Letters to the Editor for July 10, 2012

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City needs to solve Sandy Swimming Hole problems

It seems our City of Washougal only talks when it comes to the inconvenience of the Sandy Swimming Hole in the summer.

I have lived in the neighborhood for nine years, the last five have been nearly unbearable with the inconsiderate people utilizing the park.

The park itself has parking for about one dozen cars, possibly 18 spaces. Yet as I look out my window right now I can count 29 vehicles parked along Shepherd Road and North Eighth Street. The police had to be called to resolve cars parked in no parking areas and they only write warnings.

The park has minor facilities and they are totally overwhelmed. People are forced to utilize the stream as a urinal, put their kiddies in the water with no diapers or bladder control. Trash is left along the streets from these revelers on regular hot day basis. Cars park in no parking areas along Shepherd Road, and next to fire hydrants, mailboxes, etc. Every Tom, Dick, and Jane turns around in other folks’ driveways, essentially trespassing on the sanctity of one’s home.

There is a 3 acre empty lot within 100 yards of the swimming hole, but the City has not bothered to work on a way to use that land for parking in these high volume times.

Now, one should also consider, there is a steelhead run in the river now. Frankly I think it is a health issue to have this many people using water in this manner.

In summary, the park has insufficient parking, and/or is allowed to have far too many patrons during summer days. My estimation of the number of people Sunday was close to 300 people.

Would you want that in your neighborhood? City of Washougal, do something about this, I have complained to deaf ears and it just gets worse and more crowed every year.

Jack Martin, Washougal

City councilor appointment process flawed

This is in response to the lead editorial in the July 3 Post-Record. The selection process to fill the vacancy on the Washougal City Council was a little messier than your editorial would have us believe. I was there, in fact you might say I had a “front row seat.”

The vacancy appointment portion of the meeting started off with the city clerk clearly explaining to everyone in the room both the interview procedure and method for determining the winner The names of the applicants were drawn from a basket for the order of the interviews.

When the interviews were finished and the council finally returned to the meeting room the clerk once again explained the method to be used in determining the new council member.

Instead of proceeding with the voting, some of the council members began asking questions about the voting procedure. The questions they were asking made them sound like they were confused and clueless. I looked around me and people were shaking their heads and whispering.

At some point a council member made a motion to change the rules. I believe the intention was to limit the voting to one series of balloting instead of two. If I’m not mistaken, i think it would have also eliminated the second round of interviews.

Even after hearing an opinion from staff that this may not be legal they pressed on to a vote on the motion. Mayor Guard wisely broke the tie vote and the motion was defeated.

In my opinion this episode was another example of Washougal city officials embarrassing themselves and their city.

It seemed like the selection itself was a foregone conclusion, like the majority had their minds made up before the interviews began and were just going through the motions, like some on the council just wanted to cut to the chase and get to the part where their guy gets sworn in.

It is my opinion that the effort to circumvent the established rules for filling a vacancy was very disrespectful to those of us who stepped up to be part of the democratic process in our community. What made it even more shameful was that this took place less than two days before Independence Day and the celebration of the birth of this nation’s democracy.

Mike Norris, Washougal

Public utility provides superior service

As the East Coast swelters in unrelenting heat (oh, no – nothing to do with fossil fuels and climate change) with no relief in sight, the private, for-profit corporations that own and operate their utilities have been having one heck of a time getting the power back on.

Gee…where’s the “Magic of the Marketplace?”

In the meantime, in the 11 years I’ve lived in Clark County and been a customer of the non-profit, publicly owned Clark Public Utilities, we’ve experienced only two or three blackouts – none of which lasted more than an hour.

Not only that, but we’ve enjoyed some of the lowest rates we’ve ever paid anywhere we’ve lived.While Enron was running roughshod over customers further south, we here in Southwest Washington continued to enjoy reliable, reasonably priced electrical service.

This is something to think about next time politicians whose campaigns are secretly funded by Koch Industries and Sheldon Adelson start screaming about how we should privatize everything and let the “free market” run the world.

K.J. McElrath, Camas