April 30, 2013

State budgets are in disarray

When an errant SUV crashes through your picture window, you may not notice that your barbecue tipped over and caught your house on fire. So it is with the U.S. economy these days. All the focus on our national debt, sequester cuts and federal tax increases is obscuring a smoldering problem in the states. Declining tax revenues, budget deficits and underfunded pensions have legislatures scrambling for revenue. Many states are taxing and borrowing more just to make ends meet.

April 2, 2013

Citizens should ‘take a stand’

In our scheme of government, we elect representatives to take a stand on issues that affect their constituents. Among those representatives, leaders take a stand. Politicians don't. Leaders study the issues and decide what policy best supports the interests of their constituents as a whole. Politicians take a position based on what is best for the advancement of their own interests.

March 26, 2013

Science of climate change made simple

My greenhouse is covered with a thin plastic film. A few molecules of plastic are all it takes to make it 30 Fahrenheit degrees warmer inside than out. When coal, gasoline, and natural gas are burned, they produce carbon dioxide which traps heat just like the plastic film of my greenhouse.

March 19, 2013

Many employers can’t afford paid family medical leave

When people who want more government regulations argue in favor of a new mandate on employers, they usually say, "Well, one more rule won't break the bank." However, seemingly harmless regulations have a cumulative effect that eventually cripple employers and prevent entrepreneurs from creating the jobs needed to fix our weak economy.

March 12, 2013

Lawmakers are currently considering important legislation

Imagine a child with a life-threatening food allergy. Now imagine that child having a severe reaction while at school. If that student is fortunate enough to have an epinephrine autoinjector on school grounds, he or she may receive a dose to help reverse the reaction and potentially save a life. But what about students with a food allergy who don't have their injector with them? What about students who haven't been diagnosed with an allergy, but experience their first life-threatening reaction while at school?

March 5, 2013

A precious memory of Bob Tidland

I would like to share a special memory of Bob Tidland. This scene can help illustrate his character and community-mindedness. As Camas' retiring first city administrator, I have had many, many fine days in the past 24 years; the scene I am remembering is among the finest hours.

March 5, 2013

Brunell: People helping people

In November 1982, our state's unemployment rate peaked at 12.2 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. Interest on a fixed rate home loan was 13.4 percent, and an 11.5 inflation rate burned through our checkbooks. The economy was a mess.

January 29, 2013

Council meetings – when?

The Washougal City Council is considering a major change to the schedule of meetings and workshops. Presently, council meetings (formal public hearings, actions and votes) are held at 6 p.m., on the first and third Monday. Workshops (staff reports, information and discussion, but no votes) are also at 6 p.m., on the second and fourth Mondays. If Monday is a national holiday the meeting is postponed until Tuesday.

January 15, 2013

Council will look at short- and long-term utility rate solutions

Utility bills are the big issue in Washougal. They should be. In 2012, the minimum bimonthly residential charge was $174.60. That base charge went up 20 percent ($37) to $211.13 this year. But the Council could take action on Jan. 22 that might keep the increase to less than $10. If the increase is kept that low, it will be the result of a creative Council, mayor, and staff. This would not have happened without hearing from our citizens.