Letters to the Editor for Oct. 22, 2013

Smith, Hogan are good for Camas

Camas is a solid, forward thinking and prosperous community. One of the reasons for this is their progressive form of government that includes an experienced, balanced and most importantly, stable, City Council. With keeping a deep bench of good, hard working members of the community, Camas can be looked at as a model for other communities.

Two of Camas’ Council are up for re-election this November, Councilman Steve Hogan and Councilwoman Melissa Smith. I know both of these people well and admire them a great deal.

If you want to see Camas keep on its climbing path to the future, paths with a strong and diversified business clientele, an outstanding education district, and a city that is run by the people of Camas and not by outside encroaching influences, you will make sure to re-elect Councilwoman Melissa Smith and Councilman Steve Hogan. I do not think you can find two more loyal, strong, and stalwart people than these two.

Camas stay strong. Reelect Smith & Hogan.

Mike Briggs, Washougal

Scott would make a great mayor

If I still lived in Washougal, I would vote for Earl Scott for mayor.

Why Earl Scott? He’s a proven leader and has given many years of his life helping and protecting Washougal citizens.

Nothing against Mayor Guard, Earl Scott has leadership intangibles that Washougal needs. He is a uniter, motivator, and finishes what he starts. Some say Mayor Guard brought Camas and Washougal fire departments together but that was in the works before he was ever mayor. It’s the workers whom make collaboration work and Earl Scott understands that. He’d make one heck of a mayor but I am a little biased since I am his son. Vote Earl Scott.

Jason Earl Scott, Mesa, Colo.

Keep mayor’s seat electable and accountable

The people behind Proposition 1 have stated that a council-manager form of government will bring stability, consistency and professional management to the City of Washougal. I would like to present some facts countering and in opposition to those statements and in regards to other points being raised.

Stability and consistency: Initial statements early on from the proponents for Prop 1 referenced that in the 108 year history of Washougal, only one mayor had been re-elected.

On the city website, there is a list of past mayors and the years they served. The reality is that five mayors have been re-elected. Some of those re-elected mayors served partial terms in their years as mayor.

If you take the time to go back and check past council member’s records, you will see much the same track record for re-elections and/or serving full terms of office. In fact, in the years I was involved in city government, we experienced turnover annually. I recall one year, one seat alone saw two to three people resign their position. I do not believe this is a valid argument,

Professional management: Washougal has had professional management for 10 years; first with Nabiel Shawa and presently with Dave Scott. Both of these individuals came to us highly skilled and more than qualified as city administrators.

When you look at the job descriptions for an administrator and a manager, the only real differences are to whom they are held accountable; either a single person as most successful organizations do or to a multi-person group with seven opinions and agendas.

Please vote no on Proposition 1. You will keep your right to vote and you will keep a mayor who is elected by and accountable to the citizens in charge of your city.

Jeff Guard, Washougal

ECFR volunteers endorse Martin, Prop. 1

The East County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association has endorsed Commissioner Martha Martin for re-election to Position No. 4 for East County Fire & Rescue.

Compared to her challenger there is no contest, Commissioner Martin is well known for her community involvement, attention to detail, and concern for the taxpayer. Her involvement with ECFR precedes her appointment as commissioner, so she is already well-versed in how the district is managed.

However, the ECVFFA does disagree with her position on Proposition 1, and feels that it is important to let the voters decide for themselves on the issue of funding necessary apparatus replacements and facilities improvements.

The district has served its residents very well through the economic downturn without service cuts or tax hikes, what more could anyone ask?

The time has come to request help, and for the voters to choose which path ECFR will take. It would be irresponsible for the district to not take the issue to the public in full disclosure, and let them decide.

Please vote for Martin, and please vote yes on Prop. 1. See ECFRVOTE.COM for more info.

Frank Billington, president, East County Volunteer Firefighters Association

School board president endorses Cox

Two parents, both respected, both wanting to serve their community by being on the school board for the next four years and both deserving.

Erika Cox has been in the Camas community eight years and in every year has volunteered for field trips, classroom helper, PTA/PTO member and PTA president.

For the past two years Erika has judged senior projects at both Camas and Hayes Freedom high schools, while being a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the school board and now in her third year, serves as chairwoman.

Because of her enthusiastic, caring personality and participation in PTA/PTO she has developed good communication and relationships district wide taking the initiative to reach out to staff, parents, community members, city and state government officials. Erika is highly respected for her tireless volunteer work, her intelligence and leadership. She is very skilled at asking probing questions and is not afraid to make tough decisions, values highly desirable for an effective board member.

She is a wonderful ambassador advocating for great public education for not only her children but great schools and successful experiences for all children. It is only logical that she continue her involvement and participation in the school district as a board member. I would be honored to have her as a fellow board member and that is why I am endorsing Erika Cox for Camas School Board.

