Letters to the Editor for July 8, 2014

Now is the time to tighten fireworks laws

Well, another July Fourth has come and gone. Another mess is left in the streets and yards, and on rooftops and decks as testimony.

There is a state regulation that says fireworks must be set off on one’s own property and must not be directed at another person’s property. But with our current allowances in the City of Camas, how would that ever be enforceable?

This day is supposed to be in remembrance of our country’s hard fought battles, yet the real effects of its observation seems to be about pitting neighbor against neighbor, where possibly half the population is forced to endure with mouths closed, the noise, the mess, the obstruction of our own local streets that access our homes, while the other half are allowed free reign to act like adolescents, even though they should have long outgrown that stage.

Fireworks continue to be sold because it is profitable for someone.

Groups use it as a fundraiser, something that is dangerous and destructive to people and property and are outraged when it is threatened to be taken away. Let me ask, would we allow people to sell cigarettes, alcohol or other harmful products in order to make money for their cause? Of course not. Yet fireworks can be just as dangerous or destructive and a lot more contentious. It is an outdated way of fundraising, and those who fuss about it may need to become a little more creative in order to meet their needs.

Many of the stands are not even for charitable causes, but rather just business. Just imagine if the costs to the police and fire departments answering calls on Independence Day were billed to the sellers. It may not be so popular, all of a sudden. But no folks, that comes out of our tax dollars instead.

It seems that the City of Camas is dragging their feet in making stricter regulations when it comes to fireworks, compared to its neighboring cities. Knowing that change comes incrementally, I am suggesting that we go all the way to the extreme and ban all fireworks here that fly into the air, period. That way, hopefully some shift will take place to keep our neighborhoods from seeming like a war zone. I would like to see Camas stand up and have the courage to be the leader in this movement toward civility, instead of following timidly behind.

Now is the time.

Carolyn Butler, Camas

Honor the votes

In 2011, CTRAN passed a public vote to raise taxes to “preserve our busses” and stated funds would not be used for high capacity transit.

In 2012, CTRAN held a vote on high capacity Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) and Light Rail, which every Clark County city rejected.

In 2013, voters again rejected BRT and light rail.

In complete disregard of the votes, CTRAN statements, and policies, the CTRAN board majority voted for contracts for both light rail, and BRT in 2013. (CTRAN Camas/Washougal Board member Connie Jo Freeman, did not vote for the contracts.)

The CTRAN Board should revoke the light rail contract, and not contract for BRT this July.

BRT 60 foot bendable buses cost over $1 million each for little benefit. The extra length stores bikes inside, instead of outside on racks on standard 40 foot busses. BRT sidewalk ticket dispensers are subject to vandalism and breakdown vs. the onboard system serving the estimated 20 percent of riders paying on the bus.

The plan to run BRT busses more often during peak times can be performed by the existing fleet, if higher demand materializes. According to CTRAN data, standard 40 foot busses are rarely at capacity. CTRAN should not divert millions of dollars to voter-rejected light rail and BRT.

Margaret Tweet, Camas

C-W councils should deny oil train projects

Five oil trains have exploded within the last year beginning with the explosion in the small town of Lac Megantic Quebec on July 6, 2013.

The province of Quebec is seeking $409 million for cleanup and repair, and $50 million for the wrongful deaths of 47 people.

We can’t say this won’t happen in Camas or Washougal. BNSF averages 6 derailments per week. Google “Derailment Statistics” and see for yourself.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the oil travelling through Washougal and Camas is more flammable than traditional crude. A spark can ignite it.

On one hand, the RAIL industry is asking the Federal Government to develop standards for safer tank cars. On the other hand, the OIL industry is asking the federal government to halt development of new standards, saying the tank cars are safe if the railroads keep the cars on the tracks.

If you’ve never seen a video of an oil train explosion, Google “You Tube Quebec Oil Train Explosion.”

I urge the City Councils of Washougal and Camas to join Vancouver in passing a resolution urging the Governor and all agencies to deny permits for all construction projects which would increase oil train traffic through Clark County.

Don Steinke, Vancouver