Our Readers’ Views

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Music programs deserve support

Nice work to all the young jazz students and their directors who played at the recent Clark College Jazz Festival. The Jan. 31 Columbian story “Local musicians win numerous jazz festival awards” shows the success many of our local schools enjoyed — bringing home individual soloist awards and trophies for outstanding performances. And, outstanding they are.

Most of these groups rehearse before many of us are out of our pajamas. Events like these showcase the commitment these kids make, and the great teaching that is required to be excellent. Having heard the Mountain View High School jazz band play at the festival, I can attest that “they cooked” and deserve their first-place prize. Thanks to all of these students for making the argument to support music and arts in our schools an easy one.

Russ Beacock

Vancouver

Flood-zone changes are troubling

I have noticed recently in three different stories in the Columbian that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is proposing flood zone changes in Vancouver, Camas, Battle Ground, and Ridgefield areas. I think the people of these towns should question these new flood areas for it can increase greatly their insurance premiums per year depending on what zone they put their property in. It will also affect development regulations.

This will be mandatory if you have financed your property or if you ever sell, you must inform the new buyer that if they finance they too will have to have flood insurance to cover their loan value. As you will see in these stories, it does not tell you what your new cost will be per zone. Questions, call FEMA at 1-877-336-2627, and find your area at http://www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks.

Stan Snodgrass

Vancouver

Sea lions belong in the sea

To all the people who want to protect sea lions, here are a few facts you need to know. Salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are natural food for all sea lions. What’s not natural is for the sea lions is to try and climb in a boat after a salmon, or rip a fishing net from the fisherman’s hand as he nets a salmon. I have had first-hand experience of both of these incidents. The key here is, they are sea lions, not river lions.

Until a sea lion tries to get into a boat with a father and son/daughter and tips the boat over — and the people drown — government won’t get serious and eliminate a bunch of the sea lions. There are a lot more sea lions in the Columbia River than anyone wants to admit.

Richard E. Jones

Vancouver

Task force needed for bridge planning

I disagree with the viewpoint of the Jan. 31 editorial “Build, baby, build,” calling for political leadership to solve the bridge crisis. We have heard all this nonsense before. The Columbian is merely patronizing to the political whim of the moment at the expense of the taxpayers who ultimately will pay for this overpriced, overdue Columbia River Crossing monster. In the past, our elected officials have never spoken with a united voice to support the bridge. The main sticking point being no money at any level for the project. The Columbian has consistently taken a pro-bridge stance.

The illusion that the feds will step in to pay for a CRC 100 percent is a myth, folks. It ain’t gonna happen. To blame the economy and politicians is a poor excuse for years of “do nothing” rhetoric. It has been “all talk and no action.”

The courageous step to take now is to call for a major task force to bring all factions to the table. Their job would be to hammer out a common-sense plan to build and finance this bridge. It should be a part of a bistate, regional mass transit solution. The people need jobs in our area. They are shovel ready now.

Rolf Knapp

Vancouver

Keep season of giving all year long

With the holidays past, it is time to take stock of another year and reflect on the significance of the reason for gathering with family and decking halls with boughs of holly. Yet, I always found it vexing that the Christmas spirit, that of charity and good will, vanishes once the decorations are back in the attic. Once everyone is back to work, or school, everything resumes, including the usual incivility and self-centeredness. Why is this?

As a Christian, I always thought that the season of charity and brotherly love should last all year, and I should be kind to everyone. Yet donations of essential items at homeless shelters are down 60 percent this year, and, after Christmas, the volunteers are gone. It seems to me that we should help others whenever we have the chance, and there are many opportunities that go unfulfilled all year round. It’s still cold outside. People are still hungry and need to be loved.

R. Skyler Oberst

Vancouver

Legislation would limit options

Two bills in the Washington Legislature are being pushed to silence pregnancy resource centers that help young pregnant women. NARAL, Pro-Choice Washington, and Planned Parenthood support legislation that would effectively censor clinics like our local Options 360 Pregnancy Clinic. The bills would effectively silence clinics that offer options for scared pregnant women other than abortion. The bill would make it possible for anyone who feels that they were “aggrieved” by an experience at a pregnancy resource center to bring a lawsuit. Then the center would have to spend scarce dollars defending itself from frivolous lawsuits. These resource centers take no tax money and offer $16 million in free services throughout Washington state.

I believe the clear intent of these bills is to shut down clinics that offer adoption as an option. In 2008, Planned Parenthood reported that nationwide, its own clinics performed 324,008 abortions, but made referrals for adoption to only 2,405 women. It’s apparent that the bills’ sponsors have no interest in being “pro-choice” since they overwhelmingly offer the choice of abortion.

State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, is a co-sponsor of this terrible legislation. Please contact your representatives to vote “no” on SB 5274 and HB 1366.

Bruce Alber

Vancouver

Boastful story not appropriate

In the Feb. 2 “Everybody has a story: Skunk didn’t get the best of boy and his shotgun,” Delmar “Lee” Belknap relates an incident about a skunk in the hen house which he, as a youngster, dispatched with a .410 shotgun. Belknap goes on to say how he, over the years, went on to “kill hundreds of rabbits and quail with that shotgun.” Belknap doesn’t understand that those animals had as much right to life as he does. He recently passed the weapon to his son-in-law, ostensibly to continue the slaughter. Shame on him for boasting about it and shame on The Columbian for printing it. That’s the real story.

Michael Fox-Lambert

Vancouver