Letters to the Editor for March 17, 2015

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category icon Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Another option to support road repairs in Washougal

Washougal needs money to repair roads, bridges and infrastructure (Post-Record March 10). Their budget, under current tax law, doesn’t provide enough funds for this. They are considering creating a Transportation Benefit District, allowing for a new $20 car tab fee. This would provide $215,000 to fund road repairs.

There is another option. Why not have taxes citizens already pay go to local cities rather than C-Tran?

For every $100 Clark County citizens spend, they pay $8.40 in sales taxes. Sales taxes are: State of Washington – $6.50; Washougal – 85 cents; Clark County – 15 cents; Law & Justice – 10 cents; Mental Health (County) – 10 cents and C-Tran – 70 cents.

Of the $1.90 going to local services, C-Tran gets 82 percent of what cities receive. Cities provide police, fire, EMS, roads, sidewalks, lighting. (They also collect property and utility taxes). C-Tran transports less than five percent of our citizens.

Would citizens allocate 70 cents to C-Tran if given the choice?

Three years ago voters approved C-Tran’s requested .002 cent tax increase for “essential bus service,” a 40 percent increase. That’s 20 cents on the $100 purchase, raising C-Tran taxes to 70 cents.

Yet last summer, C-Tran spent $6.7 million on bus rapid transit, without giving citizens a promised vote. Last fall, C-Tran chose to pay Tri-Met $1.7 million, plus $552,000 per year for an electronic fare collection system. This equals 7 percent of passenger fares. There are “no identified savings.”

Furthermore, passenger revenues cover about 24 percent of C-Tran costs – taxpayers pay the balance.

Would citizens prefer giving some of C-Tran’s 70 cents to their city for better services? I’ll bet the overwhelming answer is “yes!”

Taking 10 cents from C-Tran could provide Washougal around $160 million; 15 cents could provide about $240 million. Best of all, citizens would not have an extra car tab fee or new taxes.

John Ley, Camas

HB 1857 would have prevented tragedies

I am a parent and a social worker. In the wake of Sandy Hook, Aurora, and countless other senseless incidences of mass gun violence, maybe these roles make me particularly sensitive to the unnecessary threats that face kids and families every day. But, it seems fairly common-sense that families and law enforcement should have an avenue to temporarily restrict access to firearms for individuals who pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.

Shame on State Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington) for making a dirty deal with the NRA and killing HB 1857 in committee. There are countless gaps in our mental health system. HB 1857, regarding extreme risk protection orders, would have closed one such gap by allowing an avenue for temporarily restricting access to firearms for individuals in a mental health crisis. This is not about second amendment rights, it is about saying “enough” to preventable tragedy.

Holly Jacobs, Camas

Keep I-594 intact

I am writing regarding the attempts to weaken I-594. The majority of us want to protect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping them out of the hands of convicted felons and the mentally ill, this law does just that.

Our lawmakers in the state of Washington are elected to represent their constituents. Therefore, they should be opposing any attempts to weaken a law that was approved by a 20-point margin.

I am a mother of two young boys and everyday as they enter the school bus to elementary school I pray that they safely return and do not cross paths with someone that shouldn’t be owning a gun. I would like to encourage everyone to call their Representative and tell them to support the law.

Anna Smith, Vancouver

Herrera Beutler votes against rail improvements

Each Monday The Columbian prints “Washington, D.C. roll call” in which Congress’ voting for the week is presented. Included this week there was the budget for Homeland Security, for rail-passenger service, removal of subsidies for Amtrak and support for Amtrak security.

Our representative Jaime Herrera Beutler voted against them all.

That means she did not want to support immigration, or Amtrak’s need for rail improvements or the safety of passengers. I don’t understand this.

What’s to be against? Is it OK to support the highways (cars use gas, oil, tires etc.) or the airlines (more oil, gasoline etc.) but not the trains? The same trains that produce considerably less air pollution or reduce the highway congestion on I-5 as you head to Seattle?

The local Republican Party wanted to chastise her. I can’t imagine what for. It sure looks like as good soldier she is voting for the “Party of No” block vote.

When there is no money to repair I-5, or the bridges or the trains, I hope you will remember that Southwest Washington didn’t vote to support them and vote accordingly yourself.

Marilyn Tyrrell, Washougal

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