Our readers' views
Thursday, January 27, 2011
County should not appeal BIA ruling
Wow! Our county commissioners are all in agreement that the county has money to burn. They are using the local taxpayers’ money to sue the feds (Bureau of Indian Affairs). The BIA, after 10 years of thinking about it, has approved the request by the Cowlitz Indians for a reservation and casino. Clark County is suing to get this decision reversed.
I used to think we had an excellent group of commissioners. Not anymore.
They must be aware that Clark County has the highest rate of unemployment in the state.
How can they be dead-set against allowing a project that would have 3,000 construction jobs followed by 2,000 permanent jobs?
If anyone would like to start a recall on any or all of them, I would gladly help to gather the signatures needed.
Shame on Vancouver City Council
It is appalling that Vancouver City Council decided to remove Jeanne Stewart from the C-Tran Board of Directors because she voiced her conscience. Pat Campbell called for Stewart to be removed from the C-Tran Board, and out she goes.
Vancouver voters have consistently voted against light rail. It represents increased taxes at the local, state, and federal level. The constituents are maxed out on taxes. Light rail also brings crime to the neighborhoods served (just ask those in Hillsboro, Ore.).
I say thank you, Ms. Stewart, for defying pressure of your contemporaries for standing up for the people.
I advocate Jeanne Stewart for mayor. She has shown honesty, courage and hard work in her extended dedication to public service.
Teachers unions work for members
Esther Cepeda’s Jan. 19 column, “Education policy not set by teachers,” is mostly just plain wrong.
Teachers do have a voice in union decisions or direction. I spent 30 years in the profession, several in which I was active in leadership in the education association (union). We built all of our negotiations around careful listening to what our teachers thought important. Increased salaries were not the only things we struggled for.
In 1974, I was the president of the Kelso Education Association. We were the third association in the state to ever strike. One of the principle issues was the right to have input into how money was spent at the school level, along with other decisions related to working conditions. Nowadays this is common and it’s called “site based management.”
Cepeda says that it is teacher unions who fight merit pay, and that teachers invite it. Most teachers I know encourage the union opposition to merit pay because no one can come up with a fair way to determine merit.
Teacher unions work in the best interest of teachers. Leadership listens because it’s made up of teachers. Teachers don’t meekly stand by to be led in a direction they don’t won’t to go.
Gun fears overblown
Bonnie Erbe’s Jan. 16 op-ed column, “If not gun control now, when?” is an inane work of exaggerated paranoia that seems to imply that violence is more widespread than it actually is. Erbe thinks that because of the tragedy in Tucson, “law-abiding citizens quake in the terror that they will be next.”
What world is she living in? Is anybody truly scared about being shot in a massacre? According to her statistics, the odds of being killed in a massacre are very, very low.
Erbe asks “why our so-called democratic principles do not protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as if being the victim of a massacre is an infringement of our rights as opposed to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This wasn’t a pogrom executed by the government; it was a rare act of unprovoked violence against innocent people by a fellow citizen. It happens, but not with enough consistency to warrant mass fear.
Live your life. More likely than not, you’re going to be fine.
Violent rhetoric is not equal
In the aftermath of the murderous shooting rampage in Tucson, with “false equivalency” accusations of “incendiary rhetoric” and “inciting violence” being indiscriminately leveled at media pundits on both sides of the political aisle, the venomous vitriol of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz et al against President Obama and liberals in general, stands head and shoulders above any punditry from “the left.”
This brings to mind the phenomenon of “stochastic terrorism” – “the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable” (epluribusmedia.net).
Has this become the true driving force behind so-called right-wing talk radio, the airing of first amendment-protected, politically-driven vitriol — some of which is outright hate speech — to promote the political agendas of the ultra-wealthy and mega-corporations?
Is this what incited our deeply-troubled “lone gunman”? Only time will tell.
Michael T. Carver
Ensure torture is never used again
“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any (prisoner) … I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause … for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” — George Washington, Sept. 14, 1775.
Signatories of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions agreed not to torture prisoners in armed conflicts. It is also prohibited by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by 147 countries. It is declared unacceptable by Article 5 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The U.S. bound itself to agreement in all of those instances.
On Jan. 22, 2009, President Obama issued an order halting torture by requiring that all interrogations comply with the standards in the Army Field Manual.
We can’t expect other countries to follow the Geneva Convention when we refuse to do so ourselves. Having been subject to torture in Vietnam, John McCain opposed it.
Obama should establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate our past use of torture and to recommend steps for ensuring that torture is never used again.
Sandra L. Cole