In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Fishing rights activist was on right side of history; pick Stuart replacement already

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Cheers: While his death is a cause for sadness, it also presents an opportunity to cheer the life of Billy Frank Jr. Frank, who for years championed the rights of tribal members to fish their ancestral waters in the Northwest, died Monday at the age of 83, leading Gov. Jay Inslee to say, “He was a selfless leader who dedicated his life to the long fight for the right of our state’s native people.”

First arrested for salmon fishing as a boy in 1945, Frank was jailed more than 50 times as he led the “fish wars” throughout the region. His efforts were vindicated in 1974, when U.S. District Judge George Boldt affirmed the rights of tribes to half of the fish harvest — and the nation’s obligation to honor old treaties. In the end, that’s what the fight was about — a nation living up to its word. And Frank was on the right side of history.

Jeers: Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke apparently are delaying the appointment of a third commissioner to replace Steve Stuart, who resigned in April. Candidates Craig Pridemore, who was recommended for the spot by the local Democratic party, and Kelly Love Parker said they received indications that the appointment will not be made until after May 16. That is the deadline for candidates to file to run this fall for the seat.

Madore has stressed in the past that county commissioners are full-time employees and, therefore, are able to provide excellent service for their constituents. If he truly believes that, the voters of District 3 deserve to have representation sooner rather than later.

Cheers: When an emergency appendectomy forced Jacob Linnell and Lydia Lynch to miss the Hockinson High School prom, staff at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center went the extra mile to ensure a memorable night for the high school students.

Linnell, a senior at Battle Ground, had surgery in the wee hours of the night prior to last week’s dance, meaning that he and his girlfriend — a senior at Hockinson — would miss out on the festivities. So, several hospital employees pitched in, decorating the hospital’s sixth-floor conference room, providing food and beverages, and hooking up speakers for music so the couple could dance. It might not be the prom Linnell and Lynch expected, but they’re certain to remember it always.

Jeers: We can’t criticize the Vancouver City Council’s decision to not seek ownership of Pearson Air Museum; that was a business decision. But we again can lament the status of the civic landmark. In February 2013, the National Park Service took control of the museum when it parted ways with the Fort Vancouver National Trust, and it seems as though nobody has been happy with the results.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, had considered pursuing federal legislation that would transfer the museum to the city of Vancouver, but city officials this week said that solution would be unworkable. Again, that probably was the right decision for the city. But the ongoing saga of Pearson Air Museum has been aggravating.

Cheers: Perhaps the most striking thing about historic photos of the Clark County Courthouse is the lack of development around the building, making it appear as a monolith rising out of a desert. While the surrounding landscape — and the building itself — has been altered over the past seven decades, Clark County can take pride in the structure’s recent placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Architect Day W. Hilborn designed the building — along with much of Vancouver, including the Kiggins Theatre — and the courthouse has managed to survive 72 years without looking outdated.