From a legal standpoint, the argument about the future of charter schools in Washington likely will depend upon funding for public education and how it can be spent. But the most important question should be how the issue impacts students and what can best enhance public education in the state.
It didn't dominate the headlines. No, those were reserved for the passage of the home-rule charter in Clark County. Or for Republicans winning control of the U.S. Senate. Or for Washington residents saying yes to increased background checks on gun sales.
Cheers: This fall has brought about a plethora of welcome news regarding fishing throughout the Northwest. The Columbia River coho run is shattering all expectations, and the coho sport catch in the lower part of the river has about doubled the previous record. Coho counts at Bonneville Dam have been the highest on record since counting was started in 1938.
A free and independent press is among the most sacrosanct facets of American society, one deemed so important that it is included in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Since the founding of the nation, the media has played an important role as a watchdog against government excess, acting with the ethos that information is good for the public and that credibility must be preserved. Because of that, recent revelations of actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are particularly galling.
For residents in Clark and Skamania counties, the most important aspect of a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver is easy to delineate. The overriding question for those who live here now and will live here in the future involves preparedness in the event of an oil spill, explosion, or other accident as millions of gallons of volatile crude are hauled near the hearts of our communities.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is relatively simple: Become informed about the issues and the candidates, and then vote. Today is Election Day, and as long as you are a registered voter, there is time to fill out and drop off your ballot before the 8 p.m. deadline.
Gore Vidal took the cynical view. "Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates," the noted American author reputedly said.
Cheers: Thanks to the Vancouver Barracks Military Association and an attentive photographer, a portion of the region's rich military history is being preserved. Association members have been sorting through hundreds of World War II-era photos of soldiers and others who make up The Greatest Generation, organizing the images of the people who changed the world.
In simplistic terms, any government effort to save money without diminishing services is a worthy idea. Nothing, however, is simplistic about the Clark County Board of Commissioners, as they reminded us this week.
The problem is one of perception, and it is a problem of their own making. Sure, there is a compelling case for the Vancouver City Council to raise property taxes and utility rates. Sure, the budget crunch City Manager Eric Holmes is attempting to navigate can be troublesome. Sure, continuing growth has altered the financial demands on the city.
Let's start with an answer to the obvious question: No, a new study by the Washington State Department of Transportation does not mitigate the need for a replacement — or a major upgrade — for the Interstate 5 Bridge. That span is and will continue to be a drag on the economy of the entire West Coast, even if there is a long-term decline in the amount of traffic that crosses it each day.
A new analysis of the region's economy has provided some statistical confirmation for what we already suspected: The economic recovery has not dissipated the earnings gap between high-wage jobs and low-wage jobs in Clark County.