In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Football play reverberates beyondClark County; legislators have own rules

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Cheers: One of the most memorable high school football plays around these or any other parts has gone viral. National networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports 1 have shown video of Columbia River's victory last week over Skyview, and the video at Columbian.com has been watched well over 130,000 times. The Storm thought they had the game won after blocking a last-second field-goal attempt, and players ran off the field in celebration. But the Columbia River players alertly picked up the ball, which was still in play, and ran as a convoy into the end zone for the winning score. Anybody involved with the Columbia River football program will be telling the story of the unique play to their grandchildren some day. But the truth is, so will the people from Skyview.

Jeers: State legislators, apparently, receive even more perks than the public previously realized. The Washington State Patrol has confirmed that legislators headed to work cannot receive speeding tickets during the time the Legislature is in session, and even for 15 days prior.

From The Associated Press: "The logic? Detaining lawmakers on the road -- even for the time it takes to issue them a speeding ticket -- may delay them from getting to the Capitol to vote." The illogical? The policy applies anywhere in the state; a lawmaker could be pulled over in Spokane and still avoid a ticket simply because it might make them "late for a vote." It's time for this policy to be changed and for lawmakers to be subject to the same laws as everybody else.

Cheers: Violent crime — which includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — decreased by 8 percent between 2011 and 2012 in Vancouver, according to data released by the FBI. The decrease goes against statewide and national trends that showed a slight increase.

Although person-to-person crimes decreased in Vancouver, property crime was up slightly, showing an increase of 0.5 percent. Still, with the most serious crimes showing a decrease, it adds up to a bit of good news for residents.

Jeers: During a time of serious budget shortfalls for the state, Gov. Jay Inslee has raised pay for about half of his 25 major-agency Cabinet positions. The biggest raise — more than 17 percent — went to Department of Licensing Director Pat Kohler, upping her salary to $141.552.

While this is the kind of story that typically raises hackles, Inslee deserves some slack on this one. He also cut pay by 17 percent for the Puget Sound Partnership's new director, making the net cost of the 13 raises a fraction of the budget for the top agency jobs. But a raise of 17 percent — and another of 15 percent — is excessive. Slightly lower raises still could have brought salaries more in line with how the governor views the value of each position, without increasing the overall budget.

Cheers: The story of the Johnson family from La Center, which appeared in the Sept. 14 edition of The Columbian, serves as a testimonial to the power of love and to the needs of many children in our communities. Two years ago, the Johnsons adopted four children who had been born addicted to drugs, adding them to a household that included their six biological children.

When Julianne and Karl Johnson adopted the children from foster care in Oregon, a 4-year-old was still in diapers and a 2-year-old wasn't walking. They remain developmentally about a year behind their peers but, as Julianne said, "I wanted to do this. Sure, it's not easy sometimes, but I'm giving them a chance in the world." As Karl said about the children's early years: "It's not going to define them. It's tragic, it's sad, but they're not going to end up like their biological parents."