In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Celebrate all things Irish this weekend; U.S. should choose a time and stick to it

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Cheers: To St. Patrick’s Day. Er, better make that St. Patrick’s Weekend. With the annual March 17 celebration falling on a Friday this year, it simply presents an excuse to extend the festivities, which are numerous in Clark County. And there is good reason for that. As noted in a story by Columbian reporter Patty Hastings, we feel a strong affinity for celebrating all things Irish because nearly 12 percent of Clark County’s population claims Irish ancestry — a number exceeded only by those claiming German heritage.

Part of the local flavor was provided by Friday’s Hough St. Paddy’s Day Parade, an annual event dating to the early 1990s that celebrates Patrick “Paddy” Hough, one of Vancouver’s early leaders. But several events will take place today (http://tinyurl.com/m4lluhs), reminding us that for one weekend, everybody can claim they are Irish.

Jeers: To the changing of time. Last weekend, Americans engaged in the biannual rite of changing our clocks one hour, in this case springing ahead to accommodate daylight saving time. While many theories have been put forth to explain why we continue to do this, none of them, in our minds, are adequate.

One thought says that it is to allow for more daylight in the after-work hours for shopping or recreation. Another says it helps to save on the use of electricity, but skeptics are, um, skeptical about that claim. It is time for Congress to get involved and choose either standard time or daylight saving time and stick to it around the clock.

Cheers: To robust revenue projections. The latest numbers from the Office of Financial Management suggest that state revenue over the next two years will be a bit higher than originally forecast. Because of a strong economy generating strong tax revenue, projections from now through the middle of 2019 have been increased by about $571 million. That reflects the strong growth Washington has enjoyed during the recovery from the Great Recession.

Having a little more money does not relieve the Legislature from what is still a difficult task — coming up with adequate school funding while maintaining services in other areas. But it does make lawmakers’ jobs a little bit easier as they put together a budget for the 2017-19 biennium.

Jeers: To wildfire risk. Gov. Jay Inslee this week rightly pointed out how the policies of the Trump administration could exacerbate the growing threat of wildfires in heavily forested states such as Washington. Decades of inadequate forest management at the federal level have created incendiary conditions, and it would be folly to suggest that climate change is not increasing that threat.

Folly, however, appears to describe the policies of the new administration. Trump has proposed slashing the budgets of agencies tasked with helping to prevent wildfires, and new Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt denies that human activity plays a role in climate change. Ignoring the threat of wildfires won’t make that threat disappear.

Cheers: To Annie Marggraf. The 39-year-old Vancouver woman recently won $51,000 on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” by being victorious on two episodes and barely falling short on a third. Such success is impressive for anybody on the highly competitive trivia show, but Marggraf’s story makes it particularly compelling.

Marggraf told Columbian reporter Scott Hewitt that she was kicked out of her high school after ninth grade and that she became involved with drugs and vandalism. But now she’s married with two kids and a college degree and is planning to attend law school. Not a lot of people are able to get into law school; even fewer can say they are a “Jeopardy!” champion.