Letters to the Editor for Sept. 27, 2018

Long would provide prosperity for majority, not just the wealthy

What a breath of fresh air Carolyn Long is. It is so refreshing to hear — and see — someone talking about and being prepared to act on issues that directly impact the majority of people in Clark County.

Carolyn Long supports affordable healthcare for all and she has also pledged to protect Social Security, these things directly affect us all and we need a champion in Washington D.C. to stand up for the constituents of Clark County.

Herrera Beutler voted to get rid of the Affordable Care Act without a suitable replacement. She also voted to give tax cuts to the very wealthy rather than to the middle class, who would spend the tax cuts and give the economy the stimulus it needs.

We can be sure Herrera Beutler will vote to support cuts in Medicare and Social Security to fund these tax cuts, in an attempt to demonstrate her fiscal responsibility. Despite the fact that the majority of constituents struggle to make ends meet, she supported millionaires over the people she claims to represent.

Carolyn Long has pledged to roll back the tax cuts that Herrera Beutler has supported and as a result, provide pensioners with security for their retirement, give real jobs to people that pay above the minimum wage. This is clearly the way to provide prosperity for the majority rather than the minority.

Martin Stephenson, Washougal

Let your voice be heard on Camas’ development

I like that there is encouragement to readers on the Opinion page of The Post-Record. It states: “A community paper is nothing without the voices of its community members.” I couldn’t agree more. I also believe it applies to our community of Camas.

On Aug. 6, the Camas City Council held an open meeting for citizens to express their opinions about the new Urban Tree Program that has been in the works for the past two years. It was inspiring to see the number of residents of many different ages show up to this meeting and either take the podium to voice their support of conscientious development with the focus being on much greater tree protection or show their support for this by their mere presence in the room. In either instance, there were voices being heard by those who represent us.

I was one of those citizens who spoke at the podium. It was not an easy thing for me to do. My heart was racing, and I was very nervous, but I knew I had to speak in support of a much stricter tree policy and of my frustration and dismay with the way development has been taking place in Camas over the last decade. It was not the first time I had communicated with city officials regarding my ever-growing concerns about the apparent lack of concern for our natural environment. Clear-cutting seems to have become the norm as one subdivision rolls into the next.

I heard from quite a few people after the meeting letting me know that they, too, felt the same way about how the development was taking place in Camas but didn’t feel it mattered what they thought. Unfortunately, I think it’s understandable how easy it is to adopt this mindset. But, I hope that by speaking at the Urban Tree Program meeting and sharing that it wasn’t easy for me, that you, too, will believe that your opinion matters and your voice deserves to be heard. I have told my two children for years that nobody knows how you feel unless you tell them, even when it seems so obvious that they should know. And this includes your elected officials. So please if you have something to say about the way in which development has taken place in Camas over the last decade and you want our trees and natural beauty protected, please please let your voice be heard.

I have included the city of Camas’ mission statement and the contact information for the city’s senior planner, Sarah Fox, and the city council members. Also, some citizens have started the Facebook group, Camas Tree Protectors, a group I encourage you to join.

Mission Statement: The city of Camas commits to preserving its heritage, sustaining and enhancing a high quality of life for all its citizens and developing the community to meet the challenges of the future. We take pride in preserving a healthful environment while promoting economic growth. We encourage citizens to participate in government and community, assisting the City in its efforts to provide quality services consistent with their desires and needs.

I leave you with a motivating quote from Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Sarah Fox, Sr. Planner, sfox@cityofcamas.us. 360-817-7269

Greg Anderson, ganderson@cityofcamas.us

Deanna Rusch, drusch@cityofcamas.us

Bonnie Carter, bcarter@cityofcamas.us

Melissa Smith, msmith@cityofcamas.us

Don Chaney, dchaney@cityofcamas.us

Shannon Turk, sturk@cityofcamas.us

Steve Hogan, shogan@cityofcamas.us

Madeline Lyne, Camas

G-P’s true legacy is pollution, misery

I’m tired of the way The Post-Record covers the paper mill. I’m constantly reading interviews about how sad Camas residents are about the mill closure. Well, I am a Camas resident, and I have been celebrating my newfound ability to breathe cleaner air.

I am originally from a city in the Appalachian Mountains, and the only “legacy” industry ever leaves behind is pollution and misery. Wages paid to blue-collar workers are never enough to make up for the devastation these companies leave in their wake. I grew up in a housing development built on top of old coal mines that had been filled with industrial waste. I am a childhood cancer survivor, and a year after moving here, I was diagnosed with my second cancer.

According to the article, “G-P gifted 190 aces to Camas” (published on page A1 in the Sept. 20, 2018 issue of The Post-Record), Georgia-Pacific threatened to remove our dams and drain Lacamas and Round lakes in order to bully us into taking their polluted mill ditch. And I quote: “The final agreement prevents the city from using the space’s groundwater for drinking water and disallows use ‘for any school, day care center or any similar use by or for children.'”

Is this not a red flag? We have been “gifted” — or, truthfully, bullied into accepting — what may amount to a future Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. I imagine the real reporting will begin once G-P is gone, and we are left to clean up a very expensive and toxic mess.

The residents of Camas have had a paper mill polluting their air, soil, and water for over 100 years. But because it has also served as a source of much-needed income, all have turned a blind eye to the disease and suffering it has likely caused. This has been an abusive and dysfunctional relationship and continues to be one. No amount of money can repay us for the pollution of our land, air, and water. No amount of money is enough to compensate anyone who has ever suffered health problems as a result of this pollution.

Please interview some experts who understand the real legacy of these companies. We eagerly awaited the day we could breathe in this town, and we eagerly await the day Georgia-Pacific leaves for good.

Some will say I should also leave if I don’t like it here. Will you also tell your children to leave if they’d like to drink clean water and breathe clean air?

I am about to start chemotherapy for the second time in my life. So, I say to you: If you love your children, family, and your neighbors, you will demand a thorough investigation of the pollution Georgia-Pacific is leaving behind. And you will demand that they spend their money cleaning it up before they go.

Remember, Koch Industries owns G-P. They are not known for ethical behavior. They will act as if they owe Camas nothing. They will leave us, the taxpayers, footing the clean-up bill. That will be their legacy. That will be their gift to us. We’ve already received their first “gift” … a polluted mill ditch. Let’s let go of our rosy view of a paper mill town past and focus on a future where we can all breathe clean air and drink clean water.

Bethany Nelson, Camas