Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29, 2013

Vote no on ECFR proposition

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Martha Martin who is running to retain her commissioner seat with East County Fire & Rescue Position 4.

I know Martha to be an honest, caring, and concerned citizen of Camas-Washougal through her previous involvement with numerous local organizations.

I met with Martha to discuss her views on East County Fire & Rescue Proposition 1 (to raise funds for apparatus and capital improvements). I was concerned when I read the Camas-Washougal Post-Record in recent weeks and kept noticing that proponents of the measure stated that they have funded numerous projects without raising taxes. I felt this was incorrect, at least according to my tax statements.

In 2008 we were paying approximately 84 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to East County Fire & Rescue. This year East County Fire & Rescue is receiving $1.50 per thousand dollars of assessed value from us. How is this considered not raising taxes?

East County Fire & Rescue also states that each household will be paying an additional 9 cents per $1,000 for the next 20 years if Proposition 1 passes. What happens to the 9 cents when housing prices go back up?

Will the fire district gain additional funds to use as they wish? If areas of East County Fire & Rescue are annexed are the remaining taxpayers additionally burdened with this debt? Could we end up paying more than 9 cents per thousand?

I also inquired about a $254,000 debt service line item in East County Fire & Rescue’s budget. If East County Fire & Rescue has paid cash for their previous purchases, why are they spending money on debt service payments? I was advised that East County Fire & Rescue currently has over $3 million in non-voted debt. This debt was used to build stations and purchase other capital equipment.

I think there are far too many questions for me back this proposition.

Please vote no on East County Fire & Rescues Proposition 1.

I urge you to vote yes for Martha Martin to retain her current Position 4 with East County Fire & Rescue. She is willing to ask the tough questions, speak up on behalf of the public, and her honesty and integrity is without question.

Pam Mason Clark, Washougal

Rotz is dedicated

I am endorsing Julie Rotz for re-election to the Camas School Board.

During the time I have served with Julie on the board, I have witnessed her dedication and commitment to the Camas School District and her support of excellence in learning and achievement for all students.

Julie has a strong background in technology and business. She lends her expertise to both the board and to committees that she serves on. I have served with her on the Technology Committee for the past 2 years where Julie has been actively involved and provided key insights to the development of the district’s technology strategic plan.

Julie also was a board liaison to the recent Boundary Review Committee, which formed the recommendations for changes due to bringing on the sixth elementary school to Camas — the new Woodburn Elementary School.

As a part of this committee, I feel that Julie demonstrated a connection to the community and ability to listen to parents and community members as she helped shape the committee’s recommendations.

For all these reasons, please join me in voting for Julie Rotz for the Camas School Board.

Mary Tipton, Camas

Cox wants to support the community

Living in the Camas community with an outstanding education system is a privilege and a blessing.

With the changes in our country, including our federal, state and local governments, having a school board with the skills and abilities to lead our district into the future is essential.

Erika Cox has the knowledge, vision and charisma to serve as a strong leader. She is the mother of three children in the district, knows the priorities, and is one who volunteers and engages.

As a warm and inviting person, Erika is approachable and easy to interact with. She has a strong professional background with a passion and drive to support our community, teachers and students.

Erika has the experience and education necessary to serve as a solid board member and has demonstrated her leadership in her role as chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and involvements in her school’s PTA/PTO and district wide projects.

Erika has been a strong advocate and will serve us well over the next four years. We put our trust in Erika and ask that you please join us in voting Erika Cox for the Camas School Board.

Mike and Courtney True, Vancouver

Scott will be a productive mayor

I would like to respond to the article about incumbent Sean Guard to face Earl Scott candidates for Washougal mayor. I have known Earl Scott for 20 years.

Earl Scott is a man of integrity very loyal to his family and friends. He has lived in Washougal/Camas area for 54 years.

I know that if Earl wins the election come November 2013, he will always do what’s best for the city. Earl won’t give promises he can’t keep.

Sean Guard has had four years to figure out or get funding to help offset the water bills. Sean said it took three years to “fix and rework the other stuff,” before productivity. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a mayor that would try and get rid of city employees (public works) and hire outside business to come work the city.

Now Sean Guard has sent our firefighters to another town and, my understanding is that a Camas fireman is the fire chief for Washougal? Also Kevin Bergstrom president of the union for professional firefighters wrote that the firefighters are endorsing Sean Guard. Well Camas has everything to gain with this merge and the vote for endorsement was majority of Camas firefighters. Go figure. Soon there will be no more Washougal employees if Guard stays in office. What happened to keeping jobs in the city we live in? How can Mr. Guard bring in new business growth when he can’t even figure out ways to keep Washougal employees working in Washougal?

I am voting for Earl Scott for mayor. He has pride in the city he calls home. Earl works, volunteered his time and understands what it means to give back. I know it won’t take Earl Scott three years to start productivity.

If you like the way things are ran now in city government then vote for Sean Guard. If you want change vote Earl Scott. I’ll see you at the polls come November.

Lydia Aguilar, Washougal

Vote for Nan

The slate of candidates vying for a seat as Clark County freeholders is overwhelming. Their experience, competency and backgrounds are impressive.

We need the best and brightest candidates as freeholders who will lead Clark County in the right direction. Choosing the right people to represent us should only be done after careful study and consideration.

I urge you to vote for Nan Henriksen for District 2, Position 1. She has the experience, intelligence and vision to help make the decisions that will affect your life and mine in the future.

Nan has been a trusted, proven leader, tirelessly serving her community, as mayor of the city of Camas, 12 years as a mediator and hearings officer for the state, as well as other local boards and committees. She not only listens to the people she represents, but she truly hears and then acts with fairness, wisdom and understanding, gaining respect and support from everyone.

Let’s continue to put our trust in her to do what is best for all of us. I am confident she will get the job done right. We need Nan now.

Eunice Abrahamsen, Camas

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