In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Vancouver refloats an old tradition;Utah cops still mum on shooting



Cheers:To a proposal to revive Vancouver's community float. For decades a dedicated corps of volunteers built an annual entry for the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade; it's likely that many of the floats also appeared in several other community parades around Southwest Washington. But the tradition ended in 1994. Today, only Battle Ground enters a community designed-and-built float in the grand floral parade.If local businessmen Byron Jacobus and Ron Carr have their way, Battle Ground will be rejoined by Vancouver in time for the June 8, 2013, parade. They have contacted a commercial float builder that does most of the floral parade entries, come up with a design, and started fundraising. They'll need about $50,000 to make their vision come true. For more information, or to help, email Jacobus at

Jeers:To West Valley City, Utah, police, who have failed to release even basic information about the Nov. 2 shooting death of former Vancouver resident Danielle Willard. What a Salt Lake City TV station described as a "large group of protesters" stood on a busy street corner of the Salt Lake suburb this week, demanding more information. Here's about all that police have said: Willard, 21, was shot to death by police officers on Nov. 2. The shooting occurred while she was in a car outside an apartment complex. An officer was injured. There has been no information on who the officers were, how the officer was injured, whether Willard was armed -- her family says she was not -- or even the basics about why officers and Willard were there in the first place.

Perhaps the officers acted because Willard, who had a troubled past, threatened them in some way. Or maybe deadly force was misapplied by police. There may have been mistakes made on both sides. But six weeks later, we don't know. Our society places great trust in police -- we equip them with weapons and the power to use them -- and most of us view officers with great respect and gratitude. But with this comes great responsibility and accountability, and West Valley police have so far failed to meet that standard.

Cheers:To a new round of expanded grants targeted at breaking the poverty cycle. "Kids are born into poverty, they grow up in poverty, they are adults in poverty, and they have children in poverty," explains Richard Melching, director of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, which will administer the grants. Funded largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the $25,000 grants will be available to public agencies and nonprofits that clearly demonstrate breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties.

The $700,000 Gates Foundation grant seems huge, but it has to last for four years, and be shared among a variety of agencies that will attack the problem from all angles. Other Community Foundation monies will be used as a wraparound to support other needs including health care, transportation, and career development. Melching knows that the grants won't end the poverty cycle. But the systemic approach to the problem, coupled with the resources available, should provide a meaningful boost to many families.

Jeers: To the spread of rumors and bad choices after the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Newtown, Conn. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter were ablaze with rumors about purported threats at virtually every high school in Clark County. There were several incidents, too, including a firearm discovered at Evergreen High School and a pellet gun spotted in a car at Skyview High. The incident led to increased work for police and school officials and greater tension and pain for parents and children.