Letters to the Editor for May 12, 2015

Firefighters’ union supports teachers

East Clark County Professional Firefighters Local No. 2444 supports our teachers.

Across the state, Washington’s K-12 teachers and educational support professionals are standing up for their students. The Washington State Legislature has been held in contempt of court for failing to fully fund our kids’ education as required by the State Constitution. Don’t allow your vote to be dismissed by legislators who refuse to follow the law and your wishes.

It is in the best interest of our community to invest in classroom priorities that build the foundation for student learning as well as retain qualified, caring and committed educators. Our community deserves this high level of education for our children.

Please join us in supporting the people who open doors for our children’s future every day. Please support our teachers in their day of action on May 13.

East Clark County Professional Firefighters, Local No. 2444

Public education funding must be supported

The Washougal Association of Educators is participating in a Day of Action based on the failure of the Washington State Legislature to support public education. We have come to this action with a great deal of thought, since it is best for us to be doing what we are trained, hired and committed to do; educate the students of the Washougal School District. However, the time has come to raise our voices in public protest of the actions of a government that continues to underfund public education, over legislate mandates without substantiation, and ignores the law.

The Legislature is currently under a Contempt of Court order from the Washington State Supreme Court; that contempt of court order is in abeyance until the end of the Legislative session, which has now been extended by 30 days. They have been ordered to report to the Court within the week after they adjourn.

The Legislature has already stated that they will ignore Initiative 1351 on smaller class sizes, which the voters in the State of Washington passed last fall. We have communicated with our legislators; we have talked, we have emailed, we have called, we have attended forums, question and answer sessions and even sent postcards.

Your children deserve more. They deserve the best of everything the State of Washington should be able to provide for your children’s education. However, they have not and continue to seek ways to decrease the funding of the public education process in every way possible. You may hear platitudes about what they have done, but closer examination has shown so much of it to be smoke, mirrors and out-right fabrications.

If you wish to join us in sending this message, contact your local representatives. Liz Pike, Brandon Vick, Ann Rivers, Don Benton, Annette Cleveland, Tim Moeller, Paul Harris, Sharon Wylie and Lynda Wilson; they all need to hear, loud and clear, that public education is the paramount duty of the State of Washington and it must be fully supported.

Frank Zahn, president, Washougal Association of Educators

Who is the RTC serving?

Would you spend $12,400 for three weeks at Harvard?

You just did!

Would you spend $98 million to “upgrade” the Mill Plain interchange with I-5? Our Regional Transportation Council scored this as the fifth most needed transportation project. Unbelievably, there are no designs, engineering or details to show why the work needs to be done, let alone justifying the $98 million price.

Last fall, our RTC evaluated 34 transportation projects in Clark County. They score them on four metrics – safety, mobility, multimodal and economic development. The fifth highest scoring project was a major upgrade to the I-5/Mill Plain interchange.

Yet there is no documentation showing why this project got 14 of 22 points for “mobility”; no documentation on 21 of 28 points for economic development; nothing documenting the cost.

Mill Plain is seven lanes wide going under I-5. It’s very modern.

Because of the RTC’s highly questionable scoring, other transportation projects are off the table. The Mill Plain proposal is consuming half of Clark County’s allocated transportation dollars in the legislature’s discussions. Those not getting funding by House democrats include a widening of Highway 14 between 164th and I-205; widening the Camas Slough Bridge and building a rail overpass in Washougal.

The RTC is the common link. Executive Director Matt Ransom got a 4.5 percent raise to $135,700 per year. Taxpayers are now sending Matt to Harvard for 3-weeks this summer. Sadly, even after this taxpayer funded $12,400 boondoggle was brought to light, the RTC Board, including Melissa Smith, approved this expenditure.

Camas City Council member Melissa Smith is chairwoman of the RTC, with significant input on RTC discussions and direction. Why is she supporting the upgrade of the very modern Mill Plain/I-5 interchange?

Why is she sending Matt Ransom to Harvard on our dime?

John Ley, Camas

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