Public libraries are a resource seldom used to their fullest potential by the average citizen. Sure, they borrow books now and then, but many of them are still oblivious to the other virtues the free public library has to offer. In fact, 55 percent of people within the Fort Vancouver Regional Library's boundaries do not even have library cards, according to their last survey, and it is their plan to switch that number around so that the majority are cardholders. But how will they do this?
Recently, Clark County passed an extension to the ever-long moratorium on marijuana-related businesses that will extend its presence until June 11. Arguments that pushed this decision included that of the supremacy clause, which notes that the federal government has the power to override a state law under certain conditions. Passing a legalization of distribution to what the government considers a class 1 drug would fall under this scenario. President Obama, however, has stated, "It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that's legal."
After reading Jim Souder's March 6 letter "Can Democrats be Christians?" and how he doesn't understand how they can be both, I can explain that. He has a troubled heart and I will forgive and pray for him.
The crash that killed a 6-year-old boy reported in the March 1 story, "Wrong-way crash kills one" raises some issues I've long thought about. The proximate cause of the accident was an 84-year-old man driving south on northbound I-5. Some will question whether there should be an age limit on driver's license renewal. Being an old man myself I can tell you that driving is part of being independent and that independence is hard to come by. Teens fight to get it; older folks fight to keep it.
Public officials rarely receive the credit deserved when their actions have a positive impact on the community. Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart should be congratulated — for deciding not to run again.
When the Port of Vancouver commissioners were thinking about offering a lease for a huge oil terminal, they didn't know there would be five oil train fires and four explosions in the next six months. They may not have known that there are 1,250 or more derailments in America each year, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. I urge the Port of Vancouver to back out of its lease agreement with Tesoro-Savage. Save the land for commodities that produce more jobs and cause less harm than oil.
In response to Chuck Miller's March 3 letter "Spend & borrow is Dems' mantra," Miller has a selective memory about how our national debt became so outrageously high. Miller forgets that the Bush-Cheney administration started two wars and paid for them by putting the debt on the nation's credit card. Past wars were paid with war bonds and/or increased taxes. But Bush-Cheney decided to help their rich friends instead by giving tax breaks to the 1 percent while at the same time fighting two wars. This is exactly how our nation's debt grew so large.
I have tried to become involved in so many mainstream churches that I long ago gave up, defeated. It has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with the inability of respective congregations to step out of their comfort zones and welcome newcomers. A few will do it once and then one is left alone amid a sea of people. Might just as well be alone in the desert. Now, this is interesting because it has been an observation of mine that these same congregations are getting older while their need for more operating money goes unfulfilled.
Debt among recent graduates and young adults has been skyrocketing. California's Senate Bill 1080 is designed to decrease that debt by educating high school juniors and seniors about budgeting, savings, credit, and identity theft. Since 2012, nationwide graduates had an average of $29,400 in student loan debt, while graduates from California had $20,269. Why is this important to Washington state? SB 1080 has been in effect since March 30, 2012, and since then, the debt among graduates has decreased drastically.
The Feb. 21 editorial, "Vancouver Lake lessons: After 10 years and $1.3M in restoration work, body of water continues its decline," was interesting. But the last statement "You can't change Mother Nature" was ironic. Someone changed Mother Nature by introducing carp that ate every plant smaller than a tree in Vancouver Lake. Someone put dams and dikes throughout the Columbia River watershed. These floods moved the silt and sands around the flood plains and shaped the islands, beaches, lakes, channels, and bars that we have. Of course, you can change Mother Nature.
Three of the biggest problems we have in Vancouver are the plans for oil trains and a terminal being built at the port; coal trains and their pollution coming through the Columbia River Gorge and Vancouver; and allowing building in wetland areas while developers pay little to no fees for traffic, infrastructure, etc. I would like to see all three problems solved soon.
There is one aspect of the coal and oil terminal proposals that I have not seen mentioned. Along with all the probable environmental issues we may face if these projects are completed is the fact they will result in the depletion of our nonrenewable resources to satisfy the demand of other countries. There is a finite amount of these resources and when they are gone, they are gone forever. I believe it is short-sighted greed on the part of those who want to exploit these resources and ship the coal out of the country. There may come a time when availability of these resources is important for future generations of this country.
I am disgusted and fed up with the attitudes of the people and government of Washington state. We need a new bridge over the Columbia River, have spent millions of dollars on design, plans and research. Then the design proposed was another ugly bridge like the I-205 bridge. The task force knew that the bridge had to be a certain height and yet they proposed a design with a lower height so more money would have to be spent on a redo.