Sunday, February 5, 2023
Feb. 5, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Election staff; pot store theft

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To election workers. With ballots due by Tuesday, we are thankful for all those in Clark County who work to ensure free and fair elections. This includes employees of the Clark County Elections Office, under the purview of the county auditor, as well as trained volunteer election observers.

Election officials have faced intense scrutiny in recent years, partly because of baseless claims of election fraud — claims that have been rejected by the courts. In many cases, both here and throughout the country, those officials also have faced harassment. But for anybody who is interested in facts instead of lies, Clark County’s election system is transparent and open to the public. Cheers go to the many employees who work to keep it that way and reassure skeptics.

Jeers: To marijuana store robberies. Police in the South Puget Sound region report five recent robberies of marijuana shops, with assailants using a stolen car to ram through doors before ransacking the store. The criminals then escape in another stolen car.

Marijuana shops are a favorite target of thieves, including in Clark County. One reason is that the product has value on the black market. Another is that the shops are all-cash businesses because Congress has not rescinded a national marijuana prohibition, which limits banking access for proprietors. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week that lawmakers are close to an agreement on rectifying that issue; it can’t come soon enough.

Cheers: To public art. Concrete panels created in the 1960s by noted artist James Lee Hansen have a new home at the Esther Street underpass in downtown Vancouver. The panels originally adorned the Clark County Title Company Building and were preserved when that structure was demolished in 2019.

Some passersby will find the abstract sculptures to be attractive and thought-provoking; others will have an opposite reaction. But that is the point of public art works, which add vibrancy and distinctiveness to a city. Cheers go to Hansen, who is 97 and attended the installation, and to city officials for finding an appropriate use for the sculptures.

Jeers: To falling back. Washington lawmakers passed a bill in 2019 to make daylight saving time permanent in the state, yet our clocks still will change Sunday morning. That is because an act of Congress is needed before states can remain on daylight saving time year-round, and Congress has yet to send a bill to President Joe Biden.

As jeers go, this is a minor one. Most clocks automatically reset, and this weekend we get an extra hour to sleep. But we hope that federal lawmakers soon see the light. As Gov. Jay Inslee wrote last month on Twitter: “Hey Congress, don’t fall back when it comes to sending this bill to @POTUS’s desk.”

Cheers: To Joy Young. The Camas High School senior recently made a presentation at a biomedical engineering conference in San Antonio. The subject: “The damage mechanism of axonopathy in CMT2B and HD using laser ablation as a tool for damage.” Because we can’t even understand the title, we’re guessing Young’s presentation would be over our heads. But we are impressed nonetheless.

The paper, finished with the help of mentors and eight co-authors, is part of Young’s work over two years as an intern at the University of California San Diego’s Institute of Engineering in Medicine. Cheers go to Young and other students who frequently remind us the future will be in good — and smart — hands.

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