Letters to the Editor for Aug. 29, 2019

Lacamas Lake can be a dangerous place for swimmers, children

My dad, an old “Coastie,” dove into Lacamas Lake from our boat to rescue three brothers who had capsized their boat and were floundering in panic.

I remember mom screaming, “No! No!” My little brother and I just thought dad looked like Tarzan. Dad had to struggle with the two older brothers who were trying to climb on him but he saved them and got them to our boat.

Then, he kept diving and diving until he was exhausted, trying to find the youngest brother.

I remember him crying later, saying, “I just couldn’t find him.”

He regretted the loss the rest of his life. That was in the late 1950s.

Many years later, in the late 1990s my brother and I were in my canoe in Lacamas Lake when a boy on the rope swing island yelled that his friend was drowning. We came out from behind the island and, sure enough, a group from the island had swam across the lake to a dock but one boy panicked and was thrashing, sinking in the lake. By the time we got to him he had gone under for the last time. We spotted him underwater and my brother stuck the canoe handle down and rapped him on the chest. The boy reacted, grabbed the handle and we hauled him over to the dock. He recovered and gurgled, “I love you guys.”

We heard the ambulance coming and knew he was in good hands so we got out of there and let the professionals handle it. Later, we told dad, “That one’s yours.” He just smiled and sadly shook his head.

Folks, Lacamas Lake is deep, murky and has currents heading down to the dam. Kids should never be unattended in the lake. I remember many years when dad would shout at people on the docks, forbidding them to take their kids out on the water with no life jackets.

But many people just do not realize that lives of loved ones are at stake, and that fun can quickly change to devastating loss.

The lake doesn’t care.

Bob Larimer,

Vancouver

Camas Community Center bond puts ‘wants of few’ over ‘needs of many’

In 2017, estimated costs to replace the Crown Park outdoor city pool were $2,220,000, yet the city closed that pool in 2018. In 2019, costs of a “replacement” have ballooned to $72 million for a 78,000-square-foot facility with fitness center, multiple pools and meeting rooms. Add $6 million for sports field improvements for an exorbitant $78 million, 20-year bond. These construction costs would add a projected $1.04 per $1,000 property value to annual property taxes, or $500 for a $480,000 Camas home.

Camas families and businesses will be forced to pay annual bond taxes, even if they never use the facility, plus hefty additional fees to actually use the center. Operation costs for the elaborate center are not included in the bond, nor fully disclosed on the city website. User fees will cover some costs, but a new parks tax district and added taxes are being considered to pay for operations costs and projected losses for this massive center.

Schools and fire/EMS also ask for tax hikes and the city, county, port and state can raise taxes without asking (Editor’s Note: These government bodies are limited to an annual, 1-percent tax increase.)

Essential city services like roads and water should be a priority, not facilities already available in our community. Local schools rent gyms, rooms, a theater and fields to community groups. Local businesses and churches host community events. Nearby athletic clubs offer pools and/or workout facilities for reasonable fees, and it is unfair for the City to compete with or push out longtime businesses.

The proposed lakeside location is a notorious traffic bottleneck and safety concern. Alternate locations in less congested areas have been identified, yet ignored. This massive bond places the wants of the few above the actual needs of the many.

Committee Against the Camas Pool Bond (notocamaspoolbond.com)

Scott Hogg, Chair

Margaret Tweet, Member

Edward Martin, Member

Newspaper should not publish letters promoting vaccine exemptions

The Camas-Washougal Post-Record needs to apply stronger journalistic standards when publishing letters or op-eds that promote pseudoscience under the guise of “opinion.” Take the Aug. 15, 2019 letter (“In Washington state, vaccine exemptions are still available”) spreading fear and misinformation about vaccine safety and effectiveness, urging parents to exempt children from vaccination on the eve of the new school year.

It was irresponsible to print that without an attached editorial note stating research on vaccines continues to find them to be a safe and effective way to prevent a host of serious diseases.

The spread of inaccurate information can have serious real world consequences. Need we be reminded that Clark County had the unenviable distinction of making national headline news this spring because of the measles outbreak that ended up costing our state over $1 million in taxpayer funding to contain? Not to mention the harms caused to individuals who contracted the virus. I was disappointed to see this letter published without an editorial note and encourage you to remedy that in the future. Thank you.

Aunna Elm,

Camas

Congresswoman finds bipartisan solutions in divided government

Recently, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has had a staggering amount of her bipartisan bills become law after being passed by a Democratic House and a Republican Senate.

To name just a few accomplishments, she has helped provide coverage for children with medically complex conditions, guaranteed better housing opportunities for military families, secured funding for the salmon hatcheries and helped lead the effort to prevent scam robocalls.

These are solutions that positively impact every single person in Southwest Washington.

Our congresswoman deserves enormous credit for her bipartisan leadership in accomplishing all of this during a time of divided government.

David Johnson,

Camas

Herrera Beutler ‘one of the most bipartisan members of Congress’

In Southwest Washington, we are fortunate to have a congresswoman who consistently works across party lines. According to Georgetown University’s Bipartisan Index, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, year after year, continuously ranks as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress.

Whether it’s saving our salmon runs, protecting our coastal businesses from the threat of ocean acidification or successfully championing legislation into law to increase maternal health care, our congresswoman works with both parties in order to get things done for this region.

In the current hyperpartisan political environment, Herrera Beutler stands out as someone capable of leading both parties toward positive solutions.

Washington D.C. has enough politicians — we need leaders.

It would be extremely unfortunate for Southwest Washington to lose its effective, independent voice in Congress.

Brad Jensen,

Camas

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