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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Free elections; surprise signs

The Columbian
Published: November 12, 2022, 6:03am

Cheers: To votes and those who count them. Some races have been decided and some are still up in the air, but the true victors in the 2022 election are the voters. Approximately 200,000 Clark County residents cast ballots, expressing their hopes for the direction of our community. Regardless of the outcomes, participating in free and fair elections is an invigorating reminder of what it means to be an American.

Maintaining election integrity is the duty of numerous employees and volunteers both here and in counties throughout the country. It would be disturbing if election deniers had evidence to support claims of voter fraud; instead, those claims are consistently debunked because workers are diligent in their duties. Cheers go to all who participate in an election system that forms the foundation of our republic.

Jeers: To unwelcome surprises. Washougal officials have prohibited parking along one side of the city’s Z Street, much to the surprise of residents. Officials say that, from the beginning, the street was designed to have “no parking” signs on one side, and that the city’s traffic engineer has the authority to add them.

The larger problem, however, seems to be poor communication on the part of city leaders. Residents were unaware of the change beforehand and needed to file a complaint to get an explanation. Now they say other streets in the area also are not in compliance with width requirements, further complicating an already contentious situation.

Cheers: To homeless shelters. A series of Winter Hospitality Overflow and Satellite Overflow shelters have opened for the season, providing shelter to unhoused people each night through March. For information, call the Council for the Homeless Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677.

We can lament the need for such shelters or debate the reasons for prevalent homelessness in our community, but the fact is that the shelters are necessary. Our region — like many others — must find solutions for reducing homelessness, but until then it is essential that we help our neighbors escape the cold and the rain. Shelters typically are staffed by volunteers, reflecting Clark County’s strong sense of compassion.

Jeers: To stink bugs. In another example of the impact of climate change, a study from Washington State University suggests that the habitat for brown marmorated stink bugs could increase by 70 percent in the United States. The insects, which are native to Asia, were first found in this country about 20 years ago and are prevalent in Washington.

“This is one of the most damaging if not the most damaging pest in the U.S. right now,” a WSU entomologist said. “When you have a pest that eats everything, it’s really difficult to monitor and control.” The bugs have the potential to affect agricultural productivity and market value. They also live up to their name with their scent.

Cheers: To pleasant surprises. After trading away quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks were expected to be among the worst teams in the NFL this season. Instead, the Seahawks have a 6-3 win-loss record and sit in first place in their division. Meanwhile, new starting quarterback Geno Smith is making fans forget about Wilson — well, almost.

Next up is a meeting with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL’s first regular-season game in Germany — 6:30 a.m. Pacific time Sunday. Things can change quickly in professional sports, but thus far the Seahawks have warranted plenty of cheers.