Legislators must resist the temptation to raid state emergency funds
Don't let this week's weather fool you. Washington state is nowhere near a rainy day, at least not economically speaking. State Treasurer James McIntire made that stern pronouncement in an April 25 letter to legislators, warning them against tapping the state's "rainy day" fund to solve lingering budget problems.
Ongoing DOJ scandal illustrates why public's right to know must be protected
President Barack Obama was described in a Tuesday Seattle Times editorial as "the worst modern president for press freedom." We concur with that assessment.
Now it's time for the legislators to do their part and support the CRC
After the Legislature failed to complete its work earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee dispatched several signals indicating he would participate more aggressively in the special session. On Monday, he did precisely that, vetoing $81 million in funding for the Columbia River Crossing not because he doesn't support the CRC, but because he wants the Legislature to match the $450 million Oregon has committed to the project. Inslee sees "no wisdom in expending (the $81 million) if the state of Washington does not contribute its share of funding necessary to complete the project.
Voters have numerous choices as council candidates prepare for battle
Every politician — regardless of party or position — needs to be challenged by opponents. It's good for the elected officials to not only be held accountable but to respect and even fear that process as he or she works for the voters. And it's good for the electorate to not only have choices but to leverage the electoral process as an ominous reminder throughout the term of office.
State has a long way to go in deciding how Initiative 502 will be implemented
Even after 46 pages of initial draft rules were circulated by the state Liquor Control Board on Thursday, the path to marijuana legalization remains fraught with uncertainty.Marijuana sales could begin in Washington in early 2014 and, to its credit, the board has worked rapidly and diligently trying to steer Washington through unprecedented tasks. Staffers have spent eight months studying, deliberating and charting this course after voters approved Initiative 502 last fall. Many of the rules announced last week add bits of clarity to this confusing issue, but as cannabis lobbyist Ezra Eickmeyer was quoted in The News Tribune of Tacoma, "This is when any potential fighting actually begins."
County, CREDC restore relationship; now flex the power of that teamwork
Clark County commissioners (specifically David Madore and Tom Mielke) and directors of the Columbia River Economic Development Council have decided to patch up a relationship that should not have been severed in the first place. This is good news for everyone in the county because, as we editorialized on March 8, "both the economic development experts and the county leaders are instrumental in the crucial campaign to create jobs in our community."
Think now to prevent oil spills later; don't shortchange Hanford cleanup
Cheers: To early consideration of the consequences of a possible environmental accident on the Columbia River. Recently two firms -- Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies -- proposed to build and operate an oil shipping terminal on the river at the Port of Vancouver. Crude oil would be shipped by train from North Dakota to Vancouver, then loaded onto barges or ships to be sent to refineries. The proposal will have to be carefully vetted. But already the first meeting has been held on how to handle an oil spill emergency. The emergency response equipment could include an on-site trailer stocked with equipment to help distressed wildlife. As the proposal works its way through the planning process, including important details like this will help build confidence in the terminal and its operators.Jeers: To shortchanging treatment of polluted groundwater on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper is warning that the ongoing federal budget reductions have caused the Department of Energy to cut half of the money necessary to reach cleanup milestones. The dimension of the pollution is immense: more than 1 million gallons of nuclear waste have leaked from underground storage tanks, contaminating more than 80 square miles of groundwater that flows toward the Columbia River.
There are many reasons to support Clark College's fundraising campaign
Clark College Foundation officials announced this week that they have raised $17 million toward their $20 million "Ensuring a Bright Future" campaign. We commend the Foundation for its well-researched, aggressive fundraising drive and offer the following reasons why you should consider contributing:
Yes, statewide jobless rate has dropped, but economy still faces many challenges
Hooray! The Great Recession is over! Uh, not so fast. No matter what Wall Street says, the word from Main Street, Wash., is less enthusiastic. The state still hasn't regained 22 percent of the more than 200,000 jobs that were lost during the Great Recession.
Legislators should extend deadline for projects such as Library Square
Recommended reading for legislators as they move deeper into their special session would be Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1306. Admittedly not the most captivating title, but the document offers great benefits to several cities including Vancouver.
Legislators already are talking about a second bonus time
This week in Washington, legislators are pinching pennies and educators are licking chops. About the only budget idea upon which state senators and representatives agree is that public education must receive more funding.
Gray wolves' return from brink of extinction proves value of protective act
While it has long been a bit of a political football, the endangered species list serves a vital purpose and has authored many a success story.
Barron's performance as county CEO will be a tough act to follow
You can tell a lot about a boss by listening to authoritative sources who have witnessed the leader's performance under pressure. As Clark County administrator (essentially the CEO of government with constituents approaching a half-million) Bill Barron has certainly confronted an abundance of pressure over 14 years. Much of the stress has been budget-related. Over about five years starting in 2007, the county budget was cut by about $62 million, more than 100 workers were laid off, benefits were reduced, salaries were frozen and large expenditures were deferred.
An appointment that's thoroughly vetted and well-deserved; imagine that
Cheers: To Suzan L. Clark for her recent appointment as Superior Court judge. Unlike at least one other recent appointment in Clark County, this one was thoroughly vetted, and the appointee is eminently qualified. Clark has a more than a quarter of a century in Washington and Oregon in civil, criminal, prosecution, defense, appellate and family law. Also, she's the president of the Clark County Bar Association. "It's a humbling day," she said at Monday's appointment ceremony. "This process has been a long one and an interesting one."Here's yet another way in which this decision by Gov. Jay Inslee differs from at least one other recent local appointment: Citizens need only wait until November to express their opinions. That's when Clark will go before the voters.
Double dose of good news is helping the heart of the community
Great news for residents of downtown Vancouver: Grocery stores are doing well in the area.Great news for downtown Vancouver grocers: The residential base is growing.