Aggressive, engaging campaign presents superior choice for commissioner
Thorough preparation and extensive community outreach have highlighted Julia Anderson's first venture into elective politics. Her list of supporters for Clark Public Utilities commissioner includes outgoing commissioner Carol Curtis, who is retiring after 30 years at the post, dozens of local elected officials in both political parties, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and local civic leaders Ed Lynch, Val Ogden and Jan and Steve Oliva.The Columbian joins that list and endorses Anderson as the top choice to become the first new voice on the commission in more than a decade. Her opponent, Jim Malinowski, possesses broad technical knowledge about public utilities. He has a strong background of work in the industry. But the role of a commissioner is to set policy; approve budgets; set electricity and water rates for 184,000 and 30,000 customers, respectively; and hire the utility's CEO. "It's to represent voters, not be the technical expert," Anderson accurately points out. Clark Public Utilities "has plenty of fine technical experts. That's why the rates are much lower than the state average and customer service ratings are winning awards. My job would be to help the commission build on that record," she said.
When Washington voters were asked in 2010 if they wanted to require a two-thirds approval by the Legislature for tax increases, they not only approved, the statewide consent approached two-thirds (63.7 percent; 71.3 percent in Clark County). Initiative 1185 on the Nov. 6 ballot asks the same question. The Columbian endorses I-1185 for the same reason expressed two years ago: Legislators have shown they can't be trusted to hold the line on tax increases. Remember, I-1185 does not prevent tax increases. It only makes them more difficult.
Initiative 502 offers the chance to abandon prohibition as a lost cause
Prohibition of marijuana has failed as miserably as prohibition of alcohol did back in the 1920s. It's time to recognize the obvious: The longer we fight the war against marijuana, the greater grows the defeat.Initiative 502 on the Nov. 6 ballot would legalize recreational use of marijuana, which would be highly taxed and heavily regulated by the state. Licensed farmers would grow marijuana to be sold in private marijuana-only stores.
This property tax levy is much different from what was offered in 2005
Traditionally, The Columbian has supported local parks and endorsed ballot measures pertaining to parks funding. In 2005, we supported a property tax levy (voters narrowly passed it) that created parks in unincorporated urban areas. On Nov. 6, voters inside Vancouver city limits face a decision about parks.Times have changed for the worse and the city is abdicating its responsibility to make difficult choices. For these two fundamental reasons, we recommend voting "against" the parks measure, Proposition 1. (A pro-con package of opinions is presented on the facing page.)
Referendum 74 deserves support from voters
When The Columbian first endorsed legalized gay marriage more than eight years ago, we acknowledged that many polls showed as much as two-thirds of Americans opposed to such a dramatic shift in custom.Times change, but our opinion hasn't. Washington's Legislature legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, and a recent poll showed 56 percent support statewide, with only 38 percent opposition. And our support of Referendum 74 -- which would uphold that legislation -- is rock solid.
We still support the CRC and light rail, but increasing sales tax is a bad idea
Unresolved variables in the Columbia River Crossing -- plus the incongruity of raising taxes during an economic crisis -- lead The Columbian to oppose Proposition 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure, which goes before voters in the C-Tran service district, calls for a sales tax increase of one-tenth of a percentage point (1 cent on a $10 purchase) in the district, with the resultant $4 million to $5 million in annual revenue used for operation and maintenance of light rail in Vancouver and some costs of a bus rapid transit system on the Fourth Plain corridor.Some folks may vote against this measure and still be in favor of light rail, but many people will vote against it because it's their only opportunity to voice opposition to light rail. Still, Prop. 1 simply asks voters: Do you want to increase the sales tax for these purposes?
Here are endorsements from The Columbian and eight other state newspapers regarding proposals on ballots for the Nov. 8 election. For details about the endorsements, visit each newspaper’s website.
Election Season is under way; plenty of information resources are available
Remember Election Day? For that matter, remember the Edsel? Both are relics in history’s dustbin. These days we’ve got Election Season, and it’s officially under way now that voters are receiving ballots by mail. In Clark County, 226,302 ballots were mailed Wednesday, presenting an interesting array of races ranging in marquee appeal from state legislator to commissioners of cemetery and recreation districts. All but the state legislators’ races are nonpartisan races, with no political party affiliation declared. Important statewide and local ballot measures also are presented to voters.
