Friday, August 7, 2020
Aug. 7, 2020

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Cheers & Jeers: Growth good; protests off-base

The Columbian

Cheers: To a growing Vancouver. Not everybody will cheer this development, but Vancouver ranks second among Washington cities in population growth over the past year. According to the state Office of Financial Management, an additional 4,400 people called Vancouver home in April when compared to April 2019. Clark County added more than 10,000 people, making it the fourth fastest-growing county.

Population growth is not welcomed by all, bringing with it increased traffic and stresses on housing and other infrastructure. But we look at it as an indication of the area’s desirability, as well as an opportunity for economic growth. Plus, it means we have some new neighbors to meet.

Jeers: To a targeted protest. Although they reportedly were peaceful, organized protests at the homes of two Vancouver city attorneys go beyond the bounds of decency. The groups Patriot Prayer and People’s Rights Washington helped organize the protests in support of the owner of a local dog-grooming business, who is charged with operating her business in violation of emergency stay-at-home orders in May.

According to online videos, about 100 people peacefully gathered in front of the home of one attorney and stayed for more than six hours before moving on to the home of another city attorney. As long as protesters were not creating a disturbance or blocking traffic, they have every right to be there. But gathering in front of an office or marching past a home would seem less menacing than spending most of the day on the sidewalk. Public officials are open to criticism for their actions, but homes should be off limits.

Cheers: To playgrounds and parks. Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes has issued an emergency order opening public parks and playgrounds, which had been shut down under coronavirus restrictions.

But, as growing numbers of COVID-19 cases have demonstrated, caution is warranted. City officials note that there is no regular cleaning of play structures and shelters, and they ask patrons to maintain social distancing and stay home if they are experiencing any illness. If precautions are observed, the openings can be beneficial for residents without further spreading the virus.

Jeers: To scammers. Clark Public Utilities reports a spike in scams targeting customers by threatening to shut off their power. Nearly 1,900 scams were reported in June — 10 times as many as the next highest month this year.

Fraudsters typically warn that a bill has gone unpaid and that a shutdown is imminent, often instructing customers to use a prepaid credit card to settle the bill. Clark Public Utilities will never threaten to immediately shut off power, and a suggestion to use a prepaid card for any bill should be viewed with suspicion. “They are extraordinarily convincing,” a utility spokesperson said. “They put you in a pressure cooker, and you have to make this decision immediately.”

Cheers: To Climate Pledge Arena. The arena for Seattle’s upcoming National Hockey League team is going to have an innovative name that is ideal for these times. Amazon purchased naming rights for the building and chose “a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action,” company CEO Jeff Bezos said.

Corporations routinely pay millions of dollars for the naming rights to arenas and stadiums as a marketing venture. Amazon is taking a more meaningful approach with the name for the remodeled Key Arena, which will be the world’s first certified net-zero carbon arena.