Letters to the Editor for Sept. 21, 2017

Camas should skip survey, ban fireworks

I read (a Sept. 14, 2017) Camas-Washougal Post-Record article on your reluctance to take action by banning fireworks in the city of Camas with dismay. While the majority of Washougal’s council members are opening saying they are gravely concerned and supportive of implementing a ban, you appear to be trying to hide behind a “survey.” A survey that will “representatively” sample, what, 1,000 residents like last time? My household didn’t get to participate, and I note last year’s results were reported this past June. Also, it’s expensive — $16,000 last time — and taxpayers foot the bill.

NO THANKS. First of all, this issue should not hinge on whatever direction the wind of public opinion happens to be blowing. This is a serious health and safety issue, and you must take action accordingly, and put some spine into it. Can you even begin to quantify the damage done by fireworks to our region and the incomparably beautiful Columbia River Gorge these past two weeks — ecologically, economically and to public health?? Interstate 84 is still shut down. And The Oregonian reports that in Hood River (Oregon), children are suspected of starting another fire with fireworks.

If you really think it’s that important to gauge public opinion, then do what Washougal’s council is doing and host a public hearing that is OPEN TO ALL. Not a “sample.” But again, you really shouldn’t need to think on this that hard. It is your job to craft policy that furthers the public health and safety in our beautiful community, and it’s beyond obvious that fireworks pose a serious risk, particularly in the dry summer months. So please get your priorities straight and ban above-ground fireworks. And do it quickly, so the wait-time of 365 days as mandated by state law passes sooner.

And whatever you do, don’t be catering to pressure from some residents who like to shoot off rockets for kicks. That would be beyond the pale at this point.

Aunna Elm, Camas

Molly Coston ‘walks the walk,’ is best choice for Washougal mayor

Spoiler alert: I am not voting for Dan Coursey (in the Washougal mayoral race). My vote is for Molly Coston. If you are intrigued as to why, please read on. Or, if you have better things to do today, I’ll sum it up: Molly Coston walks the walk, and then some.

Coston has been a member of Rotary since 2004, and was its president in 2014-15. She was president of the League of Women Voters of Clark County from 2007-10. She is on the Board of Directors of the Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards. Her challenger, Dan Coursey, says he cares about Washougal business leaders, our local environment and all of Washougal’s citizens. While I would never question his personal convictions, I have seen nothing in his resume regarding involvement — at any capacity — in organizations that get their hands dirty and do the hard work necessary to advance these issues.

A previous letter to the editor described Coursey as “a thoughtful person who cares more about what we think, than trying to tell us what he thinks,” and someone who “anticipate(s) problems.” I follow Dan Coursey’s campaign on Facebook. The only time I have seen him take a stand on an issue and express himself — rather than the usual sharing of links — was in an unfortunate, since-deleted rant, accusing Coston’s campaign volunteers of stealing “all” his campaign signs. To the majority who challenged his accusation, Coursey’s comments were not very kind.

Was this a thoughtful reaction from someone who anticipates problems — campaign sign thievery is, sadly, a common political problem — or was this a hasty, aggressive and unmeasured reaction from someone with little public service experience? Coston posted, in response: “Please let me know if you see anyone from my campaign taking down your signs and I will do the same for you.” The difference in temperament is remarkable. When tensions are high, Molly is someone who will take the high road, and seek to unite in friendship instead of divide in combat.

A previous letter to the editor cites Coursey’s “professional background in finance and systems engineering” as qualifications for running a city. I would like more of an explanation as to how those skills translate, other than being able to interpret a balance sheet. Molly Coston has a master’s level education in project management — experience that directly translates to the role of mayor.

Coston’s service experience blows Coursey’s out of the water. She has received awards for community and municipal leadership, has served on the Washougal City Council (2005-2011), and was our Mayor Pro Tem in 2010. She is endorsed by four current councilmembers, including three in Washougal and one in Camas; three Port commissioners; the East Clark Professional Fire Fighters; the Sierra Club; and a long and growing list of Washougal residents.

Dan Coursey has ambitious goals, but Molly Coston has experience, level-headedness, and a solid presence in the community. She is everywhere, and she is instantly recognizable, as her love for Washougal radiates. Please take a look at her platform at www.mollycoston.com and commit your vote.

Kelli Rule, Washougal

Wake up, Southwest Washington

The U.S. Forest Service just issued a draft decision to allow Ascot Resources to begin exploratory drilling right along the headwaters of the Green River. It’s time for Southwest Washington residents to wake up. Wake up to the simple fact that the allowing exploration for gold, copper and molybdemun in our public forest lands is dangerous to our water, our wildlife and our forest health. Don’t let the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and a foreign mining company play fast and loose with our drinking water resources, fisheries and wildlife resources.

This is not a tempest in a teapot, but the first step in leveraging our public lands for the benefit of corporate profits.

Then there is the matter of earthquakes — the reservoirs, which are required to hold the toxic waters that are a product of mining, will be subject to the same daily tremors that Mount St. Helens has been producing for decades, creating the potential for more pollution of our lands and waters.

The bottom line is this: We’ve beaten this back before, and we need to do it again for our health and the health of our children and grandchildren.

It’s time for the residents of Southwest Washington to wake up, show up and speak up over the next 45 days.

Laurie Kerr, Battle Ground