Our readers' views

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Learn the details of initiatives

I have been approached by someone trying to get signatures for something to be put on the ballot in November many times these past few weeks. While we still don’t know which ones are going to make it, it’s likely there will be a bunch of them. I find it overwhelming to figure out the complex language of initiatives, but I do feel it’s essential that I learn and figure out which ones to support and which to reject.

Critical health and education services are actually on the line. This kind of public policy affects our daily lives, and we shouldn’t ignore it because it takes a little effort.

Family Planning is one of those health services. Clark County women rely on state funding for family planning programs so they can avoid unplanned pregnancies. These services not only empower individual women by giving them control over their lives, they also save the state money.

It’s for these reasons that I will say “no” to Initiative 1107 and “yes” to Initiative 1098 if these initiatives are on the ballot.

Laura Ellsworth

Vancouver

Eminent domain used as power play

Although the June 28 Columbian story “Access denied” stated many of the facts regarding WSDOT’s unauthorized use of a private road, there are more to address. This is one of the more egregious abuses of power I have ever witnessed in our community.

The Ridgefield interchange construction qualified for federal stimulus money if the project were “shovel ready.” WSDOT sidestepped or ignored more than one requirement to qualify for the funds. Vicki Purcell is elderly and repeatedly told WSDOT that she owned the road. They ignored her and trespassed for over three weeks. WSDOT did not have the proper permits in place when they began the trespass. Employees of WSDOT trespassed after the project was halted and, when confronted, quickly drove away.

All Purcell wanted was for them to stop using her road. They could have treated her more kindly. She was scared and she deserved better. Now they want her road by eminent domain when they have the ability to utilize other means to reach their property. We can all hope that she wins her fight against the dreaded “eminent domain.”

Watch out, you might be next on their agenda. I hope all of you come to her aid. I am.

Susan Gilbert

Ridgefield

Distractions come naturally

Driving while distracted has been the law of nature in Washington state for a long time. Distracted drivers are talking on their cell phones, either hand-held or Bluetooth. Distracted drivers text while driving. Eating while driving is a distraction. Refereeing children’s fights is a distraction. The list goes on, applying makeup while driving, reading the paper or a book, having a pet on your lap.

If we all took the time and tried to stop the distracted driving, we would all be a lot safer. If the police officers would stop drivers they see breaking the law, we could all drive safer.

Kathleen Price

Vancouver

Mockery disrespects highest office

Going to the downtown post office recently, I came across a sidewalk display manned by young people. This display disgusted me because of its offensive depiction of President Obama as Adolph Hitler. Disagree with the politics and policies of the president; however, the level of hate inherent in the mockery of the president shows the failure of our schools to educate thoughtful young people; it does not say much for parents, as well. Civil discourse and respect seem to be forgotten qualities among the far right wing.

Let’s give us a real choice in November 2012; I’d like to see a LimbaughBeck ticket. We need to confront directly the totalitarian elements among us. Thank God for the Second Amendment which will allow us to defend ourselves if these folks ever gain power. Kristallnacht in America will be met with forceful resistance.

David Dansky

Ridgefield

BP should face severe consequences

If we put BP out of business, it will send a message to the oil industry that we won’t put up with such incompetence and sleight of hand. Having no means to clean up their mistakes is more than serious. It is truly a disaster.

The company presented an emergency plan to clean up their messes (if such messes should happen) and the plan turns out to be nothing but “Blue Sky.” There is no plan.

It is unacceptable to allow this disaster to happen again. We should take all the value of BP and hold it in escrow as ransom for our environment. And, if it puts BP out of business, it sends the message to the next company which does as much that we are prepared to destroy it as well. We owe BP nothing.

We should have done the same to Exxon; that was our weakness. We should never allow this to happen again. The result of making such a tragedy of our environment should be the death of the business which commits it.

Face the simple truth — this mess BP has created will never be cleaned up. There is no way this can be eradicated. Our great-grandchildren will be able to see and experience this disaster.

Michael Lieb

Vancouver

President negotiated compensation

President Obama must be congratulated in using his art of persuasion to get BP to agree to pay $20 billion or more for damages done to the Gulf of Mexico and their people. On top of that, BP agreed to pay workers millions more for lost pay. In normal times, these workers’ pay would have come from the government. This amazing agreement was accomplished all in one morning by our president. He was able to do this because he paid attention to his college history lessons.

Since 1964, Texaco Oil has caused oil pollution in Ecuador that equaled 30 times the size of Exxon Valdez; 30,000 inhabitants of South America died or were injured by that pollution and have not been compensated in 46 years since. Fair compensation has been held up by legal maneuvering. The president did not want that to happen to the Gulf Coast residents. The compensations are immediate.

The Republicans’ response to Obama’s plan was an apology to BP corporation for not being able to pay the stockholders’ dividends this year. Republicans want to help the corporations; Democrats want to help the working people. In mid-term elections this year, voters will have a chance to vote for Congress members who will work with the president, not hinder.

David L. Rowe

Battle Ground

Measure pay by merit performance

We often hear the politicians speak of merit pay for teachers. What about merit pay for Congress? Just think of all the money we would save.

Roberta Upson

Vancouver