Connie Hennessey, Camas School Board president

Re-elect Rotz

Julie Rotz has long been an avid supporter of Camas schools and has participated in many school district activities. Her service on the board of directors for the past four years has been exemplary. She has an interest in making sure that all students succeed, while being fiscally responsible in the use of taxpayer funds.

Her experience on the board will be invaluable in preparing for the continued growth of the Camas School District as well as other challenges. Her top priorities include early literacy and early advocacy.

Having served on the Camas School Board for 34 years, I know the importance of long-term commitment and involvement. I believe that Julie Rotz is dedicated to the values and vision of the Camas School District and endorse her for re-election. She deserves the opportunity to continue her excellent work for another term.

Melvyn Cardon, Former member and chairman of the Camas School Board

Vancouver mayor’s actions go against voters

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt and other city officials have conspired to overturn the mandate of Clark County voters in regards to light rail.

The Vancouver mayor, along with the mayors of Ridgefield and La Center, and others, are pushing an agenda for C-Tran to merge with TriMet for the purpose of light rail, street cars, bus rapid transit and other transportation developments.

C-Tran attorney Tom Wolfendale and C-Tran CEO Jeff Hamm (both pro TriMet) are working behind the scenes to that end. All in direct opposition to Clark County voters. They even agreed to a contract with TriMet that calls for a payment of $5 million if the deal falls through.

This is not right. Clark County voters voted against light rail. What right does Mayor Tim Leavitt and his minions have to do exactly the opposite of the voter’s mandate? I am frustrated and ashamed. Frustrated that he thinks he can get away with it, and ashamed to admit that the mayors of Camas and Washougal are in his corner.

Elected officials that work on their own agenda in direct opposition to the voter’s mandate, do not deserve to be re-elected. I hope all voters will remember the actions of these officials on election day.

Fred King, Washougal

Initiative 522 is a small step in the right direction

Once again our state is attracting big money over an initiative on the November ballot. Sometimes I think controversial initiatives are invented in some basement office of a media conglomerate, because the media are the only ones who profit from the deluge of out-of-state money. This time it’s Initiative 522, which proposes that food labeling cover a new technology, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The big money is against 522; you can tell by counting the lawn signs on non-residential property and the expensive, slick ads. The small print identifies Monsanto, Bayer and other corporations as one source of the money. That’s not surprising, since they stand to profit hugely from GMO technology. They must feel that if consumers know what’s in the food, it will hurt those profits. That raises a red flag for me: if they are frightened to tell me, I should be frightened if they don’t.

It’s ironic that one of the “arguments” against 522 is that out-of-state money from the “organic food industry” is supporting it. There is less money on the “yes” side, but still a lot — maybe it comes from individuals who wish they could vote to label their food in their state.

The human race doesn’t have a good record with new technology, particularly when it comes to long-term health issues. Those who stand to profit in the short-term do some short-term studies and conclude that whatever they want to do is perfectly safe. Then 20 years down the line, it becomes apparent that the cancer rate is way up for those who believed them. This happened with cigarette smoking, with asbestos manufacture, and with nuclear power. At the outset, their supporters assured us that there was no danger. Then they fought long and hard to suppress the evidence that proved them wrong.

On other technologies, the jury is still out. Aren’t cell phones safe? Or do those microwaves close to your brain have some unexpected long-term effects? The point is that we can’t know for sure, and that’s what 522 is about: it’s impossible to avoid GMO food if you don’t know it’s there. And no ones hates labeling more than those who see it cutting into their profits. The whole saga of cigarettes, from the first Surgeon General’s finding to the smoking bans of today, could be a parallel to what might happen with GMO food.

What most frightens me about GMO technology is that we know one of the long-term effects it could have, and it’s a big, bad one. What GMO seeds are good at — what they are designed for — is to resist poisons. The idea is that GMO crops will be able to stand heavy spraying with pesticides and herbicides, so farmers can easily kill everything but their cash crop. And who makes those poison sprays? Monsanto, Bayer, etc. They imagine a world in only GMO seeds survive, created by letting their poisons kill everything else.

And, oh yes, I forgot to mention that Monsanto and friends own the rights to their GMO seeds forever: A farmer is breaking the law to set aside seed from this year’s crop to use next year.

It seems to me that the world the corporations envision isn’t one my children and grandchildren would want to live in, and for that reason alone I would avoid GMO foods (if I only knew which ones they are). You hear a lot about “biological diversity” these days. Over the really long term, millions of years, the ecosystems that have been successful are those that contain a variety of different life forms. That’s because when there is just one, a natural disaster can destroy it and the whole system with it. That’s what happened in the Irish potato famine. The whole economy was based on a single potato variety, and a passing blight destroyed the crop, killing or displacing half the population.

Even a small risk to the whole world population seems too high a price to pay for short-term profits, but Monsanto and friends don’t see it that way. Inititive 522 isn’t perfect. But it’s a small step in the right direction, and it’s my hope that all that money won’t buy the election for Monsanto and friends.

Richard Hamlet, Camas