Comment history

Columbia River’s level may drop slightly Monday

I hope all those enviro-knotheads who want to rip the dams out of the Columbia are taking note.

The Columbia is at flood stage WITH a series of dams regulating water flows as best they can. The water is extremely high up and down the river, from Tri Cities all the way down. I've traveled the river several times recently from the Snake to Puget Island near Cathlamet and I have rarely seen it so high.

Imagine the flooding we would have without the dams. It would be a catastrophe on the order of the 1948 Vanport flood...or worse. Of course, no one thinks about that because the dams keep it from happening.

I look at the Mississippi flooding and am thankful we don't get that here, even though the Columbia was once a wild river. I think it's because we have four major dams on the lower Columbia and a government that has rightfully ignored the bleatings of the shortsighted.

May 30, 2011 at 9:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Newcomer Wylie played skeptic

What's the big deal?

When a bill is going to pass anyway but a member might be facing a backlash for supporting it, leadership often allows, and even encourages, the member to switch their vote to opposition in order to give them political cover on this issue.

Happens all the time. Cynical? Sure. But nothing new or unusual about it.

May 26, 2011 at 8:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

By the Numbers: New math shines light on Killebrew’s greatness

Killebrew was a prototype DH, and served in that capacity during the wind-down of his career with the Twins and that brief denouement with the Royals. Probably would have been a career DH had the rule existed.

As you say yourself, Greg, he didn't run well and the main problem he posed for managers was finding a position in which to hide him. He played both third and first in addition to the outfield, none of them well.

Granted, a guy that with his power and RBI potential is going to play somewhere, but Killebrew was largely a one-dimensional player, as evidenced by the fact that his career petered out quickly.

May 23, 2011 at 9:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Class A baseball can succeed in Vancouver

I like the idea of a Class A rookie league team in Vancouver.

I've been to games in Keizer and in Everett and they are frankly far more entertaining -- both onfield and between innings -- than the Beavers could ever have been. For these reasons:

1. Class AAA baseball is like going to the bus station. Someone is constantly arriving or leaving. Class AAA teams (like the Beavers) are just waiting rooms for the majors. No one there wants to be there. They want to be on the big club. There is a reason why major-leaguers refer to being sent down to Class AAA as "dying." Northwest League rosters are pretty stable during the season. You don't see short-A players getting called up to the next level very often. So you can watch a pitcher or position player develop over the course of a season.

2. For almost all Northwest League players, this is their first year in pro ball. They want to impress. They're signed for their talent, yes, but also for whether they can cut it playing baseball every day, withstand the rigors of the road and a long (for professional rookies), 70-game season. Mostly kids signed out of high school who bust their tails to impress their organizations and managers, who file player reports to the big club after every game.

3. The season is about three months long, during the prime days of summer, when a trip out to the ballpark on a languid summer evening can seem ideal.

4. I would hope the park would be made available for high school and college games, too. It might also bring state championship games to Vancouver. No way of knowing about that, but maybe...

5. Class A baseball promotes a real family atmosphere. The tickets tend to be inexpensive. And a nice park in Vancouver would be infinitely preferable to the dump the Beavers played in. Like it or not, PGE Park for all its remodeling, refurbishing and reconfiguring is, was and always has been a converted football stadium that is a crappy baseball venue. It's in a creepy part of town and just always felt old and decrepit. I say this as someone whose first Beavers game was in 1961 and I have been in that park for literally hundreds of games over the years -- with the Beavers, Mavericks, Beavers again, then Rockies, then Beavers yet again.

May 17, 2011 at 3:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Of poems and those I-5 signs


Hate to be one-trick pony here, but poetry and the publication of works by local poets are another potential untapped use of your online presence to build readership.

Not saying turn The Columbian into Poetry Corner, but running one in say, a corner of an inside page in the Sunday Life section and then sending people to the website for more if they so wish seems like good business. The web, it seems to me, gives you almost unlimited opportunities to include small, specialized features that cater to smaller segments of your readership that combined, might add up to bigger numbers.

And more readers isn't a bad thing, is it?

Culling and editing a weekly, online poetry feature likely wouldn't require more than a couple hours a week of staff time and, it seems, several Sundays' worth could be compiled in advance. You might even be able to recruit someone from WSU-V to do it gratis. (Full disclosure: Not applying for the job, not affiliated with WSU-V and know nothing of poetry except that some people like it). But it seems like two or three a week published online and one in the paper would be reasonable. If nothing else, it would be good public relations.

May 17, 2011 at 11:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

WIAA bracketing may not always be fair to all

Ideally, baseball and softball state championships should be determined by a double-elimination tournament -- in other words, you have to lose twice to be eliminated and you can still win the tournament with one loss but coming back through the loser's bracket.

This is because, especially in baseball, of the variable of pitching. A team would not be able to rely on a single ace pitcher and would have to demonstrate the depth of its pitching staff against top competition.

Double-elimination also is more fair in that the state champion is more likely to be the best team in the tournament, not the one that got a freaky break on a particular play at some random juncture of the tournament. In other words, quality of play rather than luck would be the deciding factor.

I understand that weather, venues and logistical issues (for example, bringing the top eight teams together at a single site for what would likely be at least a 3- or 4-day tournament) make a double-elimination tournament problematic. Also, for fairness purposes, the schedule would have to be arranged so that no team was required to play more than twice in a single day.

Perhaps the WIAA could rent Cheney Stadium in Tacoma or even Safeco Field. Or a park on the east side, to better guarantee favorable weather for the tournament.

But I think the double-elimination format would produce a true champion and would also create more excitement surrounding the tournament -- much as the state basketball tournaments generate, with all-day scheduling, school supporters spending a long weekend in the host city, making the games a destination that would potentially attract casual fans.

