In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

WSU medical school in Spokane worth examining; fee facts should come first

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Cheers: Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, but it also might be the mother of a new medical school in Washington. Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University, has floated the idea of building a training ground for doctors, and there are valid reasons for hoping the idea doesn’t sink. The Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Medical Colleges projects that by 2020, the United States will have a shortfall of 91,500 doctors as the population ages and more people seek access to health care. With only two full-service medical schools in the Northwest — the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Oregon Health & Science University — this region will be hard-pressed to keep up with demand.

From a provincial standpoint, a Spokane-based WSU medical school could be good for Clark County if it provides opportunities for synergy with WSU Vancouver. From a statewide standpoint, it could be good for all Washingtonians, especially those in the rural eastern part of the state.

Jeers: Clark County commissioners are wise to seek information regarding the impact of development-fee waivers, but the move is a matter of finding a horse after building the cart.

Commissioner David Madore has asked staff to query new business owners about what they expect their future gross taxable revenue to be. Madore advocated for a fee waiver that experts suggest could cost the county more than $1 million over five years, and he argued that the move would increase development that offsets those losses. Now he is asking business owners to provide numbers that are, at best, a very rough guess. Instead of haphazardly pushing through the fee waivers, county commissioners should have instituted a plan to effectively measure the impact before the fact — not after.

Cheers: It might be bad news for dog owners, but the county is right to cry foul over waste at Dakota Memorial Dog Park. The 8-acre off-leash area on the north side of Pacific Community Park is treated by some, critics say, as a canine commode.

County parks officials have posted signs warning that the park might close, at least temporarily, if the irresponsible owners don’t clean up their dogs’ acts. And animal control officers plan to hand out citations for those who don’t clean up after their pets. It is unfortunate that a few dog owners could spoil the experience for other owners, but county officials are wise to stress the importance of acting responsibly.

Jeers: Like many things in this world, the 911 emergency phone system is one of those where you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Unfortunately, many people in Washington experienced exactly that last week as the statewide 911 system run by CenturyLink crashed for six hours. The company says that about 4,500 calls failed to get through during that time, while roughly 770 were completed.

The problem, which was caused by a technical error in a third-party vendor’s call router, apparently has been stabilized, but the outage could be terrifying for those facing imminent danger or health emergencies.

Cheers: The annual Klineline Kids Fishing Derby this year drew an estimated 2,500 young anglers hoping to pull a fish out of the pond. For two decades, the event has helped children connect with the environment while learning about ecosystems and, most likely, a little about themselves. It also provides an unforgettable bonding opportunity for the kids and the grown-ups who bring them along. Fishing long has been an activity passed from one generation to the next, and any activity that gets children to spend time outdoors with adults is worthy of a cheer.