Letters to the Editor for Sept. 4, 2012

Ask questions about city code

I am responding directly to Madeline Lyne’s Letter to the Editor on “Land being decimated by clear-cutting” that was in the Aug. 7 Post-Record.

First, land development is driven by state, county and local code. The code is developed with the intent of ensuring that the interests and rights of citizens as well as property owners are maintained. It is also reviewed once a year in an attempt to make changes that support correct zoning and recommended changes to the code.

My recommendation to anyone is to not make assumptions but instead ask questions, read the code, attend planning commission meetings and meet with city planning staff. If you have recommendations for improvement, volunteer to share your ideas.

While the development process and code continues to evolve, I am confident that everyone on the city of Camas staff and volunteer organizations wants to protect and improve the special environment in Camas.

Tim Hein, Camas Planning Commission

Some statements misleading

I read the guest column of Oregon attorney K. William Gibson, who owns property located adjacent to Washougal’s city limits, concerning Washougal’s proposed study of outsourcing Washougal’s public works to private sources.

I agree with some of his sentiments, for example, where he states: “…I have no doubt that any study will show that outsourcing Washougal’s Public Works Department is quite feasible and it will likely lower costs.”

I have been in business many years and have made many business proposals. If you can get a customer to agree to a sales format, such as, “If I could do this…would you do this?”, you have already won the sales battle. For you see, any competent business entity will have explored all possible rebuttals to any objections the customer might raise. This is a natural thing for the salesman who wants your business. But most businesses will not tell you the questions you should have asked. And this is Mr. Gibson’s point. No matter how detailed the study is, the outsourcing company will have more and better answers than Washougal will have questions. Nature of the beast.

From my point of view, the savings generated from this study would have to be incredible to even consider further. I am talking about at least a 40 percent savings because, just as Mr. Gibson detailed, there will be things left out, things not accounted for, etc. And once the contract is signed, it will take a true Act of God to change it further. Outsourcing companies are not in business to lose or give away profits. But, local governments are in the business of protecting Washougal’s tax monies and using those monies prudently. I think this is an excellent comparison and analogy.

However, there are two issues I take with Mr. Gibson’s column.

The first one is minor: To evoke memories of a former Washougal Mayor who wished to explore casino gambling in Washougal and trying to compare that to outsourcing public works is simply inflammatory and adds nothing to his paper and is a shoddy comparison.

The second issue is more serious. Mr. Gibson mentions his Facebook page that he created called, “Don’t Outsource Washougal.” I pulled it up and studied it. The opening statement is a serious misstatement and is false.

His Facebook page states “Washougal City Council is planning to outsource the public works department to a private contractor. Join us in encouraging the Mayor and City Council not to approve this reckless and expensive proposal.”

The City of Washougal is doing nothing of the kind. They are merely looking into the idea of a study to look more deeply into the feasibility of outsourcing some of the city’s public works. Nothing more. It is only a study. The opening statement is wrong on his Facebook page and is at best misleading. I am surprised an attorney would print such a statement on a public forum.

Mike Briggs, Washougal

Pike is the ideal candidate

Golden opportunities do not present themselves very often, especially not in politics, but citizens have the opportunity to cast their votes for a truly worthy candidate in Liz Pike.

Liz has experience in public life, having served ably and with integrity on the Camas City Council, always insisting that government live within its budget.

Liz has successful business experience and has acquired a first-hand understanding of the challenges facing job-producing, community-energizing small businesses.

Liz has a love of the land, clear down under her fingernails. She knows the superior value of “slow food,” produce grown in the sun, offering vital, healthful nutrition, and she is a friend and advocate of local farmer’s markets.

Most importantly to me, I have witnessed the truth that Liz Pike is a very caring person, very interested in people, their lives, their problems and their successes.

She is the ideal candidate to send to Olympia to represent all of us.

I urge informed citizens to vote for Liz Pike and gain a genuine, responsible, caring voice in our Legislature.

Bob Larimer, Vancouver