Letters to the Editor for Sept. 15, 2016

Battan understands

I grew up in a small, farming town, and I know how hard farmers work. Farmers represent an important group of Americans who take great pride in what they do. They are a vital part of our heritage and community here in Clark County, and we should ensure that they and their farms remain here for many years to come.

When we vote for County Councilor in District 4 in the November elections, we will be able to choose someone who will support our local farmers. We need to elect someone who will protect our farmlands and watersheds and will not transform our beautiful area into suburban, Southern California. Once we begin the process of over developing our area, it will be lost forever. That is not in any resident’s best interest.

There is one candidate who is a strong advocate for farmers and rural issues, and that person is Roman Battan. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, Roman has the interests of rural Clark County in mind, and he has been endorsed by the Clark/Cowlitz County Farm Bureau.

In addition, Roman is a lifelong resident of Clark County. He owns a small business and understands the challenges that others in his situation face. He knows how to work collaboratively with people, and he has ideas that will bring good paying jobs into Clark County and make government more efficient. I’m voting for Roman, and I encourage you to do the same.

Jim MacRae, LaCenter

Vote Lannen for commissioner

I first met Tom Lannen and his wife, Sofia, 10 years ago when they moved to the area, while installing his phone and internet service.

My first impression of them was these are great people who will be a great asset to our community. This impression was an understatement. From the day Tom got here, he took an active interest in the community and got involved and served in many ways through Saving Skamania County, Emergency Operations Center, and by attending commissioner’s meetings.

His past experience and leadership qualities are impressive. I encourage you to check out his involvement and service to our community and his career accomplishments; they will speak for themselves.

We have the opportunity to elect a person that can lead and serve our communities, and has the qualities of leadership, dedication, and experience needed to really make a positive difference that will lead us into the future.

I have lived in Skamania County all my life and have never seen a person more qualified to lead and serve our county and its people. I am sure once you have met Tom and researched his qualifications you will come to the same conclusion I have, and understand why I support and highly endorse Tom Lannen for Skamania County Commissioner District No. 2, and encourage you to do the same.

Max Hegewald Jr., Stevenson

Rent control should be allowed

There are no silver bullet solutions to the affordable housing crisis. However, in Washington State RCW 35.21.830 prohibits rent controls by counties and cities.

The affordable housing crisis is acting as a catalyst for landlords to raise their rents, too often with increases that would shock the conscience of average people — 20 percent, 30 percent, even near 60 percent.

At the end of a rental agreement, landlords have unfettered ability to do whatever they want, regardless of the implied obligations of their rental agreements. More often than not, the landlords feel “entitled” to as much as they can get, without regard for the tenants that had made the rental property their home. Landlords have almost all of the power in the relationship. Tenants have only one choice: either pay what is demanded or move out.

In too many cases, the rent increases are causing the tenants to move. Moving out is the result, and often, the tenants have no place to move to. The communities affected most are the low-wage earners and seniors living on fixed Social Security incomes. The additional result is the increase in homelessness, or having to choose between rent vs. food, or worse, rent vs. medication.

Another consequence is the increase in food insecurity. There is plenty of evidence with the increase in the number of grade school students dependent on school lunch programs. The issue extends to an unstable local economy.

There are other states, including California, where counties and cities have the ability to implement reasonable rent control ordinances; Oakland, California, is one model example.

In Washington, it is time to repeal RCW 35.21.830 and allow rent control. It is the right way to balance the landlord-tenant relationship.

Write to our state senators and representatives in our legislative districts.

David McDevitt, Vancouver