Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Nov. 30, 2021

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: First Citizen feted; deathly error

The Columbian

Cheers: To Leap Day. An extra day appears on the calendar every four years, and the last time it happened on a Saturday was 1992. Feb. 29 arrives in years divisible by four — unless they are divisible by 100 but not 400 (mark your calendar to show there will not be a Leap Day in 2100). It’s all about keeping time with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. We’re not sure that really is worth cheering; we just find it an opportunity to provide some fascinating facts.

For example, Leap Day dates to Julius Caesar and the creation of the Julian calendar in 46 BC. The 100-year/400-year rule was formalized with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. And in the United States, Leap Year coincides with presidential elections; but you might already have heard something about that. In any event, cheers to a pleasant Leap Day.

Jeers: To legislative overreach. The death penalty is dormant in Washington, with Gov. Jay Inslee declaring a moratorium on the punishment and with the state Supreme Court ruling it unconstitutional in 2018. Still, the Legislature is taking a look at the issue.

The Senate has passed a bill to repeal Washington’s capital punishment law, and a House bill is in committee. While there are good arguments for eliminating the death penalty, fundamental questions about life and death and crime and punishment are best left to voters. The Supreme Court deemed the application of the law in the state to be arbitrary and racially biased. The public should be asked whether it wants to address those shortcomings and retain capital punishment.

Cheers: To Diana Avalos-Leos. The longtime activist and advocate is this year’s Clark County First Citizen. Avalos-Leos has tirelessly worked to bring people together and, in particular, to develop opportunities and leadership roles for underserved populations.

In addition to working a full-time job, Avalos-Leos founded the Clark County Latino Youth Conference, serves as vice president of youth at Southwest Washington League of United Latin American Citizens, and trains people in the community about rights and protections for immigrant families. “I don’t question why me?,” she told The Columbian. “It’s more why not me?”

Jeers: To a rude awakening. As The Seattle Times explains, residents of south Seattle this week “were blitzed with long and extraordinarily loud jet engine noise” from tests of Boeing’s new 777-9X at Boeing Field. The tests apparently broke a community noise curfew and continued until after midnight.

Clark County residents occasionally find themselves looking skyward toward the noise of F-15 jets based near Portland International Airport. But those fighter planes rarely fly at night, preserving their status as considerate neighbors.

Cheers: To Vancouver Public Schools. District officials have announced they will follow through with plans to build an elementary school on Northeast 25th Avenue in Hazel Dell rather than shelve the project. After voters approved a $458 million construction bond in 2017, administrators had considered scaling back their plans because of increased construction costs and declining enrollment.

“We want to honor the feedback from our community and complete all of the bond projects that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2017,” school board President Wendy Smith said. “We also are fully committed to being responsible stewards of the public resources entrusted to us.” District officials are wise to follow through on the commitment they made to taxpayers.