Our Readers' Views

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Camas laboratory was innovative

The March 14 story, “G-P lab site waits for buyer; Property could play role in Camas revitalization,” concerning the old Crown Zellerbach research laboratory, was interesting and informative. I was employed at the laboratory from 1952 to 1982, and believe the story’s information is both timely and accurate. A great deal of interesting work took place in that laboratory. It is too bad that it is no longer functioning.

The Crown Zellerbach laboratory’s development of the chemical known as DMSO is typical of its innovative techniques in making chemicals from renewable forest products. It is time for the U.S. chemical industry to concentrate on formulating substances from renewable products. As a chemist at the lab, I do know that chemicals made from renewable forest resources make a great deal of sense. Work along these lines needs to be emphasized.

David W. Goheen

CAMAS

District’s scandals inexcusable

The March 16 story, “Ridgefield schools a fraud victim,” about Ridgefield School District’s former assistant business manager taking over $800,000 in unearned pay, according to the state auditor’s office, has me angry for a number of reasons. First, the rumors about this event have been circulating around Ridgefield for over a year. But now, after the levy passed and after taxpayers have learned where their money has been going, it has finally made news. This makes Ridgefield look corrupt.

It also makes me angry that this fraud was allegedly going on for many years undetected. It makes Ridgefield look inadequate and stupid. I am especially angry that Peggy Kane has worked for Ridgefield School District for 21 years, yet payroll records only go back 10 years, which means taxpayers will never have a full accounting of their money or how many years this was going on.

I am tired of the embarrassment of reading in the papers about the scandals that go on in Ridgefield School District. It’s getting harder and harder for me to defend my town’s school district to outsiders. I voted “yes” on the levy, but from now on, as long as I’m a voter in Ridgefield, it’s a “no.”

Lynne Barnes

Ridgefield

Commuter treated as enemy

Columbia River Crossing project sponsors seldom discuss why people drive automobiles. It’s not to clog highways. Automobiles express freedom, independence and choice. CRC’s last meeting spoke of a bridge to accommodate freight movement. No one speaks for the commuter.

CRC encourages proposals diminishing individuals’ freedom, independence and wealth. These brilliant people have produced nothing concrete (pun intended), while careening toward $100 million of taxpayer expenditures. Every month, new hands reach for funding.

This month the “Corridor Management Group” needs $9.1 million in startup funds and $4.1 million annually for more buses. Brilliant?

During a January presentation to the CRC, consultant Steve Pickeral provided a strategies “Toolbox” to manage traffic. We now know the “tools.” Using the analogy, Matt Ransom, transportation planning manager for Vancouver, said “pricing” (tolls) … “is one of the major hammers.” Brilliant?

Peter Hurley, Portland transportation project manager, said there was no silver bullet but a “silver buckshot,” a shotgun approach to encourage motorists to use buses or bikes. Brilliant? Commuters will be pounded and blasted out of cars.

James D.W. Newton

Vancouver

Israel attempts to crush dissent

Remember when marching for equal rights got you beaten by police in America? (The March 8 Columbian story, “‘ Bloody Sunday’ march, beatings remembered,” recalled the 1965 march). Twenty-five years later, apartheid dissolved in South Africa, and racism was replaced with majority-rule democracy. Yet today in occupied Palestine, non-violent protesters are beaten, imprisoned indefinitely or killed. Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, former Yale professor and non-violence leader, is wanted by the Israeli occupation army for the crime of peaceful resistance to Israeli theft of the land of Bethlehem, a mainly Christian Palestinian town.

This is a desperate Israeli attempt to crush non-violent resistance to occupation and colonization by targeting the “Palestinian Gandhi.” Israel has a marketing campaign to attempt to legitimize their war crimes in Palestine. Jewish setters have set up groups to petition that addresses on Facebook and Twitter be listed as Israel rather than Palestine.

Israel feels threatened by spontaneous grass-roots solidarity groups forming around the world, calling for justice, peace, equality and human rights. Their “weapons” are boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until it ends apartheid and racism against Palestinians.

Diane Adkin

Camas

Palestinian demands unrealistic

The recent announcement of plans to build 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem has provoked criticism from Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I am a Democrat, but when it comes to U.S. relations with Israel, I couldn’t disagree more with their treatment of this longtime friend. From its founding as a partitioned slice of the British-controlled area then known as Palestine in 1947 by a United Nations decree, Israel has faced multiple wars and terrorist attacks from neighboring countries and its own Moslem inhabitants. Israel has repeatedly called for peace negotiations over the years and has even given land in Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians.

In response, the Palestinians have refused to negotiate, insisting instead that Israel return to pre-1967 borders, an unrealistic demand since those borders no longer allow a safe defense against modern weapons. Meanwhile, Palestinian organizations continue to call for the destruction of Israel and carry out acts of terrorism, from bombings to rocket attacks.

I agree the situation for the Palestinians needs to be resolved or there will never be peace, but let’s stop expecting Israel to accommodate pre-conditions like building moratoriums while we place no requirements at all on the Palestinians.

Carol Singer

Vancouver

We can’t be forced to be healthy

Who do legislators think they are, introducing a tax on sugary food? Are they trying to force Americans to be healthy by raising the price of a sugary beverage? It’s all about making the obesity rate go down, but it won’t. Politicians need to get their noses out of our business about what we consume. We have the choice of what we want to eat and drink. No one can force us to get healthy. We have each made a choice of what we are going to consume and we must take our choices into our own accountability, not the government’s.

Jennifer Cohen

Vancouver