In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Walk & Knock merits a clap & shoutout; county council’s decision not aging well

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Cheers: To Walk & Knock. The Clark County Food Bank’s largest one-day food drive takes place today, so here is a friendly reminder — place paper bags with nonperishable food items on your porch by 9 a.m. Volunteers will be scouring the region to pick up the bags in what has become one of Clark County’s largest charitable events; last year, Walk & Knock collected more than 228,000 pounds of items for the food bank.

Of course, Walk & Knock is not the only way to contribute. Many church, government, and private organizations help provide for our neighbors throughout the year, and the need often is heightened during the holiday season. That also means that scams are prevalent, so make sure donations are sent to reliable nonprofit organizations. For the record, the Clark County Food Bank earns the maximum possible score from CharityNavigator.com, which measures charities’ accountability and transparency.

Jeers: To the Clark County council. After firing County Manager Mark McCauley in May and signing on with a recruiting firm in August, the council is still searching for somebody to fill McCauley’s shoes. County chair Marc Boldt said council members might have a replacement by mid-January — or they might need to restart the process.

With the county manager designated to handle day-to-day operations while the council sets policy and provides direction, it is essential to find the right person for the job. Having no hire is preferable to having the wrong hire. But the difficulty in finding an exceptional candidate again calls into question the decision to fire McCauley in the first place.

Cheers: To accountability. The state of Washington is suing ride-sharing service Uber over a data breach that occurred more than a year ago. Uber officials recently revealed they paid hackers a $100,000 ransom for a breach that exposed sensitive information on more than 57 million customers and drivers — and then kept the breach secret. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, “Washington law is clear: When a data breach puts people at risk, businesses must inform them.”

The dedication of Ferguson and his staff to protecting the public is admirable. At a time when the federal government is determined to undermine consumer protections for the benefit of large corporations, it is particularly important for state officials to remember that they work for the public.

Jeers: To a parking crunch. A recent story in The Columbian detailed a lack of parking near the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site as traffic from a bustling downtown spills into nearby areas. The issue highlights a growing problem throughout the downtown core, with increased employment and commerce exacerbating the lack of parking.

As problems go, this is a good one to have; too many people working in or visiting downtown is better than the alternative. But as the downtown area continues to grow and thrive, it will be essential for city officials and developers to ensure that enough parking is available. A lack of parking will render trips to downtown inconvenient and keep businesses and consumers away.

Cheers: To Clark College. Vancouver’s two-year college is unveiling a revamped Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute. A new 20,615-square-foot facility has opened, with instructor Aaron Guerra saying, “We have every tool to teach the students how to do it right. It’s completely reimagined for the 21st century.”

Two-year colleges often are more flexible than their four-year counterparts in adjusting to changing communities and changing marketplaces. In this regard, Clark College long has been an essential part of the region; the improved culinary institute will help it maintain that position well into the future.