboring cities, and maintaining our high level of public safety. She is all about transparency and accountability, and she means it.

Check out her website for more specifics: www.Tweet4Camas.com as well as http://couv.com/?s=Margaret+Tweet to see both candidates interviewed by Clark County’s Online News Network.

Nancy Hoke, Camas