In our view: Cheers & Jeers

More salmon benefit Salmon Creek; labor leaders wrong to resist school savings

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Cheers: To more salmon for Salmon Creek. On Monday, about 300 juvenile coho were stocked in a new spring-fed pond that feeds into the creek, where decades of suburban development and farming have degraded fish habitat. The pond, developed this spring near the Washington State University Vancouver campus, is the latest effort by the Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group and Northwest Wild Fish Rescue to improve the viability of Northwest salmon runs. More fish are likely to be stocked into the pond in the coming weeks.

Jeers: To labor leaders who are trying to raise fears about bread served in some Washington public schools, including the Evergreen district in Clark County. According to NW Labor Press, the districts are saving thousands of taxpayer dollars by purchasing baked goods from the Department of Corrections. The bread is baked at the prison in Airway Heights by trainees under the supervision of experienced bakers. As prisoners, the trainees are paid less than minimum wage, but they earn a skill they can use after they are released The labor leaders, however, imply that “prison bread” is somehow less safe than bread baked by union members, disregarding the fact that it’s consumed by the inmates themselves. School boards should be commended for their thrift.

Cheers: To refinancing bonds that were issued to fund construction of the Firstenburg Community Center. When the bonds were issued in 2003, they carried an interest rate of 4.43 percent. As any saver knows, interest rates have since dropped considerably. The city estimates that by refinancing the $16 million remaining on the bonds, it can save up to $800,000 in interest. The exact savings won’t be known until the day the refinanced bonds are sold, but either way it’s a good deal for the taxpayers.

Jeers: To two state agencies that, according to a new state audit, overpaid at least $2.6 million for child care. The overpayments in the Working Connections program came between July 2009 and June 2010. The program is administered by the Department of Early Learning and the Department of Social and Health Services, and provides child care reimbursement for low-income parents while they work, look for work or attend job training. A variety of snafus led to the overpayments. Accountability needs to be tightened.

Cheers: To the approximately 115,000 Clark County residents who are registered to vote. Ballots for the Nov. 8 election will be available Oct. 19, but there is still time to join the throng. Citizens eligible to vote can register online or by mail until Monday, Oct. 10, and in person at the elections office through Halloween. It’s worth noting that although presidential elections get the publicity, it’s the off-year elections — such as this one — where voters make many important local decisions, and every vote truly counts.

Jeers: To Vancouver city council candidate Bill Turlay. Until his omission came to light this month, Turlay had operated a home business for 11 years without obtaining the required city business license. Turlay, who owns a small beverage distributor, touts his business experience and knowledge as one of the key differences between himself and his opponent, neighborhood activist Anne McEnerny-Ogle. He does have the required state license, but said in his defense that the city’s business license rules are too confusing and he misinterpreted them. That might be the case, but it begs the question: If he is elected, will he be able to interpret other city rules accurately?

Cheers: To the new Doppler radar, turned on this week, that can see storms approaching the Washington coast. Located near Copalis Beach, it fills a large shadow created by the Olympic Mountains.