In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

10th Avenue project adds a needed link;Hedrick lawsuit wastes tax dollars



Cheers: To extending Northeast 10th Avenue across Whipple Creek. The county has included the project in its six-year street improvement plan for good reason: It will be a key part of traffic improvements in the crowded Salmon Creek-Northeast 134th Street corridor. Currently, 10th starts as an arterial northbound off Northeast Tenney Road, runs behind the Salmon Creek Fred Meyer store, crosses the new 139th Street arterial corridor, and serves a mixed commercial and residential neighborhood before ending at about Northeast 149th Street.On the other end, Northeast Delfel Road fronts the Clark County Fairgrounds south of Northeast 179th Street and briefly parallels Interstate 5 before ending at Northeast 164th Street. Connecting the two will require $30 million and a new bridge across Whipple Creek, but the result will be a new route through the area while avoiding crowded freeway interchanges at 179th and 134th. The project will take four years to design; construction won't begin until 2017.

Jeers: To failed congressional candidate David Hedrick. Hedrick had his 15 minutes of fame in 2009 when he warned former Congressman Brian Baird at a hugely attended town hall meeting that the federal government needed to "stay away from my kids" and accused former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being a Nazi. Afterward, he announced his own run for Congress, was swamped in the primary by Jaime Herrera Beutler, and then arrested for domestic violence. A jury acquitted him of assaulting his wife. Now Hedrick, acting as his own attorney, has filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit against Clark County. He's demanding at least $500,000, according to the lawsuit, which ignores many of the conventions of a lawsuit drawn up by an attorney, including formatting and service.

"If he was a lawyer, he'd be sued for malpractice," said the county's attorney, Bronson Potter. Taxpayers will be on the hook to defend the suit, creating more of the wasted spending that Hedrick claims to abhor.

Cheers: To teachers who bring real-life lessons into classrooms. Two examples made the news this week.

At the new Vancouver iTech Preparatory, the Bonneville Power Administration brought staff members into the ninth-grade classroom to talk about career opportunities in the power industry, ranging from power line technician to electrical engineer. The Oregon/Southwest Washington Energy Consortium was another sponsor of the program to interest students in careers in science, engineering, technology and math.

At Ridgefield High School, teachers George Black and Gregg Ford livened up the usual U.S. History unit by challenging juniors to complete the requirements to become a U.S. citizen. It's not an easy process. Becoming a citizen requires studying a great deal of history, passing a test and completing a 10-page form. Students who passed received an oath of citizenship administered by Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis.

Jeers: To the full-length debate that didn't happen between Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and her opponent, airline pilot Jon Haugen. Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, is a heavy favorite to win a second term, based on her primary showing and her huge advantage in fundraising. Haugen, a relative newcomer to politics, has badgered her to debate him, at one point asking for up to 10 debates. All were rebuffed, though both candidates will appear at a forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Camas High School, sponsored by the Camas Youth Advisory Council. Though we understand her strategy -- ignore someone who seems to be a minor opponent -- a true debate would clarify candidates' positions and inform public thinking on the issues.