Cheers: To holiday shoppers who will flock to Clark County stores this weekend and, we hope, ring the cash registers. Obviously it has been a tough year for retailers, and there’s no reason to believe that seasonal shopping, which traditionally kicks off this weekend, will achieve pre-recession levels. The Wall Street Journal reports consumers will spend about 7 percent less on gifts this season, with the average household shopping list totaling $390.
That makes it more important than ever to buy in Clark County. Shopping in stores here preserves local jobs, encourages expansion of our traditionally anemic retail sector and, through taxes, helps fund vital government services such as education and law enforcement. Oregon already captures more than its share of Clark County’s tax dollars.
Jeers: To people who downplay the connection between legalized gambling and increased social problems. A recent report in The Oregonian shows that more than half of the Oregon Lottery’s revenue comes from a few players, many of whom are addicted to gambling. Just 10 percent of video poker players account for about 53 percent of the money lost on the game. These heavy gamblers lose more than $500 per month.
Some may be able to afford such losses, but too many sink into debt, lie or steal from friends, family members and employers. The industry claims that problem gamblers can exercise their free will to quit anytime. Following that logic, there must not be any more smokers or overweight people left in the United States. More rational thinking would see this report as yet another warning that the proposed Cowlitz Indian casino project near La Center is something our community would be better off without.
Cheers: To Washougal city officials for declining to accept a pay increase in 2010. Washougal’s government has received a lot of bad publicity for shenanigans at city hall, most of which apparently were instigated by former Mayor Stacee Sellers. One of her less-than-brilliant ideas before she was forced from office was to grant 3 percent pay increases to department heads, despite the desperate budget situation.