Tree settlement sends a bad message
I’m afraid March 29, 2019, was a very sad day for the future of this great city. On that day, the city leaders entered into a settlement agreement with a developer, Waverly Homes, who filed a lawsuit against the city because they did not get their way at the end of the city’s rigorous and very fair planning process for the Northeast 43rd Avenue subdivision.
The planning process included hundreds of verbal and written inputs from the community (including my own), a strong position from the city’s own planning department, and professional opinions from state and local experts. The process culminated with the independent examiner’s ruling, which enforced the Camas Municipal Code and surrounding statutes, that 22 specifically identified “significant trees” must be retained on the property and called for plat map adjustments to “avoid all direct wetland impacts.”
The settlement agreement strikes both of those requirements. Now the happy developer can (and already has) essentially clear-cut the property retaining only 3 significant trees, pay a $15,000 fee and replant some baby trees. Also, he can essentially redraw wetland boundaries and utilize off-site mitigations to encroach upon this protected space.
By far the most significant and lasting impact, however, is much greater than just this piece of property. Via the settlement, our city leaders have just communicated to all developers that Camas is open for business, that opinions of the community, the planning department, local and state-wide experts and especially the independent examiner are mute. It messages that developers can simply sue the city and the city will concede. Needless to say, this is a very sad and disturbing prospect for the future of this community.
Congress must support foreign aid programs
I appreciate that you published the letter “Vigil is over, but still time to help children” because it’s important to support the next generation, whether at our southern border or globally.
Few people realize that the United States spends less than 1 percent of its federal budget on foreign aid and our aid in global nutrition programs takes yet a tiny portion of that 1 percent. Global school feeding programs improve education as well as nutrition and cost just 25 cents per child per meal. Deworming costs about 50 cents per child per year to improve both nutrition and health.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria strengthens health care systems so they can curtail epidemics like ebola. These global programs actually keep us safer because they address the drivers of extremism and instability (poverty, disease, illiteracy, etc). Congress must support these vital programs.
Donna Schindler Munro,
Congresswoman’s explanation perplexing
Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler’s recent vote against House resolution 489 condemning President Trump’s racist attack against four of her colleagues is perplexing. She explained her vote by saying, “I will not contribute to our country’s racial division.”
In her mind, the president’s racist tweets are not the problem, but rather the efforts to condemn racism is what is exacerbating our nation’s racial divide. This explanation is pure jabberwocky, more of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” than honest straight talk we deserve from our representative.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat in favor of less extreme and more believable leaders.