For an off-year election, this year's ballot provides much intrigue — in large part thanks to the Clark County charter approved last year by voters. In addition to the creation of a county chair position, a councilor will be selected to represent newly carved-out District 2 in northwest Clark County — including Ridgefield and La Center.
The election for Clark County council chair presents a bit of a quandary for voters. As a new position, created by passage of a county charter last year, voters first must determine which qualities they are seeking in the person who will be the designated leader of the county's governing body.
Cheers: State lawmakers arrived at a reasonable decision in choosing to suspend Initiative 1351, which was passed by voters in November. The measure called for a statewide reduction in class sizes at K-12 public schools, but its estimated $4.7 billion price tag over five years represented an unfathomable albatross for those trying to forge a state operating budget.
Scientific exploration, believe it or not, is an imperfect science. Many products that eventually transformed everyday life have been the result of accidental discoveries that came from the simple act of exploring, of attempting to answer the seemingly unanswerable.
Amid the vast amount of data included in a recent report from The Columbian about public-sector salaries, the bottom line regarding the bottom line might be this: A majority of public employees are better off than their counterparts in the private sector.
Many statistics and anecdotes can be used to point out the need for a robust mental health care system, but for now we shall focus upon this one: The Children's Center in Vancouver treats more than 800 patients a month.
As if we needed a reminder of the nation's convoluted land-use policies, a recent examination of the Northwest Forest Plan has been in the news. Not that anything could be simple about trying to balance environmental concerns with economic interests. Not that any plan could be easy when vast swaths of Washington and neighboring states are publicly owned. But the labyrinth of confusion and consternation created by federal policy continues to confound.
By any measure, it doesn't pass the smell test. As Senate Democrats last week blew a $2 billion hole in the just-approved state operating budget, they exposed the seamy underbelly of political gamesmanship, eschewing compromise and negotiation in favor of extortion. The result is a steaming mess for taxpayers.
Cheers: There always are plenty of cheers to go around for the Fourth of July, which heralds the uniqueness of the United States of America and celebrates more than 200 years of freedom and democracy. This is particularly true in Vancouver, which long has enjoyed an outsized Independence Day celebration.
Perhaps it is appropriate that this year's Fourth of July celebration can be spread over a couple days. With the actual date falling on a Saturday, the work holiday for many of us lands on a Friday — today — and highlights the notion that the designation of the date is secondary in importance to the meaning behind it.