In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

I-5 bridge bill takes a step forward; still no word from White House on legal pot

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Cheers: To building bridges. It is a long, long way from being built, but a small step was taken this week toward a replacement for the Interstate 5 Bridge when Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill to kick-start the process. A majority of Southwest Washington lawmakers supported the bill, which will allow for the use of data from the failed Columbia River Crossing project and will signal to Oregon lawmakers that our state is ready to move forward on the project.

The key will be to devise a plan that is superior to the CRC while avoiding the pitfalls that scuttled that project. Repeating the past would only result in the same outcome. But for now, Washington is moving toward a replacement bridge, and that marks an improvement over the stagnation of the past three years.

Jeers: To unresponsive officials. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson noted Friday that officials have yet to receive an indication of how the Trump administration will handle states where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized. Speaking to The Columbian’s Editorial Board, Ferguson said that he and Gov. Inslee have attempted to contact federal officials but have not received a response.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions long has been an outspoken critic of legalized marijuana, leading to speculation that the Trump administration will attempt to enforce federal law and shut down the legalized industry. Officials in Washington and the other states that have approved recreational use of marijuana deserve a response from the federal government regarding the issue.

Cheers: To food drives. It is no secret that far too many people in our community and elsewhere do not have enough to eat, so kudos are warranted for letter carriers throughout the area. The annual Stamp out Hunger Food Drive is today; residents are encouraged to place nonperishable items in paper bags to be left at the mailbox.

Last year’s drive raised 115,000 pounds of food, a generous amount but a steep decline from the 158,000 pounds gathered in 2010. The effort supports the Clark County Food Bank and is the organization’s second-largest food drive annually, behind Walk & Knock. Filling up a bag and placing it at the mailbox takes only minutes, but the action benefits local residents year-round.

Jeers: To ill-timed selfies. A 17-year-old from Woodland was arrested this week after standing on the hood of a police car and posting a photo to social media. The stunt damaged the hood of the car and resulted in the teen being booked into the Cowlitz County Juvenile Detention Center.

Whether it was on a police car or the car of a private citizen, the unquenchable desire for a unique selfie was foolish and costly. Taking a photo of yourself should not come at the expense of others. We hope the teen learns a lesson and that other would-be vandals pause to ask themselves whether a photo is worth the damage it causes.

Cheers: To achievement. Washington State University Vancouver said goodbye to the Class of 2017 this week, conferring degrees to 876 bachelor’s degree candidates, 110 master’s candidates and 28 doctoral candidates.

Graduation ceremonies serve as a reminder of WSUV’s impact upon Southwest Washington, an impact that has steadily grown since the university was established in 1989. WSUV has filled an educational void in the area, providing an affordable outlet for area students and improving the quality of the workforce available to local businesses. Congratulations to all the graduates and to other local students who are being awarded degrees this year.