Letters to the Editor for Feb. 3, 2015

Inslee targets local entities in carbon emissions plan

Gov. Jay Inslee has a two-pronged “carbon emissions” plan. His gas tax adds over $1 per gallon of gas. It raises costs for home heating, electric bills, and everything purchased at local merchants. Our state’s current gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon.

Part two targets alleged “carbon polluters.” The Department of Ecology issued a list of the top 130 “polluters.” These Southwest Washington firms are on the list: Georgia Pacific — Camas, WaferTech — Camas, NW Pipeline — Washougal, River Road generating plant — Vancouver, Weyerhaeuser — Longview, Longview Fibre, Paper & Packaging — Longview.

Because the University of Washington and Washington State University are on the list, the plan finally got press attention. The Seattle Times headline: “Truth Needle: GOP leader is right, Inslee polluter list tags UW, WSU.”

The UW estimates it would cost $1.2 million a year to buy permits and otherwise comply with the cap-and-trade plan. WSU says it would cost $800,000 a year.

The price tag for Inslee’s plan? A minimum of $1 billion taken from citizen’s pockets. The Office of Financial Management said it would cost citizens $1.2 billion in 2016.

Inslee also targets natural gas, which emits much less pollution. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. It produces 29 percent and 44 percent less carbon dioxide per joule delivered than oil and coal respectively.

We already live in a “clean” state. We emit just .3 percent of global carbon emissions, according to numerous sources, including Sen. Ann Rivers, Rep. Liz Pike reports we are the nation’s fourth cleanest state.

Furthermore, two former UW scientists (now at NOAA) issued a report that there is no human hand in the one degree of warming for the past 113 years. “Changing wind patterns” over the Pacific Ocean were the cause.

We need common sense and “sound science” when making public policy.

John Ley, Camas

School bond makes sense

I support the Washougal bond measure because it makes sense, is a well thought out plan that will see us through the next 20 years, and is simply the right thing to do.

The bond addresses real problems that exist now and have existed for quite some time. All of our schools are experiencing overcrowding and have children in unsafe, rundown portables with paper-thin walls, entrances that are not secure, and facilities that struggle to support today’s technology.

We cannot afford to wait any longer as our schools are bursting at the seams and we have nowhere to go with any additional new students. Where will we put them? Even our run-down portables are at capacity.

It is my turn to do for this generation what Washougal voters did nearly 16 years ago for my children’s generation, vote “yes” to pass a bond to fix overcrowding problems and get kids out of unsafe portables, upgrade existing facilities to improve safety and build new schools to accommodate current and future growth. Washougal children deserve the opportunity to learn in safe, comfortable, up-to-date facilities that can support today’s technology and innovative teaching methods.

I urge all Washougal voters to vote “yes” on the Proposition No. 5 general bond so we can provide the kids in our community with the quality education they need and deserve. Please vote “yes” by Feb. 10.

Amanda C. Klackner, Washougal

Port commissioner supports WSD bond

As a Camas-Washougal Port commissioner, I have the opportunity to talk with businesses considering locating or expanding in our community.

The two most important factors affecting their decision are available land and a qualified workforce. Good schools are an essential to workforce development and a key factor in determining what the future holds for us and our children.

Washougal voters are going to be asked to cast their ballot by Feb. 10 on Proposition 5, a Washougal School District capital improvement bond. With a focus on safety enhancements, improved learning spaces and addressing capacity issues, it is critical for the community to vote “yes.” This bond will help to ensure our schools will continue to provide the type of quality education we and industry want for our youth now and into the future.

I urge voters to get the facts at www.washougal4schools.org, and be sure to vote.

Mark Lampton, Washougal

Vote ‘yes’ for safe schools in Washougal

I am newly appointed as the Washougal City Council liason to the school district.

Recently, I took a tour of three facilities that are part of the bond: Jemtegaard Middle School, Excelsior High School and the transportation department. I am 100 percent in favor of this facilities bond even though, I admit in this public space, that I seldom vote for bonds because I believe in less taxation for citizens.

If you have never seen these facilities, then you should request a tour. The entrances to all Washougal schools are unsafe in today’s standards. Jemtagaard’s campus design is after a warm weather climate model and those students and staff have to go out in the Gorge wind, rain and cold each period to change classes. The portables are freezing in the winter and boiling in the warmer weather. Excelsior’s facility is tiny, leaky and antiquated.

Then there is the transportation Quonset hut from pre-World War II. Yes, it’s true, a Quonset hut. I am a school bus driver for Camas, so my experience is up close and personal. No one should have to work in the conditions the Washougal mechanics or dispatch have to work in.

There are many more details to the improvements this bond will bring to WSD.

When you consider an average new homeowner in our city would have an increase of approximately $12 per month you have to say, “That’s doable.”

City Council works to improve Washougal’s economic status. Schools are the foundation of a healthy and thriving community. I ask you to vote “yes” on this bond issue. Our ballots are here. Don’t delay, vote today.

Connie Jo Freeman, Washougal