Perhaps Memorial Day weekend could become Championship Weekend for baseball and softball.

Just an opinion.

May 16, 2011 at 8:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

What about that photo of bin Laden?


I still think the web solution is the best option. In the old days (and yeah, I can still remember hot type), we wouldn't even have this option. But the technology is there for people to essentially design their own newspaper online, while keeping the print version intact.

Not saying this is a tool I would pull out of the box very often (rarely, in fact), but here's a chance to give readers an option to see the photos or not see them. And giving readers more options isn't a bad thing, is it?

Of course, this is likely academic. I'm sure you read of the AP's FOIA request to the government -- the basis of which is that the public has a right to see the photo. Unfortunately, then the AP turned around and said IT would decide whether the photo could be published. Which, to me, defeats the purpose of the FOIA request. If the public has a right to see the photo, as the AP says it does, how can the AP then turn around and say it might not release it? Have you any thoughts on that?

May 12, 2011 at 10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

What about that photo of bin Laden?


About the UBL post-mortem photo.

Were it available, yes, I would run it -- but on the website only and announce in the print version its online availability . That way, people can see if they want to, or not see it if they don't want to.

This way, those who think the photo should not be published have no beef. They have to WANT to see it and by going online they express their wish to do so. I wouldn't even put it on the home page of the website but put a link there so that viewers must go to that particular page to see it.

Thus the more squeamish are spared, the curious or morbid get their look and you, Lou the Editor, are spared angry phone calls and canceled subscriptions and, indeed, may even be praised for your sagacity and discretion is putting the bloody photos where they can be found, but not slamming them onto readers' breakfast tables.


May 10, 2011 at 11:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I’m no elitist; just ask my chauffeur

John Laird's Sunday column brings up the issue of "elitism." Apparently, Mr. Laird is concerned about his own perceptions and whether he could be considered "elitist."

He concludes that he is not, although his criteria may be somewhat self-serving.

I'm not one for labeling people as "hacks," "elitists," "bigots," "extremists" or any of the other popular political epithets that seem to be tossed around to such an extent and with such frequency that they become meaningless.

I would say this, however. "Elitism," as such, has nothing to do with the car you drive, whether you till your own garden, or from which college you may or may not have graduated.

Instead, an "elitist" is someone who regards their own opinions as self-evident Truth (with a capital T) and smugly dismisses those who dissent from their Truth as either uninformed or misinformed and to be treated with condescension, derision or, at best, amusement.

The elitist fails or refuses to acknowledge or accept that their opponents may have valid points and may present a point of view that the elitist has not before considered fully.

The elitist is unable to admit error or that their opinion may have been based on false assumptions, even when confronted with facts confirming the fallacy of said assumptions.

Elitists tend to avow their belief in "democracy" when electoral outcomes suit their political aims while at the same time excoriating voters for their ignorance when those aims are defeated at the ballot box.

When a ballot measure or proposal supported by the elitist is deemed sufficiently unpopular that it would be buried by voters, elitists tend to take the position that action on said proposal ought to be left to elected officials and other "experts." In the elitist's mind voters -- who will be legally obligated to pay the millions, or even billions, to finance said proposal -- are not sufficiently informed, or even sufficiently intelligent, to have a say in how their tax money should be spent.

The elitist tends to carry an unfailing faith in planners, consultants and other "experts" who can be counted on to provide sufficient (and paid-for) supporting arguments and statistics for whatever project the elitist favors and then regurgitate that opinion as proven fact.

Lastly, elitists like to point out how their view is in the best interest of everyone and tend to pull out old, trite arguments about what is good for the community, and how their proposals are unpopular because the unwashed voter doesn't understand how advantageous they will be.

March 20, 2011 at 6:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The New I-5 Bridge: Beauty or Beast?

Build the bridge.

Cable-stayed is the most iconic design, but:

Make it 12 lanes instead of 10. Although the anti-car people will squawk, we should be building for the future, not the past, nor for some government-imposed utopian vision foisted on the public by the government's legions of planners. And if we don't need all 12 lanes, the anti-car people can turn some of them into some sort of pedestrian greenway. The point is, we should build as big as we can now.

I also favor pedestrian, bike, light-rail access to the LOWER deck, which means those lanes will be covered in bad weather. Remember the last big ice storm when the trains couldn't run? I do. During the 2004 storm, I was on a bus making its way past a rail crossing where the MAX train could not get traction on the rails. The driver turned and said to the passengers "And that's the future of our company?"

But I digress.

Let's make light-rail possible on the new bridge, but only as a future add-on. We need not build it now -- and given light-rail's horrific record as a money-loser, we shouldn't build it now -- but future generations may find a better solution and having the space on the bridge for additional transit solutions will be there for them.

What people complaining about the multi-billion-dollar cost may not be taking into consideration is the need to rebuild several interchanges en route to the bridge on both sides of the river, plus widening approaches to the bridge in Portland to prevent the bottlenecks that plague the north-south commute every day. You're talking about redesigning and reconstructing about five miles of freeway through a densely populated area.

The big problem on the Oregon side is that government there has never acknowledged that freeways in the Portland area are woefully underbuilt, either because of a lack of money or vision -- I suspect both. That's why you have the bottlenecks in Delta Park and through the Rose Quarter.

Another roadblock is Portland city government, dominated by fools and criminals. It's hoped the election of 2012 will install a more visionary mayor instead of the hopeless, bigoted, rigid ideologue now occupying the office.

As for tolls? Charge them on both bridges, but only until the new bridge is paid for. Given the volume of traffic on both bridges, it shouldn't take long. Making the tolls permanent only gives government types another fat pot of money to skim for their pet boondoggles, payoffs to supporters and other assorted graft.

So build the bridge. Build it big.

March 10, 2011 at 6:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )