Letters to the Editor for Jan. 27, 2015

Unhappy with actions of C-Tran board

In 2004, the C-Tran district was county-wide, every Clark County citizen had a vote, and a C-Tran sales tax rate hike measure failed.

In January 2005, the C-Tran board responded by gerrymandering the C-Tran boundary to a smaller district that excludes tens of thousands of county voters. All county residents now pay the C-Tran sales tax, but only those who live in the gerrymandered C-Tran district have a vote, taxation without representation.

C-Tran recycled the sales tax hike measure in the September 2005 low-turnout primary election. Voila! The boundary downsize paid off in millions of dollars more annually for C-Tran to serve fewer residents.

In 2011, C-Tran held another public vote in this gerrymandered district to raise taxes to “preserve our buses” and C-Van. Citizens warned that C-Tran funds would be diverted to light rail. C-Tran countered in the ballot measure “fact” piece that funds would not pay for light rail. Furthermore, policy(PBD-015) against using C-Tran tax funds for light rail was updated with fanfare in August 2011 to persuade voters to support the tax hike, which passed in November 2011.

In 2012, C-Tran held a vote on high capacity transit light rail and bus rapid transit (BRT). Every city in Clark County, and the county area allowed to vote rejected the ballot proposition.

In 2013, county voters again rejected light rail and BRT. In complete disregard of the votes, the 2013 C-Tran board majority repealed the policy against using C-Tran tax money for light rail, and approved contracts for voter-rejected light rail, and BRT. C-Tran Board members from Camas/Washougal, Connie Jo Freeman, and County Commissioners Madore and Mielke faithfully represented the voters, and did not approve the contracts.

Without sufficient public notice, C-Tran held a special meeting in November 2014 that removed an elected Clark County Commissioner from the nine voting member C-Tran board. Clark County population in 2013 was 443,817. Vancouver, (population 167,405) retained three reps, Battle Ground, Ridgefield/La Center, and Washougal retained one rep, and Camas gained one rep.

At the Jan. 13 C-Tran board meeting, only the county commissioners voted against BRT and for improved meeting notice. Sadly, the rest of the board, including Camas City Councilor Greg Anderson, and Washougal City Councilor Jennifer McDaniel, approved more funds for voter-rejected BRT. The new board majority also failed to correct the insufficient notice by holding the meeting again, with notice that better conforms to the Open Public Meetings Act.

Margaret Tweet, Camas

School bond is too exorbitant

The current special election for the Washougal School District has me quite concerned.

I am usually all for the schools and getting them what they need as they are the future of America. But this particular bill seems quite exorbitant with a monthly increase on average for $300,000 home of $12, which works out to $144 a year. That is a very steep increase.

What little I have read, there also will be refurbishing done that makes folks have to go to school offices to get in. That is fear mongering at the expense of the taxpayer. I would much rather see this broken down, even then I would question expensive remodeling of existing facilities.

Look, if someone wants to get in a school and shoot it up, they can do it. Period. End of story.

Now, the addition of schools — maybe, but will the populace really need this? What about public use of the facilities off hours, like gyms for groups to use evenings/weekends/holidays? We pay steep taxes and only our children (mine grown and gone, but benefited from this system) reap the harvest, albeit by properly educating we advance as a society.

With heavy heart, I urge this time we vote “no” on this particular tax increase.

Jack Martin, Washougal

Vote ‘yes,’ for safer schools

The citizens of Washougal have a capital bond coming up on the Feb. 10, ballot.

The bond that I am referring to is the Vote YES for Safer Schools bond, which is extremely important to our current and future students’ lives for many years to come.

I work for the Washougal School District and have worked in different schools and have seen where there is a tremendous need for major repairs and safety upgrades.

The bond would include remodeling the entrances at each school, eliminating all portables in the district (which addresses safety issues in itself), building an actual building for Excelsior High School, building a K-8 school on the current Jemtegaard property which would directly address the overcrowding at all other schools, and getting our transportation staff in a suitable work environment and our buses housed at a better location.

These are just a few of the amazing improvements for our district included when you vote “yes.” Please visit the sites below for more information:

o www.washougal.k12.wa.us/levybond/levybond1.htm

o washougal4schools.org/bond-facts/

Angela Hancock Parent, WSD employee, volunteer

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