EDITORIAL: December Cheers & Jeers

By the time you’re reading this, the Christmas holiday has already passed, we’re at least five days into the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, so we’ll just wish everyone an early Happy New Year and get straight into our first CHEERS of the month.

That CHEERS, of course, goes to the members of the Camas High School football team and their head coach, Jon Eagle. The undefeated team completed its “Revenge Tour” by claiming the 4A state football championship title on Saturday, Dec. 7. This was the second state championship win in four years for the Papermakers, who also took the title in 2016.

Our second CHEERS is for the fact that the long-awaited master plan for the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, presented to both Camas and Washougal city councils in early December, is filled with 181 pages of research, analysis and recommendations. Leaders in Camas and Washougal now need to figure out a way to build their joint fire department as both cities experience population growth and an increased need for fire protection and emergency medical response. If there is a JEERS in this story, it is that city officials have allowed the fire department to get to a staffing level the report called “excessively lean.” The report outlines several solutions to help beef up staffing levels, including a stronger reliance on recruiting volunteers who are on track to someday become career firefighters, which could be a win-win-win for the department, the firefighters-in-training and community members in need of emergency assistance.

The third December CHEERS goes out to the folks who donated and collected nearly 300,000 pounds of food for the one-day Walk & Knock food drive. The food drive, which takes place the first Saturday in December, will 230,183 meals to Clark County families.

CHEERS also goes to two local educators who have gone above and beyond to bring real-world learning to their students: Hillary Marshall and Natalie Wilson. Marshall is a Washougal High School librarian and new media technician who established a “Makerspace” at Washougal High a couple years ago to help teach students how to create and explore using technology like three-dimensional (3D) printers, laser cutters and soldering irons. Most recently, she brought her knowledge of makerspaces to other school librarians throughout Washington state, in an effort to promote the technology-integration labs in other Washington schools. Wilson, Grass Valley Elementary School’s music teacher, is featured in a front-page story in today’s Post-Record for her soon-to-be induction into the Washington Music Educators Association’s Hall of Fame. Wilson brings her passion for jazz music to her Camas elementary school students and often invites big-time jazz musicians to visit her classroom and perform with her Grass Valley VOCAL JAZZ students.

Our final JEERS goes out to Camas-Washougal’s congresswoman, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, for her recent decision to vote no on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Calling the “obstruction of Congress” charge against the president to be “the least credible of the two,” Herrera Beutler claimed in a statement released Dec. 13 that “Congress and the White House disagreed over Congress’ right to compel testimony from White House officials, so some White House officials exercised their right to judicial review of the congressional subpoenas.” That’s “how our system of checks and balances works,” Herrera Beutler said.

To be clear, the president has flat-out refused to comply with the impeachment investigation in the House and has challenged the authority of Congress to even conduct an impeachment inquiry. He even went so far as to try to intimidate witnesses — while they were testifying before Congress — via social media. Legal scholars, Constitutional historians and even 17 former Watergate special prosecutors disagree with Herrea Beutler’s assessment of the impeachment articles and of our nation’s unique system of checks and balances, which were designed to prevent a president from abusing their power and becoming a despot. The former prosecutors have publicly written that the public record shows Trump committed impeachable acts, 850 legal scholars signed a public letter stating that Trump’s conduct is not only impeachable but is “precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution” and more than 1,500 historians have called for the president’s impeachment, writing in an open letter that “if President Trump’s misconduct does not rise to the level of impeachment, then virtually nothing does.” JEERS to the congresswoman for dismissing this monumental moment in our country’s history and for chalking up our president’s increasingly tyrannical behavior to just another schoolyard tiff between the Dems and GOP.

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