In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Controlling cold pills cools meth cooks; PTA can't decide on charter schools

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Cheers: To evidence that restricting the sales of certain cold medicines has reduced the incidence of illegal drug manufacturing. For years, people bought products such as Sudafed to relieve symptoms associated with colds and allergies. But crooks learned to "cook" methamphetamine with some of the ingredients commonly found in these decongestants. So in October 2011, the state Board of Pharmacy activated a new system where people buying medicines containing certain ingredients had to show identification and register their names in an online database.Through July, the database has blocked more than 13,000 sales of these drugs to people who were hopping from pharmacy to pharmacy, trying to purchase the mass quantities needed to manufacture meth. "Our state was once called 'the poster children for the meth epidemic,' and we're now recognized as a success story," according to state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky.

Jeers: To political infighting in the Washington State PTA. According to the Washington Policy Center, the disagreement comes over Initiative 1240, the latest attempt to authorize charter schools in Washington. At the organization's annual assembly last fall, PTA delegates representing parents and teachers voted to endorse lifting the state's ban on charter schools. In May, delegates to the PTA's annual convention passed a resolution in support of nonprofit public charter schools. But this month, the PTA's executive board voted to oppose Initiative 1240. The policy center notes that by doing so the PTA board only hurts the organization's credibility.

Cheers: To Vancouver City Councilor Jeanne Stewart for pointing out the square block of urban blight that the old city hall had become. The city vacated the property at 210 E. 13th St. last year, and responsibility for maintenance of the property returned to Vancouver Public Schools, which has owned the site for decades. For some reason — the school district says its maintenance crews work inside school buildings during the summer months — the building was ignored until Stewart complained last week about the weeds, garbage and human waste littering the courtyard and parking garage of the property. The Columbian ran a story the next day, and the morning after that the school district had its employees on-site to clean up the mess. The school district says the empty building will be included on a regular maintenance rotation until the property can be sold, either for office space or redevelopment.

Jeers: To new Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. In her first major decision, Rosenblum, a Democrat, has denied a public records request from The Oregonian for personnel files relating to the biggest tax fraud case in state history. Somehow, the department ended up approving a $2.1 million tax refund for a 25-year-old Salem woman who claimed phony earnings of $3.5 million. The department says the employees who approved the claim — apparently without any effort to check its veracity — were disciplined. But The Oregonian notes that Rosenblum's ruling means that Oregon taxpayers will never know exactly how the fraud occurred, how the employees were disciplined, or whether they were fully held accountable for their errors. As one of Oregon's largest tax-paying counties, Clark County residents deserve to know this, too.

Cheers: To Battle Ground school district parents for making sure their children's immunizations are up-to-date before the first day of school. Of course, statistics show that the majority of parents take care of this necessary chore. But Battle Ground enjoys the county's best compliance rate, 96.8 percent, including 94.8 of kindergartners. In contrast, Camas scores a D, with only 89.6 percent compliance districtwide and a pathetic 84.7 percent of kindergartners.