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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.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Worthy honor; care falls short

The Columbian
Published: October 15, 2022, 6:03am

Cheers: To Ida Bell Jones. Described by The Columbian as “a matriarch in Vancouver’s Black community post-World War II,” Jones now has a city park named in her honor. The city council has approved the naming of a new park in the Rose Village neighborhood after Jones, who died in 2018 at the age of 109.

“Her strength was that she saw the world for what it could be and how people could contribute to that. She was a woman who kept everyone together,” said Camara Banfield, Jones’ granddaughter and a Clark County Superior Court judge. The honor comes through a city initiative to name public facilities for people who have helped weave together local communities. By consciously honoring people of color, the program serves as reminder that building community does not always mean monetary donations, a fact that enriches us all.

Jeers: To mental health care in Washington. A report from Mental Health America ranks Washington 32nd when it comes to the prevalence of mental illness and the state’s mental health system. The report uses data from federal agencies to assess access to care and other metrics. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for care while also exacerbating a shortage of workers.

For a state that prides itself on robust public services, Washington’s mental-health system long has been a disappointment. The fact that we rank ahead of our neighbors, Idaho and Oregon, is of little consolation for individuals and families in need of help.

Cheers: To Paul Danzer. While he doesn’t have an entire park named for him, the longtime area sportswriter does have a grove of 22 trees in his honor. The city of Vancouver recently planted the grove along walkways at Biddlewood Park in southeast Vancouver through its Witness Tree program.

Danzer worked at The Columbian from 1999 to 2016 and now works at the Portland Tribune. The event was organized by Michael LaLumiere, who hired Danzer in the 1980s at the Valley Times in Beaverton, Ore. City officials say it is unusual for the Witness Tree program to consist of more than one tree; but as LaLumiere quips, “Paul is more than a one-tree person.”

Jeers: To Big Tech scofflaws. A King County Superior Court judge has determined that Meta — Facebook’s parent company — violated Washington’s campaign finance law 822 times. A law approved by voters in 1972 requires ad sellers to disclose information about political ad buyers and viewership of such when the information is requested.

Following a 2018 lawsuit by the state of Washington, the company said it would stop selling political ads in the state; it didn’t. The judge’s decision that the violations were intentional opens Meta to millions of dollars in potential fines. The apparently blatant disregard for Washington law is an affront to our state’s residents.

Cheers: To the Seattle Mariners. The Northwest’s Major League Baseball team has reached the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, ending the longest active postseason drought in professional sports. Seattle plays its first home playoff game since 2001 today, facing elimination after losing two contests in Houston.

The Seattle Times provides some perspective on how Mariner fever has gripped the city: It was cheaper to buy a plane ticket and see a game in Houston than it would be to scrape up a ticket for the first game at T-Mobile Park. Regardless of how the series plays out, the Mariners have given baseball fans in the region a reason to pay attention for the first time since Ichiro was a rookie.