Bipartisan measures warrant voters’ support
The three big stars on the statewide elections stage this fall are Initiative 1125 (regarding transportation spending), Initiative 1163 (training and other requirements for long-term care workers) and Initiative 1183 (privatizing state liquor sales and distribution). However, two Senate Joint Resolutions (SJR) also are on all ballots in the state. Here’s how The Columbian feels about those two ballot measures:
They’ve served well as Vancouver school board members
Incumbent Vancouver school board members Dale Rice and Edri Geiger share much in common, not the least of which is a passion for improving schools. For 20 years and six years, respectively, Rice and Geiger have helped steadily improve the district even in the midst of an economic crisis (more than $9 million was cut from the Vancouver schools budget this year alone). Public opinion of the district’s performance was reflected, in part, when voters last year approved a maintenance and operations levy by a 2-to-1 margin. But in their campaigns for re-election this fall, they face different struggles. For Rice, it’s not much of a struggle at all. His opponent — political newcomer Bob Travis — became unelectable when The Columbian reported he had posted inappropriate photos on his personal website. Travis said it was “a stupid idea,” and both the local teachers’ union and the Building Industry Association of Clark County revoked their endorsements of Travis.
He has a solid record of service
Bill Ward’s 2007 election as Port of Camas-Washougal commissioner was a clear message from voters: Stabilize the controversial port management after a misguided detour toward waterfront development. Ward defeated his opponent by 18 percentage points. Four years later, the port’s management is on solid ground and Ward has helped increase transparency in the decision-making process. His challenger on the Nov. 8 ballot — professional pilot Neil Cahoon — possesses a wealth of knowledge about the port’s airport operations. Cahoon seeks new direction for the port, and this is one of those races where voters benefit from candidates who are genuinely motivated and highly motivated on multiple issues.
Two hard-working, forward-thinking Vancouver city councilors deserve to be returned to office, and they should be joined by a community activist whose civic involvement is so extensive as to exhaust a casual observer. Incumbents Larry Smith and Bart Hansen and newcomer Anne McEnerny-Ogle have earned endorsements by The Columbian. Here’s why: Smith knows Vancouver
Legislative background and the district’s Democratic history make her the top choice
Both candidates for state representative on the Nov. 8 ballot are familiar to many voters in the 49th District, which includes Vancouver west of Interstate 205 and Hazel Dell. Although Democrat Sharon Wylie is running for this office for the first time, she’s well-known in the district because for six months she has served as the incumbent appointee replacing Democrat Jim Jacks. And although Republican Craig Riley also has not served in this role, many voters remember him from last year when he ran impressively but unsuccessfully against Democrat Jim Moeller. Both are high-quality hopefuls who heavily research key issues, carefully craft their stances and have built significant support bases. Wylie has earned The Columbian’s endorsement because of two compelling advantages: experience in the legislative arena and a political posture that parallels the traditional character of this legislative district. More bluntly, she’s been there and done that, and she’s a better fit for the 49th.
Supporters say it’s about vulnerable adults, but it’s really about unfunded mandates
The state’s largest union would have you believe Initiative 1163 on the Nov. 8 ballot is about protecting services to vulnerable adults. The truth is, though, Initiative 1163 actually is about the union. This ballot measure calls for something that already occurs, paying for it with money the state doesn’t have, and solving a problem that doesn’t exist. For those three reasons, The Columbian recommends a “No” vote.
Initiative threatens road and bridge projects, would kill jobs and increase congestion
Transportation affects everyone. Even if you never left your home, the goods and products you consume depend on transportation. Your relatives, neighbors and friends need a dependable transportation system, and our state has a pretty good one. Initiative 1125 on the Nov. 8 ballot threatens a greater harm to that transportation system than any proposal we’ve seen in years. If passed, it would block transportation projects statewide, increase traffic congestion and eliminate thousands of jobs. Locally, I-1125, if passed, would delay the new Interstate 5 bridge project and increase its cost.