Cheers & Jeers — the July edition

Having built up quite a list of people and groups we’d like to thank, pat on the back or, in some cases, reprimand for the things they do and say, we’ve decided to take a page from our sister paper, The Columbian, and print our own “Cheers & Jeers” section each month.

For our inaugural “Cheers & Jeers” we have two cheers and just one jeer, so we’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then head straight into the good. Here we go!

Jeers to Rep. Liz Pike, who co-sponsored a Washington State version of the “campus free speech” bills that have been making the rounds across the United States.

Hailed by conservative legislators, including Pike, a Republican from Camas, as a way to ensure “free speech rights” on college and university campuses — already protected by the First Amendment, by the way — these bills, which originated inside the right wing, Koch-funded Goldwater Institute, seem more focused on suppressing student protests than on protecting anyone’s free speech.

Pike’s House Bill 2223, currently in the House Higher Education Committee, would apply to all state-funded universities and colleges, including community and technical colleges. The bill would prohibit students, professors, teachers and even campus visitors from restricting other people’s free speech. Colleges would not be able to restrict controversial speakers from appearing on campus, but could punish students who exert their own free speech rights by protesting these speakers — many of whom have been pushing the “alt right” agenda of white supremacy on campuses across the nation.

Residents in Pike’s 18th legislative district deserve to have a leader who is fighting at the state level for legislation that will positively affect this region, not someone who signs up for these cookie-cutter, Koch Brothers-backed bills, which seem more intent on taking liberal student protesters down a few notches than on protecting anyone’s “free speech” rights.

Actually, if these legislators really care about the First Amendment, maybe they can assist the Society of Professional Journalists and help ensure that reporters have open access to government documents and officials, and are free to do their jobs without threats of violence. Here you go: www.spj.org/fight.

Cheers to local first responders who helped save a frightened pup last week. According to Camas-Washougal Fire Department Battalion Chief Larry Larimer, when he and four of his firefighters from Engine 41, plus a Camas police officer and Rick Foster from the Camas-Washougal Animal Control Division, found the dog last Thursday, July 6, the poor pup may have been stranded on a ledge 50 feet below Northwest Ostenson Canyon Road for at least two days.

“Ordinarily, we don’t do animal rescues because we’re busy with people,” Larimer told the Post-Record last week. “But we had the strong idea that the dog had gotten really frightened (by fireworks) and may have been there for two days … so we went out with Camas Police and animal control.”

The pooch has since been reunited with her humans. And we believe these first responders deserve our first “cheers” for risking their own lives to help save a frightened animal. Job well done, fellows. To read our online story from July 6, visit www.camaspostrecord.com.

Cheers also go to the League of Women Voters of Washington. This bi-partisan group puts in thousands of hours each election season to help voters get critical information about the candidates and issues that will absolutely affect their lives on a local, regional, statewide and national level. This work is not sexy. It doesn’t trend on Twitter or make the front page (actually, it did make our front page today!) But this work is crucial to our democracy, and we appreciate these folks’ hard work and careful efforts. For more information, visit www.lwvwa.org.