Our Readers' Views
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Expert’s advice on light rail lacking
A Sept. 18 Columbian story reported “Speaker urges derailing light rail.” Regarding the bridge and light rail, and Wendell Cox, the subject of that story: Are we going to listen to the advice of a “transportation expert” from Los Angeles? Really? Having lived in L.A., I ask: Do we want that for our future? Wall-to-wall cars, endless rush hour, and urban sprawl that extends hundreds of miles? Pay attention: Cox now chooses to live in Chicago, which has great mass transit. Why do we listen when local activist David Madore, with his piles of money, opposes a project that will benefit those with working class jobs — both in generating jobs, and helping us get to work and to play? Nobody wants to “force” people out of their cars.
What we need, however, is to take the long view when undertaking something of this magnitude. Adding light rail later will be crazy expensive (ask L.A., which let its rail disappear long ago). We need to plan for a thriving and growing community and economy, and retain the quality of life that has drawn us here.
How long does “add another lane or two of freeway” continue to be a viable option? As for budget overruns: Demand strong oversight and not business as usual.
Offer funds to mental health issues
Like so many, I was moved to make a small donation at a local grocery store in Washougal for Bethany Storro. Although realizing that several like-minded residents of our region undoubtedly contributed far more than I did, I’d like to make a suggestion. Those who can see their way to do so, I’d ask they offer those same funds to the cause of mental health if you are given the opportunity to recoup them.
People do not injure themselves as Storro did unless driven to desperation in the search for help. It’s just a very sad situation and I wish nothing but a better, brighter future for Storro.
Ultimate decision belongs to voters
In a Sept. 19 letter, “Attitude and behavior unpardonable,” Milo Bell proposed that Councilor Jeanne Harris should be “discharged immediately.” What audacity! She was elected, and one must be very careful before interfering with the sacredness of being elected. Harris can be confronted via the ballot box, so please do not endanger my right of being able to vote and have it count.
Secondly, Bell stated the residents of Vancouver should have the right to bring their concerns to the city council for discussion. I agree. But the mode of disrupting a council meeting is not acceptable. The residents should not have free rein (as advocated by Bell) to bring attention to the council. There exist many channels to convey one’s views to the council members or the council. I fully concur with the city council’s procedure to limit individual presentations and to have these at the end of the scheduled council meetings. We, the elected, expect the council to address issues at hand in a timely manner. Often in the past, the initial phases of a city council meeting were substantially delayed awaiting public input.
A. Lance Thompson
Listening should be a top priority
What is the correct forum for Vancouver residents to express their opinions about the business of the city, if not at a city council meeting? While decorum is essential, brevity is not. And the fact that some residents return, time after time, to address the same issues, simply indicates that they are just as passionate about a subject as the council members.
Instead of limiting the time a person might speak, within reason, and require that the subject matter be “relevant” to the council business, it seems that they should be eager to know about our concerns. When the council stops listening to its constituents, it stops doing its real job — working in their best interest. Perhaps it’s time for us to find some new council members who will listen?
Anything by Eyman is worth rejecting
I was extremely disappointed to see the Sept. 19 Columbian editorial, “‘Yes’ on I-1053: Two-thirds approval for tax increases is necessary for low-performing Legislature,” as a method to get even with legislators for suspending Initiative 960. I feel it was deceitful of the board to not mention that I-1053 is a Tim Eyman product, sponsored by big oil to avoid taking responsibility for oil spills. I hope that Columbian readers are smart enough to look at the opposite page in that Sunday edition and read the information provided in the guest opinion, “No: Only special interests will gain from its passage,” by Alan Durning and Todd Campbell. Just learning that I-1053 is an Eyman project is enough to make me reject it.
Spotlight those lost in trafficking
Usually if you say Vancouver, folks think you mean Canada. This past month, Vancouver, Wash., has made headlines nationally. But not for national commentator Jane Velez-Mitchell having a voice for women and girls at the Northwest Conference Against Trafficking held here last January. Instead, a young woman captured the national spotlight by throwing acid in her face. What’s wrong with this picture?
I am so sorry this young lady felt the need to destroy her own body, but what about the thousands of young girls kidnapped, lost and sold into trafficking every day in Vancouver and in the second largest trafficking city in America — Portland, Ore.? Children and young adults are taken from society physically, mentally and emotionally against their own control. Yet the media and the community are talking about people who, yes, may need help, but should not have the ability to consume our media outlets with their drama when lives of those who really need those outlets should have priority. Are we lost in drama?
I am tired of seeing the innocent get pushed to the back burner. Enough. Let’s move on to more important issues and praise those making a difference in our communities and those really needing the media spotlight.
Michelle A. Bart
Care for our own first and foremost
Where is the outcry for the lack of assistance given to our wounded veterans? Is it public knowledge that the Blinded Veterans Association receives no government assistance? The association has to rely on the generosity of the public to assist our brave men and women. This is another disgusting, disgraceful situation where we give millions to every country in the world and we cannot support the men and women who have so honorably served our country in its time of need. I am tired of our government aiding foreign countries and neglecting our own veterans. It’s time someone, somehow starts to take care of our own.