Letters to the Editor for Feb. 13, 2020

Don’t condemn Camas principal for ‘poor judgment’

It is obvious that Zach Goodman (author of “Camas principal should resign after Bryant post” letter to the editor published in the Feb. 6, 2020, Post-Record) is not a Republican.

His letter regarding the Camas principal and her post on personal media proves it. A Republican would say, “It was a poor choice of words, but it was her right to say it. You can’t oust someone for their beliefs when everything else they do is ‘right.'”

Many of us thought back on Kobe Bryant’s earlier days when he was not an example for youth. Most of us dismissed that thought, realizing he had matured and become a respectable citizen.

However, you cannot condemn (Camas High School Principal Liza Sejkora). Poor judgment, yes. But it was on her personal social media. And yes, she has the right to say it. Her work as principal is far more valuable than Mr. Goodman’s righteous indignation.

Charlotte Lewis,

Camas

Camas principal deserved better than ‘righteous rhetoric’ coming from community

I am certain you have seen and heard from some members of the community about the controversial personal post on the Facebook page of Camas High School Principal Liza Sejkora. In an attempt to make sure you are aware that Sejkora has supporters who value her, I am writing this letter of support.

This evening I read multiple hurtful and hateful posts on NextDoor calling for disciplinary action or (Sejkora’s) removal from CHS. I implore you to look at her record of success, her student centered focus, and her willingness to face the problem head on as you weigh in on the opinions that are sure to come. 

I must admit that I was unaware of the controversy until Sejkora’s email this evening. It was only after her forthright email that I was able to learn more about the incident. While I may not agree with Dr. Sejkora’s opinion, I find it intolerable that there are people and students advocating for her removal. Camas school district currently employs educators and administrators who are less than perfect and may have DUIs, imperfect or broken marriages, bankruptcies, extramarital affairs and many other life circumstances that are a reflection of poor choices and flawed character. This is part of being a human being.

When we make mistakes, the lesson is in how we are accountable for our mistakes and the learning that comes from them. What I want from the instructional leader at the school my children attend is someone who owns a mistake, apologizes and demonstrates continued learning to restore trust. In my opinion, that is how Sejkora is behaving. I hope you will consider the entirety of the person, and not a one time lapse in judgement as a measure of who Sejkora is and what she represents. I believe she is a heart-driven leader who wants to do what is right for students — all students. She deserves better than the righteous rhetoric that is coming from our community. Shame on those who are throwing stones when they live in glass houses. We all live in glass houses.

I have three students who have experienced (Sejkora’s) leadership at CHS. In my dealings with her, I have found her to be an empathetic listener, an advocate for students and willing to challenge the status quo. She pushes teachers and students to do better and be better, while providing supports and learning to help them get to the next level. 

I have no doubt that she will use this experience to grow and reflect so that she can not only be a better leader, but also to continue to grow as a human being in a world where society is so quick to judge from the comfort of a screen, smartphone or tablet. I am proud that Sejkora is a part of our community, I hope you will support her as well.

K. Montgomery,

Camas

Disappointed in community’s pressure on Camas High principal

I am extremely disappointed in my community’s pressure on Liza Sejkora to resign from Camas High School as the result of her personal Facebook entry. What message does it send our students to see that First Amendment rights to freedom of speech only apply to noncontroversial ideas?

 Men probably do not fully comprehend the pain of a sexual assault. Fortunately today’s society now strongly condemns this behavior. It is surprising that only one voice was raised to protest the accolades being given to one offender.

First amendment rights should be encouraged — most particularly within the public education system.

 Bill Ward,

Camas

Representatives’ information on gas tax was inaccurate

The 18th Legislative District representatives recently held three town hall events. Senator Ann Rivers and Representatives Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff pride themselves in the number of town hall events they hold for the people to make input and express concerns.

At the Jan. 4 Camas-Washougal town hall, taxes and transportation were at the top of citizens’ comments and concerns. One lady stated with I-976 ($30 car tabs), the government will lose money and needs new taxes to fund road and bridge repairs. She believed transportation dollars are declining due to cars getting better mileage and electric/hybrid vehicles not paying gas taxes.

Rep. Vick agreed, responding: “We recognize the gas tax revenues will keep going down,” and said, “the pot’s going to run dry sooner rather than later.” Sen. Rivers and Rep. Hoff didn’t say otherwise. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

Washington’s 49.4-cent gas tax is the third highest in the nation. Total transportation dollars the legislature spends is at an all-time high. So are gas tax revenues.

Transportation revenues show roughly $2.5 billion in 1999-2001 and an estimate of nearly $7 billion in 2025-2027. More specifically, a separate legislature document shows gas tax revenues at $1.23 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $1.83 billion in 2019; with a forecast of $1.87 billion in fiscal year 2021. There is no “shortage” of taxpayer money. 

The issue regarding poor road and bridge maintenance is how the legislature allocates dollars. We pay double or triple the price for ferry boats, due to a “must be built in Washington” requirement. We have the nation’s largest ferry system. The legislature allocates significant money towards Puget Sound mass transit projects and flawed Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)-designed projects like the 520 floating bridge pontoons that leaked.  Prevailing wages and excessive environmental requirements add significant costs.

Rep. Vick later stated on social media: “Our forecasts clearly show that gas tax revenue will decrease due in large part to more fuel-efficient vehicles” and “what remains true is that the gas tax is not a viable long-term funding source for future transportation projects.” 

Sen. Rivers claimed I was “cherry-picking data.” Not so – I use state data. Electric and hybrid cars are about 3 percent of vehicles.

One might be tempted to think inflation is the culprit. Nope. Inflation from 2003-19 means a 28 cent gas tax becomes 39 cents; 1993-19 means 23 cents becomes 43 cents; and 1981-19 means 13.5 cents becomes 40 cents. Our 49.4-cent gas tax has more than kept up with inflation. The legislature rarely hesitates to raise gas taxes when they need money.

The gas tax is the most efficient means of collecting transportation funds – a 1 percent cost of collection. Tolling on Seattle’s I-405 consumes 43 percent in collection costs.

The bottom line — our state is getting plenty of taxpayer money from gas taxes.

Our elected representatives need to communicate accurate information to the people and spend transportation dollars efficiently. We don’t need new taxes.

John Ley, 

Camas

 

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