Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17, 2017

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is failing to do the basics of her job

One of the most important aspects of the role of our U.S. Representatives is to meet with and listen to the people they represent; how else can they do their job at representing us well?

But this week, while all U.S. Representatives were back in their respective home states to meet with their constituents, Rep. Beutler was nowhere to be seen.

A rally was held outside her office on Aug. 8. Instead of meeting with us, she posted signs all around her office building and on the front of her locked office door (with her staff behind the locked door) that read, in part: “To ensure the safety of our staff … our staff will not be taking walk-in visitors today.”

Here we were, a group of more than 30 citizens, many of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s, just asking to talk with her, in person. We had taken time out of our busy day specifically to meet with her. We did not want to attend a telephone call-in town hall, as she always has, with pre-approved questions and everything staged. We simply wanted an in-person, real, live conversation.

What was it that she fears? Is she afraid she can’t answer our questions? Is she concerned she can’t handle a crowd of concerned citizens and the “optics” will look bad if someone videotapes that? Surely, she can’t fear bodily harm from a group of mostly senior citizens?

She must know how anxious, concerned and frustrated many of us are when we see what is happening in Washington, D.C., and the policies and behavior that are coming from this current administration. Isn’t it basic common sense to reach out to those who she represents? We have a right to have our concerns, our issues, and our fears addressed, and she has an obligation to hear us and take note of how we feel and what we have to say. Isn’t this a basic part of her being able to even do her job well?

Why do we keep re-electing someone who refuses to perform the basic part of the job we pay her to do?

Joanne Pinelli, Camas

To save lives, Camas should install traffic light at Third and Garfield

The intersection at Third Avenue and Garfield Street is very dangerous. I use the crosswalk there twice a day to walk to work. In three years, I’ve almost been hit six times by drivers that are not paying attention. If I had not had my head up, looking, I would have been hit. There have been three separate occasions where people have been hit, one resulting in death. The city of Camas has the power to change this and make it safe with a red light to stop cars from going while the crosswalk is occupied. Yet, nothing has been done. Does someone else need to die for a change to happen? Do the right thing, Camas! Save a life now!

Darryl Galewick, Camas

Safe driving is personal responsibility

It’s been a few weeks since Oregon and Washington’s new distracted driving laws came into effect. But I don’t think that this will actually solve the problem. Here’s why: Safe driving is a matter of personal responsibility. Many people follow the law not because they care about doing the right thing, but because they don’t want to get caught. But all of us, as motorists, have a personal responsibility to drive safely and stay focused on what matters most when behind the wheel — safety.

It is simply not safe to take your mind off the road while driving. If you phase out, you might end up arriving alive, but if any tiny thing goes wrong, you won’t be able to react, which may result in people being killed. Unsafe habits that we have developed may have worked for years, but that doesn’t make them safe or acceptable.

As someone with adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), I know what it’s like to phase out. I know what it’s like to imagine all the possibilities of what that text message could be. But we need to make active steps to stop these habits, not just keep trying the same thing. For me, I’ve found that silencing my phone and throwing it under my seat keeps it out of my mind enough to keep me off it.

Having a manual transmission also helps with miscellaneous distractions. If I phase out, the car stalls. Brilliant but basic.

We need to make sure that we’re making right choices — even if we don’t get noticed or we know that we could get away with it. Our society depends on us all taking our personal responsibility seriously.

Remember: The road is there for getting everyone there safely, not getting you there on time faster when you’re running late.

Our personal responsibility extends far beyond our driving, but that’s a topic for another time.

As always, please wear your seatbelt and drive safe.

Samuel Klement, Washougal

Coston for Washougal mayor

I am writing this letter in support of Molly Coston for mayor of Washougal. I have known Molly since 2004 when she first joined the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club. Molly has always been a person who has stepped up and showed that she is a leader. Our Rotary club asked her to join when she demonstrated her service above self traits by providing a home during the school year for visiting high school students from foreign countries attending Washougal High School. She and her husband, Phil, stepped up and provided those students of Rotarians from foreign countries support and a great home while they attended school. Molly has stepped up as a leader in the League of Women Voters over the years. She has been the president of our Rotary club. She has served as an elected member of the Washougal City Council as well as the Washougal mayor pro tem. She is hard-working, determined, unafraid to make tough decisions and deeply cares about the future of Washougal. She is the type of person I would like to have working for my business. Please consider voting for Molly Coston as mayor of Washougal.

Steve Hogan, Camas

Cities should join together to build community center with pool

Here we go again. In the past 20 to 25 years, we have had survey after survey on building a new community center and pool.

As far as the pool is concerned, yes, we do need a new pool. However, we keep putting Band-Aids on the present pool and, at the end of the year, the pool is not any better than the year before. Why are we pouring good money into an old facility that’s not worth repairing?

Why don’t Camas and Washougal get together and build a nice community center and pool? What are some of the potential benefits? 1.) Our own local schools could use the facility for their swim teams and classes. 2.) All households could benefit, no matter the income. 3.) Having a pool and facility that is open 12 months a year, in a high precipitation environment, allows and encourages healthy activities in our own community. Accessibility, cost and convenience are important factors in encouraging healthy families. 4.) If we do it right this time, we can decrease the redundancy of “fixing” problems every year and keep funds local at the same time. 5.) As a long-term taxpayer, I’d like to see our funds improve the health of all ages, including our elderly population, which has supported our community faithfully.

Do you realize that the Camas Pool operates most summers about two and half months out of the school year? This year is an exception. Why don’t we build an indoor pool so it can be used year-round? Put a revolving dome on the pool so it can be opened in the summer. Add a party room that can be rented or where a class can be taught. I know this sounds expensive, but if we’re going to do it at all, let’s do it right!

Look at Firstenburg Community Center and what they provide to Clark County! It would be interesting to survey Washougal and Camas to see how many of our families are going there and supporting that facility. What if we create something like that on a smaller scale? I think it’s time to be curious and take a “healthy” risk.

Come on, Camas and Washougal, let’s work together on this and provide our wonderful community with a special facility that meets the needs of all community members and embraces health year-round.

Virginia Warren, Camas