In Our View: Cheer & Jeers

Freeholders tackle job admirably; don't drag feet on naming Stuart replacement

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Cheers: Tasked with the difficult job of writing a new county charter to put before voters, the Clark County freeholders have respectfully and responsibly found ways to compromise. Led by Chairwoman Nan Henriksen, the 15-member board has waded through complicated issues such as the proper number of county commissioners, how they should be elected, and how much they should be paid.

After earlier deciding that an increase from three commissioners to five would better serve the community, the freeholders more recently opted to have four of the five selected from individual districts with the fifth, the board chairman, elected in a countywide vote. Not all freeholders have agreed with all the decisions, which points out the difficulty in the process. Getting voters to approve an entire roster of changes will be difficult; people might be inclined to reject the entire package if there is one aspect they adamantly oppose. But the freeholders have been handling their business with aplomb.

Jeers: With Democrat Steve Stuart leaving the Board of Clark County Commissioners, remaining Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke have not laid out a timeline for choosing a replacement from three candidates put forth by the local Democratic party. They shouldn’t delay.

We understand that politics are at play here, especially with Stuart’s seat open for election come November, but the commissioners should choose a replacement as soon as possible and get on with the business of governing. In a recent Facebook post, Madore explained that commissioners are full-time employees and, therefore, are able to provide a great deal of important services for constituents. If he truly believes that, then he should understand the importance of having a full board of commissioners rather than letting an open seat languish.

Cheers: A new program instituted by the Vancouver Police Department can go a long way toward improving how the community views and connects with officers. As detailed in a recent article by Columbian reporter Patty Hastings, a group of officers are reaching out to classrooms in the area, particularly in low-income areas that officers often frequent.

“We have kids in the community with a negative perspective toward law enforcement,” said John Andersen, the Vancouver Police Activities League’s executive director. “Now we see kids approach police officers rather than run away from them.” That kind of outreach will pay dividends in the future.

Jeers: There’s an old saying that goes, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” But that hasn’t prevented a vast increase in the number of people representing themselves in court.

This trend is understandable, seeing as how it has been driven by the economic downturn of recent years and an increasing inability of people to afford lawyers. But before representing themselves in what can be complex and confusing legal wrangling, clients should be aware that there is low-cost assistance available. One good place to start is with the Clark County Family Court Facilitator (http://www.clark.wa.gov/courts/clerk/family-court.html).

Cheers: A couple of upcoming events provide an opportunity for residents to honor those who have served their country and those who are planning to do so. A ceremonial laying of the first stone will mark construction of the community’s POW/MIA Memorial, 8 a.m. April 18 at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th St. And a ceremony will salute 275 high school seniors who are heading to military service, 1 p.m. April 26 at Skyview High School.