Our readers' views

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Top two produces too narrow a field

In spite of support from The Columbian in a June 14 editorial, “One more top two,” California voters, and Newsweek magazine, top two primary systems are more correctly associated with people labeled as the Flat Earth Society. They strive to explain, in simple terms, what is actually a world that becomes more complicated every day. They are aided by election officials wanting to make their jobs easier (by also ignoring the real world).

The top two system “allows” many viewpoints to be aired before primary elections, but then further analysis and debate is completely closed off during the period immediately before general elections. Wonderful! The winners will continue to think, “We were elected by the majority,” and rule accordingly.

Serious students of politics and government are well aware of the need to look at issues from multiple viewpoints. Left versus right thinking is too narrow. This is easily demonstrated by a test such as the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” where readers’ views on economic issues and personal issues are analyzed together. (Go to http://www.TheAdvocates.org for more info.)

May The Columbian’s staff, its readers, and the U.S. Supreme Court continue with their educational activities.

Ralph C. Edwards

Vancouver

Measure benefits entire community

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District is facing a critical time in providing essential services to the community. Cost-reduction measures taken last year to stay within budget caused the library to reduce the number of days most branches were open.

Library services reach far beyond the books available for loan. There are programs to help immigrants become fluent in English. There are programs to help citizens apply for jobs. There are vast reference resources for educational purposes in virtually all fields. There are programs to young people to learn and enjoy the benefits of reading and to socialize with one another in the safety of the library environment. There are computer terminals available. During tax season, volunteers are present to assist with preparing tax returns. These are examples of what the public library provides or makes available to everyone in the community.

All of these services depend on the library doors being open, benefiting the community as a whole, even those who are not library users. The Aug. 17 library levy measure will add about 8 cents per $1,000 to property taxes, about the price of one hardbound book per year for a $300,000 home. This investment is one of the wisest actions that can be taken to help the region.

Dennis Johnson

Ridgefield

Equal funds reinforce equal education

The June 8 Columbian story “Student success focus of roundtable” caught my attention. It was with great interest I read about the Vancouver Public Schools plan to steer $1.5 million from current remedial learning programs to 12 “Opportunity Zone” schools. Wow, this sounds great; however, if you research district school demographics, you will find that the schools listed have received extra funding from the federal and state government for years.

Isn’t it time that the education system (not just Vancouver, but all districts) step back and refocus how money is spent? What about the schools that are not “Opportunity Zone” schools? The schools not mentioned in the story are schools with conscientious parents, who take the time to focus on their children’s education, and work hard to support the schools. These schools are treated like the “stepchild” of the school districts — expected to perform without the extra funding. I’ve known families that have sacrificed by providing private tutoring for their children because these schools are unable to meet their child’s educational need.

Personally, I advocate that citizens who support public education become involved with their local school district, seeking a more equitable use of resources. It’s time to provide equal education for all students and schools.

Jean Marks

Vancouver

Obama is in over his head

So we have a terrible tragic accident: that is all it was. Now environmentalists and the left will use this as an excuse to stop oil drilling in North America. This is the first accident in more than 50 years. It is tragic what has happened to the workers and the gulf as well as the people of the gulf. But why are we not looking at the lack of responsible action from our president? No, it is not his fault, but now that the leak has occurred, he is proving how inept he is at handling emergencies. No leadership whatsoever, just grandstanding about fines and BP paying restitution. We all know this will happen eventually. Why did his administration not act immediately to concentrate on getting help to stop the leak? Worry about punishment later, start leading like your job description says and prove you have the mettle to step up and deal with this crisis.

Curt Ross

Washougal

What qualifies as an outing?

The June 20 editorial “Bo’s biggest trophy: Father’s Day message is motivated by sports star’s touching comment,” reported some census numbers: “36 — percentage of children younger than 6 who had 15 or more outings with their father in the past month.” Outings? With their father? Baseball has innings, but outings? Could 36 percent of children younger than 6 have camped out in the past month? In the rain? In this country?

Outings? Surely 36 percent of children younger than 6 didn’t get outed, but could 36 percent have been present when their father was? What is an outing with another? When each is outside of their home and in the presence of the other. “An excursion, typically a pleasure trip.” As in walking to the car to drive to the store to buy fresh diapers?

Hurrah for those who found 15 occasions to be outdoors, occasionally out of the rain, with their “younger than 6” child during the past month, and even more so to those who walked farther than to the car.

Merv Murphy

Vancouver

Terrorists may be at fault

After 60 days of the oil-spill fiasco, a thought occurred to me. Nowhere, to my recollection, has anyone mentioned terrorism. Since this is the worst disaster since 9/11, is this thought too far-fetched? People say if it were a terrorist act, the terrorists would be claiming responsibility. Not necessarily. If they could succeed in driving a wedge between the U.S. and the U.K., our staunchest ally, it would be much better for them than just blowing up an oil well and taking credit for it.

Since our president has offended our staunchest ally in the Middle East, Israel, and if he continues to alienate our staunchest ally in Europe, that will be a big victory for Osama bin Laden and his group. All it cost them was one terrorist willing go up with the oil well. Just a theory I thought I’d throw out there.

Fred McNeeley

Vancouver