Endorsements in political races are a long-standing tradition in which newspapers express their opinions. Ideally, they raise the level of discussion, but in the end voters are entrusted to make up their own minds. With ballots scheduled to go out to Clark County voters starting today, here is a recap of The Columbian's endorsements for the Nov. 5 general election:
• Vancouver mayor: Tim Leavitt.
Through four years as mayor, Leavitt has demonstrated a clear and progressive vision for the city. Read the full endorsement editorial here.
• Vancouver city council: Jack Burkman for Position 1; Alishia Topper for Position 2; Anne McEnerny-Ogle for Position 3.
Burkman, the incumbent, long has been one of the more reasoned and engaged people in local politics. Topper is an energetic newcomer who already has amassed plenty of experience in civic leadership. And McEnerny-Ogle is deeply involved with Vancouver's neighborhoods and civic organizations. Read the full endorsement editorial here.
• Vancouver school board: Kathy Gillespie.
As a school board member since 2009, Gillespie has helped Vancouver Public Schools through a period of vast growth in science and technology education. Read the full endorsement editorial here.
• Clark County freeholders.
Rather than whittle a field of 110 candidates to the 15 freeholders who will consider changes to the format of Clark County's government, The Columbian's editorial board chose to weigh in on some of the issues that will be facing those who are elected. Among them: We support the expansion of the Clark County Board of Commissioners from three members to five; any expansion should be carried out without increasing the county budget; an elected county executive position should be established; and county residents should be granted initiative and referendum power. For information about the candidates, go to the top of Columbian.com and visit "Must Clicks" or type in http://www.columbian.com/freeholders. Read the full editorial here.
• No on most Clark County advisory votes.
Six advisory votes are on the ballot, and five of them deal with mass transportation issues. We urge a "no" vote on these transportation-related, nonbinding measures, which would encourage county commissioners to oppose "any" project not approved in a countywide vote. We urge a "yes" vote on Advisory Vote No. 6, which would limit the sale and use of fireworks in the county in early July. Read the full editorial here.
• No on statewide Initiative 517.
This would expand the rights of signature gatherers trying to place initiatives on the ballot. I-517 goes too far at the expense of the public and business owners, attempting to fix an initiative system that isn't broken. Read the full editorial here.
• No on statewide Initiative 522.
This would mandate labeling on foods that contain even trace amounts of genetically modified organisms, requiring ominous labels on the front of packaging. The information would be beneficial to consumers, but adding the notification to the already existing nutritional label would be a more reasonable solution. Read the full editorial here.